May I suggestions for an evening out in Athens? We will be there for three days previous to an Aegean cruise. The tour company has an evening out with local cuisine and entertainment of local dancing. However, I feel we can do it much cheaper on our own.
We always have a dip of some kind, a salad, and then a couple of main courses.
For a dip a classic would be tzatziki, which is yoghurt, garlic and cucumber. If that sounds a bit spicy a nice alternative is melitzanosalata - an aubergine dip.
Salad depends on time of year but the Xani does a particularly nice marouli - lettuce, spring onion and dill.
The grilled meat is good - souvlaki is always a good bet - and they do specials. Last week I had a really nice, and substantial, roast pork.
I've posted a couple of pictures of the Xani, plus a lunch at the Byzantino, on my Flickr site
The people from the Xani used to work at the Byzantino and the menu is pretty much identical. The Byzantino doesn't have music but, in my opinion, is a nicer place to sit out for lunch.
What time of year will you be there, and how important is the dancing?
Somewhere I would recommend to hear fairly low key traditional music (but without dancing) is the Taverna Xani on Adrianou, the main (mainly pedestrianised) road which runs down through Plaka. It's fairly near the top.
They have a couple of musicians playing rembetika (Greek blues) and laika (Greek folk).
The food is good, traditional and is fairly priced for the area. Reckon around 30 euros for a meal for 2 with wine.
You can go a bit more upmarket - another 10 or 15 euros - and go into Psyrri, an area of restaurants many of which have music. Psyrri is across the main road from Monastiraki metro station at the bottom of Plaka.
Have a good trip.
Do you have a favorite food that you recommend?
As Alan said, how important is the dancing. A great restaurant that we found is O Glykos. They serve only mezedes (Greek version of tapas). But 3 mezedes between my wife and I were enough for dinner. And they have a really good house rose wine. The address is Angelou Geronta 2. It's just north of the main street in the Plaka. The main street has 2 names. In the western part of the Plaka, it's called Thespidos. In the eastern part, it's called Kidathineon. As you're walking down Thespidos/Kidathineon, with the Acropolis at your back, turn left on Angelou Geronta. It's about 30 yards down, on your left-hand side. The outdoor seating area has rafters over it, with grape vines running through the rafters.