Madam X’s Guide to Athens
Madam X’s Guide to Athens
Madam X is a key figure within the dance music scene, one who can also be described as a multi-hyphenate. Whilst holding down shows on BBC Radio 1, NTS and movement.radio, the producer also runs her own label Kaizen and clothing line.
During the pandemic, when the world was in lockdown, Madam X drilled down into her love for fitness in her spare time, which led to the launch of her fitness account and online workout classes called MDMXERCISE. Since, she's created a fashion and sports apparel line linked to her classes. It was during this time that the producer returned to her Greek roots, moving to Athens and Crete. Nowadays, she splits her time between residing in Athens and the UK.
Taking time away from her busy schedule, the producer comes through with the ultimate guide to the Greek capital, comprised of 18 spots. From where to get a mezcal margarita to finding the best vintage designer garms, she's covered a range of day and night spots to hit up in Athens.
In this Guide
“My after-hours go-to in Kerameikos, a favourite neighbourhood in Athens. A quirky outdoors space with a skateboard bowl and bar, all set within an urban industrial courtyard. You’ll see many a local scene hero DJing here. One night could be R&B, another paying homage to Greek new wave and synth pop, I love the spontaneity of it all. Nice drinks with a laidback atmosphere and vibe.”More Info
“Owner George is an absolute dreamboat. He is THE GUY when it comes to sourcing rare Levis and vintage jeans. I always have such a vibe playing dress-up in his shop. If you’re looking for a particular piece in denim, chances are he has it. It’s a real treasure trove of unique pieces and George is always happy to assist.”More Info
“My favourite for designer garms and Y2K thrifting. Visits are by appointment only: reach out on their Instagram to book. Store owner Alexandra Koumantaki, a visual artist and musician, will meet you at the door and take you through her amazing finds.”More Info
“The spicy mezcal margarita is to die for! Owners Stelios and George are mezcal connoisseurs. My favourite place for cocktails in Athens. If you love a bit of Mexican culture, here’s your authentic spot.”More Info
“Some of the most flavourful and experimental dishes I’ve come across. You wouldn’t even notice the dishes are vegan. The watermelon (tuna) poke dish is an absolute showstopper. Even my devout, meat-eating Greek father approved. Make sure you save some room for dessert – the pavlova slaps.”More Info
“Come here for your Greek souvlaki fix (kebab). I always go for the chicken gyros with tzatziki and all the extras. There’s a wide selection of meats and they also offer veggie options for the meatless crew.”More Info
“My sister and I probably come here once a week. Best vegan souvlaki I’ve ever tasted. Their mushroom gyros is absolutely ridiculous, using four to six different kinds of mushrooms, with a zero waste philosophy, only using organic produce. Owner Tony still won’t tell me how they make their vegan mayo, but I’m working on it.”More Info
“Family-owned Lebanese street food spot, a short walk away from the Acropolis. Classic recipes passed down from generation to generation, serving up good quality Middle Eastern flavours. Desserts, truffles, lahmacun, peinirli, zaatar pastries and lentil soups, as well as some great vegan options. You absolutely have to sample it.”More Info
“Peng natural wines from all corners of Greece, in the heart of Exarcheia. Served with yummy cheese and meat platters. Perfect for a late night chill with pals. I recommend the Doric orange wine from the Balatsouras Winery – it’s so good!”More Info
“The smell as you walk past this bakery is enough to entice anyone who passes by. This is honestly my favourite spot to come to for a classic spanakotiropita (Greek spinach and feta filo pie). Freshly baked pastries, tsoureki, pies and biscuits, with 15 types of koulouri bread rings (orange, walnuts, mastic, cinnamon, etcc) as well as the classic, corn, rye, seed and horiatiko village bread on offer – it’s an absolute must. Order a chocolate and walnut tsoureki, and fill a box with cookies to have with friends. Go for the pistachio, moustokouloura, mahlepi and sesame flavours for a proper taste of Greece.”More Info
“Best seafood in Athens and worth the taxi ride out of the city centre. Make sure you order the octopus stifatho on melitzanosalata (baked octopus in tomato sauce and smoky aubergine puree); calamari yemisto psito (grilled, stuffed squid), lobster spaghetti, saganaki prawns, gavros, vlita, fries, tzatziki and feta! Better to come with a whole crew, so you can sample everything.”More Info
“Firm favourite with the locals. Come here for lunch and authentic Greek meze. Staple orders: horta (wild greens), calamari, gigantes (giant beans), gavros (fish), fava (white bean dip), kolokithokeftedes (zucchini fritters), revithia (chickpeas), fasolia mavromatika (black-eyed bean salad) and obviously horiatiki (Greek salad). It's super wholesome and traditional, with lots of cute old men sat outside with their tavli and komboloi.”More Info
“Really cute clothing and record shop owned by DJ and producer Astytekk, who’s a fellow Movement Radio resident. All the clothes are super niche, often from independent Greek designers (as well as my own MDMX-01 collection inside). Situated next door to one of my favourite hangouts, Handlebar, the shop is often open 'til late, and a nice street to come check out after hours.”More Info
“Gourmet sandwiches since 1988, in the small neighbourhood of Koukaki. Out to Runner (my fellow Movement Radio DJ) for putting me onto this sandwich joint. He swears it’s the best sandwich shop in Athens and I have to agree! So many cheese varieties, cured meats and smells. It’s a must!”More Info
“A humble burger joint serving up one item on the menu. Boasting good quality ingredients and zero waste values, Chef Fahk and partner Myrtia have taken it back to basics with their classic no-nonsense cheeseburger. Choose between a juicy single or double patty, and enjoy big flavours at small prices.”More Info
“Kick is my coffee spot in Kypseli. Order the classic Cappuccino Fredo for the true iced-coffee experience, get there early for breakfast and spend a couple of hours “working from home” with your laptop, soaking up the sun in the company of other like-minded nomads.”More Info
“Yet another fantastic Souvlaki Grillhouse. I recommend the ‘Calamaki’ meat skewers which can come in pork and chicken, as well as the traditional ‘Loukaniko’ - mixed meat sausage, often flavoured with orange peel, leeks, fennel seed and various other dried herbs, sometimes smoked over aromatic woods.”More Info
“Cobra High is a really special unique hangout spot in the heart of Neos Kosmos. It's more than just a bar! It's a common-room for the community, full of creativity, artists and personality. Owner Gregoris is so hospitable and passionate and it really shines through his space. Hosting good foods, music, exhibitions, seminars, private birthday parties and home-brewed Kombucha, it's a lovely spot for a modest night out, with good vibes and people.”More Info