Looking for loukoumades…
The French have their beignets, Americans have doughnuts, but Greeks have loukoumades, round dough fritters drizzled with Greek honey and sprinkled with cinnamon.
For all my years in the kitchen, loukoumades are the one sweet I have never enjoyed making. The dough is wet and sticks to your hands, which you need for scooping up small quantities of it and then squeezing it out, using a spoon to help measure, before dropping it into a pot of boiling oil. I try to avoid doing this even for loved ones, opting instead to get on the metro and take a ride downtown, where some of the best loukoumades in Athens can be found.
Most of these places have been around for nearly a hundred years so a little blip in the economy shouldn’t stop them from being around on your next trip here, either.
One of the oldest shops is Krinos, on Aiolou St. #87, not too far from the Central market. This shop has been open since 1923 and is still going strong, just as nearby competitor Aigaion is (Panepistimiou 46). At the latter, you’ll fid some progressive loukoumades, i.e. a few savory choices and one with chocolate. If you’re the adventurous sort, you might want to venture deep beyond the market area into Athens’ most “pivotal” (read that as a little dangerous) neighborhood, to Ktistakis (Sokratous 59, Pl. Karaiskaki), for a Cretan version of these fritters, topped with sesame seeds and deliciously crunchy.