Diporto - Gastro Obscura

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Gastro Obscura

Diporto

With no menu and no sign, this 130-year-old taverna doles out affordable home cooking. 

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When lunchtime rolls around in Athens, wind through the stalls selling fish, meat, produce, and all manner of oddities in Varvakeios market. Make your way to two unsigned wooden doors on the corner of a graffiti-coated building, then descend into a cool, stone basement lined with wine barrels. Expect to see roughly a dozen diners tearing through a typical taverna lunch on paper cloth-covered tables while downing copper-colored jugs of retsina, the table white perfumed with Aleppo pine resin. 

There will almost certainly be a line. But while the word is definitely out about this once well-kept local secret, Diporto has stubbornly held onto its working-class prices and vibes. The taverna has been in business since 1887, making it almost as old as the surrounding marketplace. According to some, this subterranean space may have been pouring wine since the time of Socrates.

There’s no menu here, but Mitsos, the elderly owner and chef, takes good care of everyone. Expect to see him behind the stove, cooking up the dishes of the day. Simply order your wine by the liter and generous portions of homey, traditional fare will appear. 

Fried sardines with lemon, bowls of creamy-hearted chickpeas, and plates of Greek salad crowned with slabs of feta are often in rotation. At the end of the meal, the staff tally it all up and the total (including wine) typically runs less than €15 per hungry guest.

Know Before You Go

Bring cash and come prepared to wait. Although the taverna is increasingly on tourists’ radars, staff do not speak English and frown upon excessive photo-taking. 

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March 4, 2024

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