This whitewashed restaurant started the wave of "modern neo-tavernas," which offer new takes on traditional Greek food amid the chicness of minimalist decor (think cotton-canvas tablecloths and tin accessories). Mamacas, which means "the mommies" in Greek, was also the first restaurant to spark the rebirth of Gazi, the once-forlorn neighborhood around what was once a gas foundry. Since it opened in 1998, Mamacas has consistently offered fresh, delicious Greek and Meditteranean
home cooking such as pork with prunes, tomatoes, and peppers stuffed with rice and raisins, and, when they make it, arguably the best walnut cake in town. After hours, the restaurant turns into a bar where well-known DJs regularly pick the tunes and draws a flashy crowd of miniskirted young women and open-shirted men who strike poses as if the whole world is looking. Since the long-awaited opening of the Kerameikos metro station just across the street, it's easier than ever to go to the restaurant that helped turn Gazi into the hottest spot in Athens. The eaterie's roof garden was recently renovated and now hosts some of the hottest summer parties in town.