In an airy neoclassical mansion with a leafy, minimalist courtyard—paved with original painted tiles, canopied by huge date palms, and illuminated by colored lanterns—Balthazar truly feels like a summer oasis in the middle of Athens. The crowd is fun and hip, moneyed, cosmopolitan, and beautiful, so you might wish to come for dinner, then stay to mingle and taste the cocktails (like the passionfruit martini) as the DJ picks up the beat. Chef Savvas Konstantinides keeps
the quality and flavor high on the up-to-the-minute Mediterranean menu. Opt for any of the creative appetizers (especially the grilled octopus with fava, truffle oil, and caramelized onions); the tasty main dishes (such as the sea bass with black-eyed peas salad and fennel seed lemon-oil sauce, as well as the barley risotto with red shrimps from Mani); and the homemade desserts, especially the "Fresh Passion" (with a soft chocolate biscuit, yogurt honey namelaka, caramelized hazelnuts, praline ice cream, and framboise sauce). Though it's been around since the late 1990s, this place has miraculously managed to remain as fresh and trendy today as when it first opened.