Thessaloniki and Central Macedonia Restaurants

Traditional Thracian and Macedonian cooks adapt to the seasons: in winter, rich game such as boar and venison is served; in summer, there are mussels and other seafood from the Aegean, as well as fruits and vegetables from the fertile plains. The relatively cooler climate here is reflected in rich chicken soups, roast chicken, stuffed vegetables, and stewed lamb and pork.

Small plates (mezedes) are a fundamental part of the Thessaloniki dining experience. Specialties include medhia (mussels), which come from farms outside the bay and are served in styles that include saganaki (sauted in a pan with tomatoes, peppers, and feta) and achnista (steamed in broth with herbs). Also look for soutzoukakia (Anatolian-style meatballs in tomato sauce, seasoned with cumin). Peinerli (an open-faced boat of bread filled with cheese and ham) is a Black Sea specialty brought here by the Pontii, Greeks who emigrated from that area.

Meals are complemented by generous amounts of wine, ouzo, and tsipouro, the local version of grappa. Try the excellent barrel or bottled local wines, especially reds under labels such as Naoussa or Porto Carras or a little bottle of Malamatina retsina, considered the best bottled version in Greece. Throughout the city, little shops and cellars specialize in a Macedonian treat called a submarine (or ipovrihio), a spoonful of sweets such as visino (black) cherries in syrup, dipped in a glass of ice water. As for dinnertime, you can arrive around 8, earlier than most Greeks like to eat dinner (many places do not open before then)—but it's much more fun to come at 9 or 10 and mix with the locals.

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  • 1. 7 Thalasses

    $$ | Kentro | Seafood

    One of the better and most creative seafood restaurants in Thessaloniki offers a menu that maintains the delicate flavors of its ingredients...Read More

  • 2. Ouzeri Aristotelous

    $ | Kentro | Greek

    Behind a wrought-iron gate opening to a stoa, artists, scholars, couples, old friends, and businesspeople pack marble-topped tables. This convivial...Read More

  • 3. Duck Private Cheffing

    $$ | Aerodromio | Greek

    A gourmet dining experience based on fresh, seasonal ingredients with an ever-changing menu, Duck offers the opportunity to sample an array...Read More

  • 4. O Loutros

    $ | Kentro | Greek

    Diners at this side-street Thessaloniki institution rub shoulders with lawyers, students, out-of-towners, and workers from the Bezesteni market...Read More

  • 5. Ouzeri Agora

    $ | Kentro | Greek

    Low-key and extremely popular, this ouzeri in the art-grungy Bezesteni neighborhood has good food, great service, and a friendly atmosphere...Read More

  • 6. Ouzeri Melathron

    $ | Kentro | Mediterranean

    Ouzo's Mansion," established as Greece's first ouzeri franchise in 1993, attracts a mainly young crowd. The chefs here are trained in a style...Read More

  • 7. Ta Nissia

    $$ | Kentro | Greek

    The food may be costly, but Ta Nissia doesn't seem overpriced thanks to the quality of ingredients and careful preparations by owner-chef Yiannis...Read More

  • 8. To Meteoro Vima Tis Garidas

    $ | Kentro | Greek

    This casual, friendly place in the midst of busy Modiano Market is known for great garides (prawns), served in many different ways, and its...Read More

  • 9. Zythos Dore

    $$ | Kentro | Greek

    Crowded and lots of fun, this café has a good buzz in a converted 1920s-era Viennese-style coffeehouse, and it offers a great view of the White...Read More

  • 10. YaMas

    Kentro | Greek

    If they make a reservation to ensure they have a table on the terrace, diners can combine the best Thessaloniki sea view with outstanding cuisine...Read More

  • 11. Opta Pyri

    $ | Kentro | Greek

    This eatery serves up the standard appetizers of any mezethopoleon (restaurant specializing in small dishes); grilled meats, fried fish, salads...Read More

  • 12. Room 22

    $ | Kentro | American

    This New York–style bar/restaurant serves Americana flavors given a Mediterranean twist. It's housed in a neoclassical building next to the...Read More

  • 13. Ta Louloudadika

    Kentro | Greek

    Location is everything here: on a lively cul-de-sac across from the louloudadika (flower market), this fish restaurant and ouzeri has outdoor...Read More

  • 14. Tiffany's

    $ | Kentro | Greek

    Whether you choose one of the convivial long, group tables or a perch set on the leafy pedestrian street, you'll understand why this local downtown...Read More

  • 15. Tsambouro

    Kentro | Greek

    One of the favorites in Athonos Square, this spot is particularly lively at lunchtime, when the pedestrian walkways are clustered with tables...Read More

  • 16. Vrotos

    $$ | Kentro | Greek

    Some of the most delicious and innovative appetizers in Thessaloniki are served at this little ouzeri run by the Vrotos family. You can sit...Read More

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