My standard route from home to Athens city center leads me down scenic Makriyianni Street, a pedestrian road as of only last year. A few months ago I’d noticed one of the small shops being renovated and shortly after, Makriyianni 3 Deli and Coffee opened for business. The “coffee joint” radar implanted just behind my eyeballs ran a fast check to gauge the level we’re dealing with here, for in a city like Athens the price of coffee and a sandwich can range from 3 euros to 13 euros and I find you don’t always get what you pay for. How did Makriyianni 3 stack up?
Atmosphere: Bright, modern, trendy. Old school green bicycle marks the turf.
Soundtrack: Expertly chosen progressive Greek music, jazz and blues.
Presentation: Sandwiches individually wrapped with a string of raffia tied sweetly into a bow, like a little gift. Coffee or tea is served with an imperfect cookie, like when the dough dribbled and it bakes that way in the oven. Every sweetener under the sun is tucked inside cups centered on the tables.
Offerings: wide variety of petite sandwiches on brioche, tiny tiropitaki (cheese pies) fresh pies with lattice and sugar-dusted cakes under crystal domes, a metal bucket with Koulouri (bread rings with sesame) and, my favorite for the sheer conceptual genius of it, tiny sugar donuts on a stick.
Don’t think I didn’t look at the prices before I noticed all of these nice details, which were surprisingly reasonable. The koulouri is charged no more than you would pay from the vendors on the street. (.50) The small cheese pies are served individually, unlike in bakeries where they frown on not buying in mass. The small sandwiches range from 2.5o -4.50 and have unexpected pairings like mozzarella with prosciutto and fig, or cream cheese, olives and green salad.
Most of the simple coffee or espresso offerings don’t exceed 2.50, a steal in any corner of Athens even if in your corner of the world it’s a bit steep.
All of this was served by a generally pleasant staff that is predominately bilingual.
The only downside is the hopelessly crowded bunch of adorable, but unsteady cafe tables that slosh your tea if you so much as nudge them by crossing your ankles. The chairs are not designed like the ones the pricier coffee places adhere to which invite you to lounge for hours, that is unless you want permanent indentations on your… leg.
In summary, if you chance to find yourself strolling down Makriyianni on your way the the New Acropolis Museum or bound inward toward Plaka, stop just on the corner of Aeropagitou and veer to the right, because it’s nice to find a snack that makes you smile.