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The lively neighborhood of Metaxourgeio takes its name from a silk factory that was once located there (metaxi is silk in Greek). While small, the trendy area is home to a vibrant mixture of people from all over the world who inhabit Athens’ typical old buildings, surrounded by theaters and a thriving art scene. It’s one of our favorite neighborhoods for strolling. And this time of year sees Metaxourgeio in the spotlight: It’s especially famous for having one of the most impressive freestyle Apokries (Carnival) celebrations!

Late-night noshing at Elvis, photo by Ilias FountoulisThese days, when we’re in the neighborhood, we make sure to pay Elvis a visit. A few years ago the place was a butcher shop, but then it was featured in one of Greece’s most famous comedy series, Mila mou vromika (“Talk Dirty to Me”). It played a starring role as an old butcher shop called Elvis that is turned into a popular dance club by the five unemployed characters on the show. After filming was over, the butcher shop was taken over by the owners of nearby Kerameio Bar. They refurbished it and turned it into a grill as a nod to its meaty past, keeping the name “Elvis” and injecting it with plenty of humor, loud music and flavor.

Co-owner Angelos runs Elvis, keeping the menu brief and to the point. “We only have five plate options so that we can best control quality,” he said. Those are pork or chicken souvlaki, ground beef or lamb kebab, country-style sausage and pancetta – all grilled to perfection over charcoal and served on charming metal plates, topped with grilled pita and lots of hand-cut, freshly cooked French fries and accompanied by Elvis’s famous lemon-mustard sauce. While we wait, Angelos treats us to ice-cold tsikoudia (Cretan raki).

To find Elvis once in Metaxourgeio you can either follow the music or the enticing smells of the grill to lead you there.

Find more downtown souvlaki classics here and here.

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Ilias FountoulisIlias Fountoulis

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