Review: Delta A Culinary Destination in Athens, Greece

Greece is on the rise as an exciting culinary destination, largely thanks to the opening of Delta. Thanos Feskos (previously assistant head chef of Geranium for almost 10 years) and George Papazacharias (previously of Maaemo, L’Air du Temps, and most recently the R+D chef at Under) decided during the lockdown to return to their home of Athens and open a restaurant unlike anything the city has ever seen before. Their goals are high: 1) to put Athens on the map as a food destination, 2) to permanently change the culinary landscape of Greece, and 3) to inspire other restaurants to follow their lead in terms of sustainability and creativity. In our opinion, they are on track to achieve their goals – and miles ahead of the other fine dining restaurants in Greece.

Looking for more restaurant recommendations in Athens? Check out our city guide and map.

Crispy duck filled with duck innard emulsion and Greek blueberries.
Crispy duck filled with duck innard emulsion and Greek blueberries.
DELTA

Address & Contact Information
Leof. Andrea Siggrou 364, Athens, Greece
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The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center

The breathtaking restaurant is located at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC), an artistic compound designed to enchant locals and tourists alike. The center was completed in 2016 and has been a gathering place ever since, constantly buzzing with activity. There’s a large park filled with art installations, soccer fields, and even a large reservoir with a dancing fountain show. It’s also home to the National Library of Greece as well as the Greek National Opera – the latter of which is located directly beneath Delta’s dining room. The restaurant sits perched at the tip of the sloping glass castle, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the sea. (Come at sunset for a mesmerizing view!) This restaurant is a true work of art – from the dining room, to the ceramics, to the mind-blowing presentations.

The interior of restaurant Delta.
The interior of restaurant Delta.

The Delta Dream Team

Delta officially opened in July 2021, but it’s already making waves in the global food industry. Papazacharias is the mastermind, the creative brain behind the dishes, while Feskos is in charge of the execution in the kitchen. The third point of the Delta team triangle is Jana Cechova, the restaurant manager, who previously worked with Papazacharias at Maaemo and Under. Largely thanks to their Scandinavian background, the style of cooking is Nordic-inspired – they experiment with fermentation, and the presentations are so stunning they’re practically begging you to photograph them. But perhaps the chef duo’s biggest takeaway from the Scandinavian region is the emphasis on sustainability. This is a huge focus of theirs; they use only local ingredients on their menu, lots of which they have foraged themselves in the Greek forests. From these ingredients, they craft three completely different tasting menus: omnivore, vegetarian, and vegan. In order to try as many dishes as possible, we shared one omnivore and one vegetarian menu on our visit, both of which were incredible.

Pepper inoculated with koji, filled with three types of tomatoes (preserved, pickled, and fresh), marjoram, hard cheese, and flowers.
Pepper inoculated with koji, filled with three types of tomatoes (preserved, pickled, and fresh), marjoram, hard cheese, and flowers.
Bean braid with fermented ramson leaves.
Bean braid with fermented ramson leaves.

Standout Dishes at Delta

The first bite on the omnivore menu set the tone for the meal – it was the shrimp, a dish that has become a signature at Delta. The raw shrimp tail is stuffed inside the “shrimp head,” a piece of carrot that has been molded to look like the shell of the sea creature. This crispy imposter is glazed with fermented nut water and clementine, and filled with cream made from the juices inside the shrimp head.

Another standout presentation at Delta was the “sea urchin.” It’s illegal to fish and sell uni in Greece, so the chefs at Delta decided to craft their own version – a potato and squid ink shell is filled with bottarga eggs, sea buckthorn, and pickled rosehip. The attention to detail here was so exact – we couldn’t believe it wasn’t sea urchin. One dish that appeared on both menus was the pepper inoculated with koji, filled with three types of tomatoes (preserved, pickled, and fresh), marjoram, hard cheese, and flowers. This fuzzy fellow was a flavor bomb!

There were many delicious and innovative dishes on our tasting menu, but there was one that stood out as most memorable of the evening: the bread serving. Sourdough brioche was cooked on the barbecue, and brushed with fermented cep mushroom honey and cep butter, and served with a salsa of coppa, pork ear, brown butter, and Greek vinegar. The glaze gave the bread an almost candy-like quality, caramelized and crispy on the edges, and soft and fluffy on the inside. It was sweet, salty, decadently rich, and oozing with butter – this was the best bread serving of 2021.

Sweetbread sunflower glazed with fermented cherry, saffron and leek leaves, topped with Greek caviar.
Sweetbread sunflower glazed with fermented cherry, saffron and leek leaves, topped with Greek caviar.
Corn, buckwheat koji pancake, cream of aged corn, seaweed oil, grilled corn, and aged pear.
Corn, buckwheat koji pancake, cream of aged corn, seaweed oil, grilled corn, and aged pear.

The desserts were the most challenging flavor-wise for us. One was a take on the Greek dessert galaktoboureko, with crispy sea lettuce instead of filo dough and semolina cream infused with koji and bergamot. Another unique flavor combination paired green olive kombucha with a jam of pickled pinecones, olive oil, and Greek caviar. Come with an open mind!

The wine profile in general is pretty classical, but natural wine aficionados will be pleased to hear that we found a nice bottle from Tissot on the wine list. The cocktails are curated by Baba Au Rum (no. 14 on the World’s 50 Best Bars 2021) – our favorite was the Devil’s Milk (Jamaican coconut rum with chili pepper, lime, falernum, and nutmeg). If you’re not in the mood for a full tasting menu, it’s also possible to reserve a table in the bar lounge, where the menu is à la carte.

Beeswax, brown cheese, honey, bee pollen, and a toffee bee infused with lavender.
Beeswax, brown cheese, honey, bee pollen, and a toffee bee infused with lavender.

Will Delta Get Two Michelin Stars?

In our opinion, the level at Delta is close to two Michelin stars (in Scandinavia standards, at least) – but only time will tell if the inspectors agree with our assessment. The restaurant only opened at the end of July, and the Michelin awards for Greece come out in March, so it may be too short of a time period for them to snag two from the get-go. If not this year, then Delta should certainly be awarded two stars in 2023. Our meal at Delta was easily one of the highlights of 2021 for us and we can’t wait to watch the progression of this ambitious restaurant.

Have you been to Delta? Let us know how your experience was in a comment below.

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