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  • Athens Market Taverna

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Athens Market Taverna
Athens Market Taverna

Athens Market Taverna Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://athensmarkettaverna.com
  • Phone: (619) 234-1955
  • Hours of Operation: Lunch: Monday - Friday: 11:00am - 4:00pm; Dinner: Monday - Saturday: 4:00pm - 10:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: Greek
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Entertainment, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Smoking Area, Smoking Area (patio only), Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Private Party Facilities: The historic Senator Hotel is the perfect backdrop for your event, with its elegant Victorian lobby decorated with a crystal chandelier and mahogany staircase perfect for mixers that spill into the bar and adjacent restaurant. We have three rooms to choose from.
  • Private Party Contact: Private Party Coordinator (866) 723-4233
  • Entertainment: Live Singing. Dates vary monthly. Please call for schedule.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: between First St. & Front St. just West of Horton Plaza
  • Public Transit: SD Trolley stop Santa Fe station.
    SD Metro Bus stop 1st and Broadway.
  • Parking: Street Parking
A word from Athens Market Taverna
Established in 1974, Athens Market Taverna has been a gathering place for dignitaries, politicians, sports celebrities and Hollywood stars, from Elizabeth Montgomery ("Bewitched") to Andy Rooney.

Owner Mary Pappas is a third-generation restaurateur who moved to San Diego from Greece in 1961 to attend school.

A pioneer in downtown's renaissance, Pappas renovated the bottom floor of the historic Senator Hotel and moved her restaurant from E Street to its current location in 1986.

In 1994, she expanded her restaurant to the North County location and added a concession in the San Diego Convention Center, a popular eatery for out-of-towners.
Reservations are not required for lunch.
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Diner Reviews
  • "The owner is at every table. Knows most patrons. Chef greets people. Food great. What a find. Telling everyone I know found a gem in gas lamp district. And Mediterranean food is health. What a win. Thank you for 20+ years in the neighborhood."
    Dined on 8/15/2014
  • "Entrees were not served together. We were a party of four. First one entree came, then after a while two arrived and when we were halfway through eating the fourth arrived which was the exact same meal as the second two. They did bring one glass of wine for the person whose entree was very late, but still, it did not makeup for the fact that as our food was getting eaten, he was just sitting there. In my opinion, they should have taken that entree off the bill."
    Dined on 7/12/2014
  • "We were there for an early dinner at 5:00 after a Saturday matinee. It was still early, so it was quiet. On other occasions I have found it bustling. I have been there several times over the years. The food is always great, the service friendly & a nice atmosphere. I definitely recommend it."
    Dined on 6/7/2014
  • "Close your eyes and you are in Athens! The Greek cuisine is authentic and delicious. My favorites are the lentil soup, spanakopita, Greek salad, chicken souvlaki and grilled salmon. Owner Mary Pappas really knows how to make everyone feel welcome and if you get to know her, you will have a friend for life. The staff is very warm and service oriented as well. The bar scene is always fun and busy, mostly during happy hours. The location is perfect for the theatre crowd and just a short walk from the convention center. Located at 109 West F Street between First and Front Streets, this Greek Restaurant should be on everyone's radar for lunch, dinner or special events as they have two private rooms for groups. Enjoy!"
    Dined on 5/17/2014
  • "Every visit to this gem is a wonderful experience. Service and cuisine is always impeccable and this evening was no exception. Because the bar area was quite lively, we opted for the separated quiet dining area which is quite a nice ambiance. The lemon chicken was moist, flavorful, and tender as always. I usually have the exquisite lamb shank. However, our server highly recommended the special - a whole sea bass. Deboned at our table, it was moist and cooked to perfection, and delicious. Service was very attentive only when desired; and not intrusive. The wine list includes interesting selections not seen at other restaurants; and is reasonably priced. Athens Market is a wonderful experience and a great place to linger over dinner."
    Dined on 5/9/2014
  • "Really wanted to love this place, as I like to take a break from glitzy tourist oriented spots when I travel, and I love Greek food. But food was good, not great. Similar with service. And the place just doesn't smell good. Unclean and musty. Really need to work on that. Not the smell of a successful restaurant. "
    Dined on 5/6/2014
  • "We were met at the door by the owner and she checked on us throughout the evening. She recommended wine and beer, as well as various food choices (and even some to not order - very refreshing!). Excellent food, well worth visiting. I will return again the next time I am in San Diego."
    Dined on 4/28/2014
  • "The place where everyone knows your name, where you can find food and drink to nourish you and a welcome to warm your heart. Thank you to the remarkable waitress who gave outstanding advice about the food and the wine. And thank you to the extraordinary owner who showed a group of meeting goers that San Diego has much more to offer than typical tourist experiences. "
    Dined on 4/25/2014
  • "After seeing the reviews on OpenTable, I thought this would be a great place to get dinner with friends. However, the food was mediocre."
    Dined on 4/24/2014
  • "As good a dining experience as one could home to have. Warm, welcoming, unpretentious, delicious!"
    Dined on 4/8/2014
  • "Family Owned, Family Run, you'll feel like family while you are here. Ask Mary (the owner) to prep up an appetizer sampler and for her Greek wine recommendations. She poured a Greek red that rivaled California Cab. Great experience, great food, great restaurant - you won't be disappointed."
    Dined on 4/8/2014
  • "Great food, great customer service and affordable price. My wife and I went there for our anniversary dinner. Great choice"
    Dined on 3/29/2014
  • "Overall the food was good, however, there was a large party in the back room which I had to go through in order to use the ladies' restroom. It made me feel like a bit of a party crasher and I didn't like that. Also, the waiter was ok but not very friendly. It seemed like the regulars were treated great but the newbies were just tolerated. . We were placed in a small corner seat near the door and were plagued throughout the meal with gnats that kept getting in whenever anyone opened the door. . The one outstanding dish was the rice pudding - best I've ever had and I don't even like rice that much."
    Dined on 3/28/2014
  • "The food was excellent. The service was prompt. Our dinner was delightful."
    Dined on 3/25/2014
  • "The restaurant has good food and great location for going to the theatre in downtown San Diego"
    Dined on 3/15/2014
  • "I like the family owned aspect of the restaurant. There's a true Greek feel to the place and the owner is friendly. Our waiter was absolutely excellent! I wish we lived closer to downtown so we could become regulars!"
    Dined on 3/8/2014
  • "This place has amazing and authentic greek food. My family is greek and this is one if the best greek restaurants that we have eaten in."
    Dined on 2/28/2014
  • "Excellent food; excellent service. Loved the ambience of a lovely, quiet restaurant to enjoy a nice meals. Thank you."
    Dined on 2/19/2014
  • "The owners was even better she came to our table and told us a story about how she picked the wine for here I and then fixed up our appetizers we had no idea on how to eat. The flaming cheese and bread is an awesome appetizer and oh so rich. The owners and the waitresses are the best when it comes to customer service and making anyone feel more than welcome we felt like family."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "The food, wine and service was excellent from start to finish for a full course Greek dinner. Started with wine from Santorini and finished with Galactoburiko...a favorite custard/ phyllo baked delight. The Moussaka, Pastitsio and Lamb were superb as were the appetizers and dinner sides. The owner, Mary, was active making sure the restaurant was running at top speed for a busy night at Athens Market! Service was consistent and we were never forgotten as we sat off in a corner."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "Mary has been in business for 40 years. This told us she is doing something right. It's the wonderful, authentic food, executed oh so well, the devoted staff and the hip ambiance in the bar or if you prefer, the elegant ambiance in the beautiful dining room. The succulent flavors of the grilled baby octopus, so tender it was unbelievable started the meal off very well. The flavor packed, meaty lamb shank. was perfection as was the Moussaka. No matter your age or level of hipness, you can come in upscale casual or just comfy and fit right in. Loved the diversity of the patrons who clearly come to eat great Greek food."
    Dined on 2/7/2014
  • "Delicious food and inviting atmosphere! Definitely going back."
    Dined on 1/25/2014
  • "We had both of these and thoroughly enjoyed the food. Altogether a wonderful experience."
    Dined on 1/21/2014
  • "Have been meaning to try this place for years and just never got a round to it, but finally went during restaurant week and I'm very impressed. Everyone at the place is very friendly - from the owner to the wait staff! The food was fantastic authentic Greek, some of the best I've ever had and I've been to Greek town in Chicago many times. It was only $25 for the 3 course meal during restaurant week - a very good deal - especially compared to most fine dinning restaurants charging $45 for smaller entree sizes - I think many have become very greedy during these special weeks, but not Athens Market - I was absolutely stuffed. I would have to say this is now among my favorite restaurants downtown."
    Dined on 1/20/2014
  • "We didn't feel like dealing with the larger crowds in the Gaslamp district, but just a couple of blocks away was this gem. Our hotel concierge at The Sofia recommended it as being a place the locals love and that the food is great and not touristy. The food was excellent. Our native Toronto has a vibrant Greek community and Greek Town so we are used to the food. Plus I have visited Greece many times. The food was excellent, the service was friendly, and all was very good. We will be back!"
    Dined on 12/14/2013
  • "A great place for a comfortable, great tasting, Greek meal!"
    Dined on 12/6/2013
  • "I am greek and it seems like it gets harder and harder to find good greek cuisine nowadays and this place did not disappoint. The spanakopita was good and the tiropita was great, some of the best that i have ever had. They actually have fresh pita that they make themselves which was incredible. The staff was very friendly and attentive. Overall we really enjoyed our dining experience."
    Dined on 11/1/2013
  • "It is a pretty restaurant, great ambiance, with authentic greek food. we live downtown and eat here lots and never had poor service before. we missed mary, the owner who makes every guest feel special. order salmon or roasted chicken--lamb dishes received different reviews from our guests. bread is best in town. hard not to eat too much of it before the entree. bread pudding is a great dessert."
    Dined on 10/18/2013
  • "Athens Market is a go-to for us - always providing great food and personal service!"
    Dined on 9/19/2013
  • "Great greek food in a trendy neighborhood location downtown San Diego. The owner comes by your table to meet and greet which is rare these days. She's delightful and very attentive to your needs."
    Dined on 9/18/2013
  • "Good, Food Good service everything including the waitress was great!"
    Dined on 9/4/2013