You’re in Koukaki, Athens. It’s late. You’re hungry — perhaps a bit buzzed. Cantina Bella opened in April 2018 for and aims to be one of the neighbourhood’s most quality spots for yummy, joyous and creative street food.
It’s right next to my and Marilena’s apartment in Koukaki so we’ve become regulars when there’s nothing in the fridge and we’re just starving — how can we resist when Nektarios and Kyriaki are so friendly? They always ask “are you taking this away or are you staying here with us?”
These guys have really paid attention to only making the menu as varied as necessary but not more, offering just a handful of items. It makes choosing much easier: avocado bruschetta, hot dogs and lahmajoun (haven’t tried those), or my favorite “mushroom lafel” — that’s a falafel wrap with added mushroom inside the falafel balls! They also use handmade Kurdish pita bread, and that makes all the difference.
You can also try a local beer, like a bottle of Noctua IPA (check out the article), or a €5 mojito made on the spot!
The space has a minimal aesthetic with a unique, eclectic decorative style. Their blend of shelves loaded with VHSs of live concerts, walls painted bright pastel colours, a poster of the Soviet movie Battleship Potemkin and rock and roll playing in the background feels very personal and is unlike anything else I’ve seen in Athens.
They’re closed during the day and on Sundays, and I like them even more because of it!