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Nearly every culture around the world has some sort of fried dough delight. Oftentimes, several of them. Sometimes they’re sweet, sometimes they’re savory, but one thing we can all find in common is that taking some dough and dropping it into a fryer is delicious. In Greece, the local specialty fried dough is known as loukoumades. These golden balls of heaven can be found in several shops specializing in loukoumades in Athens. No trip to the Greek capital is complete without trying them!

What are loukoumades?

Loukoumades are small round pieces of dough that have been fried until they are golden & crispy on the outside but soft on the inside. The most traditional way to serve loukoumades in Greece is to coat them with honey and some combination of chopped nuts, sesame, and/or cinnamon. However, a new generation of loukoumades shops has expanded to an array of toppings and fillings.

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Although most commonly associated with Greece as loukoumades, the dish is known throughout the eastern Mediterranean. In Egypt, fried lokma has been eaten for at least hundreds of years, with references to it found in 13th-century cookbooks. Lokma can also be found in Turkey, Iraq, and the rest of the Middle East.

While lokma & loukoumades can be served year-round, they have often been served especially during religious commemorations, such as Ramadan, Epiphany, and Hanukkah.

The best loukoumades in Athens

There are several great places in Athens for loukoumades. Two of the most historic spots are Krinos, which has been serving traditional Greek doughnuts since 1923, and Loukoumades Ktistakis, which opened in 1912. Loukoumades Ktistakis serves loukoumades that are smaller dough balls like doughnut holes, while Krinos serves rings that are closer to traditional doughnuts.

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Many Athens food tours include stops for loukoumades. Book an Athens food tour here

For a more modern loukoumades experience with an abundance of different flavor options, head to LUKUMAΔΕΣ (Lukumades). There are several Lukumades locations in Athens, but the most popular and centrally located one is at Eolou 21, & Aghias Irinis Str, Athina 105 51, Greece (website).

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Lukumades is a popular spot, drawing crowds throughout the day. However, the line moves pretty quickly. Given all of the options, I was a bit overwhelmed by all of the potential flavor combinations.

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You can get your Greek doughnuts topped with sauce, filled, or with gelato. Though most options are sweet, they also have savory flavors, including classic Greek cheeses such as feta & mizithra.

The sauce topping options at Lukumades include the classic honey & cinnamon, chocolate, salted caramel, white chocolate, pistachio praline, & more.

Filled loukoumades options include banoffee, apple & cinnamon, lemon cream, bougatsa cream, chocolate, and more.

All options can be combined to your liking (including adding ice cream), or you can go with one of their Lukumades house creations. They even offer seasonal flavors.

On my first visit, I ate the classic honey & cinnamon loukoumades, as well as ones topped with pistachio praline sauce.

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On my second visit, I tried the savory cheese-filled loukoumades with sesame, along with banoffee-filled & salted caramel-topped doughnuts. I enjoyed all of them, so you really can’t go wrong.

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You can either order your loukoumades to go or sit in the restaurant. If there’s space, I recommend sitting at the counter where you can watch the fresh loukoumades being made.

A hand-crank machine helps to create equally-sized bits of dough, which then bubble in hot oil until golden brown.

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The still-warm loukumades are then filled & topped for each order as they come in. Nothing is sitting around having already been prepared.

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Once you’ve enjoyed your fresh donuts & watched other people’s orders being created, you’ll certainly want to return. I know I did.

Here are some great Athens tours & activities & other things to see & do in Athens.

If you’re looking for a place to stay in Athens, check out these hotels. I recommend the Moxy Athens City, InnAthens, and Pan Hotel Athens.

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