• Athens * 18 - 22 June

    Yi-June 18th (1pm-10pm)


    Yi is a no-frills, vegan-raw based restaurant with respect and love for the 'green' diet and ideology. All of the dishes and products are lactose, sugar, and gluten-free – and extremely delicious. Sweeteners are made out of Yi's own syrups, created from dates, honey, raisins, figs, agave or maple syrup. The creative spirit at Yi joins forces with Mahboubek to create new, guilt-free dishes inspired by Persian cuisine but without being baked, cooked or fried! Mahboubeh describes her counterpart as an ‘artist, alchemist and chef rolled into one.’

    Grigoriou Lampraki 69, Glyfada, Tel : 210.964.8512

    Price: 28 euros


    Seychelles - June, 19th

    The name immediately evokes exotic destinations and the cuisine does transport you far and wide. Rich in color, with an eclectic mix of chairs and murals painted on the walls, the clientele at Seychelles revel in the gourmet food served up by owner-chef Fotis Fotinoglou. The atmosphere here is one of casual conviviality. Seychelles prides itself in sourcing the freshest of ingredients, something that purist Barshank, the young Syrian-Kurdish chef can relate to. The two of them will cook specialities inspired by Barshank’s native culinary traditions.

    Kerameikou 49, Tel : 2111 834789

    Price: 15-20 euros

    Vassilenas - June, 20th, 21st & 22nd

    Vassilenas, a 97-year old third-generation family-run restaurant with a formidable reputation, long a meeting point of visiting statesmen, men of letters, actresses, directors, poets, historians and composers, serves, what is arguably, the best value-for-money meal in Attica. Ingesting traditional Greek standards with a bold, cosmopolitan edge, the dishes here are such a remarkable play on textures and seasonings. Hassan, the young Somalian chef, will enrich Vassilenas’ menu with his version of Somalian cuisine, which is in itself a product of Yemeni, Italian, Indian and Ethiopian influences.

    Vassilenas, Vrassidas 13, Tel : 210 7210501, www.vassilenas.gr

    Price: 30 euros


    7 Food Sins - June, 21st


    A gourmet gastro-pub housed in a beautiful neo-classical building that spills onto the charming Filomousou Etairias square in the Plaka district, the team at 7 Food Sins believe that taste plays a primal role in memories and emotions. The young and talented Chef Vassilis Fotos, satisfies all your guilty street food cravings without compromising on gourmet integrity with clever takes on Greek staples – crunchy moussaka, deconstructed Greek salad and the Souvlaki Inside-Out! He teams up with Abdul Rehman, whose falafels and shawarma had regulars lining up outside his restaurant in Damas, to promise a finger-lickingly good meal.

    Filomousou Etairias1, Plaka. Tel : 210. 701.1108, www.7foodsins.com

    Price: 25 euros (5 dishes)


    IT Restaurant - June, 22nd

    Kolonaki’s stylish IT restaurant started life in 2003 as a humble take-away venture. But it wasn’t long before customers began pestering owner Kallia Kambouridou for an eat-in restaurant where IT’s marvelously imaginative menu, with its strong accent on wholesome, nutritious meals, could be relished on a plate. A casual dining concept” that focuses on high-quality, down-to-earth foods served in an eco-friendly yet modern setting, IT’s young and dynamic chef Elias and Reza Golami, who runs a successful Afghan restaurant in Athens’ Exarchia, get together to create an innovative menu with distinctive Afghani flavours.

    Skoufa 29, Kolonaki, Tel:210.363.5773, www.itrestaurant.gr

    Price: 15-20 euros

  • For 2017 World Refugee Day, restaurants from all over Europe open their kitchens to refugee cooks to change our perception of refugees and to make us discover international flavors. Special menus, degustations...





    JUNE 18th 2017

    Iranian cuisine with Mahboubeh Tavakoli.


    JUNE 19th 2017

    Syrian-Kurdish cuisine with Barshank Haj Younes


    JUNE 20th, 21st and 22nd 2017

    Somalian cuisine with Hassan Hassan.



    JUNE 21ST 2017

    Syrian cuisine with Abdul Al Hallak.


    IT Restaurant

    22ND JUNE 2017

    Afghan cuisine with Reza Golami


  • The chefs

    All Refugee Food Festival's invited chefs are confirmed cooks. They bet on cooking to succeed in their social and professional integration in their host country. The festival offers them a great opportunity to accelerate their professional integration, by putting forward their cooking skills!


    Would you like to get in touch with one of Refugee Food Festival's chefs for a special event?

    Mahboubek Tavakoli

    Mahboubeh has been in Athens for a year and has been cooking for the NGO, Melissa, where the other women refugees have come to demand her elaborate rice pilafs, garnished with dried fruits and nuts and perfumed stews flavored with cinnamon, mint, and pomegranates.


    Her mother, who was blind, passed on Iran’s rich culinary tradition to her from the tender age of 7 and Mahboubeh’s cooking reflects the saffron- and rosewater-scented history of Persian cuisine.


    Today, Mahboubeh’s reputation as a chef in Athens has grown considerably, and she is regularly invited to cook at multi-cultural festivals and events.

    Barshank Haj Younes

    Barshank is a Kurdish Syrian who came to Greece a year ago and during his brief stint here has acquired a huge fan following amongst his other refugee friends.


    Right at the outset it was evident that Barshank was an extremely exigent chef insisting on personally picking his ingredients for a trial cook-out.


    His approach to cooking is as meticulous as it is with his grooming – hair slicked back, beard perfectly trimmed, crease-free clothes. So watching Barshank cook is quite a visual treat too and the presentation is an elaborate work of art.

    Hassan Hassan

    An extrovert, who came to Greece as a minor, Hassan enrolled into a professional chef’s course on a scholarship and has worked in hotels and restaurants since.


    Hassan was too young to have picked elements of his native Somali cuisine as a child, but the flavours remain fresh in his memory. Rich in spices, Somali cuisine is a product of East African, Arab, Turkish, Indian, and Italian influences.


    His linguistic skills are as versatile as his culinary expertise and Hassan is as much at ease rolling sushi or making pizzas in a wood oven as he is navigating between Somali, Arabic, Greek and English with remarkable agility.

    Abdul Al Hallak

    Abdul Rehman proudly shows us a photograph of holding a giant skewer of meat at his restaurant in Damas. A passionate restaurateur, what Abdul Rehman misses most is the banter with the guests, the compliments of regulars, and the epithet proclaiming him as ‘the king of shawarma and falafel’. He exudes energy and optimism and that infectious enthusiasm catches on despite language barriers.


    He currently works at a Lebanese restaurant and cooks voluntarily for 80 of his fellow refugee friends every evening. But where he sees himself in a year is at the helm of his own restaurant.

    Reza Golami

    Reza set up his own restaurant in Athens three years ago and aptly called it Folia, his nest, where he likes to recreate the flavours and memories of his native Afghanistan.


    What started off as a personal quest is now a successful business with Reza recently expanding his restaurant to accommodate 40 guests. For Reza, food is all about conviviality, of stories being shared around the table and the decor at his restaurant reflect the vivid colours and fierce pride that Afghans take in being perfect hosts.


    While his cuisine is quintessentially Afghani, Reza loves to experiment with other culinary traditions and to innovate.


    The Refugee Food Festival was created by citizens who wanted to mobilize the Parisian food scene, restaurants, local authorities, private businesses and various actors. Following the success of the first edition, Food Sweet Food with the support of UNHCR designed a methodology KIT to enable any citizen to organize a Refugee Food Festival in his city.

    Athens Insider's team

    Organizing the festival from A to Z!

    In Athens, the Festival was made possible by the commitment, enthusiasm and energy of Athens Insider team.

  • The local actors who supported the organization of the festival


    A question? Do you want to write an article?

    Work with one of the Refugee Food Festival's chefs?


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