I just spent a leisurely hour and half at the National yesterday. I knew that they stayed open between lunch and dinner hours for drinks and appetizers, so two of my girlfriends and I chose to have our little reunion there (I was home for the holidays). The bar area was surprisingly full (a good sign, in my book), and since it would be difficult to chat, we asked if we could have a table in the dining room. The gentleman who had greeted us at the door disappeared for a moment, then returned, said it wasn't a problem, and let us choose where we wanted to sit.
The offerings are *very* limited during the period between lunch and dinner; however, everything was fabulous. We ordered the hummus, a salad, and stuffed dates. (I got the dates, and they were without a doubt the best I've ever had--very simple, stuffed with manchego cheese and a sliver of celery, a sprinkle of smoked paprika, then drizzled with something like balsamic syrup. Wowza!)
I also had their special "Autumn" gin and tonic: Gin, housemade tonic (cinchona bark, rose petals, juniper berries, star anise, rosemary), and orange bitters. It was a surprisingly subtle drink. And good.
My partners were also quite happy with their chardonnay and a Finnish beer. We each had a second round and thoroughly enjoyed just hanging out and talking. The service was attentive and friendly but unobtrusive.
Apart from excellent food and drinks, what makes me love the National is the atmosphere. It is a comfortable, cozy space (without being cramped or dark), and the music is at a level that allows for conversation. Really, it feels like some of my favorite little restaurants in the South of France. If I still lived in Athens, I'd be here all the time.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.