All over Greece you could find unaccountable taverns. Some of them really stand out and they could be the sole reason to visit a place. It is hard to say which of them are the best, because it is impossible to visit them all. Therefore we are going to suggest our favourite taverns all over Greece (outside city centres). Sometimes it is the food, sometimes the place itself, the ambience, the uniqueness of the scenery, the time of the year or all these elements combined.
Mylos (Μήλος) – Leros (Λέρος) : At the edge of Agia Marina’s harbour, in the yard of a traditional house built on the rocks by the sea and a few meters from an old windmill (the trademark of Leros), this family tavern offers you excellent traditional dishes with a modern touch. At night, while eating, you hear the sound of the waves crashing on the rocks and feel like sailing.
Panorama (Πανόραμα) – Amorgos (Αμοργός) : This traditional tavern is hidden in the narrow streets of the wonderful village Tholaria, above Aegiali. Its yard is small and tables are also placed along the nearby alley. Apart from the wonderful traditional cuisine, as soon as the music starts and the old tavern owner begins his singing and storytelling show, you get a glimpse of life through the eyes of Amorgos’ inhabitants.
Katoi (Κατώι) – Tinos (Τήνος) : Smardakito is a less known village at the centre of the island and also one of the most picturesque. Katoi is located in a small central square. The tables along the street and next to the village’s fountain, make the tavern a destination all by itself. Here you could taste authentic traditional cuisine in unique a scenery. One of the best dishes is “froutalia”, a local omelette with sausage and cheese, which you will remember for a long time.
Aktaion (Ακταίον) – Santorini (Σαντορίνη) : Santorini is one of the most famous Greek islands due to its unique beauty. Among the numerous taverns of the island, if you want to taste really good Greek cuisine, look for this place in Firostefani, a traditional blue-and-white house with a few tables inside and a small veranda. You could taste here the best “fava” on the island.
Ta Kimata (Τα Κύματα) – Neos Marmaras (Νέος Μαρμαράς) : The fish taverns of Neos Marmaras are famous all over Chalkidiki. Our favourite is Kimata on the sandy beach next to Neos Marmaras harbour. With the sea literally at your feet, you would taste excellent fresh fish and unforgettable seafood dishes. The grilled octopus served here could be the best you would ever taste.
Myrtaria (Μυρταριά) – Koronisia (Κορωνησία) : Koronisia is the only island of Ambrakian Gulf and it is connected to the mainland with a 10 km road built on the sea. At the end of the road, the tavern Myrtaria (aka Patentas) is considered by many the best fish tavern in Greece. The fresh fishes are caught the same day in the Ambrakian Gulf, well known for the quality and taste of its seafood.
Pita tis Kikitsas (Πίτα της Κικίτσας) – Monodendri (Μονοδένδρι) : Once upon a time a common secret among the visitors of Zagorochoria, now a tavern famous all over Greece. The people come here (at weekends it is hard to find a table) to eat traditional food from Epirus, but most of all to taste the famous alevropita (flourpie). Either in the rustic interior or outside under the big plane trees the experience, the ambience and the food are unforgettable.
Akanthos (Άκανθος) – Kalarites (Καλαρρύτες) : At the centre of one of the most beautiful Greek villages, this small tavern and at the same time grocery store and kafeneio (cafe), is like a scene from a Greek movie of previous decades. You taste here excellent traditional mountain cuisine and you are treated like a member of their family. The goat soup, the boiled wild greens, or the beans are only an example of the simple but perfectly cooked dishes you could taste here.
Galaxy (Γαλαξίας) – Metsovo (Μέτσοβο) : At the centre of Metsovo you come across many fine taverns but Galaxy is our personal favourite. Especially during winter the cosy inside room, the big fireplace and the wide windows overlooking the main square are enough to make your visit memorable. At the same time, you could taste excellent sausages, lamb chops, stew and many more tasty dishes.
Pegasos (Πήγασος) – Lafkos (Λάφκος) : Under the plane trees of this relatively unknown village in Pilio, this tavern is a food feast. Excellent grilled meat (best kontosouvli ever), traditional dishes (like ntolmadakia and pies) and good quality wine are enough to guarantee a perfect meal. In the end, they treat you with a big portion of baklava, which could as well be another reason to come here.
To Steki tou Moria (Το Στέκι του Μωριά) – Chrisovitsi (Χρυσοβίτσι) : Near Tripoli in Chrisovitsi village you come across this scenic tavern. From the outside, it looks like a traditional tavern but it is actually a quite modern restaurant with dishes based on traditional Greek cuisine. All the known ingredients and elements are here but they are used in an innovative way. Dishes like “trachanato” with wild mushrooms and beef burger with mavrodafni sauce are awesome, along with the excellent grilled meat.
Spilia (Σπηλιά) – Argos (‘Αργος) : This place needs no introduction. It is one of the most famous taverns in Peloponnesos and probably in Greece. Excellent quality in all the products and professionalism in every aspect. Their most famous dish is “bogana”, lamb slowly cooked in the oven with fresh butter and potatoes. Don’t be put off by the crowd waiting to be served, because the service is always quick and friendly.
To Stolidi (Το Στολίδι) – Kastanitsa (Καστάνιτσα) : Kastanitsa is one of the most picturesque villages in South Greece and famous for its chestnut trees. At Stolidi, the cozy tavern at the centre of the village, you could taste traditional dishes based on chestnuts (like pork with chestnuts) and also excellent wild boar hunted in the nearby forest. In the end, ask to be treated with “kastanopasta”, a tasty local sweet dessert made also with chestnuts.
To Kanoni (Το Κανόνι) – Monemvasia (Μονεμβασιά) : This is a very good restaurant with tasty and quality Greek cuisine. But what makes this place really exceptional is its setting. A wide veranda with tables covered with red spreads hanging over Monemvasia with a unique view of the sea and the castle. If you come here during sunset you would probably have a dinner to remember for life [photo at the top].
Ta Delfinia (Τα Δελφίνια) – Leonidio (Λεωνίδιο) : At Plaka, the scenic small harbour of Leonidio, this family-run tavern serves excellent food for decades. Fresh local seafood and excellent homemade dishes are the specialties. They make great “gemista” (stuffed tomatoes and peppers) and aubergines (stuffed with minced meat aka papoutsakia), for which the region is renowned. After meal laid back and admire the peaceful ambience of this corner of Greece.
We try hard to come down with a list of only 15 favourite taverns all over Greece for a perfect meal but we believe that any one of the above places will reward you if you visit them.
The search for the next perfect food and travel experience continues …
*[Photos 1,2,4,5 & 6 are from iStock]