Category: Bars and/or tavernas (page 1 of 4)

Where we could have cooled off during this week’s heat wave

Tolo beach IMG_3496

The beautiful golden sand seafront at Tolo stretches for approximately one kilometer from Psili Ammos beach (seen here) to a harbour barely visible in the center-top area of this photo

 

Extreme temps: We’re never happy after we return home from one of our Greek holidays, as we did three days ago — we always wish we were still in Greece. But this time we’re actually a bit relieved that we’re not there — we simply could not have handled the heat wave currently sweeping across the country.

Sunshine and temperatures hitting the low 30s (Celsius) hindered some of our walking and sightseeing in Nafplio, Monemvasia, Tolo and Hydra on several days of our vacation from May 30 to June 16, but since we left Greece on Thursday temperatures have soared even higher, approaching and even exceeding an absolutely sweltering 40 degrees in many places, particularly on the mainland.

 

 

On Saturday, for instance, the temperature reached 43.4 at Sparta, which we had found hot when it was in the low 30s during the day we spent there. As I write this post today, it’s 37 in Nafplio, where a few 30-degree days forced us to limit our activities during the first week of June. And temperatures are forecast to remain scorching hot for several more days. If we were still in Greece, we would either be hiding inside our air-conditioned hotel rooms, or swimming as much as possible.

Fortunately there were plenty of excellent places to take a dip in the sea at most of the destinations we visited. Click on the link below to turn to page 2 and see photos of the great swimming spots we discovered near Epidaurus, Hydra, Monemvasia, Nafplio and Tolo.

 

Hydronetta swimming spot on Hydra

Bathers cool off in the gorgeous turquoise waters at Hydronetta, a popular coastal swimming spot on Hydra island

 

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Top smoke-free Athens bars and restaurants for non-smokers

Mama Roux Athens

The open-air terrace at Mama Roux is shown in a  photo from the restaurant’s Facebook page. Mama Roux is among 10 top Athens cocktail bars & restaurants that expressly forbid smoking on their premises, according to an article from the Greece Is culture and gastronomy website.

 

Breathe better: From a visitor’s point of view, there are very few negative things I can say about Greece. I love going there, and wouldn’t publish this website if I didn’t. But like any place on Earth, it’s not a perfect paradise and it does have some drawbacks. The biggest, from my personal perspective, is the wide prevalence of smoking — not just by locals, but by tourists, too.

I’m seriously allergic to tobacco smoke — it makes me intensely nauseous, and it hinders my breathing. It also stings my eyes and sticks to my contact lenses, leaving them scratchy and uncomfortable. And it doesn’t matter if I’m inside a building or outdoors — if someone lights up nearby, the impact of their smoke is just as severe.

It seems I have plenty of company: I’ve received messages from other people with smoke allergies, and I’ve spoken to numerous travellers (mainly from the USA and Canada) who have commented on the pervasiveness of smoking even in places where it’s supposed to be illegal. 

Happily, I have found cigarette smoke less of a nuisance in recent years than it was during each of our Greek holidays prior to 2009. That was the year Greece enacted legislation to ban smoking in many public places, and though the law has often been ignored since it took effect, I have encountered far fewer people puffing in places where I can’t easily escape their smoke, such as in shops, restaurants and hotels, or on public transit. I still have occasional problems, but I breathe much easier in Greece now than I did up to 2009.

Nevertheless, a meal in a restaurant or a coffee break in a cafe can be ruined for me if another customer or someone on staff lights up. No matter how far away I sit from a smoker (and I actually have changed tables to avoid some), their smoke will waft in my direction and give me grief. 

 

Since I’ve often wondered if there’s anywhere I could go where I could be guaranteed someone wouldn’t be smoking at the table beside me, I was glad to find an article entitled Athenian Hangouts Without Smoke, which was published at the end of March on the excellent Greece Is culture and gastronomy.

Written by Maria Coveou, the article profiles 10 Athens restaurants and cocktail bars “which are smoke-free in theory and in practice, and where exceptions are never made.”

I haven’t been to any of the establishments yet (though I have walked past one — the legendary Zonars restaurant and lounge), but I have bookmarked the article to keep on hand for my next trip to Athens.

If you’re planning to visit Athens and you’re a non-smoker yourself, click here to read Maria’s article and save it for future reference. 

And if you happen to know of other bars and restaurants in Athens (or anywhere else in Greece) that steadfastly forbid tobacco smoking on their premises, please let me and my non-smoking readers know by adding a comment to this post (simply click on the word “comments” under the headline at the top of this article, and write your response in the “Leave a Reply” box.) Those of us with cigarette smoke allergies will be immensely grateful for the information!

 

Zonars restaurant Athens Greece

One of the city’s most famous restaurants and lounge bars, Zonars is another establishment where non-smokers can enjoy a drink or meal in an environment free of tobacco smoke. This street-view photo of Zonars was shared on Facebook by Aspasia Taka Architects.

Good eats on Andros

Agia Marina Taverna Andros

 Mastrozannes Restaurant at Agia Marina beach — where we enjoyed fabulous views with the two best dinners of our Andros visit

 

Memorable meals: We ate exceptionally well during our first-ever trip to Andros last spring, feasting on delicious Greek cuisine at every restaurant where we dined. At almost all of the establishments, either the settings and ambience, or the views, were as impressive and memorable as the meals. As a lucky bonus, we were treated to excellent food as well as particularly remarkable locations, views and atmosphere at two of the restaurants.

This was the case with our favourite place to eat on Andros —  Mastrozannes Restaurant near Batsi — where we ate dinner two nights in a row on the taverna’s spacious open-air terrace beside Agia Marina beach. On both evenings (one of which was my birthday dinner celebration), our wonderful meals of tantalizing home-cooked Greek cuisine were topped off with complimentary side servings of superb sea and sunset views, shown in the photos below.

view from Agia Marina Taverna Andros

view from Agia Marina Taverna Andros

Above are just two of the splendid scenery and sunset views we enjoyed from our table at Mastrozannes Restaurant

 

 

Another standout eating spot was Drosia mezedopoleio in the leafy mountain village of Menites near Andros Town. There, we lunched on a variety of savory selections, including a local Andros specialty, frutalia, in a truly sublime and unforgettable setting — a sun-dappled terrace encircled by tall trees, lush vegetation and the sound of streams coursing through the gully below.

I Parea in the heart of Andros Town proved to be a good choice for lunch and dinner, while  Archipelagos and O Nonas (both in Chora) and Stamatis taverna in Batsi also served up tasty dinners.

Drosia restaurant terrace in Menites

Shade trees and thick vegetation surround the outdoor dining terrace at Drosia mezedopoleio in Menites village, seen  here in a photo that appears on the restaurant’s Facebook page

 

Please click on the link below to continue reading and see more restaurant photos on page 2 of this post .

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Experience Greece’s glorious off-season sights & scenery with winter walks and drives

Greece on foot walking tour photo 01

A light layer of snow on the ground didn’t deter participants in a Greece on Foot walking tour from enjoying the awe-inspiring mountain and valley scenery in the Arcadia region of the Peloponnese on January 24 …

 

Greece on foot walking tour photo 02

… nor did cold temperatures just two days later, when walkers got to trek through vibrant green olive groves like this one under brilliant sunny skies. (Photos provided courtesy of Greece on Foot tours.)

 

Winter wonders: Take a winter vacation in Greece? Sure! Why not?

The seething  crowds of summer tourists have long since disappeared, as have the scorching temperatures and the startling high prices of peak season. There’s no waiting in long queues for seats on buses or in restaurants, and no jostling with mobs of organized excursion groups or gaggles of selfie-snapping sightseers at monuments and museums. Hiking paths are almost deserted, and roads aren’t clogged with tour coaches. The magnificent historic and natural scenery remains glorious despite the drastic change in seasons, the legendary Greek hospitality continues unabated, and the food is superb as always.

Of course, winter is the wrong time to visit if your primary holiday preferences are swimming and water sports, lounging on beaches, or all-night-long dancing and carousing at bars, clubs and beaches on Mykonos, Ios or any of the other legendary Greek “party islands.” 

But you’ll still find dynamic nightlife in Athens and Thessaloniki, cities which abound in world-class dining, shopping, entertainment and cultural activities all year round. And if you’re a winter sports enthusiast, you can challenge your alpine mountaineering or snow kiting skills on Crete, or go snowboarding and downhill skiing at Kalavrita or one of several other major resorts on the Greek mainland.

Mountaineering in Crete

Two alpine mountaineers ascend the steep snow-covered peak of Mt Dikti on Crete, in this image shared on Facebook in late January by Festivalaki: Cretan festival of Arts & Culture. The organization’s Facebook post said mountaineering in Crete offers “a wonderful experience combining alpine terrain with breathless views of both the Libyan & Aegean sea.”

 

Vouliagmeni beach photo by John de Castelberg

A beach near the Vouliagmeni beach suburb of Athens is seen in this December 29 2015 photo by John de Castelberg.  Most tourists might find the sea too chilly for a winter dip, but the scenic beach- and café-lined coast of the Athenian Riviera is pleasant to visit throughout the off season.

 

 

Main tourist season is April to October

For people like me and my partner, who couldn’t bear either the blistering heat and sun or the heaving hordes of tourists in midsummer, winter could well be one of the best times to visit Greece. So why, then, have we travelled there only in spring or fall?

That’s a question we have been pondering a lot lately. We used to believe it was better to travel during the regular tourist season, which generally starts in late April and winds down by the end of October (particularly on the islands). In fact, most of our Greek holidays have been fairly early in the season, typically sometime between mid-May and early June. But we have gone twice in the autumn — we went island hopping in the Cyclades in late September 2007, and we explored Naxos and Athens during the first half of October 2013.

What we like about our spring trips in particular is the palpable local excitement and anticipation for the new travel season and approaching summer period, an atmosphere we find invigorating and refreshing after our long winter hibernation at home in Canada. Also, the weather is usually perfect for some of our favourite holiday activities — hiking and walking, and dining outdoors (especially near the sea). We weren’t keen to visit Greece during the off-season because we were worried we might not enjoy it as much with colder temperatures, inclement weather and few tourists around. 

Samos flamingo photo by Nikolaos Housas

Winter shouldn’t keep us away from Greece — it didn’t stop this pretty pink flamingo and a dozen of its feathered friends from visiting the Alyki wetland reserve on Samos island for several days at the end of January 2016.  Local photographer Nikolaos Housas captured this splendid image on January 27 and shared it on the Samos Island public group page on Facebook. 

 

Social media show the winter appeal of Greece

But recently we’ve really been warming up to the idea of a winter getaway to Greece.  What changed our minds? In two words: social media.

With their photos on Facebook, Flickr and Twitter (some of which I will share with you on page 2 of this post), friends, acquaintances and dozens of people we don’t even know have shown us that Greece can be just as delightful and charming in winter as it is during spring, summer or fall. In fact, they have demonstrated that it’s a terrific time to see the country’s wonderful sights and scenery either on foot or by driving around, and it can often even be comfortable to eat outdoors, or at least sit outside with a coffee to people watch and enjoy the scenery.  What’s more, colourful Carnival celebrations held each February and March in scores of villages and towns provide traditional festive fun and excitement we wouldn’t find in spring.

Haroula taverna at Marpissa on Paros

We thought we would miss eating outdoors if we took an off-season trip to Greece. But occasional mild weather means outdoor dining can be possible even in winter, as this photo posted by the Parosweb Facebook page attests. Taken on January 21 2016, the picture shows a table laden with delectable dishes of home-cooked Greek cuisine in the courtyard at Haroula’s Taverna in Marpissa village on Paros.

 

A place to escape our usual winter blahs

Of course there can be gloomy days with rain, cold temperatures, gale-force winds and even snowstorms, as I have reported in posts on December 31 2015, January 17 2016, and January 23 2016. But we get unpredictable and occasionally severe weather conditions at home, too. Yet we continue to drag ourselves through our  December and January doldrums, and the brutal February blahs, daydreaming about Greece and counting the days until we can go back.  Why not just battle the blahs by getting a winter fix of Greece instead?  With luck we might encounter pleasantly mild weather conditions, as you’ll see in many of the photos below. At worst, it will feel almost like winter back home — but at least we will be passing the time enjoying the off-season beauty in our favourite travel destination. We’re already looking into the possibility of doing exactly that next December or January.

Please click here or on the link below the following picture to turn to page 2 and see some of the photos that have convinced us we’re long overdue for an off-season trip to Greece. Fingers crossed that we’ll be posting our own winter pictures at this time next year. 

Athens winter night view photo by Wendy Gilops

Athens is a bustling year-round travel destination, as evidenced by the throngs of people strolling past historic monuments in the center of Athens, just below the illuminated Acropolis and Parthenon (upper right). Wendy Gilops captured this scene on December 27 2015. 

 

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Heed the siren’s call for standout seafood & Greek food at Rafina

Seirines restaurant at Rafina

Street view of Seirines (Sirens) restaurant on the harbourfront strip near the port of Rafina. (This photo, from the Seirines Facebook page, was originally posted on TripAdvisor with a 5-star rating by reviewer erythnul.)

 

Tempting tastes: If you find yourself feeling hungry while waiting for a ferry at Rafina port, or after arriving there on one, I recommend making your way directly to Seirines restaurant for a meal. You won’t be disappointed, especially if you enjoy fresh seafood.

Friends took us there for lunch last May when we had several hours to pass before catching a late afternoon ferry to Andros. They had assured us that Seirines would be a great spot to enjoy the first meal of our holiday after arriving in Greece on a long overnight flight from Canada, and they were absolutely right — it was perfect. With a harbour-view table on the taverna’s open-air terrace, and a nice variety of delicious seafood and Greek dishes, we could not have asked for a better “welcome back” to Greece.

The tremendously satisfying lunch and waterfront setting got our vacation off to a great start, and in retrospect may have been an omen of good food to follow  — over the next 16 days, we enjoyed the best dining of all our trips to Greece since 2004.

 

Our selection of dishes included feta, white fish roe dip (a richer and much less salty version of the pinkish-coloured taramasalata typically found on taverna menus), calamari, toasted bread, grilled calamari, grilled sardines, vegetable croquettes, and ouzo (for those of you who love ouzo or tsipouro, take note that Seirines is an ouzotsipouradiko, offering an extensive selection of the two spirits).

The dishes provided more than enough food for the four of us, and we barely managed to clear all the plates. Everything was good, but for me the fish roe dip and sardines were exceptional.  Although our friends picked up the tab and wouldn’t let me see the bill, they said the price for our lunch had been very reasonable. We will definitely go back to Seirines if any of our future travels take us through Rafina.

Seirines restaurant rAFINA

Seirines photo of platters with a selection of seafood and Greek food delights

 

But you don’t have to take only my word that Seirines is an ideal choice for dining near the port.  Check out the rave review that the New York City-based food blog Fritos and Foie Gras gave the restaurant in its photo-illustrated post, The Fish Lunch of My Dreams at Seirines, Rafina. (With its comments like “it’s impossible not to love this restaurant,” and “I would come back here in a heartbeat if I could,” you’ll see I have good company in highly recommending the restaurant. Be sure to click on the photos in the review to get a better look at the scrumptious dishes the writer enjoyed, including tzatziki, a country salad, a smoked and cured fish plate, and souvlaki-style shrimp.)

If you need more convincing, read the Seirines review in the article CB on the road: Eating in Rafina, which the international city dining blog Culinary Backstreets published less than two weeks before we discovered the restaurant.

You can read additional reviews on TripAdvisor, where Seirines is ranked as the #1 restaurant in Rafina.

Google Street View image of Seirines restaurant at Rafina Greece

This Google Street View image shows the close proximity of Seirines (left) to the Rafina ferry docks

Where to hit the beach at Batsi

Batsi beach on Andros

The main beach at Batsi village on Andros is a long ribbon of golden sand that rings the northern shore of Batsi bay. I took this photo at the southeast tip of Batsi beach, near the town’s waterfront strip and harbour …

 

Batsi beach on Andros

… and shot this picture from a hill at the opposite end of the beach.  It takes just under 10 minutes to walk the full length of the sand.

 

Five strands: Travelling to Andros this summer? Batsi village is an ideal base for swimmers or sun worshippers who want to stay within walking distance of several beaches and still have a good variety of places to eat and drink.

The biggest, best and most convenient beach is right at Batsi — a long arc of golden sand that hugs the north shore of Batsi bay. Bars and restaurants are situated only steps away across the beachside road, while it’s just a short stroll from Batsi beach to the town’s main commercial area, which offers many more drinking and dining opportunities.

Four more beaches are within reasonable walking distance of the village, making Batsi a perfect location for beach loving visitors who won’t have a rental vehicle during their stay (which was the case for us during our visit in late May).

Kolona beach on Andros

Kolona beach is on a small bay directly opposite the village

 

Kolona beach is located directly across the bay from Batsi harbour (you can see the golden sand crescent from the town’s waterfront), and is about a 15-minute walk from the northwest end of Batsi beach. It’s a scenic walk the entire way, since the route provides extensive views of the entire village and bay area, as well as surrounding mountains and the coast beyond Batsi.

Heading south from Batsi, a 10-minute walk will bring you to Stivari, a strip of rental studios and apartments on a hillside overlooking a small bay. Stivari beach is a small pebble, stone and sand cove that’s more suitable for sunbathing than swimming, but it does offer impressive sea and sunset views, and it’s conveniently straight across the road from O Viomichanos / Stivari Gardens restaurant, where drinks and good food are served on a large tree-shaded terrace.

Stivari beach on Andros

Stivari is a small sliver of pebbles and sand a short walk south of Batsi 

 

From Stivari, a 5-minute walk up and over the adjacent headland takes you to the Aneroussa Beach Hotel, where a stone staircase near the hotel’s driveway entrance leads down the hill to Delavoyia beach. There actually are three small sandy coves here, separated by narrow outcroppings of smooth rock, and the hotel operates a cafe-bar on the biggest of the beaches.

Agia Marina beach is a further 5-minute walk past the Aneroussa. It’s a narrow band of brown sand with trees at the north end near the entrance to the excellent Agia Marina Taverna. The restaurant’s terrace overlooks the beach and is a great spot to sip a cold beer or dine on delicious home-cooked food while savouring the superb sea and sunset views.  (We had two outstanding meals of Greek cuisine here.)

 

Delavoyia beach and Agia Marina beach

Delavoyia (foreground) and Agia Marina (center right) are about a 20-minute walk from Batsi along a road above the scenic coast

 

This is a short video I shot showing afternoon, evening and sunset views of Delavoyia beach

 

There are even more beach-hopping options for travellers with their own transport — several excellent strands are located a short drive away, along the highway linking Batsi to the port town of Gavrio. I will be publishing photos of those beaches in a separate future post.

Click on the link below to see additional photos of all five beaches on page 2 of this post.

 

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Mykonos set for 2015 season with over 100 new places to eat, drink, shop, sleep and party

Cayenne Mykonos restaurant logo

Located at Tourlos, just a short walk from the New Port, Cayenne is among dozens of brand-new businesses on Mykonos this year. 

 

[Updated October 30 2015]

 “Crisis? What crisis?” That’s a question many regular visitors to Mykonos will probably ask when they see the more than 100 new and completely-renovated businesses that have opened on the island this year.

While Greece shudders through its sixth straight year of devastating economic turbulence,  Mykonos appears to be in a different world altogether, virtually unscathed from the recession that has ravaged the rest of the country.

Last year, the island enjoyed a record year for tourism — receiving more than 2 million visitors — and some longtime local residents told me they could not recall ever seeing the island as crowded and busy as it was during July and August. Hotels were filled to capacity, flotillas of luxury yachts were common sights at many beaches, and champagne flowed by the caseload at bars and restaurants across the island. As I reported in a July 16 2014 post, hotel rates reached higher levels, too, with the international online travel firm Trivago noting that prices had soared as much as 61% over the previous year.

 

 

International brands flocking to Mykonos

In anticipation that even more tourists with thick wallets will arrive in 2015, local and international companies have been pouring millions of Euros into the construction of new hotels, shops, bars, clubs and restaurants, as well as the renovation or upgrading of existing properties. Indeed, since late last autumn, Mykonos has been experiencing an unprecedented building boom as small armies of contractors swarmed around the island in a rush to finish dozens of projects. Global business brands flocked to the island in droves, scooping up any available real estate for their new Mykonos outlets.

With many of the new enterprises aimed at affluent travellers, Mykonos mayor Konstantinos Koukas has told local media he’s confident that the island is now well-poised to compete for a bigger share of the the world’s luxury travel market, and will successfully lure big spenders who usually flock to other Mediterranean hotspots like St Tropez, Monaco and Ibiza.

To see what’s new on Mykonos this year, please click on the convenient quick links below:

Click here for page 2 to read about new and newly-renovated restaurants in Mykonos Town,  Tourlos, and the Ano Mera area.

Click here for page 3, which describes  new and renovated beach restaurants, as well as the island’s two big new beach clubs, Monarch and Scorpios.

Click here for page 4, which highlights new and renovated nightlife venues in Mykonos Town, including bars, nightclubs, and shisha lounges; and

Click here for page 5, which introduces you to the island’s new spas, retail shopping establishments, and hotels.

 

Food Mall Mykonos image from the restaurants' Facebook page

More than two dozen new restaurants opened on Mykonos for 2015, and five of them can be found under one roof at the Food Mall Mykonos on the highway between Mykonos Town and Ano Mera.

 

Aerial view of Scorpios Mykonos

Widely recognized as the hippest new beach club on Mykonos for 2015, the Scorpios Beach Restaurant and Bar became one of the most popular places on the island within weeks of its opening in an “idyllic haven” on a peninsula between Paraga and Platis Gialos. 

 

Monarch Restaurant & Beach Club at Kalo Livadi Mykonos photo from its website

Another new beach club and restaurant is Monarch at Kalo Livadi, which boasts cuisine designed by a Michelin-starred chef, comfy beachfront lounge chairs, and occasional special events and big parties. 

 

Buddha-Bar Beach restaurant and bar at Santa Marina Resort Mykonos photo from the resort Facebook page

The world’s first Buddha-Bar Beach restaurant, bar and beach club opened on May 20 at the Santa Marina Resort at Ornos. 

 

Ling Ling Mykonos entrance

One of the most eagerly awaited new arrivals on Mykonos was Ling Ling, a Hakkasan-branded Cantonese fine dining restaurant and  uber-chic nightspot.  It opened in July in the premises that had been occupied for decades by the famous Philippi Garden Restaurant, which closed a few years ago after its owner died. 

 

Bonbonniere Mykonos nightclub

June 27 saw the launch of yet another new nightclub when Bonbonniere Mykonos threw its opening party in the ODE Mykonos club in the Tria Pigadia area of Mykonos Town. It’s a summer “pop up” version of the world-famous Bonbonniere club in London whose owner, Joe Fournier (wearing the white polo shirt) is pictured after signing a contract to bring Bonbonniere to the ODE space for the season.

 

Caprice Bar Mykonos photo from inmykonos dot com website

Mykonos residents and visitors weren’t just buzzing about new business openings this spring — people were also chatting about the abrupt closure of the enormously popular Caprice Bar (pictured above) and its surprise reopening a few weeks later as Caprice, a restaurant-bar located just a few doors down from its old place at Little Venice. 

 

Mykonos No 5 Villas luxury apartments photo from the hotel website

Mykonos No.5 Villas is one of the island’s newest hotels, offering a selection of seaview apartment residences, lofts and maisonettes in the Kanalia district 3.5 kilometers from Mykonos Town.

 

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Sunset’s glow at Roditses beach on Samos

Roditses beach on Samos

The setting sun casts a warm golden glow on Roditses beach (foreground) and nearby Vathy, the capital and main commercial center on Samos island 

 

Roditses beach and Tasos Taverna

Roditses beach is about a 15-minute walk from Vathy, in a predominantly residential area with apartment buildings, elegant holiday homes, rental studio accommodations and a few hotels. It’s also the location of Tasos Taverna, whose open-air dining terrace is visible at upper left.

 

Roditses beach

Roditses is a rather unremarkable small beach, with a surface comprised mainly of stones and pebbles.  There are scores of beautiful and more scenic beaches on Samos, but Rodises is quick to reach on foot from Vathy,  and it’s suitable for some quiet time or sunbathing.

 

 Roditses beach

Two big apartment buildings on the hill behind Roditses beach

 

Roditses beach

Looking toward the Tasos Taverna seaview dining terrace, from the rocky southeast end of Roditses beach.  Tasos is the #1-ranked restaurant for Vathy on TripAdvisor.com, where reviewers praised the reasonably-priced Greek cuisine and the taverna’s views of Vathy Bay and the sunset.

 

sunset over Vathy Bay Samos

Although Roditses beach is far from spectacular, that’s not the case for the views from Tasos Taverna, where diners can watch as the sun sets in the distance beyond Vathy Bay

 

Mykonos 2014 restaurant update (Part 3)

Pasaji restaurant at Ornos beach Mykonos

One of the newest restaurants on Mykonos this summer is Pasají, which opened in July at Ornos beach.  It features Mediterranean fusion cuisine and sushi, and boasts a chic beach bar and beachside swimming pool.

 

 More choices: Mykonos is probably best known for its nightlife and beaches, but with well over 300 restaurants and bars catering to all tastes and budgets, it’s also one of the most interesting and exciting destinations for dining and drinking in all of the Greek Islands.

Choosing from such an extensive variety of restaurants is no easy task, especially since dozens are critically acclaimed and come highly recommended by websites and print publications geared to foodies and travellers.

Deciding where to go for a meal or cocktail became even more difficult this year when more than 20 newcomers arrived to spice up the island’s restaurant scene with additional flavours, tastes and unique dining environments.

I have already written two reports profiling some of the new arrivals for 2014: Remezzo club gets restyled into restaurant & bar as new places to eat, stay & play open on Mykonos, published on April 13, and Mykonos 2014 restaurant & club update (Part 2), posted on May 5.

In this third instalment, I’ll introduce you to 12 more new establishments that are waiting to whet your appetite when you visit Mykonos. Some of the restaurants opened as recently as July, while others launched at the end of last autumn. But this is the first summer all have been operating, and the feedback about food and service has been extremely favourable for most.

Not surprisingly, Greek and Mediterranean cuisine (including seafood) figure prominently on the menu selections at most of the new eateries. But in line with recent trends, several restaurants focus on sushi, while three specialize in either Thai, Indian or Italian dishes. Two are the Greek equivalent of “fast food” joints — grill houses that serve cheaply-priced gyros and souvlaki.

More than half of the new dining spots are located in Mykonos Town, while the rest are at beach resort areas including Agia Anna/Paraga, Ornos and Paradise.

Follow the link below to page 2, where you’ll find photos and information about the new restaurants.

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Chrisospilia taverna’s colourful dining terrace on Folegandros

Chrisospilia restaurant

A chalkboard menu lists dinner specials at Chrisospilia restaurant

 

Missed opportunity: The colourful open-air dining terrace at Chrisospilia restaurant caught our attention while we were walking around Chora village shortly after arriving at Folegandros island several years ago.  It was late afternoon and the restaurant wasn’t open at the time, but the chalkboard menu indicated that the evening dinner specials would include a variety of chicken, pork, lamb, pasta and risotto dishes, along with grilled shrimp and grilled octopus.

We meant to return for a meal, but Chrisospilia somehow slipped our minds while we were busy exploring the island, and we never made it there (surprisingly, we didn’t get back down the street where it’s located, even though we thought we had walked every lane in Chora at least twice.) 

It wasn’t until we were reviewing our trip photos back home, and saw several pics of Chrisospilia, that we realized we had forgotten to drop by for dinner. We had delicious meals at other restaurants, but their dining areas weren’t as attractive as Chrisospilia’s. We’ll try to check it out if we ever return to Folegandros. It has received a series of excellent reviews this year on TripAdvisor.com, which currently ranks Chrisospilia as the #11 restaurant out of 44 on the island.

 Chrisospilia restaurant

Scarlet and pink bougainvillea provide a colourful canopy for the open-air dining terrace at Chrisospilia restaurant

 Chrisospilia restaurant

Side view of the Chrisospilia restaurant terrace

 

Mykonos 2014 restaurant & club update (Part 2)

Funky Kitchen Mykonos

The bar at Funky Kitchen Mykonos, a new restaurant that opened recently in the Lakka district of Mykonos Town. The photo is one of several posted recently on Funky Kitchen’s Facebook page.

 

More openings: Several weeks back I posted photos and information about brand-new tourist-related businesses opening on Mykonos for the summer of 2014 (see my April 13 2014 report headlined: Remezzo club gets restyled into restaurant & bar as new places to eat, stay & play open on Mykonos).

Friends on Mykonos tell me the arrival of the new accommodation, bar and dining venues has heightened the positive energy and enthusiastic buzz that has been steadily building this spring as travel bookings indicate the island could see a whopping 40% increase in visitor numbers this year.

That excitement will continue to increase this week, and throughout May, as more of the island’s already-established restaurants and bars launch their season with opening parties and special events.

Here’s some information to update my previous report from last month:

 

 

Newcomers to Lakka Square

Located near the busy Fabrika bus depot, the area around Lakka Square in Mykonos Town has long been one of the island’s top destinations for drinking and dining. It’s home to a variety of hugely popular restaurants and tavernas, including Bakalo, Marco Polo Taverna, Mediterraneo, and Sale e Pepe, and is where the cavernous Space Mykonos nightclub was located.

This year has brought three noteworthy changes to Lakka’s vibrant restaurant and bar scene.

Space is gone, and a new venue — Dream City (DC) — has taken its place. DC kicked off the season on April 19 with a grand opening party featuring Melisses and Knockout, and threw another bash the next day with Claydee and Bang La Decks. During May, Dream City will be open only on Fridays and Saturdays, but after that will be party central every day for the rest of the summer.

 

Dream City Mykonos

This image was posted on Facebook to promote last month’s opening party for Dream City Mykonos, a new club in the old Space Mykonos space

 

 

Just around the corner from DC, Funky Kitchen has opened its doors and begun welcoming customers. The restaurant subscribes to the “slow food” philosophy in preparing its Mediterranean dishes from high-quality, locally-sourced products. Everything the restaurant serves is made in-house, from its bread and dips to its marmelade and sauces as well as its sweets, chocolate chili and cardamom ice cream. Funky Kitchen also boasts an extensive wine list and cocktail menu.

Funky Kitchen is situated at 40 Ignatiou Basoula street, next door to Marco Polo Taverna.

 

Funky Kitchen Mykonos

Street view of the new Funky Kitchen restaurant, which features Mediterranean cuisine prepared in line with the “slow food” approach to cooking

 

 

The third newcomer to Lakka Square is Noodle Mykonos, an Asian “fusion” restaurant with a noodle and sushi bar.

Noodle offers “quick, fresh and healthy” cuisine for on-site dining, take-out and delivery.

 

Noodle Mykonos

This map, from the Noodle Mykonos Facebook page, shows the restaurant’s prime location two blocks from the Fabrika bus depot

 

 

Noodle Mykonos

This photo of guests gathered outside Noodle Mykonos during the restaurant’s recent opening party was posted on Facebook.

 

 

Noodle Mykonos

Also from the Noodle Mykonos Facebook page, a snapshot of the menu

 

 

 Skandi Bar ready to rock

The Skandinavian Bar and Disco has been a veritable institution on Mykonos since 1978, ranking as one of the top places to party in the Greek islands every year since then. Its opening night event for 2014 takes place tonight (May 5), and the place will continue rocking all summer long.

 

Skandinavian Bar Mykonos

Opening party promotional image from the Skandinavian Bar Facebook page

 

 

Skandinavian Bar Mykonos

Skandinavian Bar posted this enthusiastic group photo on its Facebook page to promote the club’s opening party on Monday May 5

 

 

Kastro Bar launches new season

Also opening today is another popular bar that has developed a legion of fans and regular visitors from around the world since it opened in 1976 — Kastro Bar. It’s located steps from the famous Paraportiani Church and boasts great sea and sunset views.

 

Kastro Bar Mykonos

This photo of the Kastro Bar interior was posted on the Mykonos Facebook page today to announce today’s official opening.

 

 

 A Nice n Easy start at Kalo Livadi

 The Nice n Easy Bio restaurant cafe expanded from Athens to Mykonos last summer, and the island outpost became an instant hit. Nice n Easy Mykonos vaulted to the #37 ranking for Mykonos restaurants on TripAdvisor.com, supplanting Solymar as the trendiest eatery at Kalo Livadi beach. (Solymar had to settle for the #176 ranking on TripAdvisor’s Mykonos restaurant chart).

Will Nice n Easy duplicate its success in 2014? We may soon find out — it will be opening its doors on May 16.

 

Nice n Easy Mykonos

This photo was posted on the Nice n Easy Mykonos Facebook page to announce the restaurant’s official opening on May 16

 

 

Top beach eateries now open

Kalosta Restaurant quickly became one of the most popular new places to dine on Mykonos last year, vaulting into a high position on the TripAdvisor.com traveller reviews (where it is currently is rated as the #12 restaurant on the island.) It opened for a fresh season on May 7.

It joins several perennially-popular dining spots that have already opened for business at other beach areas, including Kiki’s Taverna at Agios Sostis, Aneplora at Kalafatis, Solymar at Kalo Livadi, Tasos at Paraga, Nammos at Psarou, Kostantis at Ornos and Hippie Fish at Agios Ioannis. Launching its season soon will be Fokos Taverna at Fokos beach, which has set its opening for May 15.

 

Kalosta restaurant Mykonos

This photo, from the Kalosta Restaurant Facebook page, shows part of the view of Panormos beach that restaurant guests will enjoy from the open-air dining terrace

 

 

Kostantis restaurant Mykonos

Kostantis restaurant is situated near the middle of Ornos beach. This photo of the beachside dining terrace appears on the Kostantis Restaurant Facebook page.

 

 

Mykonos Town hot spots

Fans of superb Italian food and fine wine will be happy to hear that Sale e Pepe is open for another season. The restaurant is located at Lakka Square and has won numerous accolades for its food and wine. It has been well-known for its wine list which is arguably the best on the island, and which has won acclaim from Wine Spectator magazine as one of the best restaurant wine lists in the world.

Lovers of authentic Neapolitan pizza will be delighted that Marechiaro is now open again, too.  Besides pizza, Marechiaro offers salads and appetizers as well as fish specials and rib eye steaks.  Pizza can be ordered for pick-up and take-away each day from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Last but not least, the world-famous Nobu Matsuhisa Mykonos started its second decade of business on May 9. Situated in the chic Belvedere Hotel, the restaurant celebrated its 10th anniversary last year.

 

Sale & Pepe Mykonos

From the Sale & Pepe Facebook page, a photo of the restaurant’s open-air dining terrace near Lakka Square in Mykonos Town

 

 

New disco & lounge at Taxi Square

Boogie nights return to Taxi Square on May 16 when the new lounge & discotheque @54 Club opens in the premises formerly occupied by the Ramrod Club gay bar.

The island’s newest nightclub is promising “Exclusive weekly parties full of the sexiest & most glamorous jet setting crowd and pumpin’ jamz to boot!”

The grand opening celebration starts at 7 pm.

 

@54 Club Mykonos

Bartender Tassos stands outside @54 Club, a new disco & lounge opening on the premises once occupied by the Ramrod Club gay bar. The club, located next to Taxi Square in Mykonos Town, starts its boogie nights with a grand opening party on May 16. The photo is from @54 Club’s Facebook page.

 

 

Greek dancing & music at Roca Cookery

Roca Cookery isn’t a new restaurant (it has been in business for nearly three years now), but I noticed they have added something new that will probably be as huge a hit with tourists as their excellent seafood dishes and Greek cuisine.

One evening each week, Roca Cookery will host a Greek dancing show with live music. The spectacles will take place on Tuesdays at 21:30 (9:30 p.m.).

For reservation inquiries, contact the restaurant by telephone at 30 2289 022955 or drop by in person. Roca Cookery is situated next to the Mykonos Archaeological Museum on the road above the Mykonos Old Port.

 

Roca Cookery Mykonos

A promotional image for the new Greek dancing and live music shows being held every Tuesday night at Roca Cookery.

 

Remezzo club gets restyled into restaurant & bar as new places to eat, stay & play open on Mykonos

Anna's Place Mykonos

The new Anna’s Place Restaurant & Bar overlooks Paradise beach from its hillside location next to the Cavo Paradiso nightclub complex. This photo of the restaurant’s beach view appears on the Anna’s Place Facebook page.

 

 

New this season: It has been a busy week on Mykonos, and next week will be even busier, as dozens of hotels, restaurants and shops open their doors for Easter celebrations and officially launch their 2014 tourist season.

Several new businesses — restaurants and bars plus Bohème Mykonos, a luxury boutique hotel — are opening for the first time, adding more variety to the island’s diverse and exciting mix of accommodation, drinking, dining and entertainment venues.

New restaurants have already opened at two of the most popular beach resort areas on Mykonos: Anna’s Place Restaurant & Bar at Paradise beach, and Apagio seafood and Aegean cuisine at Ornos. Two more dining spots opening soon in Mykonos Town are the noodle and sushi joint Noodle Mykonos, and the chic new restaurant and cocktail lounge Remezzo Mykonos. And a newcomer to the island’s notoriously intense nightlife scene will be the gay-friendly Sofi’a Thalami Bar.

 

Anna's Place Mykonos

The colourful logo for Anna’s Place at Paradise beach

 

 

Legendary nightclub revived as chic restaurant

If the name Remezzo rings a bell, that’s because it’s the latest incarnation of the legendary nightclub that opened in 1967. Located on the Mykonos Town harbourfront, Remezzo catered to the jet-set party crowd and for decades enjoyed a worldwide reputation as one of the island’s leading dance clubs.

This year, Remezzo is being transformed into what its Facebook page describes as “an exceptional restaurant with sophisticated Mediterranean cuisine and an impressively eclectic international wine list.” It will occupy the “same idyllic setting” near the Old Port as the original bar — upper levels of the big white building near the red-domed church and the neoclassical Mykonos Archaeological Museum, two familiar landmarks near the Mykonos Old Port. (Salparo Seafood and Kavos Cafe occupy the building’s ground level, beside the pedestrian path that leads from the Old Port to little Agia Anna beach in front of the Leto Hotel.)

Remezzo will open for the season on May 1.

 

Remezzo Mykonos

This promotional image, from the Remezzo Mykonos Facebook page, shows the new restaurant’s outdoor cocktail and dining terrace.

 

An outdoor harbour-view terrace at the old Remezzo Mykonos nightclub, which is being relaunched as a restaurant in 2014

The Remezzo Mykonos outdoor terrace has superb views of the Old Port, harbour and Mykonos Town waterfront, part of which are visible in this pic of the veranda that I shot three years ago.

 

 

Remezzo Mykonos

Looking toward the big white Remezzo building (center) from little Agia Anna beach at the Mykonos Town harbour.

 

 

Seaside seafood and ouzo at Ornos

After eight years, the man who created the popular Ithaki restaurant at Ornos beach has moved on to launch a new venture in premises a short walk away. Sikiniotis Lefteris has opened Apagio Authentic Aegean Cuisine on the east side of Ornos Bay near the Santa Marina Resort & Villas, only a couple of minutes’ walking distance from Ornos beach. (The name is spelled Apagio in some places, and Apaggio in others, but they’re one and the same place.)

The restaurant specializes in fish and seafood, but its menu includes appetizers, salads and some meat and pasta dishes. The Apagio bar serves beer and wine and boasts an impressive selection of more than 40 different raki and ouzo to accompany the delicious appetizers. The restaurant’s indoor dining area faces Ornos Bay, with a wall of glass panels that staff can slide open on beautiful days. Apagio also has a row of outdoor tables right next the seaside, offering unrivaled views of the beach and bay.

 

Apagio Mykonos restaurant

Apagio restaurant has a row of seaside tables offering views of Ornos beach and the entire Ornos bay area. The restaurant is located near the entrance to the five-star Santa Marina Resort & Villas. This photo was posted on the Apagio Facebook page by Petro Kalaris.

 

 

Apagio Mykonos

This photo shows the indoor and seaside dining areas of Apagio restaurant at Ornos. The photo is from the Apagio Facebook page.

 

 

Apagio Mykonos

Logos for the new Apagio fish and seafood restaurant at Ornos. The restaurant’s bar is stocked with an extensive selection of ouzo and raki.

 

 

 Asian & Med cuisine in the Italian district

The neighbourhood around Mykonos Town’s Lakka Square is a bustling zone of shops, restaurants and bars close to Fabrica Square (location of the depot for buses servicing Ornos, Agios Ioannis, Psarou, Platis Gialos, Paraga and Paradise beaches). I have often heard people refer to Lakka as “the Italian district” because it’s home to several popular Italian restaurants, including Mediterraneo and Sale e Pepe. A new eatery, Noodle, will add some Asian spice and flavour to the area.

An “Asian fusion” restaurant featuring a noodle and sushi bar and takeout service, Noodle is promising “quick, fresh & healthy” meals. There’s no word yet on the precise date it will be commencing operations — the Noodle Mykonos Facebook page still has an “Opening Soon” banner. [Editor’s update: Noodle will open on April 24.]

Also opening in the Lakka area is Funky Kitchen Mykonos, whose menu will offer Mediterranean cuisine. The restaurant is situated at 40 Ignatiou Basoula, next to Marco Polo Taverna. No photos or further details are available yet.

 

Noodle Mykonos

Noodle Mykonos will bring “quick, fresh & healthy” Asian fusion cuisine to the Lakka restaurant and bar district of Mykonos Town

 

 

Noodle Mykonos

An image of the restaurant logo, from the Noodle Mykonos Facebook page

 

 

 Anna’s piece of Paradise

Paradise beach is known around the world as the premier “party beach” on Mykonos, and for good reason — it has a strip of bars hosting wild and crazy daytime beach parties, plus it’s home to the island’s two biggest special entertainment venues, Paradise Club and Cavo Paradiso, where top international DJs spin for events that last from midnight to dawn.

This summer, the Paradise party crowd will have a new spot to drink and dine — Anna’s Place Restaurant & Bar has opened in sea- and beachview premises adjacent to Cavo Paradiso. Anna’s menu includes Greek cuisine as well as seafood, pasta and meat dishes. The restaurant has a sheltered dining room and bar terrace that overlooks Paradise beach and bay.

 

Anna's Place Mykonos

From the Anna’s Place Facebook page, a photo of the exterior of the new restaurant and bar at Paradise beach

 

 

Anna's Place Mykonos

Also from the Anna’s Place Facebook page, this photo shows part of the restaurant’s colourful interior dining space

 

 

New nightclubs in Tria Pigadia & former Space disco

Details are scant, but a new nightclub named ODE has opened in the Tria Pigadia (Three Wells) area of Mykonos Town, in the former Aigli bar premises across the street from Astra nightclub.

The club posted two photos on the ODE Facebook page, which was created April 15 to announce the bar’s April 16 premiere, but has not yet added further information.

Musician Alexandros Christopoulos will be one of his exclusive Esthete concept parties in the club on April 19.

That’s the same night that Dream City Mykonos will make its grand debut in the Lakka-area location formerly home to Space disco.  The new Mykonos club will be a sister to the Dream City restaurant and nightclub at 30 Iera Odos in Athens.

 

ODE Nightclub Mykonos

From the ODE Mykonos Facebook page, a view of the nightclub’s outdoor patio

 

 

 Sophie’s choice for a new gay venue

Sophie, a French “icon” well-known to many of the thousands of gay travellers who visit Mykonos each summer, is opening a new club called Sofi’a in the space formerly occupied by Thalami Bar (the lower back level of the Mykonos municipal building, right next to busy Niko’s Taverna).

Thalami had been around for decades, and was perenially popular for its live Greek music and friendly, social atmosphere.  No word yet on when Sofi’a will be opening — there’s no website or Facebook page for it yet, but it’s getting plenty of buzz on social media as people continue to share photos of the bar’s logo (below). [Editor’s update: Sofi’a Bar held an opening party on April 17.]

There is also talk that the Ramrod Club at Taxi Square will be reopening this season, offering gay and gay-friendly visitors another venue to meet and mingle.

 

Sofi'a Thalami Bar Mykonos

A photo of the sign for the new Sofi’a Thalami Bar in Mykonos Town

 

 

Mystery hotel opening in May

There are nearly two dozen 5-star hotels on Mykonos, but the vast majority are situated at beach resort areas like Agios Ioannis, Elia, Ornos and Psarou. Only four are either right in Mykonos Town or within a reasonable walking distance of the town center — the Theoxenia, Kouros, Cavo Tagoo and Tharroe. The Theoxenia is the most centrally-located of the bunch, sitting right behind the famous row of windmills at Little Venice. Kouros and Cavo Tagoo are a 10-minute walk away in the seaview Tagoo neighbourhood on the north side of the Old Port, while Tharroe is a slightly longer walk on the south side of town, high above Megali Ammos beach.

The newest member of the Mykonos 5-star club is Bohème Mykonos, which is also on a hill above Megali Ammos but much closer to town than Tharroe. Scheduled to open on May 15, Bohème will boast 20 luxurious suites with contemporary Bohemian decor in a sparkling white building of traditional Cycladic architecture. Bohème is one of 11 Mykonos hotels belonging to Small Luxury Hotels of the World.

 

Boheme Mykonos

This image of a model striking a sultry pose in a seaview swimming pool at sunset appears on the website and Facebook page for the new Bohème Mykonos boutique hotel in Mykonos Town

 

 

New 5-star accommodations on site of former budget hotel

Regular Mykonos visitors will be familiar with Bohème’s location — it’s the site formerly occupied by the 2-star Carrop Tree Hotel and Merolayia restaurant.

I’ve been curious to see how Bohème looks, and especially to learn how its creators transformed the old budget-friendly Carrop Tree building into high-end boutique accommodations. Unfortunately, no-one from Bohème, or from its sister hotel, Porto Mykonos, responded to requests for information that I emailed to their website contact addresses and Facebook pages. But perhaps they’re keeping those details under wraps as part of the new hotel’s online promotional campaign, built around the theme “Let’s get lost in the Bohème mystery.”

Indeed, while the Bohème website and the Bohème Mykonos Facebook page both feature impressive photos that photographer Christos Drazos shot of several different suite interiors, there are no images of the hotel’s exterior or main facilities (possibly because they could well have been under renovation at the time the website was constructed).  So until guests and passersby begin posting photos online, Bohème’s external appearance will remain secret.

 

Boheme Mykonos

This photo, from the Bohème Mykonos Facebook page, shows the interior of a superior sea view suite

 

 

Boheme Mykonos

From the Bohème Facebook page, another photo of a suite interior

 

 

Carrop Tree Hotel

The budget-priced Carrop Tree Hotel formerly occupied the property where the new 5-star Bohème Mykonos hotel will open on May 15. I shot this photo of the Carrop Tree in May 2012, and am very curious to see how the building has been transformed into its new incarnation as luxury accommodations.

 

 

Popular places opening in April

Popular restaurants in Mykonos Town that celebrated the start of the 2014 tourist season this week were D’Angelo and  M-eating, which both opened April 10, and Kalita, which welcomed guests on the 11th.  Aroma Bar also opened on April 11 with music by DJ Inspiro, while Scarpa nightclub in Little Venice threw its season-opening bash the same night with DJ Valeron. Nammos By the Sea got summer started at Psarou beach with its grand opening on April 12.

Restaurants opening in time for next weekend’s Easter festivities include Bakalo, which has announced it will open on April 14, and Catari on the 15th. Aneplora near Kalafatis beach, plus Marechiaro and Avra Restaurant in Mykonos Town, all will open on April 16 while Jackie O’ Beach at Super Paradise will follow on the 17th, offering a special Easter menu on the weekend. Salparo Seafood near the Old Port has given the trademark red and white fishing boat next to its patio a fresh coat of paint in time for the taverna’s April 17 opening. Karavaki restaurant at the Vencia Hotel also opens on the 17th, while Avli tou Thodori at Platis Gialos starts its season on the 18th.

The Mykonos Town nightlife will pick up steam with three club openings all on April 16 —  Semeli Bar in Little Venice plus Astra and the brand-new ODE Mykonos nightclubs, both in the Tria Pigadia area. Over at Panormos beach, Panormos Beach Bar is aiming to open on the 17th.

 

Avra Restaurant Mykonos

Avra Restaurant co-owner Sarah Pearson posted this photo of Avra’s elegant courtyard dining area to Avra Restaurant Facebook group page this weekend. Avra will celebrate its season opening on Wednesday April 16.

~

Places opening in May

Although many bars and restaurants target Easter weekend for their annual season opening, there’s always quite a few that don’t open until May.

The Nobu Matsuhisa Mykonos at the Belvedere Hotel is among them; it will start summer service on May 9.  Pinky Beach at Super Paradise will host a “soft opening” on May 21, while that night the Paradise Club at Paradise Beach will get the summer party circuit off to a rocking start (see my March 31 post for further information about that.) Interni Restaurant in Mykonos Town will throw open its doors on May 23.

 

Pinky Beach Mykonos

A promotional image announcing the 2014 opening for Pinky Beach at Super Paradise Beach

 

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