Category: Favourite tavernas (page 1 of 2)

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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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 food and drink 2013: Where we ate

L'Ile Bistrot Cafe in Mykonos

New this year, L’île Bistrot-Café at 3 Kampani Street quickly became our favourite hangout in Mykonos Town for a coffee, drink or light meal. This photo is from the L’île Bistrot-Café Facebook page.

 

 

Repeat and first-time visits: A short holiday on Mykonos this past spring gave us an opportunity to dine at eight different restaurants, including a brand-new café in Mykonos Town, four other spots we had never been to before, our favourite beach taverna, plus two places to which I was eager to pay repeat visits after being highly impressed with them last year.

If you have been a regular reader of the blog, you might recall my restaurant report for 2012, in which I recounted my good experiences at more than a dozen different places. I specifically noted that I didn’t have a single disappointing meal during that holiday, and found restaurant service, overall, to be quite good.

I was anxious to see how Mykonos restaurants would compare this year — and hopeful, of course, that we would enjoy every restaurant and meal. 

Unfortunately, that didn’t quite happen.

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What we can’t wait to eat in Greece next week …

Greek salad

A delicious Greek salad we enjoyed at Maria’s House restaurant in Kos Town

 

 

Feta fans: We will be arriving in Greece for our 2013 spring vacation in just a few days, reaching our first island destination around lunch time. And I can tell you right now what we’ll be ordering for lunch: Greek salad.

I make Greek salads often, but they never taste even just a fraction as good as the ones we eat in Greece. The ingredients simply can’t compare. The cucumbers sold at my neighbourhood grocery stores generally have no flavour, the green peppers are usually bitter, the tomatoes tend to be bland and mushy, the olives are sour and rubbery, and the over-salted feta typically has a spongy texture.

It’s a whole different story in Greece, where the vegetables are packed full of flavour and the olives and feta are divine. Just the thought of ordering a Greek salad in Greece practically makes my mouth water.

Can’t wait for our first lunch!

 

Maria's House restaurant at Averof 80 in Kos Town

Maria’s House at 80 Averof Street in Kos Town. Maria’s was our best — and favourite — dining experience on Kos during our Dodecanese island hopping holiday in May 2010.

 

 

Stepping up to superb food & sublime sunsets at Kamara Café on Amorgos

Kamara Cafe

The open-air terrace at Kamara Café in Upper Potamos is a great spot to view the amazing scenery while enjoying some of the café’s delicious Greek cuisine

 

 

 Kamara Cafe

The café also has lounge areas on its terrace, for those who just want to sit back and relax with a glass of wine while watching a spectacular sunset

 

 

Kamara Cafe

This was one of the sunsets we watched from the Kamara Café. Here, the sun looks like an enormous white orb as it slowly descends behind Naxos island.

 

 

Potamos village

You’re guaranteed to work up a hearty appetite and thirst on your way to the restaurant — It’s a half-hour walk from Egali, up hundreds of steps like these.

 

 

Sunsets, steps and stews: When I was planning our trip to Amorgos in 2009, I asked an acquaintance in Athens for restaurant recommendations. We absolutely had to go to Kamara Café in Ano Potamos village, she said, and order the patatato — a goat and potato stew that is one of the island’s signature local dishes. Her other tip: allow plenty of time to walk up the mountain to the taverna, so we wouldn’t miss seeing the sunset if we got lost or delayed en route. “You won’t believe the view! The sunset — fabulous! And make sure you try the goat!” she gushed.

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Island dining: Astropelos taverna in Astipalea

.Astropelos taverna menu

What’s for dinner: An artistic illustration of Astipalea island’s scenic Chora village appears at the top of the menu on the outside wall of the Astropelos taverna in Livadi. Below is one of our photos of Chora, shot during our May 2009 visit to Astipalea.

 

 

Chora on Astipalea

A view of the enormous Kastro (castle) that towers above Chora on Astipalea

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Memorable meals: Our matsata & meatball lunch at Irene’s cozy grocery-café on Folegandros

Irene's on Folegandros

The unassuming exterior of Irene’s kafepantopoleio (café and grocery store) on the road that winds through Ano Meria village on charming Folegandros island

 

Irene's on Folegandros

The small inside space doubles as a convenience store and restaurant

 

Famous food: You probably wouldn’t expect a convenience store to dish up some of the most delicious home-made pasta you’ve ever tasted, but then you probably haven’t been to Irene’s kafepantopoleio on Folegrandros, either.

I had never heard of Irene’s grocery-café until I read Greece’s Best-Kept Secret (Until Now), the cover story on Folegandros in the December 2004 edition of Condé Nast Traveler magazine. Writer Adam Sachs described celebrating his second wedding anniversary at Irene’s with a dinner meal of matsata — a local pasta traditionally served with rooster. “Irene made the matsata in our presence,” he wrote, “and as hoped for, it was a rich, gooey pleasure. It was cut into ribbons, and the texture was somewhere between a noodle and a dumpling. The rooster broth was poured over the matsata, the legs and breasts served on another plate.” The filling meal was followed by a dessert of “homemade goat’s-milk rice pudding with flecks of orange zest.”

I clipped the article and filed it away, not expecting that we would wind up visiting Folegandros three years later.

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In photos: Mykonos restaurants and bars 2012

Alefkandra Taverna at Little Venice Mykonos

There are more than 260 photos in the album, Mykonos 2012: Restaurants & Bars, which I have posted on the mygreecetravelblog.com Facebook page.

 

Top 6 memories of my Mykonos holiday in 2012 … #3: Over a dozen delectable dining experiences

Alefkandra Taverna Mykonos

Seaside tables at Alefkandra Taverna in Mykonos Town’s Little Venice district

 

Restaurant roundup: Last month, I posted an extensive report about restaurants in the TripAdvisor.com Mykonos forum. What follows below is a slightly edited version of the same report, with photos.

This is a description of restaurants that I personally dined at, took a look at, or heard about while visiting Mykonos for 8 days in May. My list isn’t intended to be exhaustive by any means; in fact, there are dozens of additional restaurants on the island that I didn’t get the opportunity to visit, so there are plenty of places popular with other Mykonos regulars that aren’t even mentioned in my remarks. If I’d had a longer holiday (and more money), I would have been able to review more restaurants!

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Top 6 memories of my Mykonos holiday in 2012 — #3: Delectable dining experiences Part 2

Oregano Cook & Grill Mykonos

Oregano Cook & Grill menu cover

 

Get outta Town! What follows is an account of restaurants located outside of Mykonos Town that I dined at, saw, or heard people talking about last month.

 

On the peripheral road around the town center

Gola, which was extremely popular the past several years, has closed. Word about town is that the Belvedere Hotel, which owns the property, will be opening an Asian restaurant in its place. Locals didn’t know if the new place will be as expensive as Gola (they’re hoping it will be more affordable) or when it will officially open.

Blue Ginger serves Thai and Chinese cuisine on a hilltop location with wonderful views of Mykonos Town and the sunset. Friends who dined there last year say the food is as good as the amazing views. (One of these friends used to live in Thailand, so if she recommends the food at Blue Ginger, then it has to be first-rate.)

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Good eats at Grikos

Grikos Bay Patmos

We stayed at gorgeous Grikos Bay on Patmos in May 2010 …

 

Stamatis taverna Grikos Bay Patmos

… and enjoyed meals at Stamatis taverna in the harbour area …

 

Flisvos restaurant Grikos Bay Patmos

… at Flisvos restaurant on the hillside overlooking the bay …

 

Ktima Petra taverna Grikos Bay Patmos

… and at Ktima Petra on the road to nearby Petra beach

 

Fantastic food: There are two things we remember most about our first-ever trip to Patmos in 2010: the beautiful scenery at Grikos Bay, and the equally impressive meals we had at three restaurants in the Grikos area. In fact, while we were on Samos after our visit to Patmos, we kept commenting about how much we missed the food at Grikos. And to this day, we still talk about one of the delicious dishes we enjoyed during two different dinners:  the roasted chickpeas at Flisvos restaurant. My attempts to recreate the recipe at home have failed miserably, so I’m hoping that some day soon we can return to Grikos and order them again!

Here’s a brief recap of our four memorable meals at Grikos Bay:

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