Category: Memorable meals: Dining in Greece (page 1 of 3)

The 7 restaurants you simply must try on Mykonos

Spilia restaurant and seaside bar Mykono

Lobster pasta and freshly-caught sea urchins are two of the signature dishes that writer Heather Warburton recommends ordering at Spilia. It was one of her seven favourite restaurants on a recent trip to Mykonos.

  

Guest post by Heather Warburton

There are many reasons to go to Mykonos—the color of the water alone, the music, and the stunning villas—but, undoubtedly, the food scene will convince you. If you intend to eat light and vegetarian, you’ll find no better place, and then again, if you’re more into feta cheese and baklava, you’ll be just fine, too.

I spent five days in Mykonos in early July, and these were my favorite restaurants:

♦ Scorpios

 

Scorpios Mykonos

 

Scorpios is one of the only places to succeed in being both a terrific restaurant, and a really fun party. On a charming stretch of Paraga Beach, Scorpios is a sprawling compound. There’s an indoor area that’s light and spacious, with comfortable couches and a well-designed bar. If you come early in the day (read: before noon), you might see people working on their laptops sipping a green juice. Outside there is one large bar, a deck, a beach with over 40 lounge “beds,” and finally, a restaurant.

Despite its massive size, Scorpios boasts impeccable, friendly service and an intimate vibe. Graze on tzatziki, hummus, and spicy pita chips while waiting for a table. They’ll be the best pita chips of your life. You’ll find a vegetable driven menu once seated, with Mykonian salads (tomatoes, capers, cucumbers and feta cheese), whole roasted fish with your choice of sauce, and so many others. (I loved the quinoa with raisins and the zucchini with fresh mint). Their cocktail list is particularly impressive and long, with innovative and not-overly-sweet takes on your spirit of choice.

Go for a late lunch or sunset dinner.

sunset party at Scorpios Mykonos

A sunset party scene on the Scorpios seafront

 

Please click on the link below to read about the other 6 restaurants that Heather recommends on Mykonos. 

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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

A visual feast of Crete

Here’s a video that will whet your appetite for a trip to Crete! Produced by the checkinCreta travel website, Crete — feel the island is a  nearly 4-minute-long film featuring mouth-watering views of honey, cheese and wine production, a γιαγιά (Greek grandmother) preparing home-made pies, an olive harvest, and tantalizing Cretan beach, coast and landscape scenery. καλή όρεξη!

Strolling around Stenies

Stenies village on Andros

Approaching the Stenies mountainside settlement on Andros island

 

Valley village:  There is much to see in the mountain and valley areas near Andros Town (also called Chora) on Andros Island. In fact, visitors could easily spend several days sightseeing and exploring the surrounding countryside by car or, if they prefer, by foot (the island boasts a network of nearly two dozen sign-posted walking and hiking trails, several of which start in or near Chora).

Unfortunately, we didn’t have that much exploration time at our disposal. During the first two days we stayed at Andros Town in late May, we spent much of our time in and around Chora itself. But on our third (and final) day, we ventured a little further off to do some hillside hiking in Stenies village and vicinity.

 

Stenies village on Andros

At Stenies, visitors can stroll past churches, red-roofed houses and palatial private villas nestled against verdant valley hillsides …

 

Bistis-Mouvelas Tower House on Andros

… and see historic ruins, including the crumbling Bistis-Mouvelas tower house, which dates from the 17th Century

 

Situated less than a 20-minute drive from Andros Town, Stenies is a residential settlement area that stretches across rolling hillsides in a mountain valley verdant with flowers, greenery and towering Cyprus trees. Blue-domed churches and large houses with red tile roofs rise from the leafy slopes,  while several sprawling estates with palatial private villas indicate that Stenies is a popular valley enclave for the affluent. Besides recently-built and still-under-construction stone mansions, the hillsides are home to some crumbling old buildings, including the Bistis-Mouvelas tower house, which was built in the 17th Century.  And on the coast at nearby Gialia Bay are two beaches — the pebbly Empros Gialia, and the sandy Piso Gialia, where travellers can stop for a meal on the seaview terrace at Gialia Restaurant and Snack Bar.

We spent several hours at Stenies, where we wandered along a series of paved paths and dirt trails that meandered up and down hills, past attractive homes, over mountain streams and across grassy fields, eventually making our way to and from the Bistis Tower. After working up hearty appetites hiking in warm temperatures under a mixed sky of sun and clouds, we drove to Drosia restaurant in the village of Menites for a midafternoon lunch break. (Staff at the Andros Town hotel where our travelling companions were staying had highly recommended we drop by Drosia for a meal. We enjoyed it as much as they had promised we would.)

 

Drosia Restaurant at Menites Andros

Part of Drosia restaurant’s very pleasant tree-shaded patio is seen in this photo from the Drosia Facebook page

 

Drosia’s outdoor terrace was as delightful as its delicious food — shaded by soaring trees, the patio is perched on the edge of a ravine through which streams cascade down the steep slopes. As we sat amidst thick vegetation, with the sound of water rushing in the creeks below us, it truly felt like we were in a lush island oasis — something we’ve never experienced on predominantly barren other islands in the Cyclades, like Mykonos, Ios or Santorini. 

It was just a short — but sweet — visit to Stenies and Menites, and we realized we had merely scratched the surface in terms of the multitude of things to see and do in both areas. We hope we get the chance to go back and  see more.

 

I shot this short video from the mountain road that took us to Stenies. It shows views of the mountainside settlement as well as nearby Gialia Bay. Click on the arrow to start the video.

 

Please click on the link below to turn to page 2 of this post, where you can read more about our day and view some of our photos of Stenies and Menites.  You can see full-size versions of the pictures, along with dozens more, in my Stenies and Menites album on Flickr.

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A travel blogger’s first-time visits to Santorini and Mykonos

Fira Santorini panoramic image by Christine from Vancouver blog IMG_20150508_102459

A panoramic view of Fira, the capital and main town on Santorini

 

Octopus at Amoudi Bay Santorini image by Christine from Vancouver blog IMG_20150511_130719_hdr

Octopus at Amoudi Bay on Santorini

 

Do you wonder what it’s like visiting Greek islands for the first time? Especially as a solo female traveller?

Two fascinating trip reports by a travel blogger from Vancouver, Canada will give you excellent insight into the entire experience. (They’re also great fun to read even if you have already been to Greece yourself.)

Blogger Christine visited Santorini and Mykonos earlier this month during a two-week holiday — her first-ever trip to Greece. She posted a thorough account of her journey, complete with dozens of photos, on her Christine in Vancouver blog.

I love the reports not just because they show Greece through the eyes of an island-hopping “newbie,” but also since they include scores of food pictures and valuable information about costs and prices — important details that I think will be extremely helpful to others considering a trip to Greece.

Click here to read Christine’s report for her May 6 to 13 stay on Santorini, and click here to read about her May 13 to 19 visit to Mykonos.

The two photos from Santorini posted above, as well as the two photos from Mykonos shown below, are just four of the dozens of fabulous pictures you’ll get to see in Christine’s reports (you’ll be able to view her photos full-size in a slide-show format.)

Enjoy your trip to Santorini and Mykonos with Christine!

 

Mykonos Town streets image by Christine from Vancouver blog IMG_2819

Streets in the heart of Mykonos Town

 

Ornos beach Mykonos image by Christine from Vancouver blog IMG_20150516_135434_hdr

Ornos, one of the top “family” beach resort areas on Mykonos

 

Traditional Easter lamb at trendy Mykonos resto

A promotional poster for the Easter weekend meal specials at Nammos by the Sea on Mykonos

Easter weekend meal specials being offered at Nammos by the Sea, the chic restaurant & nightclub at trendy Psarou beach on Mykonos. This promotional image was posted on the Nammos Facebook page today.

 

 

Noshing at Nammos: If you love lamb and happen to be going to Mykonos for Greek Easter, you might want to book a table for lunch or dinner at Nammos by the Sea, the upscale restaurant & nightclub at posh Psarou beach.

The trendy restaurant, which is a popular go-to dining and party spot for the world’s rich and famous, will be featuring some traditional Greek lamb dishes on its special lunch and dinner menus Easter weekend.

Nammos’ dinner on Holy Saturday (April 19) features magiritsa, which is a traditional lamb soup, along with the Nammos salad, lamb with potatoes and dessert. The cost is €50 per person (drinks not included).

 

Kokoretsi featured for Sunday lunch

For lunch on Sunday April 20, the Nammos chefs will again be serving lamb, soup and dessert, as well as kokoretsi, again for €50 per person. I wasn’t sure what kokoretsi is, so I consulted the wonderful Greek and Mediterranean food website Kalofagas.ca Greek Food and Beyond to find out.

An April 7 2010 post by Kalofagas proprietor and noted gourmet chef Peter Minakis includes several full-colour photos and a recipe, and explains that kokoretsi is “a rotisserie dish made up of skewering seasoned lamb or goat organ meat, wrapped in caul fat and then by yards of cleaned intestines.”

At Easter, he notes, “practically every Greek home will undertake to prep and serve their family their very own version of kokoretsi.”

Nammos is renowned for its food and special events, so you’ll be in for a treat if you can get to Psarou and partake in one of their Easter meals. Nammos will open for the season one week before Easter, on April 12.

If you can’t make it to Nammos but want to try your hand at creating kokoretsi or other traditional Greek dishes, check out Kalofagas.ca for delicious recipes, information and inspiration.

 

Our best food & drink experiences of 2013

 Greek salad and Mythos beer

A Mythos beer and Greek salad … part of our afternoon “snack” at Paradiso Taverna during one of our Naxos beach walks in October 2013

 

 

Good eats: In my recent post Our best hotel experiences of 2013, I described the various places we stayed at in Mykonos, Ios, Naxos and Glyfada during our two trips to Greece last year. Today it’s time to talk about the food we ate while we were there.

We love to eat, and one of the reasons we keep going back to Greece is that we immensely enjoy the food there, whether it’s traditional Greek cooking, salads or vegetarian fare, grilled meats or fish, seafood or international cuisine.

We eat well on our holidays, and we always come home wishing we could recreate some of the most memorable meals in our own kitchen. We try, but the recipes either never turn out right or we simply can’t replicate the wonderful tastes and flavours we enjoyed so much in Greece. And, of course, that’s largely because we can’t possibly reproduce the unique charm and character or the extraordinary locations of the places where we had dinners or drinks — or even just a cup of coffee.

Last year, we had remarkable meals or drinks at dozens of different restaurants, bars and cafés. Individual dishes at certain places were outstanding, while in other instances it was the physical premises or scenic location of a particular restaurant that gave us a dining experience we won’t soon forget.

Below are descriptions of the restaurants, bars meals and drinks that impressed us the most — our best food and drink experiences of 2013.

 

 

Best beach taverna

Nikolas Taverna on Mykonos and Paradiso Taverna on Naxos (Tie)

 

Paradiso Taverna Naxos

Paradiso Taverna has over a dozen tables grouped around a tree on Maragas beach on Naxos. This is one of the most-photographed sights on the island, and this scene has even been featured on Naxos postcards.

 

 

Nikolas Taverna Mykonos

Nikolas Taverna also has tables on the sand, in this case at little Agia Anna beach between Platis Gialos and Paraga on Mykonos. The trees shade the tables part of the day, but there are more seats on the sheltered outdoor terrace (left) for people who don’t want to sit in the sun.

 

 

One of the things we like most about Greece, and especially its islands, is the opportunity to have a “Shirley Valentine” moment — that is, enjoy a drink or meal right next to the sea, at a table either on a sandy beach or on a terrace mere inches from the water. It’s something we can never do at home, where strict government liquor laws and rigid municipal licensing regulations require restaurants serving alcohol to keep their dining areas enclosed by fences or waist-high barriers — and well away from the water’s edge.

So we’re thrilled when we find tavernas that have open seating close to the water — especially if those tables offer views of marvellous scenery or striking sunsets. And if the restaurant kitchens happen to serve delicious food, too, we will feel like we’re in paradise.

 

Superb food and good service

Two remarkable places that we have particularly enjoyed on past vacations are Nikolas Taverna at Agia Anna/Paraga on Mykonos, and Paradiso Taverna at Maragas beach on Naxos. Both have provided consistently good service and superb food, as well as exquisite settings, and both lived up to our high expectations for more of the same when we paid them repeat visits during our holidays in 2013.

The family-run Nikolas Taverna is situated on a small, quiet strand between Platis Gialos and Paraga, two of the most popular beaches on Mykonos. Our favourite place to sit is at one of the tables on the sand, under the row of trees in front of the restaurant. There are nice views toward Platis Gialos, and the setting is profoundly serene and relaxed … it’s a pleasant spot to mellow out while enjoying the fabulous home-cooked Greek cuisine or fresh seafood.

Paradiso Taverna is situated at Maragas, in between two of the most popular beaches on Naxos — Plaka and Agia Anna. Paradiso has a large, tree-sheltered dining terrace in front of the restaurant building, and more tables directly across the road, under a distinctive, eye-catching tree right on the beach. Both spots offer excellent views of the beach, sea and nearby Paros island, and both are good places to watch a sunset, too. The food is as delicious as the scenery.

If you get the chance to visit either Nikolas or Paradiso for a meal, don’t just order off the printed menu — take a few minutes to go inside the kitchen to see the various vegetable, meat and seafood dishes that have been specially prepared for that day. Everything will look appealing, so don’t be surprised if you have trouble deciding what to order!

 

 

Two new beach tavernas we discovered

 

Mikri Vigla Taverna

 Mikri Vigla Taverna at Parthenos beach on Naxos

 

 

Honourable mention goes to two beach tavernas we discovered for the first time in 2013 and hope to revisit in the near future.

We stopped into Mikri Vigla Taverna just for a cold drink and a snack while mountain biking down the southwest coast of Naxos on October 6. We ordered only a Greek salad since we weren’t very hungry, but when we saw the food in the kitchen — as well as what people at the tables next to ours were being served — we regretted that we didn’t have bigger appetites. Everything looked tasty, portions appeared to be quite generous, and all the customers kept commenting on how good their meals were. It was the last day the taverna was open for the season, and the staff kept apologizing for having only a “small” selection of items to choose from. However, we were impressed with the large number of dishes that actually were available — we would have been spoiled for choice had we wanted a more substantial meal.

On October 14, we went to Aperanto Galazio with two friends from the Athens area. The restaurant is located on the beach at Varkiza, a town on the Athens Riviera. We sat on the shaded outdoor dining terrace just steps from the sand, enjoying the beach and sea views while we dined on eight delicious items, including taramosalata (a fish roe dip), Greek salad, stuffed tomatoes, zucchini fritters, calamari, fried potatoes and red and white wine. The food was excellent, the service was great, and the total price was a very pleasant surprise: just €35. We had been expecting the lunch to cost considerably more given the substantial amount of food we had ordered.

 

Aperanto Galazio taverna Varkiza

Aperanto Galazio restaurant at Varkiza beach on the Athens Riviera

 

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

 

 

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Our memorable meals at L’Osteria da Claudio and the Delfini Hotel restaurant on Sifnos

Delfini Hotel on Sifnos

The outdoor dining terrace at the Delfini Hotel on Sifnos. The Delfini restaurant is open to the public as well as to guests of the hotel, and serves excellent home-cooked Greek cuisine and seafood dishes.

 

 

Dining terrace at the Delfini Hotel on Sifnos sunset view

Clear windscreens shelter Delfini restaurant guests on windy evenings, but still allow views of the sunset and Kamares Bay

 

 

Fond food memories: An online conversation about Sifnos restaurants a few days ago prompted me to pore through my travel journal and hundreds of photos we shot during our four-day visit to the island back in 2007.

Good food was the topic of our message exchange, and it also happens to be something for which Sifnos has long been famous.

While researching islands to visit on that trip seven years ago, I learned that Sifnos has been well-known for fine cuisine for hundreds of years, largely because the excellent pottery and ceramics produced on the island gave Sifnian cooks an early edge in developing culinary techniques and honing their kitchen skills. I also read that many of the top chefs in Athens and elsewhere in Greece got their training and started their careers on Sifnos.

I don’t know how accurate those stories are, but I can confirm that we did eat well on Sifnos; in fact, we still talk about the food we enjoyed there.

 

Two excellent dinners at Delfini Hotel

Two of those meals were in the restaurant of the Delfini Hotel where we were staying on the far side of Kamares Bay, directly across from the ferry port at Kamares. 

Our room was situated right above the Delfini’s seaview restaurant terrace, and the delightful food aromas that wafted from the kitchen through our open windows enticed us to have our first dinner there instead of walking into town for the evening. We had home-made spinach pies, stuffed aubergines, a hearty seafood soup that was chock full of fish and vegetables, wine, and a yummy cheesecake for dessert. The meal cost €42 and was wonderful.

We walked into Kamares for dinner on our second night, and saw a queue outside L’Osteria da Claudio. We recognized several of the people waiting in line for a table — they, too, were staying at Hotel Delfini. They told us they had eaten at da Claudio before (some had been there more than once) and thought the Italian cuisine was amazing. The waiting time for a table inside the small dining room would be about an hour, but they said it would be worth it.

 

L'osteria da Claudio on Sifnos

A sign at L’Osteria da Claudio, on the main street in Kamares. The popular Italian restaurant had many repeat visitors when we stayed on the island.

 

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

 

 

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Another Acropolis Museum treasure: food

Acropolis Museum

Visitors to the Acropolis Museum Restaurant can enjoy this excellent view of the Parthenon and the Acropolis while they dine, as this image from the museum website demonstrates

 

 

Good eats: Nearly two years ago (in my March 3 2012 post), I described the Acropolis Museum as a “must-see” attraction, both for its magnificent treasures and the museum building’s contemporary architecture.

Now there’s another good reason to visit the museum next time you’re in Athens — to enjoy a memorable meal.

 

Ranked in world’s Top 5 Museum Restaurants

The travel review website VirtualTourist.com has ranked the Acropolis Museum Restaurant as one of the Top 5 Museum Restaurants in the world, along with counterparts in Paris, New York, L.A. and Seattle. 

The top 5 list was reported by the Toronto Star newspaper this week, but I couldn’t find the restaurant rankings on the VirtualTourist site itself. In fact, the search form on the VirtualTourist’s front page doesn’t even work. Anytime I type something into the search field and click the “explore” button, the page goes …. absolutely nowhere.

According to the Toronto Star report, the Acropolis Museum’s “conveniently location” (their words, not mine) less than 1,000 feet from the Acropolis and nearby historic sites “makes it a great place to grab a bite after a long day of exploring the ruins.”

 

Greek breakfast served daily until noon

Situated on the second floor of the Acropolis Museum, the restaurant opens in the morning every day except Monday, serving a traditional Greek breakfast until noon. From then until closing, it offers a selection of hot dishes based upon traditional recipes, and updated according to the season.

Menu items include “Fresh shrimps from Alexandroupoli with ouzo, cherry tomatoes, orzo and red saffron from Kozani, Scaloppini from veal with oregano, lime and seasonal vegetables lightly sautéed, Trachanas from Arachova made by whole meal wheat with mushrooms and crunchy Greek prosciutto and Homemade pasta with minced meat and kefalotiri cheese from Amfilohia,” the museum website says. A special children’s menu also is available.

 

Great spot for a special Friday night dinner

The restaurant remains open until midnight on Friday evenings, giving Athens tourists a perfect place to dine with superb scenery. Besides the wonderful night views of the illuminated Acropolis, diners can enjoy delicious dishes including: “Carpaccio of fresh fish with citrus juice and lime, Smoked veal fillet with truffle oil and dried fruits, Mushrooms millefeuille with smoked cheese from Metsovo and eggplants, Risotto with fresh nettle, truffle flavors and San-Mihali cheese, Veal fillet with porcini sauce, homemade mashed potatoes and onions, Lemon tart and homemade Orange pie.”

Reservations are strongly recommended for the Friday night dinners. But there is a special dining area that offers cold dishes and desserts for guests who don’t want to reserve a dinner seating, but still want a light bite to eat. Another dining alternative is the café on the museum’s ground level, where visitors can order from a selection of light fare including salads, soups, snacks and desserts.

 

Huge terrace offers prime views of the Acropolis

Besides its interior dining space, the Acropolis Museum restaurant provides seating on a huge 700-square-meter outdoor terrace that offers superb, unobstructed view of the Acropolis. Below are some photos we shot from the terrace during our museum visit in May 2010.

 

Acropolis Museum restaurant

The Acropolis Museum restaurant has a 700-square-meter outdoor dining terrace offering superb views of the Acropolis (top left)

 

 

cropolis Museum restaurant

Restaurant terrace view of the Parthenon atop the Acropolis. You can take a stroll on the terrace to enjoy the views even if you don’t plan to dine in the restaurant.

 

 

The Parthenon and the Acropolis, as viewed from the outdoor restaurant terrace at the Acropolis Museum

The restaurant terrace view of the magnificent Parthenon and Acropolis. Click on the image to view a full-size photo.

 

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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