Tag: restaurants (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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What’s new on Mykonos for summer 2016

~ updated on Monday September 5 2016 ~

 

Mykonos Town and harbourfront

Overlooking the Mykonos Town harbourfront from one of my favourite vantage points on a hill behind the Remezzo area of town

 

Boom town: Many of the tourists who visited Mykonos last summer must have been wondering why they didn’t see obvious signs of the economic crisis that has ravaged the country for more than five years.  

Seemingly unscathed by the financial problems that have plagued the rest of Greece, Mykonos was absolutely thriving in 2015, with more than 100 new travel-related businesses opening up on the island last summer alone. The unprecedented renovation and building boom saw the arrival of new hotels, restaurants, bars, shops, galleries and personal services, many of which were aimed at the island’s rapidly growing luxury travel market.

 

 

It would be hard to top 2015’s astounding array of brand-new businesses again this year, but recent announcements about more upcoming new openings suggest the resilient Mykonos economy is poised for even further prosperity and growth.

So far there have been announcements on social media to herald the imminent debut of several new restaurants, retail shops, beach clubs, hotels, bars and nightlife venues, while rumours abound that many more are in the works.

Please click on the link below to read about the new businesses that have opened or been announced so far. I will update this post regularly as I receive more information about the newcomers.

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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.

More high-end clubs, shops, hotels & restaurants planning to open on Mykonos

Bill & Coo Coast Suites image from the hotel's Facebook page

The owners of the award-winning Bill & Coo Suites & Lounge will be opening another 5-star hotel on Mykonos in May — the Bill & Coo Coast Suites, seen in this image from its Facebook page

 

Boom times: It looks like the great Mykonos gold rush is going to continue again this year, with numerous top-flight international  nightclubs, restaurants, shops and hotels hoping to gain a toehold in the island’s booming market for luxury travel services.

2015 was a banner year for Mykonos, which witnessed the arrival of more than 100 new businesses, many of which were aimed at affluent travellers with insatiable tastes for 5-star accommodations, fine dining, upscale bars and nightclubs, and exclusive retail boutiques.

Their success has attracted the attention of more international luxury brands, which have been scouring the island for available real estate or partnership opportunities with established local entrepreneurs and landowners.

According to a February 21 2016 article by the Greek news and media website Ethnos, the operators of such elite nightclubs and restaurants as Bagatelle, Hyde Beach, Maddox, Bagatelle, Novikov, Okku and Vip Room have been scoping out space for possible new summer locations in Mykonos Town. They undoubtedly have been encouraged by the huge popularity of some of last year’s high-profile newcomers, which included Ling Ling by Hakkasan, Inyama Surf and Turf, Buddha Bar Beach, Toy Room Club, and Bonbonniere Mykonos.

 

Vassili Tsili Christos Made in Mykonos event at Maddox Club London

A promotional image for DJ Vassili TsiliChristosMade in Mykonos party taking place March 6 at Maddox Club in London.  

 

Maddox is an exclusive nightclub that is “strictly members only. Membership is only accepted on a referral basis,” says the club’s website. There’s no word on when it might be opening a Mykonos location — nor have any announcements been made about launch dates for any of the other swish clubs that are reportedly vying for space on the island. Coincidentally, Maddox Club is hosting a Made in Mykonos party on March 5. It’s a popular event that Greek DJ, music producer and social event organizer Vassili TsiliChristos hosts at the upscale Nammos restaurant and beach bar on Mykonos every summer. (He’ll be taking his show to Washington D.C. and New York City in March, and will be headlining at Nammos again on July 23).

 

Kalo Livadi beach Mykonos photo by MykonosGuide.co

The golden sand beach and turquoise waters at Kalo Livadi, seen in an image from Mykonos Guide.  The Four Seasons hotel and resort group reportedly plans to build a hotel in this area, while the W chain of hotels is looking to open a boutique property at nearby Agia Anna beach.

 

Meanwhile, the Four Seasons hotel group is reportedly seeking land for a large luxury resort at Kalo Livadi, and the W chain is exploring plans to build a 70-room specialty hotel at the Agia Anna beach near Kalafatis. 

Although those projects won’t be opening this season, a new 5-star luxury hotel at Agios Ioannis (the “Shirley Valentine beach”) will be launching this spring — a project by the owners of the 5-star Bill & Coo Suites & Lounge in Mykonos Town, which recently was fêted as Best Luxury Boutique Hotel at the World Tourism Awards 2016.

According to its website and Facebook page, the 15-room Bill & Coo Coast Suites will feature “barefoot luxury” design and ambience on a “10 acre oasis by the sea” at Agios Ioannis beach.

“The startling view to the sea and access to the beach ensure travellers a premium holiday experience beyond comparison in the alluring island of Mykonos,” says a February 23 2016 post on the Bill & Coo Coast Suites Facebook page

The hotel is scheduled to open in early May, but its online booking system shows that it’s already fully booked from May 9 to 15.  Rooms are available from May 16 onward, at nightly rates ranging from as low as €420 for a Sea View Coast Suite to  €1,390 for a Bill & Coo Coast Suite.

 

On the luxury retail shopping front, this year’s big news is that mining magnate Nikos Lascaris and his wife, Georgia, are investing millions of Euros to open a posh “super boutique” Tserkov store that will feature creations by many of the world’s top fashion designers.

According to a January 19 2016 article on the Cyclades24 news website, the boutique is being referred to as “paradise couture” because it will spotlight so many leading designers, and even couture lines.  According to the Facebook page for the first Tserkov store, which opened December 18 2015 in Zurich, the shop “is a destination for individualists looking for something rare and incomparable.”

Tserkov Store Mykonos

Tserkov, the fashion boutique for “individualists,” will open this spring on Mykonos. This image is from Tserkov website.

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

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