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RickBehl

The Greek Islands

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Hi,

I wonder if anyone can help.

I am going on holiday to Greece in a months time. I land in Athens where I will be spending two nights before heading to a couple of the Greek Islands. My current plans are to go to Naxos, Paros and Syros. What I would really like to know though is anyone has any recommendations on restaurants in any of these places. I will be looking to stick to 'real' Greek food as much as I can if this helps.

Also, if anyone thinks there are other more food oriented Greek Islands I should be heading for, then I would like to know.

Thanks in advance,

Rick

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I was in Naxos and Paros a few years ago. [Naxos was the highlight of the trip.] I have no recollection where we ate, but we got recommendations from the locals, who were generally very friendly and helpful, and stayed off the beaten path. We were never disappointed.

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Syros and Naxos are both renouned for simple elegant aegean fare. Do avoid getting into arguments or fights with the hordes of tourists who decend during the summer :smile:

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Glenn,

Can I ask why Naxos was the highlight ? Was that gastronomically or just all round ?

Anil, don't worry I'm planning to avoid as many tourists as possible, if possible. I heard that July is when the high season really starts, so hopefully we will be back in London by then (return to London on the 19th June).

Rgds

Rick

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If you happen by Ermoupolis, Syros; just hang ny any Ouseria (sp?) or outdoor taverna; and enjoy their catch of the day. Light battered smelts fried - Ymmmm, with lemon :biggrin:

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Rick, the medieval towers and churches in Naxos were the big turn on for us. It was much less touristy than other places, at least seemingly so. We rented a car and drove to remote spots on the island, went hiking, and never saw a soul, except for donkeys. It sent chills down my spine to just come upon medieval towers and be able to roam around with no one else in sight for miles. I honestly don't even remember the food there... for the most part throughout our stay, we ate at outdoor tavernas near the sea, nothing fancy. [in addition to Naxos, we visited in Athens, Paros and Santorini over a 3 week period.]

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Naxos is OK. My favourite place is Nikos - a seafood restaurant overlooking the main port. Simple grilled fish is the best.

A much smaller island is Koufinisia - close to Naxos. This island supports a fishing community and has great seafood as a result: O Georgios overlooking the main port, or one of the fish Tavernas overlooking the fishing harbour- (Captain Nikolas I think?) are good.

Another more accessible island ( and busier but not as busy as Naxos ) is Sifnos. A lot of Greeks vacation here and it has a reputation for good food. Try the taverna on Apakafto beach (next to the monastery of Chrysopigi) for lunch and for Dinner head to O Magnanas in Artemones or the restaurant in the Hotel Petali Village.

Milos (further down the same island chain as Sifnos) also had good food, especially in the main town (plaka) and around the harbor (Adamas). Also good for lunch "Tarantella" near Provatas.

On Mikonos there's a lot of disappointing touristy restaurants but we enjoyed the food at El Greco in the main town.

We used to like Naoussa in Paros, especially the octopus grilling ouzeries by the harbour, but this place gets way to crowded in Summer.

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Wow, thanks for the great information.

theakston, at the risk of turning this into a lonely planet travellers bulletin board, do you think I have a good balance of Islands. Considering I have 8 nights in Greece, the current plan is:

Athens - 2 nights (unmovable due to Athenian friends)

Naxos - 3 nights

Paros - 3 nights

Syros - 2 nights (unmovable due to Athenian friends)

I'm not a real beach person (don't ask what I'm doing going to Greek Islands !), so my main priorities are relaxing, eating, sightseeing. A beach somewhere in the trip for a couple of days would satisfy my travelling partners requirements.

Should I consider some of the Islands you mentioned (Koufinisia, Sifnos, Milos) ?

Thanks

Rick

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Given that you have to be in Syros and Athens on those days. Paros and Naxos aren't bad choices. They are busy islands but you should be ahead of the real crowds. The "problem" with island hopping (but also part of the fun) is that you can wind up stuck somewhere that is difficult to move on to the next place from and have to scramble to find alternatives. Like I say this can be fun. If you have time. Sifnos and Milos are easy to get to from Athens and share the same ferry line, but you may find it difficult to get to Syros iwhout back tracking through Athens.

Naxos and Paros have so many ferry connections that you won't have to worry about being stranded. Also if you don't like beaches I would not recommend Koufonissia as there is not a lot to do other than beach during the day. It really is a small island.

A good site about the islands is:

http://www.greektravel.com/index.html

not the greatest food recommendations though (at least not on Sifnos) I think he has friends whose restaurants he likes to plug.

You might want to consider a day trip to Delos for the sightseeing. It was considered a holy island and so it has no new development only a lot of ancient ruins. It's close to Mykonos but there are day trips from both Paros and Naxos. In both Paros and Naxos you may want to get a car or mopeds to explore (or take a bus tour). If the crowds are too much in Paros you could stay on the West side (Piso Lavadi) or on Anti Paros. Anti Paros has good seafood but not much to do during the day other than the beach.

Gastronomically you shouldnt do too bad. Definitely check out the harbour in Naoussa in Paros for an ouzo and some octopus. There are some decent restaurant options in the port city of Parikia. Levantis is good. In Naxos as I said in my previous post Nikos is my favourite fish place.

Enjoy. I wish I was going again this year.

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Thanks a lot for your help guys.

I will write a brief report for this thread when I get back.

Rgds

Rick

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The food in Greece is very good and very cheap. They break all the American health codes, the prepare the food in the morning, and then it sits in the showcases at room temperature for hours. Never got sick, though.

All the wine is served in jelly glasses, hard to get used to. No pita bread, either, to our amazement. Retsina wine takes some getting used to. All in all, the restaurants are mostly a peasant experience (in the best sense of the word) with pleasant, hearty food.

N.B. While you are there, take note of all the starving cats. For the Olympics, they plan to do a mass-poisoning, very barbaric, in all the National parks. Please talk to as many people as you can to talk some sense into them, and get them to remember that they are a first-world country. This behavior is unacceptable in a civilized world.. More info here


Edited by menton1 (log)

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I am off to Paxos in July. Does anybody know of any gastronomic delights waiting for me, or that I should track down when I get there? Apparently the bakery in Loggos is rather good?

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My parents have been going to Lakka on Paxos at least once a year for the past 15 years; in fact, they're there at the moment. They'll be back next week, so I'll push them for information when they return. I went once, years ago - most of the stuff we ate was fairly typical Greek islands taverna fare, but the setting makes the meal. Did have good seafood in Loggos though. But the place is tiny; it doesn't take long to figure your way round.

cheers

Adam

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if you'll be in athens for a sunday, be sure to go to the street of souvlaki, whose name i forget but perhaps someone else knows it. not far from the plaka, on sundays the traffic is stopped and the street fills up with little wax-cloth covered tables and chairs, its crowded and chaotic, and the souvlaki is divine, all sizzling lamb fat and chopped onions. you can try to order exactly what you want, but the waiter will look at you and say something to the effect of: i think, yes, grilled tomatoes to go with the souvlaki, what about a salad, no forget the peppers today, and beer, definately, its a hot day! tons of wonderful musicians, accordionists, etc, making their way around the tables (i love this kind of stuff). big souvlaki lunch with salad, beer, etc costs about 12 euros.

as i live in london, i am thinking of catching an easy jet one sunday and just going to athens for a souvlaki lunch. if anyone wants to join me..........probably cost us less than sunday lunch in london!

also, Diane kochilas is a great resource for all things greek. she runs a cooking school on the island of icaria in the summer but not, alas, in the autumn. her new book on meze is out soon, perhaps now!

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Gastronomically you shouldnt  try the "Varoulko "

http://www.examiner.com/sfx/templates/prin...=X0327UNTERMANw

Should not or should?

A couple of weeks ago I was at varoulko's and did enjoy it very much, although it doesn't deserve more then 1 Michelin star, I think. Nevertheless there were some original dishes and all the food was well prepared.

The sommelier gave nice advice about good, and not too expensive Greek wines.

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varoulko is sort of modern greek. some things delicious and pared down to essentials, but other things a bit overworked in an effort to be more, well, maybe european? had a soup of asparagus and a white fish that was divine, and also a sea bass carpaccio that was beautiful..............but other than that.......perhaps its being a visitor that makes me want to go someplace utterly greek, a little crazy, lots of music and dripping in olive oil, that sort of thing. varoulko is dignified.

oh, but wait: i ate a meal elsewhere that the chef, whats his name, chris......veneris.....? ( i could be wrong on this, but think its right) prepared, and it was exquisite, full of traditional flavours done in a modern lightened, very straightforward way.........

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The sea bass carpaccio I had as well: very nice... Well, for me it was very good value for money, quite interesting, and since I had to suffer a bit at Santorini (well Selene was good there, but bad service and overpriced) and Paros (Le Sud was very nice!), it was very nice to me...

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I'm sorry that this is a little late to help you out RickBehl, but I'm new at egullet. I have been to Athens countless times and recently found 2 restaurants that I have gone back to several times.

1. i Palia Taverna tou Psarra - This place has great ambiance and very good food at a good price, located just under the northwest corner of the Acropolis. (Address: Erechtheos 16, Athens, Greece Phone: 01/321-8733)

2. Strofi - Food here is pretty good, service is fair, but the view makes up for any inconsistencies. Located on the south side of the Acropolis, you are sitting right underneath the Parthenon. Remember to bring a camera for some fantastic photos. (Address: Rovertou Galli 25, Athens, Greece

Phone: 01/921-4130 or 01/922-3787)

I'm sorry, but I don't remember any specific restaurants in Paros, but we spent a week in Noussa and several we went to in were excellent.

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HI

I am shortly off on holiday to Rhodes island in Greece and after scouring many internet sites have yet to find a scrap of info about worthy restaurants to visit

Having been to the islands as a poor student many years ago all I really remember eating was souvlakis, or gyros pitta plus the ubiquitous Greek salad doused very liberally with the free oil and vinegar and dunking large hunks of bread !!

Now fortunately my finances have taken a slight turn for the better and I am now able to samples if not the finer then certainly the more expensive restaurants whilst I am on my hols.

I would be very grateful for any assistance that anyone could provide, we are staying in Ixia which I am led to believe is about 4km from Rhodes Town where I suspect we will eat most nights

Looking forward to your suggestions

Ben

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I am topping this thread as we will be travelling to Athens, Crete and the Greek isles of Santorini and Sifnos, and if we're lucky, Milos, in June.

Would love suggestions of special Cretan dishes to try as well as any restaurant recs for the islands mentioned above.

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On Sifnos, the typical Greek salad will be served with a soft white cheese - not the usual feta. It's wonderful - they'll ask you if you want Sifnos cheese on your salad. Just say yes. They put a scoop of this stuff - it's sort of a cross, flavourwise, between ricotta and feta - on your salad. Delicious. Also on Sifnos for really (really - and I mean really) fabulous fish and seafood, go to a little village called Chernissos (also called, variously, Hernissos and Xernissos) at the top end of the island. There are two tavernas down on the water. We ate at the one (I forget the name of it, sorry) that faces directly onto the beach. The fish was the best we had anywhere in Greece and relatively inexpensive compared to other place we ate. You choose your fish from the cooler and pay by the kilo. An elderly woman in the back grills it simply and perfectly. Apparently they have excellent lobster but my companions were not lobster eaters, so we just had fish.

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I found that Sifnos was one of the few islands that had great food wherever we ate. I mean we even ate at one of the "tourist" tavernas at the port and we were stunned, even more amazing is that this was during the peak tourist season(August 15th to be exact-you can't get "more peak"than that :) )

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I've edited the title of this thread to reflect its concentration on the Islands, hoping it'll collect more traffic that way.

John

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