Good quality/price restaurants in Greece!
My wife and I will be in Greece for 2 weeks in early September. We will be visiting Santorini, Naxos, Mykonos and Athens.
Would you have any good quality/price restaurants to recommend? We are NOT looking for chic or hip places. Decor is nice but the dishes are the main attraction! If it happens to be in a nice decor or surrounding (sea side, beach, etc ...) than even better!
Many thanks in advance for your recommendations!
OK, here are some my recommendations! My husband and I travelled to Greece this time last year. We did Athens on our own, then visited Syros, Mykonos and Santorini with a touring group (though it's not like the massive groups you usually see. Basically, they just provided the transportation to the islands and then we were on our own. Just mentioning this because our Mykonos dinner was at a large table of 12 people but the other meals were just my husband and I). I've copied the following info from my trip notes. We had some good meals at other restaurants but I'm only going to include the places where I actually wrote down the names of the establishments.
Before I go on, just a general tip about dining in Mykonos & Santorini: You really pay for the beach view. Sometimes the quality of the food in restaurants overlooking the ocean isn't that great but the price is still high. Some of the beachfront restaurants cater to touristy tastes, meaning you won't get the most authentic Greek food. Of course, there are exceptions to this.
Ok, here we go!
"Afterwards [the Acropolis], we walked down to Plaka for lunch. We stumbled upon a restaurant in an alley. We noticed it was recommended by Lonely Planet and Jamie Oliver so it was worth a shot. We ordered a Mythos (beer) and tzatiki with olive bread and a marinade eggplant salad with sundried tomatoes. Both were amazing but the real highlight was our main: meatballs with the greatest tomato sauce. The menu said it is world famous but a huge secret. It was sweet and tomatoy and just the best. We also ordered a dish of marinated meat with feta but the meatballs were my favourite". *** I wish I could remember the name of this restaurant because the meatballs were one of the greatest things I"ve ever eaten. Based on this link (http://www.athensguide.com/restaurant...), I believe the place was called "To Kafeneon". It was also mentioned in our Lonely Planet guidebook.
"We continued our walk through Plaka and I stopped at a store called Fresko Yogurt Bar. It looked like an ice cream store but they only sold Greek yogurt. They had four kinds: regular, light, sheep milk & goat milk. They also had all kinds of fruit toppings, different kinds of honey and nuts. I ordered mine with quince and walnuts and it was great."
"I bought some ice cream at a place called Kayak which had some innovative flavour combinations. I got two scoops that were representative of traditional desserts. One was chocolate with bread pieces and another was “mastic” with pink peppercorns. Both were great."
"Then I stumbled upon a specialty food store. I wanted to buy all kinds of oils & vinegars but I only bought perishables: this amazing honey cookie with nuts inside and their signature cookie which contained carrot, mandarin and coconut." This store was called Mardarini Traditional Desserts & Spirits. The honey cookie was SO GOOD. Greek honey is really unique. Also amazing: the store's Greek yogurt with storemade tart cherry sauce. Mmmm...
"We hung for about an hour before heading out to dinner at a place called Eva’s Garden. It was outside by the dining area was enclosed and garden-y. We had lots of wine. I had fresh seabass that was deboned in front of me. Greg got pork with a mustard-Guiness sauce and the creamiest potatoes ever." The service here was really great as was the food. Recommend checking it out.
"I wanted dessert but the group and I were fixated on a gelato shop on the main road. The sign outside said “The Best Gelato in Town!” so how could we argue with that? We all went and I got yogurt and baklava gelatos. It was really good." This gelato place had lots of neat flavours I hadn't seen anywhere else. Not a "must see" but I have a gelato obsession so I loved it.
Do NOT go here: "We got lunch at a place called Niko’s. The girl at the hotel recommended it and you can trust a local’s opinion on food most of the time. I didn’t want to eat heavily so I got a frappe and a cucumber tomato salad. Then I got a white fish, spinach & tomato dish that was super oily and cold in the middle. Everything was piled on the plate and when I finished eating the parts that were actually warm, I found a hair in the middle! Almost threw up. Told the guy who was not apologetic but we didn’t have to pay for it. Ugh."
"We made a reservation for dinner at a place called Mama’s Place. Mama was super sassy and we could tell this would be fun.... We met up with the group for dinner. Mama was insane but hilarious. I started with a Greek salad. One of Santorini’s delicacy is the white eggplant and I really want to try it so I ordered a tomato & eggplant dish stuffed with beef and goat cheese. It looked like a giant baked potato! And the eggplant was purple, not white. Delicious, none the less. Greg started with tomato balls which arrived as deep fried fritters that I did not care for. He also got a seabass dish for his main." This place was really fun, mainly due to Mama. It was my husband's birthday and she surprised him with baklava and sparklers. This place was away from the ocean view.
"We then all went for our final dinner together. With anywhere in Europe, you pay more at a restaurant with a view and sometimes, the restaurant skimps on the quality of the food because they know they’ll get customers who will pay more for the view. Instead, we went to a restaurant away from the ocean-facing strip called Nikolas’. It was very small and Nikolas himself wasn’t all that nice. In fact, he told one of the girls in our group not to look at other people’s food as it was being served because it was rude. I mean, what the hell? I don’t even think she was gawking or anything. But, I was willing to look past that because the food was fresh and of good quality. I ended up ordering a plate of cooked spinach and fresh grilled calamari. Greg got a Greek salad and seafood spaghetti. My calamari was good but half the platter was filled with fries that I didn’t eat. Greg’s spaghetti had a huge prawn on it. Overall, I don’t think it was the best venue for our last dinner but whatever."
This was fun, looking back at my notes! I'm heading to Europe again tomorrow (Amsterdam and then Denmark) so this reinforced how neat is was to keep detailed notes for review :)
Have fun in Greece!
General recommendation: I ate LOTS of cucumber & tomato salads, Greek yogurt with Greek honey, roasted lamb, seafood and frappes (instant coffee with a bit of milk and sugar... so good).
cellophane_star, thanks for the Eva's Garden recommendation! I've been searching the board the past few days trying to find the good food among the tourist traps. Eva's was great and the staff very friendly. For apps we had grilled eggplant, a pita dish with two cheese/yogurt dips, and a rocket/parm salad. All of it very tasty. I was originally seeking seafood but wasn't feeling it from the menu. Our waiter suggested the lamb with lemon sauce...fall off the bone tender. My wife had the pork chop/apple sauce...also very good.
Some other Mykonos notes:
KIKI'S - a small BBQ hut on Agios Sostis beach. Fantastic grilled seabass, grilled eggplant, and misc Greek salads. No signs. Just follow signs for AS beach and you'll find it. Lunch only but it runs into late afternoon. We turned it into an early dinner. Reasonable prices. It's a bit out of the way but very worth it!
TASOS - on Paraga Beach. Lunch consisting of grilled halumi, rocket, and prosciutto salad, and an order of grilled octopus. Salad was a tasty and plentiful combo, and octopus grilled nice and tender. If you want a beach day check out Paraga and hit Tasos for lunch.
PASTA FRESCA BARKIA - in the main town with a fresh pasta dog-n-pony show in the front. Don't ask why we went here...total mistake. Just ***stay away***. Large portions of the most flavorless pasta we've ever eaten. I ate half my seafood pasta and just stopped once I realized it tasted like nothing. I can't remember the last time I did that. I either clean the plate or it comes home with me. Not this time.
GELARTE - gelato place in main town in front of water. It was our favorite of the variety. We hit it nightly.
Anyways we loved Mykonos for the beaches and scenery but the dining was a bit tough. If it weren't for Kiki's running a late lunch we were going to return to Eva's for dinner to sample some more of the menu...there was definitely more that sounded appealing.. I didn't want to risk another bomb in the main town.
To anyone reading, enjoy your trip. Apologies for any wacky grammar or spelling...typed this on an iPhone. Cheers and good eats.