Dine In Style! Find Your Perfect Restaurants In Crete
Posted on Thursday 13th April 2017 by Crete Escapes
Delicious Cretan cuisine makes a virtue of simplicity – taking the very best that Mother Nature has to offer and letting the flavours speak for themselves.
With a magnificent history that includes the Minoans, the Mycenaeans, Romans, Byzantines, Venetians and Ottomans, one might have expected complex recipes…
But while the Cretan diet has been influenced strongly by Turkish and Middle Eastern cuisine, it keeps spices to an absolute minimum – perhaps a few herbs at most.
Expect solidly excellent meals conjured from ingredients sourced with meticulous attention to detail:
- Fish (always very fresh) is baked or grilled with little more than olive and lemon juice. It’s not cheap but it’s worth every penny (or euro cent). The best cuts are charged by the kilo.
- Meat (lamb or goat) is grilled or stewed. Try the Moussaka (layers of aubergine, minced meat, onion, tomatoes and potatoes) or the Stifado (casserole of beef, lamb or rabbit with onion tomatoes, red wine and herbs).
- Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and onions all have that ‘just picked from the garden’ freshness.
- Cretan specialities such as the local Graviera cheese (a kind of Gruyere) and Myzithra (creamy white cheese served instead of feta).
Start As You Mean To Go On…
Crete excels at mezes, the Greek, Turkish and Middle Eastern hors d’oeuvres made for sharing.
These dishes bring such a wonderful informality to meals.
Mezes make a great light lunch or the perfect start to an evening meal. They include:
- Dolmades – vine or cabbage leaves stuffed with rice and herbs, served hot or cold
- Dips such as Skordalia (garlic), Taramosalata (fish roe), Tsatsiki (yogurt, garlic and cucumber), Melizanosalata (aubergine)
- Achinosalata – sea urchins ‘salad’
- Saganaki – baked feta cheese
- Ochtapodia – octopus cooked with vinegar
- Batsaries – beetroot
- Gigantes – large white beans
- Fava – split peas puree.
Feeling Hungry? Relax…
Cretans take their lunch a little later than the rest of us – 2pm-3pm – to avoid the noonday heat.
And they very sensibly follow it up with a short nap. Quite right too.
Dinner is also a relaxed affair, starting at around 9pm to 10pm…so don’t be surprised if you see no locals in the restaurants at 7pm.
This is no reflection on the quality or authenticity of the establishments in question, merely a matter of timing.
And vegetarian options are plentiful too thanks to the healthy Cretan diet – you won’t need a specialist restaurant here!
Find The Best Places To Eat
Kalives boasts a great selection of tavernas, cafés and bars because it’s a tourist destination. Choose from the high street or overlooking the sea. And for the ultimate sea view, you can even eat right on the beach!
Almyrida still offers plenty of places to eat, even though it’s smaller than Kalives. Enjoy hearty breakfasts, leisurely lunches or romantic sunset dinners in this beautiful atmospheric village.
Find out more here about staying at our villas in Almyrida and Kalives.
Kokkino Chorio – choose from:
- the traditional taverna in the village square.
- The Retreat, a fabulous taverna with great food and stunning views. It’s on the outskirts of the village so it’s walkable from many of our villas.
- To Yaladiko, next to the glass workshop on the edge of the village.
Gavalochori is an historic village with several good tavernas all close to the village square – every one of them inviting you to sit, eat, drink and take it easy.
Kefalas has an excellent taverna, Meterizi – a little gem!
Vamos has three tavernas serving typical traditional Cretan cuisine dishes.
Georgioupolis is very much a tourist town with many cafés and tavernas in a lively square, great for sitting and watching the world go by. Find your ideal villa here.
Chania spoils you for choice with many different places to eat. They serve a variety of cuisines, something for everyone. You can eat by the harbour or wander through the narrow cobbled streets (where the establishments tend to be cheaper and serve better food). There are also many cafés and bars for ‘people watching’ plus street entertainment in the evenings.
Stalos and Pano Stalos have a good choice of tavernas and places for a drink, handy for our villas.
Tavronitis – a few tavernas line the quiet beach that stretches towards Kolimbari (which has popular eateries serving excellent fresh fish and traditional Cretan dishes).
Get the inside knowledge on the best tavernas in Crete! Call our expert team on 0330 111 0061 or take a look at our About Crete page!