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Dining Out on Mykonos


Dining Out on Mykonos

Oh dear, there are lots and lots and lots of restaurants on Mykonos (and a great many of them are dire, alas!). Some of my favorites have changed character over the years, and I can no longer recommend them. But some old favorites have just got better, and there are wonderful newcomers.

Barco Cafe

Just adjacent the Old Port of Hora, where the ferries dock. Tel: 22890 28733

Brand new in 2011 is my favorite hang-out in Hora. I go here for the excellent Wifi, superb coffee, snacks and breakfast (plus full bar) . . . and to await my ferries to Athens and other islands. Run by old, old friends, this is a classy place with every amenity, AND reasonable prices. George Stamoulis and Thanos Kousathanas are the proprietors, and Takis Manesis's Travel Agency, Sea & Sky, shares the posh premises. Really: this is THE place, morning, noon and night. Sample traditional Mykonian delicacies such as "louza" (Mykonian, all-natural "prosciutto"),  "mostra" (whole wheat rusks), "tirovolia" (Mykonian chevre) . . . or anything else on the menu. The coffee, fabulous, is Hausbrandt----the very best on Mykonos. Open, in season, from 7 a.m. till midnight.

Bar at Appaloosa

Appaloosa Restaurant Bar

11 Mavrogenous Street, Hora; Tel: 22890 27086

This is just a really cool, fashionable place, with good Mexican-fusion food, run by nice folks, and with a sophisticated clientele. It’s also open off-season, which is a big plus for me. Try: Grilled Portobello Mushrooms Served on Arugula; Fig Salad (with a wild green called andracla, plus louza, xinotyro, and fig-balsamic vinegar, among a few other things); Seafood Linguine or a Vegetarian Burrito; plus draught Warsteiner Beer: about 60 Euros for two, with drinks.

Avra Regulars

Avra Restaurant/Garden

10 Kalogera Street, Hora; Tel: 22890 22298; info@avra-mykonos.com

Superlative service, tables on a covered terrace (for viewing the passing parade) or in the back garden, many return diners, year after year— and Mediterranean-fusion cuisine. I especially like their Roka, parmesan, pine nuts and fig salad; wild mushroom appetizer; and any of the beef, lamb, pork and chicken main courses. Don’t miss the Banofee Pie! Dinner for two, with house wine: c. 70 Euros.

Andreas & Maria

Glastros Area, Hora/Plati Yialos Road; Tel: 22890 28154

A newcomer on the humbler grill-house-cum-pizzeria scene is Andreas & Maria, run with love by locals up on the Hora-to-Palty-Yialos road. Located in the Glastros area on top of the island, on the left heading away from Hora, Andreas Efstathiou’s establishment is open February through November, and offers an array of homemade Greek daily specials, wood-oven pizzas and grilled cuts of meat. Prices are very reasonable, everything is fresh and good, and Andreas and his wife, Maria, are genuinely glad to see you. Plus, the beers are big: not those pathetic little bottles they’re charging up to 7 euros for in town! A typical bill for two, with wine or beer: 25 euros. Can’t beat that!

The chefs at Lefteris, Ornos Beach

Grill House/BBQ Lefteris

Ornos Beach, Mykonos

Lefteris's steak-and-chops-and-kebab place is one of the island's last bargains. There's a bustling grill here manned by four or five grill-chefs, turning out chops, steaks, rotisserie chicken and souvlakia. The salads and starters are limited, but everything is fresh, and great value for money.; plus, the service is genuinely friendly. There's a take-out window for kebabs and souvlakia in pitta, and, late in the evening most nights, live, local Greek music. This place is very convenient for those of you staying at the Anemos or Eva in Ornos (www.grillhouse-lefteris.gr; Tel: 22890 27185).

Konstantis & his Maitre D, Makis

Kostantis Beach Restaurant

Ornos Beach, Mykonos; Tel: 22890 22837

Owned by a local Mykonian gentleman of a certain age, Kostantis is an elegant beach restaurant whose thatched-umbrella-covered tables spill out onto the sands of Ornos Beach. A full restaurant and bars indoors shelter diners in breezy weather. Order the fresh catch of the day (brought in by local fishermen), or fresh Mykonian lobster, either on the grill or in pasta. All the veggie starters are delicious, and there's a menu full of salads, pastas, meat dishes, desserts, cockails. . .and cigars. Our dinner this fall, accompanied by good house wine—Malama, out of Thessaloniki—plus a chocolate souffle, ran 60 euros. The service is thoughtful and friendly: the prices "real," a rarity on Mykonos.

Kuzina Mykonos

Ornos Beachfront, Mykonos; Tel: 22890 26434; www.kuzina.gr

Adjacent the Mykonos Ammos Hotel (due for extensive renovation this coming winter), is the chic, Mediterranean-fusion restaurant-cum-bar, Kuzina, where Chef Aris Tsanaklidis holds forth, and diners enjoy the spotless, white Mykonian ambience, the view of Ornos Bay . . . and some very creative menu items. Begin with Feta in Phyllo with honey and black sesame seeds, Fried Baby Shrimp with homemade aioli and chili sauce; continue with a 400gr T-Bone Steak with grilled Portobello mushrooms sautéed in red wine and Roy’s Codfish: The Chef’s Favorite Recipe. Kuzina’s pricey: with wine or drinks, dinner will run from 80 to 100 euros. Open from around Greek Easter till 1 October.

La Cucina

La Cucina di Daniele

Ano Mera/Bassoulas; Tel: 22890 71513

Mykonos’s foremost gastronome, Dimitris Roussounellos, lauds this superb Italian restaurant perched above Ftelia Beach. Sienna-born Daniele Chiantini presides, and the Italian specialties, which feature some grace notes of Mykonian cheeses, herbs and vegetables, are mouth-watering. Homemade pastas and handsome main courses featuring meats plus a thousand-bottle-deep wine cellar make Daniele’s a must. Dinner for two plus wine, c. 85 Euros. (Reservations in high season.)

Nammos

Nammos Restaurant-by-the-Sea

Psarrou Beach; Tel: 22890 22440

Well, Cairo-born Chef Samis Ibrahim is a wizard, and this lovely, dreamlike restaurant is where I’ll always want to spend my birthdays. The owners, Messrs. Constantinos Kousathanas and Zannis Frantzeskos, are locals, and one is a spectacular fisherman! Order: louza (the traditional prosciutto of Mykonos) and a Fava Bean Salad with Spring Onion and Sundried Tomato; or a roka, Tomato and Parmesan Salad (the best I’ve had anywhere); Fresh Fish (ask!); and then Soufflé au Chocolat. For two, with a 30-Euro wine, plus dessert: c. 130 Euros.

Nazos Family Nicolas Restaurant

Nicolas Restaurant

Aghia Anna Beach/Paranga; Tel: 22890 23566

OK: I’m not going to say too much about this exquisite little place, as it’s my favorite, secret hideaway-on-the-beach. The food is pure family; pure Mykonos. And the family comprises charming Anna, Constantine, Nikos and Katerina Nazos. Nuff said.

O’ Bati: Day & Night

Glaros Quarter (Road to Platy Yialos), Mykonos; Tel: 22890 28400

O’Bati is anything but “just another wood oven pizzeria.” The menu’s primarily Italianate, but you’ll also find such items as a Rib Eye Steak with baked potato and grilled vegetables. O’Bati’s been a locals’ favorite for over four years, and people drop in at all hours, or order deliveries. There are 24 pizzas to choose from, pasta from A to Z, fillets and burgers and steaks, gourmet salads, sandwiches, sweets (Calzone with Nutella, mascarpone and sugar!), and very reasonably priced beers, coffees and wines. Start with Spring Rolls and Crostini; go on to an O’Bati pizza and Seafood Linguini. With drinks, for two, your meal will cost c. 50 euros (though there are many selections for more frugal diners). Open year round.

Othos Araxama Cafe ("Sit Back & Relax Cafe")

Othos Araxame Cafe ("Sit Back & Relax Cafe")

Ano Mera, Mykonos

The name is untranslatable--we'd call this place something like "Easy Street" in US slang--but the Greco-Turkish sweets available here appeal to all nationalities. Irini Stavrakopoulou has re-opened her little slice of sweet-heaven-on-earth in the hamlet of Ano Mera, and it's worth the drive up to the island's second-largest village to have dessert. Following in her mother, Maria's, footsteps, Irini makes from scratch all the "Anatolian" sweets here: her Ekmek is to die for, but there are also Kataifi, Baklava, Loukoumades (hot Greek donuts in honey), spoon-sweets and ice cream--plus a fully stocked bar and coffee bar. The shop's open early till late, year round, and a favorite of locals. It's also a pleasant place to stop for an ouzo and Greek mezes (a tiny plate of freshly made starters). Give Irini my love! (Tel: 22890 71918)

Joseph Salachas, of Picolo, The Sandwich!

Piccolo: The Sandwich!

18 Drakopoulou Street, Hora; Tel: 22890 22208; salijomyk@otenet.gr

Well-known Mykonian Joseph Salachas and his hip, young crew serve up gourmet sandwiches (many featuring exclusively Mykonian comestibles) plus drinks, sweets and other yummy things in this popular new “corner deli” (frequented by Mykonian food writer Dimitris Roussounellos). Located a stone’s throw from the port, it’s worth asking locals for directions to.

Ta Kioupia Taverna/Restaurant

Kastro Quarter, Hora, Mykonos

Just up and across Aghia Monis Square from Niko's Taverna in Hora, is Ta Kioupia ("The Grand Amphorae") Taverna, one of Hora's best (so walk right past Nikos's). Owned and run with love by young husband and wife, Thanos and Ioanna Katsinas, since 2004, Ta Kioupia offers a wide, wide array of authentic Greek specialties—"Lamb Kleftiko" ("Brigands' Lamb") baked in parchment, with spices and cheese; whole grilled Gilthead fish for an unbelievably low price; pasta with sea urchins or mussels—and every Greek starter, salad, cut of meat from the grill and dessert from YiaYia's (Grandmother's) book. The wine list is well-annotated (we had a chardonnay called Adoli Yis I can highly recommend). And don't miss the warm homemade—that day—baklava, Ioanna's special treat, and the Tendura (sweet, spiced liqueur), also homemade. Two of us dined on pasta with mussels, feta, grilled veggie casserole, oven potatoes and Lamb for about 50 euros; the fine bottled wine ran 30 euros. Tel: 22890 22866; takioupia_mykonos@mailbox.gr; www.mykonos-qup-ya.gr.

Greek Whitebait Or Marithes

Taverna Luna

Lia Beach; Tel: 22890 72150

This far, faraway Italian bistro is worth the drive, for the sea and the cuisine. Try: Shrimp Saganaki (in a casserole with tomato, garlic and onion) and Zucchini Croquettes; roka, Parmesan and Balsamic Vinegar Salad; Grilled Shrimp or Penne Salmon; and either Draught Beer or Wine; for two, with wine, c. 20 Euros.

Taverna Matthew

Taverna Matthew

Tourlos Bay; Tel: 22890 22344

Dean and I really do try to eat here once a day during our stay. It’s that good, and the location is so peaceful, and Greek. The taverna’s on the road to San Stephanos Beach, just opposite the new harbor (where the cruise ships dock). At night, it’s like something quiet out of Fellini. Mr. Mattheos Xydakis, and his lovely wife, Evangelia (daughter of great Mykonian restaurateur, Spyros, for you old hands) run this place with precision and warmth, a rarity. Try: Vine Leaves Stuffed with Rice and Meat and Zucchini Stuffed with tyrovolia (a Mykonian cheese); Matthew Salad for Two; Baked Lamb for Two or kotsi (pork loin) for Two; and a bottle of the local “Paraportiano” wine. For two, with wine: c. 50-60 Euros.

Vangelis Taverna, Ano Mera

Taverna Vangelis

On the main square in Ano Mera; Tel: 22890 71577

I’m sorry, but this is basically my “family bistro,” and I’m always too busy eating what I always eat here ever to have made note of the prices. It’s got quite a bit pricier up here in the village since the 1970s, back when Maria Stavrakopoulou was making my (glorious) Greek salads herself (for about 30 drachmas apiece), but the food’s still excellent, and still excellent value for money. Order: Greek Salad; Grilled Octopus; kopanisti Cheese Dip (to slather on bread); paidaikia (Greek lamb chops); and beer. I think, for two, with wine or beer, you’ll probably end up paying 60-70 Euros. (If you’re that sort of person, please show up with some flowers for “Kyria Maria” for me.)

To Ma'ereio

To Ma’ ereio

16 Kalogera Street, Hora; Tel: 22890 28825

Brothers Isidoros and Dimitris Monogios say they owe all their culinary talents and passion to their Mykonoan mother, Asimina. Open for lunch and dinner—arrive early in the evening in high season to have a prayer of a table—this small bar/tavern spills out into Kalogera Street, with its lime-green tables and chairs. Traditional, Mykonian home-cooking is what you’ll find on the menu. Try Asimina’s heavenly meatballs, and the specials of the day (such as lamb fricassee). Dinner for two, with a carafe of house wine: 36 Euros.

Andonis & Lela Stavrakopoulos, The "Whatever Is Left" Grill House

"Whatever Is Left" (. . .oti apomeine) Grill House/Taverna

Near the Tourliani Monastery, below the main square in Ano Mera; Tel: 22890 71534; 6944940309

Andonis Stavrakopoulos runs this very popular small taverna, which specializes in meats cooked over the coals or on the spit. Located just down from the main square in Ano Mera (and his big brother Stavros’s larger taverna, Vaggelis), this is a great place for good, fast food, good company all year round, and Greek bonhomie.

Dean Pratt and Nikos Papatheodorou at the Ta Kioupia Taverna

Maria Stavrakopoulou, "Dean" of Ano Mera's "Old Guard Chefs"


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