Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Eating out!

It is I guess hard to suggest places to eat on the island of Naxos. Most of the tavernas offer locally produced vegetables and meat, a lot offer fresh fish and some try to differ from a typical Greek taverna, promoting a more creative, modern Greek cuisine. I will focus on Chora town, as this is where I eat most of the times.

Let's start from those open all year round, which cater to the needs of the locals!

Metaxy mas (between us): located in a small street in the old part of Chora town, this family run taverna is housed in a stone walled house and serves in the street during summer (but be there early or you'll have to wait). The couple who own the taverna and the waiters are all friendly and relaxed. The portions are big and tasty. Definitely order "tigania" (fried pork pieces in lemon sauce with pieces of local cheese) and potato salad (without mayonnaise). It is by far the cheapest restaurant and great value for money.

Maro: this restaurant is located at Platia Protodikiou, somewhere above the free municipality parking (ask at any kiosk or any local for exact directions). They offer a big variety of strictly local dishes, such as "drunken pork" (cooked in wine with white sauce) and "rosto pork" (cooked in tomato sauce and wine). Definitely try fried liver, it is exceptional (of course from local meat). And beware, portions are really big.

Meze 2: Located at the port, this mainly fish restaurant is fully packed even in April when I first went there - in summer it is pure luck to find a table. Despite the crowds, they have an efficient service (well, don't expect miracles in mid August), delicious big dishes and a big variety of fish and meat mezedes (the Greek equivalent of tapas, in a bigger plate). They have a branch on Plaka beach.

In summer, you have of course a bigger variety of choices - and frankly, it is worth it to try as many restaurants as possible.

Labyrinth: Yes, in the labyrinth of the old town, this modern wine restaurant in a small, neat yard begs to differ. They combine traditional food (i.e. delicious chicken in lemon sauce) with modern approaches to the local products (i.e. try any of their salads). They have a small menu, but they offer an extensive list of wines and a jazzy kind of atmosphere (set your Shazam ready!). When you go, please keep your voice down, the place offers tranquility to the guests and friendly smiles from the couple operating the restaurant. Tip: don't miss the chocolate biscuit. Until the end of August 2011 there is an exhibition in the premises with paintings by Mariella Konstantinidis.

Kastro, Typografeio, S' agapo are 3 restaurants located very close one to each other in the old town of Chora town, each one offering a different experience.

Kastro offers a magnificent view of the port (if you are lucky to find one of the "good" tables), efficient service, and is an "honest" taverna, serving tasty food.

Typografeio has a variety of altered Greek recipes, professional service and a model kitchen (extremely rare on the islands) - and is more pricey.

S'agapooo (I looove you) serves in some nice terraces, the personnel is friendly, the variety big and the food ok (well, when you go in two, you don't have the possibility to experiment a lot with the menu, therefore I cannot say much).

Of course, you can still eat great food everywhere in the villages or in tavernas at the seaside, such as for instance the Paradiso Taverna in Maragas beach (Plaka beach). If you intend to explore other parts of the islands, simply ask the locals. Your hotelier will be happy to oblige.

And if you have your own tips, feel free to share them with us!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

July vacation

Yes, I know, it is now mid August and most of you are laying at a beach somewhere - and most of you are in overcrowded beaches, walking in overcrowded pebbled streets, eating in overcrowded restaurants with stressed waiters. That is why I love July or September on the Greek islands, especially the picturesque cycladic island of Naxos. I love it in July because the days are really long and in September because the seas are really calm and very warm. Prices are lower, service is always better, and everyone is more relaxed.

Even more so when you rent a studio somewhere quiet. Some of my clients stayed this July at Stafilas studios in Agia Anna, in an apartment on the ground floor by the pool, and although they feared it would be loud with children, it was serene.
This is a family business, run by Margarita, with some help from the rest of the family. It was build 3 years ago and has been furnished and decorated with an impeccable modern taste. Even small details, like the decor on the coffee tables by the pool, did make a difference. Such a pity they don't officially serve drinks by the pool - but you can either bring your own or expect some treat from Margarita! Her daughter's "spoon sweets" are top notch.

As for the area of Agia Anna, there is not much to be said. The beach is actually the continuation of the Agios Prokopios beach, a sandy beach with crystal clear waters even at its busiest part. A couple of nice cafes also serve the rented umbrellas.

And like all the west coast of the island, the sunset is an unforgettable experience, every day.

What is also convenient is the proximity of Agia Anna to the main Naxos town, Chora. You can spend the day at the beach - or at any other beach, Plaka is at walking distance - and the night by the port or the old town in Chora. Bus connection is really frequent and if you are a more athletic type, you can always ride the 4 km to the town (and spare the quest for a parking place at the free municipality parking).

For photos of Naxos in July 2011, you can visit our facebook page

And for tips on where to eat on Naxos, stay tuned!