Monday 16 October 2023

Eating and drinking in Naxos

When we're on holiday on the islands, we like to go for a drink or two, usually ouzo, before our evening meal. Our preferred option is a place that is a bit different, with maybe a traditional feel  and somewhere by the sea with good views. This proved impossible in the Hora in Naxos: all the bars were your standard-issue, identical to bars everywhere in the world, aimed at tourists. They were also very busy, not to our taste. 

We did find this place though, Diogenes, which we liked: it had a traditional feel to it, and by the second day we realised that it was where older gay men liked to go. Some were tourists who had been coming to this place and Naxos for years. 

Even though Diogenes is near the sea,  our view was this, their second sitting area

and the pedestrianised path which was excellent for people watching especially those going to the Portara and coming back after the sunset.

Facing us was a line of palm trees where all (it seemed) the birds of the island came here to sleep as the sun went down. There was a cocophony of very pleasant sound the whole time we sat here having our drinks. They would fly over in never-ending groups. The only other time I have come across this is in Syros where again, during our early evening drinks hundreds, no thousands, of birds would congregate every evening. If you look closely enough at the photograph you will see the tiny birds perched on top of the branches.

Facing us to our left was also this square, and one evening a band started playing traditional Greek music. They were good and they were playing for a good cause, animal rescue, their banner read 'we rescue, you save'.

Lots of people stopped to listen and some started dancing.

Eating in Naxos:

The food served in Naxos tavernas is traditional Greek, but there are quite a few dishes that are local and they are generally delicious. Naxos produces a lot of its own food and the island is a great cheese producer including its own cheeses that can't be found anywhere else. We went to a different taverna every night, except for Elliniko - it was so good there that we had to go twice.

For our first evening meal we chose to go to this taverna owned and run by the Union of Agricultural Cooperatives of Naxos. 

It was huge, and always very busy, always full and most of the time there would be a queue of people by the entrance waiting to get a table. 

The food was good, and the atmosphere excellent.

Oniro (dream in Greek) is in the old town 

you have to go up three flights of stairs

to reach the terrace where the restaurant is (I took this photograph from Avaton )

the food was good as was the service

and we enjoyed looking at the views of the castle.

Metaxi Mas, Amongst Ourselves in Greek, is nothing like what its name promises: it's very busy and you have to book beforehand as it's so popular. 

It's spread across a few streets, looks lovely and interesting.

The food is good, but the staff are quite dismissive of the customers - I think their success has gone to their heads a bit.

Near the centre of the Hora where most restaurants and tavernas are situated,  is To Kati Allo Tou Giannaki, a traditional taverna, so we came here one evening. It looked promising, was always busy, but in the end, not as good as we thought.

Typografio is in the old town 

one can sit on the terrace, which is where we sat

or across the road, in the garden.

The food is delicious, Greek cuisine but with a twist of nouvelle cuisine - we really enjoyed it. The service was excellent and the staff very friendly.

One of the child/busker/violinists played just below where we were sitting and that was fun.

This is Ellinikon (the Greek One), recommended by everyone we spoke to and yes, they were right, it's a great place. Booking is essential but there are nevertheless people queuing every evening hoping to get a table.

The food is excellent, the service exemplary, the staff very friendly, the atmosphere great.

We came here twice, and would have come a third evening, but could not get a table.

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