Gorgeous Tinos, one of the largest islands of the Cyclades, has been around for thousands of years. There are many versions about how it got its name, among them the one the claims that the island got its name from king Tinos, the leader of an Ionian group from Karia, in Asia Minor, who were the first to inhabit the island in the Prehistoric period.

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The stunning crystal-clear waters, the large sandy beaches and the small protected bays, the scenic mountainous villages and the famous granite rocks that resemble the moonscape have made Tinos popular with Greek and foreign travellers, as well as with the keeper of the winds, Aeolus, who resided in Tsiknias, the tallest mountain on the island, and who, to this day, releases strong winds on the island. Important artists, sculptors and painters like Gyzis, Lytras, Chalepas and Filippotis, were from Tinos and have put the island on the international art map. In addition, the island has gained great fame for its amazing gastronomy that brings together sea and land flavours.

On the rocky and apparently infertile Tinos, many produce treasures are grown, including artichoke, many varieties of figs, Cretan dittany, thyme, fennel, capers, as well as many dairies that are used to make malathouni, petroma, kariki, and kopanisti cheese, as well as the saltsisi salami. And the fresh fish and seafood complete the impressive list of ingredients of exceptional quality that form the base for the island’s amazing cuisine. We travelled to Tinos and recommend five restaurants that offer a special culinary and aesthetic experience.

Marathia

Right on the sandy beach of Agios Fokas, Marinos Souranis’ “Marathia” restaurant has been open for over 20 years. Its name is tribute to the island’s fragrant fennel (marathos in Greek). A modern, rustic design, with natural wood and dry wall and macrame shadings that create a relaxed and pleasant atmosphere, while the tamarisk trees and the reeds on the roof create a cool shade. The view is impressive and calming – the crystal waters, the bright white houses of Tinos, and in the horizon, Delos and Mykonos. Evripidis Apostolidis, the F&B manager, is behind the restaurant’s perfect service. “We opened in 2002, a tavern serving traditional dishes with my mother helping in the kitchen, but our goal has always been to update our techniques,” Marinos tells us. A goal that was accomplished when talented chef Mihalis Marthas took over the kitchen, creating a menu using high-end techniques and top-quality ingredients sourced from local producers who offer their produce exclusively to the restaurant. Additionally, soon they will have their own vegetable garden. The also dry age fish and follow a “nose to tail” philosophy, aiming to use every part of the fish, while the various fermentations and dehydrations minimize food waste, contributing to the protection of the environment. So, the fish bones are used for broths and the fruit peels are dried and used in the creation of dishes.

The menu is clearly Greek and offers familiar, favourite flavours prepared in a creative way. It comprises of delicious appetizers, fresh salads, amazing local cheeses and charcuteries, fresh and dried fish dishes, delectable casserole dishes and grilled meats and vegetables, as well as mouth-watering desserts. They use eleven different varieties of extra virgin olive oil to accompany the dishes, especially the aged fish dishes. Some of the delicacies you must not miss include the Limnos Afko fava tart, the Falatadiana chickpea stew with onion and rosemary, the crunchy beetroot, cucumber and fennel salad, the dry aged tuna with cherry tomatoes, bottarga and graviera biscuits, squid baked with its ink, the courgette and Tinos petroma spiral pie, the Tinos petroma pie with herbs and handmade filo dough made with corn flour, the mushroom orzo, as well as the exceptional skewered aged flathead grey mullet fillet with wild Tinos artichokes, parsley, lemon sauce and tiganopsomo (fried dough with cheese). The wines have been carefully selected from the Greek vineyard and suit the dishes perfectly. “The food needs to be perfectly executed and tasty. It needs to have character and be original. Together with the atmosphere, the impeccable hospitality, the lovely view and the good wine, it offers a complete experience,” Mihalis says. And his words perfectly describe Marathia, we add.

Address: Agios Fokas beach, Tinos

Telephone: + 30 22830 23249

Website: marathiatinos.gr

Instagram: marathia

Kalopsía Restaurant

In Kionia, a stone’s throw from Hora, near the port, you’ll find Kalopsía restaurant, by well-known chef Giorgos Stilianoudakis (Comus). “I visited Tinos and was charmed by its beauty and its great products,” he tells us. So, he decided to create a warm, friendly restaurant on Aeolus’ island. The open, minimal, well-designed space and the chic décor with the wooden details and the muted colours creates the feel of an old square and invites customers to relax and become part of a group. The tables are well-spaced, offering comfort while the amazing view of the Aegean sea adds to the pleasure. The huge kitchen can be seen behind large windows, inviting visitors to look inside. Kalopsía utilizes various cooking techniques and local products of the best quality, offering extremely delicious, simple and accessible comfort food, masterfully created by head chef Alexandros Hrisanthakopoulos and his team. The flavours take you on a trip around Greece, passing through Crete, the chef’s home, and around the Mediterranean.

The menu includes land and sea dishes and comprises of fresh, raw, delicious appetizers, light salads and well-prepared mains, many of which are cooked in the wood-burning oven. Among the imaginative and very tasty dishes on the menu, you’ll find shrimp in citrus juice, served with cherry tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, orange, coriander and olive oil; beef filet tartar stew with tomato sauce, herbs and cumin; braised octopus with fava, caramelised onion, dill, capers, graviera cheese and anchovies sauce; watermelon salad with capers, olives, Tinian graviera, feta, almonds, mint, basil and olive oil; cuttlefish tagliatelle with vine leave stuffed with crab; and rich lobster orzo with tomato and basil, as well as the Cretan beef stew served with potatoes, onions and cumin sauce. The wine list, curated by sommelier Fotis Stathopoulos includes labels from the Greek and international vineyard that perfectly accompany the dishes, while the desserts, made by Nikoleta Tsaliki, conclude the meal on a sweet note. “I wanted to make a restaurant that would offer good food, comfort and pleasure to guests,” Giorgos says.

With great service, laid-back atmosphere, comfortable and elegant, beautiful view and amazing cuisine, Kalopsía is, without doubt, a great representative of Tinos’ gastronomy’s “best side”.

Address: Stavrou Kionion Avenue, Kionia, Tinos

Telephone: + 30 22830 25855

Website: kalopsia.restaurant

Instagram: kalopsiatinos

To Thalassaki

On a pier in the gorgeous Isternia bay, where boats from Piraeus used to moor, Antonia Zarpa’s and Aris Tatsis’ To Thalassaki first opened 23 years ago. Partners in life and in business, they have created an emblematic restaurant that has been a household name for exceptional food on the island. “My aunt Vangelio first opened the restaurant in 1954 and called it “Neon”. It fed everyone. It was a coffee shop, a grocery store, a post office – a true community centre,” Antonia tells us. Wooden furniture, seats made with wood from old ships, stone lintels, replicas of some of the oldest lintels found on the island, and carefully carved curved corners om the walls, painted white, all create an appealing setting, associated with summer and Greek islands. Built literally next to the sea, To Thalassaki takes guests on a trip of the Aegean with its amazing views and the carefree, relaxing and pleasant moments it offers. During the day, the sun makes the sea glisten, while at sunset the sky is painted red. Antonia is in charge of the kitchen, constantly evolving it, with quality local ingredients being her base always. “Quality is non-negotiable. I have my own vegetable garden where I grow all the herbs and vegetables, as well as producers I have been working with for many years. I live here and I want to support the land and the producers,” she tells us.

The menu includes fragrant appetizers, amazing local cheeses, fresh salads, excellent fish and seafood, –that constitute the largest part of the menu– as well as juicy casserole dishes with meat and delicious desserts. Distinctly local and Greek, with unique, creative touches, epic flavours and masterfully set dishes. Grilled Tinos anthotiro with warm bread, olive oil and grilled fruit, tarama salad with squid ink, salted red porgy with trachanas’ (traditional pasta made with flour, milk or yogurt) cream and wheat, grilled octopus with tomato and garlic sauce and pickled legumes, bean salad with grilled vegetables and herbs, as well as the amazingly tasty calamari with cherry tomatoes and pasta cooked in its ink are only some of the amazing dishes on the menu. A great wine list with labels from Tinos’ and Greece’s vineyard perfectly accompanies the menu. They don’t serve any sodas and fizzy drinks anymore, serving instead homemade juices made with seasonal fruit that they prepare inhouse. Antonia named the restaurant To Thalassaki because she wanted the name to “reflect a destination. To be inviting.” The charming view, the amazing environment, the warm hospitality, and the amazing food are a vibrant invitation that you need to accept so you can live a one-of-a-kind experience in To Thalassaki.

Address: Isternia Bay, Tinos

Telephone: + 30 22830 31366

Instagram: tothalassaki

Zoga Restaurant & Wine Bar

Inside the elegant Aeolis Tinos Suites hotel, in the mountainous Triantaro village, you’ll find Zoga, a great restaurant named after one of the oldest fishing techniques in the Cyclades. Stone is the main material of this rustic restaurant right next to the hotel’s pool that offers a panoramic view of the island’s rocky landscape, the bright white houses of the village and the enchanting blue waters of the Aegean sea, while in the background you can even see Delos and the Hora of Mykonos. The elegant and laid-back setting offers moments of rest and relaxation. Since last year, Michelin star-wining chef Tasos Mantis (Soil) is in charge of the kitchen and apart from the techniques he brought to the restaurant, he also brought his “farm to table” philosophy, aiming among other things, to showcase the island’s and Greece’s in general ingredients. “It’s essential for us to use quality local products. We source the fish and the majority of our ingredients like cherry tomatoes, capers and samphire from one producer in Tinos. We also make at the restaurant everything we can; we make traditional pies, Zea flour pies, pizza dough, hemp bread rolls, BAO buns, brioche and many more,” head chef Dimitris Vrantzidis says.

With his team, they masterfully execute the menu’s recipes that focus mostly on Greek and Mediterranean dishes and consist of fresh salads, delicious appetizers, well-prepared mains and desserts. The number of dishes on the menu is small but their flavour is huge, and they cater to a wide range of dietary restrictions. Kakavia soup with potatoes, saffron and fresh basil, slow-cooked octopus with fava, opposite-leaved saltwort, caper berries, scallop orzo, langouste foam and wild garlic cream, calamari with tarama salad, samphire and onion pickles, sea bass with fresh tomato risotto, basil and chili, slow-cooked lamb with vegetables and baby potatoes, as well as juicy ribeye served with rucola and parmesan are just a few of the tasty dishes on the menu. The wine list consists of wines from the Greek and European vineyard that have been carefully selected to suit the food, while the desserts, with the one with pine seeds, white chocolate and lemon verbena, conclude the meal sweetly. Professional service, amazing views, pleasant atmosphere and tasty cuisine, Zoga is a great choice for food in Tinos.

Address: Hotel Aeolis Tinos Suites, Triantaro, Tinos

Telephone: + 30 22830 41706

Website: zoga.gr

Instagram: zogatinos

Thama Restaurant

You’ll find Thama restaurant, owned by chef Dimitris Katrivesis and his wife Marianta Pieridi in Kionia. The modern space, with the comfy chairs and the built-in sofas, the natural wood, the bamboo and the pale colours, blends in with its surroundings and creates a laidback setting with a beautiful view of the Aegean sea. The open-plan kitchen becomes one with the main hall and next to it, the wine cellar, with glass all around, allows guests to look at the select wines from the Greek and international vineyard. At Thama, Dimitris mixes his knowledge and experience with Japanese, Latin American and European cuisine using the rich ingredients and traditional flavours of Tinos. “It’s lovely how the world unites with flavour,” Dimitris says. Thama’s team using great quality ingredients creates two menus with high-end techniques, one a la carte and one seven-course degustation menu – with international and Greek and Tinian references.

The degustation menu gives visitors the opportunity to get a full experience of the restaurant’s culinary offerings. The a la carte menu includes raw dishes, fresh salads, well-made appetizers and main dishes, as well as signature meat cuts, from international suppliers in the USA, Japan, and Australia. Among the menu’s dishes, you’ll find aubergine spread with pumpkin seed; courgette blossoms; tahini sauce; oyster with wild caper cream, green apple, cucumber and herbs; cabbage salad with yogurt, beurre blanc vinaigrette, caper dust and green Matcha tea; wild artichoke with bottarga, wild fennel, potato gnocchi and potato peel consommé; savoro sardines with smoked aubergine, raisins, fig molasses, chamomile vinegar and lime; as well as orzo with goat meat, grilled vine leaf, yellow pepper cream, fresh herbs, truffle carpaccio and soft Tinian cheese. “Seeing Tinos’ beauty and knowing its traditional foods and discovering its great ingredients, you get excited with the island and its uniqueness. So, I wanted to create a nice, comfy space with polite service and great sea views where guests will have a good time and relax, listening to nice music, drinking great wine and eating tasty, traditional food,” Dimitris says, adding that “each year we will evolve and get better.”

Address: Stavrou Kionion Avenue, Kionia, Tinos

Telephone: + 30 22830 29021

Website: thamarestaurant.com

Instagram: thama_tinos

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