Beyond the renowned beach clubs and upscale restaurants that Mykonos, the “Island of the Winds” is famous for, the island also boasts a variety of charming, more relaxed taverns. These traditional Greek eateries offer a unique dining experience with Cycladic architecture, stunning views of the crystal-clear waters of the Aegean Sea or the picturesque tile-lined streets of the town, and a casual, laid-back atmosphere.
The tavernas serve delicious “homemade” Greek and Mediterranean cuisine that will delight both locals and visitors alike. We recently visited the island, explored its charming Hora and beautiful beaches, and have curated a list of five must-visit taverns that are worth experiencing.
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Built on a rocky outcropping overlooking the idyllic bay of Agios Sostis beach, lies the legendary “Kiki’s” tavern. First opened in 1984 as a traditional Greek “home” restaurant, Kiki’s continues to offer home-cooked food and warm hospitality.. “I want to create memories for people” Vasilis, the most recent owner, tells us. There’s still no sign at the shop, nor is there a phone number for reservations.
Vasilis is “in charge of traffic”, as he says, taking names for his -mental- waiting list of the people who come and wait patiently, sometimes up to two hours, to have, in the lovely shady garden, the experience of amazing food combined with total relaxation and great views of the turquoise sea.
The menu features a variety of appetizers, salads and grilled dishes, including daily salads from the display, grilled feta with peppers, succulent charcoal-grilled calamari, chicken breast stuffed with tomato and feta, flavorful grilled shrimp and tender marinated pork steak served with a delicious baked potato. Kiki’s is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking an authentic Greek dining experience with stunning views.
Agios Sostis beach, Mykonos
On the beach of Agia Anna, the family tavern “Nikolas” has been around since 1967. Originally opened by Nikolas and Katerina Dahtilidi, it is now in the hands of the third generation, with their grandson Nikolas and their granddaughter Katerina in charge. Al-fresco dining is in a lovely shady garden, as well as under the shade of trees on the beach, with views of the sea and the summer sky composing an idyllic setting. The service is welcoming and friendly and the cuisine is Greek with simple, clean flavours.
The ingredients are almost exclusively home grown/sourced – with the fish arriving daily on their own fishing boat, the vegetables grown in their vegetable garden, and the meat from their cattle. Fresh salads, Mykonian delicacies, delectable appetizers, rich pasta dishes, tasty casserole dishes and well-grilled fish and meat comprise a menu full of flavour.
Spicy louza (traditional air-dried pork) and Mykonos sausage, grilled aubergine with feta, garlic and tomato, fresh sea-urchins, vinegar marinated octopus with tomato, pepper and capers, juicy lamb roast, as well as lamb chops, steamed mussels, rich lobster spaghetti, and masterly-grilled fish are some of the specialties here.
Agia Anna, Mykonos, tel.: 0030 22890 25264
On one of the loveliest beaches in north Mykonos, on Fokos beach, you’ll find the homonymous tavern which Kate and Polihronis Tampoulhanas and their daughter Marissa first opened in 1999. In traditional Mykonian style, white with stone elements, the tavern blends into its surroundings. Built-in sofas with cushions, reed shading and traditional wooden tables comprise a familiar, island setting that has become associated with the carefreeness of summer.
The unique view of the sea and the welcoming hospitality add to the delight of the experience. The tavern is known for its healthy food, so, here you won’t find fried dishes, but a variety of traditional Mykonian and Mediterranean dishes made with fresh seasonal produce.
Mykonian salad with arugula, figs and louza; beetroot with goats cheese, arugula and orange; lovely dips and spreads; lentils with feta, olives, garlic and mint; Florina red peppers with Mykonos tirovolia cheese; shrimp saganaki (usually prepared in a small skillet with tomato sauce) with garlic and wine; succulent lamb chops; amazing beef patties grilled to perfection, and fresh fish are some of the options on the menu. You must also try their desserts, and especially the “angel cake” with fruit and homemade ice cream.
Fokos beach, Mykonos, tel.: 0030 694 464 4343
Kounelas fish tavern
On a small street off the Mykonos promenade, Mihalis Theoharis’ tavern Kounelas has been open since 1969. Mihalis was a fisherman who created a tavern with honest homecooked food and fresh fish he fished himself. Today, his son Giannis is in charge of the family business, keeping up the high standards of service and the focus on great ingredients, quality cooking and friendly hospitality but with the addition of meat to the menu.
Dine al fresco amidst the natural beauty of the garden, where tables are huddled under the trees, or opt for a table on the bustling pedestrian street, a favorite among long-time patrons. The grill, located just outside the tavern, infuses the air with mouthwatering aromas.
The menu consists of mouth-watering dishes, including homemade spreads, refreshing seafood salad, amazing marinated sardines, rich shrimp saganaki with tomato, feta, onions and peppers, juicy grilled octopus, amazing langoustine orzo, tasty mussels risotto, seafood linguini cooked in squid ink, and of course fresh grilled fish. Kounelas continues to be a great tavern for both fish and meat in Mykonos Town.
1 Svoronou str, Mykonos, tel. : 0030 22890 28220
Tucked away down one of the charming alleys of the center of Mykonos Town, lies the celebrated “To Maereio” restaurant, where twin brothers Sideris and Dimitris base their cooking on their mother’s authentic Greek recipes while popular old Greek songs play in the background. The quaint eatery resembles a home with old photographs adorning the walls, a wooden bar, traditional door and window frames, and a few tables both inside and outside on the steps of the narrow entrance.
They do not take reservations but the delicious food is worth the wait. The menu includes a variety of hot and cold appetizers, fresh salads, fried dishes, and daily specials such as casserole dishes. The “mostra” with rusk, kopanisti cheese from Mykonos, and fresh tomato and Asimina’s (the owners’ mother) meatballs served with hand-cut fries are must-try.
From the casserole dishes, the beef fillet with mavrodafni wine and parmesan is particularly noteworthy, and if available, the moussaka, bekri meze, and chicken loaf stuffed with cheese and peppers are also highly recommended. Though small in size, “To Maereio” offers huge flavors and a truly enjoyable dining experience.
16 Kalogera str, Mykonos, tel.: 0030 22890 28825
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