Category Archives: Alonnisos – Restaurants

Alonnisos Village Taverna in the Old Village

Over our 14 trips to Alonnisos we have pretty much narrowed down our restaurant visits to a handful of tavernas and estiatorios where we have developed friendships with the owners and staff. For me personally, I like dining with people I consider friends, and since the food is always good it’s easy to just stay with our usual choices. Last week (early August 2017) we decided to break with that tradition just to try something “new,” so we chose to have dinner at the Alonnisos Village Taverna in the Old Village.

We were very impressed with the breadth of the menu, and the waiter who took care of us, Kostas, was very friendly and efficient. In the end we (a group of five) ordered various dishes to share, including vlita, vegetable moussaka, meatballs with gouda cheese, roasted red peppers, and a green salad. All of these dishes were excellent, and the portions were generous yet the prices were quite reasonable all told.

Prior to leaving I introduced myself to Apostolis, the gentleman handling the cash register, and told him how much we enjoyed the food. He was very friendly and grateful for our visit, and I also had the pleasure of meeting the chef, Adonis, as well as a waitress named Natasha and another waiter whose name I cannot recall at the moment of writing this post. All of these folks were very kind and friendly, which to me is another key reason why we will be certain to continue to visit this restaurant going forward (assuming this excellent staff continues to run it).

The Alonnisos Village Taverna is located perhaps 30 meters from the bus stop in the Old Village on the right side of the walkway, just across from the Italian gelateria.

Gyros of the Village

001During our 2014 trip we noticed that a new gyros restaurant had opened in the Old Village since our last visit in 2011. It is called “Gyros of the Village,” and it is operated by a very nice young man named Sokrates (pictured to your right). We were inspired to stop there one day to order some chicken gyros to take home for lunch, and we found the quality of the food to be simply excellent! Over the course of our stay we purchased carry out food from Sokrates several times, and in each instance the meals were delicious. Also note that the price per gyro was very reasonable.

In addition to gyros, Sokrates sells chicken and pork souvlaki, salads, and other foods. Menu options include gyros and souvlaki plates that offer very good size portions. While we chose to take food home with us, the restaurant also has many tables for those customers who prefer to dine onsite. Because of our very positive experiences at “Gyros of the Village,” we will be sure to visit this restaurant again many times during our next visit to Alonnisos.

Archontostasi Restaurant & Bar (“Mary’s Bar”)

031After three years of reading references to “Mary’s Bar” on the Ivicourt.com website, during our 2014 trip to Alonnisos we were inspired to finally visit there and have dinner. My wife’s mother and step-father (Elaine and Peter) came with us that evening, during which we also had the opportunity to listen to three exceptionally talented musicians from Athens.

015That evening we ordered pasta dishes that were very tasty, and as the photo to the left indicates, the portion size was very generous. All of us greatly enjoyed our meals and left there feeling completely satisfied with all aspects of the experience.

Based on that very positive first visit, Andrea and I returned to Archontostasi several more times during our stay, sampling other items on the menu. These included a delicious chicken with mustard sauce entrée, an excellent soya sauce-based chicken dish, and a wonderful Margherita pizza with great flavor and a very tasty, bakery-like crust. In addition to the excellent food, we found the service to be very good as well. The 030waiter who took care of us, Jorgos, was very friendly and efficient, and Mary the owner (pictured with me to the right) was very welcoming and kind to us each time we ate there.

Archontostasi is actually quite a large place, as there are outdoor terraces both in front of the restaurant and at the rear as well. The view from the front terrace is quite lovely, as it looks out toward the north side of the island. In addition, there is an indoor seating area available just in case it rains or the winds pick up. Please note that Archontostasi also offers free Wi-Fi access for its customers.

Panselinos Estiatorio & Bar – Old Village

Another good quality restaurant in the Old Village of Alonnisos is the Panselinos Estiatorio & Bar. Conveniently located directly across from the place where the city bus lets passengers from Patitiri off, Panselinos is housed in a beautiful, expansive building that offers more seating than any other restaurant in the Old Village. Panselinos has an extensive menu featuring a wide assortment of traditional Greek dishes, and offers a full liquor bar as well as a nice selection of wines.

In addition to its indoor seating, Panselinos has an outdoor area (see photo to your left) with a number of tables for folks who prefer to dine al fresco. This restaurant also offers free WI-Fi access, which makes it a very popular place for anyone with a laptop or smart phone that needs to access the Internet. When you visit the Old Village, be sure to stop by Panselinos to sample their cuisine, or to have a cold beverage or a coffee drink while you enjoy the view. To contact me via email with any questions regarding this post click here.

Helios Restaurant & Bar in Patitiri

During our 2011 trip to Alonnisos we heard from several friends and from my in-laws as well, that we really needed to have a meal at the Helios Restaurant & Bar in the port town of Patitiri. They essentially raved about the quality of the food prepared there, and also remarked about the diverse nature of the menu. We eventually made it to Helios during the final week of our trip, and I must say that our dining experience there actually exceeded our expectations. The food was simply excellent in every respect and despite the fact that every table was filled, the service was quite solid that night as well.

Helios is also affectionately known by its regular customers as “Andy’s Bar” in honor of the owner and chef. Originating from Berlin, Andy (pictured to your right) is a professional chef who has extensive experience in preparing a wide range of gourmet dishes. My dear friend from Thessaloniki, “Ilias the Waiter,” tells me that Andy spent four years in a top quality cooking school, and he also worked for several years as a chef in Italy prior to finding his way to Greece.

The night we visited Helios I ordered a Chicken Caesar Wrap that was perfectly prepared, and Andrea had a pasta dish that she greatly enjoyed. I don’t recall what my in-laws ate that evening, but I do remember they, too, were very satisfied with their meals. Unfortunately, I also cannot recall the specifics of the menu, but I do know there were appetizers, salads, and entrees that (to my knowledge) are not available anywhere else on the island. That makes Helios a great alternative restaurant to dine at should you be ready to eat something beyond traditional Greek faire.

Helios also features a wide assortment of wines, beer, and hard liquor, and liqueurs. So, even if you’re not ready for a meal it’s worth your time to stop by and have a cocktail, or perhaps a coffee drink or some other beverage. Helios is located directly above the port of Patiri as you stand at point where the Port Police office is located in the center of the harbor. The restaurant is accessible from a set of steps on either road leading up from the port itself (the road is like a horseshoe, with the bottom of the shoe being the port).

Note: We returned to Helios twice during our trip in the summer of 2014, and once again during 2016 and again found the food to be excellent!

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Old Village – Taverna Peri Orexios

Located in the Old Village of Alonnisos, just above the grocery store that stands right in front of the bus stop, Taverna Peri Orexios (see photo to your right) offers a nice selection of meals. In addition to having a small number of tables at its second-floor location, this restaurant has quite a bit of seating downstairs and directly across the road in an area we have come to call “the forest” (see photo below and on the left). It’s actually a relatively small spot of green space with large pine trees just beyond the bus stop/taxi stand. From Peri Orexios you also get a view of the short road leading up to the plateia (town square), and of the Old Village itself.

Taverna Peri Orexios originally opened in the summer of 2007, and quickly became a favorite among Europeans who own homes in the Old Village. It’s operated by a gentleman named Panayiotis and his wife Marina, who serves as the lead waitress. Its menu includes some traditional Greek faire, but also features dishes from other cuisines. Andrea and I and my in-laws as well are particularly fond of their sautéed mushrooms, tabouli, chicken with Basmati rice, a unique potato dish that is cooked with bacon and yoghurt, and a very tasty eggplant (aubergine) and feta cheese appetizer that is sauteed in tomato sauce. We ate at this restaurant several times during our trips in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2014, and were always very satisfied with the quality of the food and the service as well.

Note that in addition to being seated and eating a meal at the restaurant, Taverna Peri Orexios offers both carry-out and delivery service if you happen to be staying in the Old Village.

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Lefto Gialos Beach and the Eleonas Estiatorio

 If I had to choose my favorite beach on Alonnisos, I would say without question it is the beach known as Lefto Gialos. Located on a beautiful bay surrounded by rugged, hilly terrain, it’s undoubtedly one of the best beaches for swimming on the island. It’s also a fairly large beach in that there’s usually ample room for people to find a place to sit or lie down without being right on top of somebody else.

Like most beaches on the island, Lefto Gialos is comprised of stones as opposed to sand, but unlike many others, the stones are for the most part consistently whitish in tone and are more round than flat (see photo to your left). That means for optimum comfort you’ll either need to rent a beach chair (around 12 Euros with umbrella), use a heavy-duty beach mat, or have an air mattress (lie-low in the UK) to lie on. To see a brief YouTube video that shows the type of view you’ll get to experience at this lovely beach click here.

Lefto Gialos is located perhaps eight kilometers from the port town of Patitiri, and 11 kilometers from the Old Village. Because of this distance, walking there would be quite challenging for most people, so that means you’ll most likely need to either rent a motorbike or a car to get there, or take a taxi. The drive offers some very nice scenery on the way, including a gorgeous view of another beach called Tzortzi Gialos (see photo to your right), and the road is paved and very smooth for the most part.

When we initially visited this beach back in 1997 it was a lot different than it is today. The road wasn’t paved and in spots was very rough-going. In addition, there was just one restaurant, and its source of electricity was a gas-powered generator because power lines had not yet been extended to that area of the island. Back then it was so rustic there was a goat herder who regularly brought his flock down from the hills to drink water from a trough located right on the upper portion of the beach. I’ll never forget one day when I was lying on the beach almost asleep and I heard the sound of many ringing bells. I opened my eyes and was surrounded by perhaps 50 goats! Don’t worry though, the goats are no longer brought down to that area to drink.

The Eleonas Estiatorio

Currently there are two restaurants at Lefto Gialos, and each of them has its own charm and following. We are particularly fond of the Eleonas Estiatorio because the food and service is always excellent, and, we have personally known the owners, Nikos and Magda, and their family, for nearly 20 years.

 Eleonas is the restaurant on your right when you arrive at Lefto Gialos beach. The original estiatorio there, it’s located in the midst of an olive tree grove and in addition to the shade offered by the trees it offers thatched umbrellas to protect diners from the very hot Mediterranean sun. When we initially met Nikos and Magda in 1997, they treated us with very genuine filoxenia (Greek for hospitality), and each time we return we are treated like family. Nikos has also been very helpful to me in my feeble attempts at learning to speak Greek, often instructing me in the midst of serving our food! (photo to your left is of Nikos and me a few years ago). During the busiest part of the tourist season Eleonas is always filled with customers, but even so we usually are able to get a table fairly quickly. If by chance you do have to wait for a spell, rest assured that your meals will be well worth the wait.

The Menu  

Open for lunch and dinner, Eleonas has a very large assortment of menu items, including numerous hot & cold appetizers and salads that can serve as meals all by themselves. With respect to the entrees, we’ve always found anything they make in the oven to be very delicious. When artichokes are in season they include them along with potatoes in a couple of dishes using a wonderfully tasty sauce, and Eleonas also offers a full range of traditional Greek cuisine. There is usually an excellent selection of both fresh and frozen fish, and shellfish as well.

Desserts are likewise available, as are a selection of aperitifs, coffee and tea as well. While not a daily menu item, one very sweet treat that Eleonas makes occasionally is called “fuskakia,” or “little blisters,” which are little balls of dough deep-fried and then sweetened with honey, and I believe a bit of cinnamon flavor as well. Trust me; it’s impossible to eat just one of them!

Atmosphere

 While not right on the water, the Eleonas Estiatorio offers a view of the beach and is located approximately 50 meters from the sea. The photo to your left of my wife Andrea gives you a perspective of the “look” of the grounds of this wonderful estiatorio. While most of the business is done during the day, Eleonas is also open in the evening. The peaceful location always makes dining there a very enjoyable experience. Please also note that during 2009 Eleonas  added a cafe/bar located nearer the water that offers a wide selection of drinks, as wellas snack-type food entrees. Should you visit Eleonas please do give our regards to Nikos and Magda, and tell them that Jeff & Andrea from Chicago sent you! To learn more about Eleonas, visit their website in English, or in Greek.

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Megalos Mourtias Beach and the Megalo Mourtia Taverna

Megalos Mourtias is the closest beach to the Old Village of Alonninsos that offers full services (i.e., food and drink, restrooms, beach chair and umbrella rental). There are actually two tavernas at Megalos Mourtias, and each has it own charm and following. Since this beach is just a couple of kilometers away from the home we typically use during our stays, we tend to spend most of our swimming and beach time there. In fact, it’s only a very rare day that we don’t spend some time lounging around the beach at Megalos Mourtias.

Over the years more often than not we tend to walk down to this beach since it only takes 20 – 25 minutes from the house we use. But, that’s the easy part of course, as based on your fitness level and the number of beers or cocktails you may have consumed at the taverna, the walk back up to the village can be quite challenging! The photo to your left gives you a clear idea of just how steep that walk back to the Old Village actually is, though it does overstate it a bit since both the road and the path provide a more gradual ascent.

Megalos Mourtias, like most beaches on Alonnisos, is a stone beach as opposed to sand. So when visiting this type of beach we strongly advise that you purchase some “water socks” since walking on the stones can be quite uncomfortable. If you don’t want to leave them on while swimming once you’re in the water You can always toss them back toward your beach chair or towel. Speaking of the stones, while using a beach towel on top of them is an option that many take, it is very difficult to remain comfortable lying on them for long periods of time. In our case we bring air mattresses (or a lie-low if you’re from the UK) and put our towels on top of them. The added advantage of the lie-low obviously is that you can take it out into the water and enjoy the feeling of floating on the sea as the current moves you back and forth. This is perhaps my favorite activity in Alonnisos! On the other hand, if you’re not up for blowing up the lie-low then you can always rent a couple of lounge chairs and an umbrella.

One word of caution when you begin to carve out your place on the beach is that you must be aware that when a large ferry passes by, even one a couple kilometers or more out into the sea, eventually some very large waves that were generated by the ship’s wake make their way to shore. When that happens, if you have set your towel, chair or lie-low too close to the water’s edge you are definitely going to get wet! It’s actually quite comical to watch this happen to unsuspecting newcomers, as it always results in a scramble to higher ground. To see a brief YouTube video that shows the view you’ll get to experience at this lovely beach click here.

The Megalo Mourtia Taverna

The Megalo Mourtia Taverna (entrance from the beach is shown to your left) is our favorite taverna on the beach. It is owned and operated by a wonderful couple, Yiannis & Ria, who are assisted by their children Kelly and Dimitris, as well as various other family members.

Picture of Ria and familyWe first met Yiannis & Ria (pictured to your right along with Kelly and Dimitris) back in 2006 after being invited to a private party at the taverna one evening. We had never visited their place prior to that night, but once we had an opportunity to get to know them and sample their great food, we were hooked. From that evening on, whenever we head down to Megalos Mourtias we always find a spot on the beach near their taverna and often eat lunch or a snack there as well. Ria is not of Greek descent but she has lived in Greece for so long that she is exceptionally fluent in the Greek language, and even teaches Greek to foreigners during the off-season. Both Yiannis and Ria have always been very hospitable to us, and truly do treat us like friends.

Besides us, there is also a core group of foreigners who own homes on the island that frequent this taverna, so it’s very common to see the same smiling faces milling about on a daily basis. In addition to the great food and service, there’s two other benefits to eating at the Megalo Mourtia Taverna. First, it qualifies you to use (for no charge) one of their lounge chairs (subject to availability) that are located on the same level as the restaurant and some that are on the beach in front of the restaurant property as well. If you can land on the level of the restaurant chair you have the choice of being directly in the sun,or lying underneath one of the lovely olive trees on the property (see picture to your left). The second benefit is the ability to park a rental car on the property when space permits (get there early!).

The Menu

Open for lunch and dinner meals, the Megalo Mourtia Taverna has broad menu that includes both hot and cold appetizers and a full range of fresh salads as well. Their Beet Salad (with garlic) appetizer is by far our favorite, and we also enjoy their appetizer sampler, which includes a number of the cold appetizers on a single platter for a very nice price. As for entrees, I recommend you try their Swordfish Souvlaki, Dizzy Chicken, or the Stuffed Mushrooms, but the fact is everything else they offer is very tasty as well. Finally, Yiannis & Ria usually have a excellent selection of fresh fish and shellfish as well.

Atmosphere

The view of the sea from the Megalo Mourtia Taverna is, for the most part, unobstructed when seated at most of the tables. During the day it can get quite busy, but Yiannis & Ria always do their best to make sure customers are served as promptly as possible. If you ever do experience a problem, Ria, as the primary server, will be certain to take care of it with a smile. While most of the business is done during the day, the taverna is open for business at night, and the sound of the waves coming up on the shore combined with the sweet scent of the sea make having dinner there a very enjoyable experience. We celebrated my birthday here with a dinner during the summer of 2009 and it was a wonderful experience in every respect. From our experience, eating (or drinking ) at this establishment is like sitting down with good friends. The combination of excellent food and solid service makes this taverna one that you will want to return to whenever you visit the beach at Megalos Mourtias. When you do visit, please do give our regards to Yiannis & Ria, and tell them Jeff and Andrea sent you!

As for the atmosphere of the beach itself, Megalos Mourtias has always been one of my favorites on the island. There’s just something about the view toward the neighboring island of Skopelos as the sun is fading that really touches my heart. In fact, I was so moved by it, that in 2003 I asked the artist who was working on the artwork for my first book (Spirituality Simplified) to use a series of digital photos taken from this beach as the foundation for the cover graphic (see picture to your right).

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The Ostria Restaurant in Patitiri

The restaurant we visit most often in Patitiri is called the Ostria Restaurant, and it is operated by Eleni Anagnostou-Cupcea and her husband Victor. Her mother, Maria, also plays a big role in running the business. We originally met Eleni in 2000 when we spent the entire summer in Alonnisos so that I could work on my first book, and over the years she has become a dear friend to us.

043Based on the number of tables, the Ostria Restaurant is one of the largest restaurants in Patitiri, but just because it can serve so many people at once doesn’t in any way mean that you won’t get high quality meals. On the contrary, all dishes are cooked to order and are, in our experience, always very delicious. In addition, since Eleni has worked in this restaurant since she was a young girl, she knows how to run it very efficiently, and works very hard to make sure that high levels of customer service and food quality are always maintained. Victor is the head waiter and there’s none better on the island. When we first met him we were very impressed with his command of multiple languages, including his native Russian, Greek, English (very fluent), some Italian & German, and perhaps even more.  (The picture above of the four of us was taken in the summer of 2014.)

The Menu

Ostria Restaurant has an expansive menu, so large in fact that I’m amazed Eleni can make so many different types of food available on a daily basis!  Lunch and dinner menus include  hot and cold appetizers, numerous salads, and pizzas as well.

As for the entrees, it is in this area that Eleni’s fantastic cooking skills are most apparent. Her oven-baked dishes, including some lamb and chicken entrees, are simply wonderful. She also prepares traditional Greek dishes such as Moussakas and Pastitio if you have a preference for those. In addition, once dinner is over there are various dessert options, and the Ostria Restaurant also has a wide selection of aperitifs, coffee and tea as well.

Atmosphere

The Ostria Restaurant (pictured to your right) is located right on the waterfront in Patitiri very near to where most of the hydrofoils and day-boats arrive, so it is very centrally located and offers a great view of the harbor. It is also a Wireless Access Point if you are traveling with a laptop and need Internet access. The location also makes this restaurant an excellent place to sit and people watch. At night the opportunities to do just that grow exponentially as numerous tourists typically flood the area looking for a place to eat.

Assuming you take our advice and visit this brilliant estiatorio, please let Eleni and Victor know that Jeff & Andrea from Chicago sent you! Whether you do that or not, I’m certain you’ll be glad you stopped to eat there, and I have no doubt you’ll want to return for more of Eleni’s superb cooking and the entire family’s sincere hospitality.

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The Akrogiali Estiatorio in Patitiri

The port town of Patitiri abounds with restaurants and tavernas, so many that it really is a challenge to visit them all, even if you’ll be on the island for a fortnight or more. In our many trips to Alonnisos we’ve never tried to sample the offerings of numerous restaurants, but have instead adopted the approach of frequenting those establishments that we already “know” serve great food and provide excellent service.

There are a few Patitiri restaurants in particular that we visit on a regular basis, and in this post I’ll focus on the Akrogiali Estiatorio, which is owned and operated by Pasxalis Diniakos and his wife, Eleni (pictured to your right). The restaurant was originally run by his mother, Nina, so Pasxalis grew up in the business and really knows how to properly manage a restaurant. This is clearly evidenced by the fact that it’s very rare to find an empty table at the Akrogiali, and in the high season you’d be wise to get there before 8:30 p.m. or you’ll definitely have to wait to be seated. Even with such popularity, however, you won’t find Pasxalis making any overt attempt to speed you out of his restaurant so he can seat the next customers. In my experience this is because he really does believe in practicing “filoxenia” (Greek, for hospitality), and wants you to be completely satisfied with your dining experience. Every since the first time we ate there in 2000 we’ve been warmly welcomed and that exceptional treatment combined with the delicious food served there makes Akrogiali a place to return to again and again.

The Menu  

Open for lunch and dinner meals, the Akrogiali has a good-size menu that includes both hot and cold appetizers, and a full range of fresh salads as well. Their Skordalia (garlic spread) is always freshly prepared, as is their Meletzana Salata (eggplant spread), which is in our view the best on the island. As for entrees, Eleni makes fantastic oven-baked dishes such as Moussakas, Lemon Chicken, and Lamb Kleftiko. Pasxalis is also quite adept on the grill, making some of the best Souvlakia (kebobs) you’ll find, as well as tasty lamb chops and pork chops. It is in the seafood arena that Pasxalis really shines, as he always has a tremendous selection of both fresh and frozen fish, as well as a broad assortment of shellfish. My mother-in-law Elaine is particularly fond of the steamed Mussells in Wine dish, their Atharina (see photo to your left), and also their Shrimp Saganaki.

Atmosphere

The Akrogiali Estiatorio is located right on the waterfront in Patitiri, so it provides an excellent view of the harbor. In the evening it becomes a very lively place, with loads of people walking down the promenade checking out the sights and trying to decide where to eat. The picture to your right, which Andrea took from our table on the evening of a full moon, gives you a good idea of the view this restaurant offers. The Akrogiali seats perhaps 30 – 40 patrons at a time, which makes it more of a “personal” place than other, larger restaurants on the island.

Should you take our advice and visit this wonderful estiatorio, please do ask for Pasxalis and tell him Jeff & Andrea from Chicago sent you! You won’t regret your decision to have a meal there, and my guess is, you’ll want to go back again and again.

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