There are seven traditional kafeneia in Amorgos that, apart from the obvious Greek coffee with plenty of foam (“kaimaki”) on top, also serve Greek local cuisine, always seasonal and often made with locally sourced ingredients.
Amorgos is the only island in the Aegean that has so many authentic café-tavernas, sometimes even combined with grocery stores or shipping agencies such as Prekas. Most of them, in addition to raki (pomace spirit) accompanied by olives, thickly sliced tomatoes, and Amorgian ladotiri (goat cheese), offer visitors genuine and delicious Cycladic food.
Apart from being gathering places for fishermen, locals, and visitors, these cafés are where traditional lively music celebrations take place, with lyres, violins, and lutes playing.
1. Horeftis, Tholaria
At Horeftis (Tel. (+30) 22850.732.02), the grill taverna of Anargyros Nomikos, it’s worth trying the fava meatballs and the seskoulopitakia (chard pastries) made by his wife, Mrs. Maria, who cooks a large variety of recipes every day. The locals come here to enjoy hot rakomelo (raki and honey), baked local liqueurs, and they even still serve the signature dish of Amorgos, “patatato” (goat meat with potatoes cooked in a clay pot). Above all, this is also where lively traditional music celebrations still take place.
2. Moschoudaki, Lagkada
Operating continuously since 1945, formerly known as Liotrivi, today Moschoudaki (Tel. (+30) 22850.731.77) preserves not only its architecture but also the tradition of always being managed by women, from its origins in Moscow, from where it took its name, to the present owner Kalliopi Economidi, who prepares delicious homemade dishes: soutzoukakia (spiced meatballs), Sifnian chickpea soup, homemade bread, and even makaroones (local pasta).
3. Kali Kardia, Tholaria
Mrs. Sofia serves Amorgian fava, hands down the most delicious I have ever tasted in Greece. Her meatballs are also unforgettable, as well as her lemony oven-cooked lamb. As for the location, Kali Kardia (Tel. (+30) 22850.733.47) is situated in a quintessential Cycladic square, with stunning views, just above the steps of the Church of Aghioi Anargyroi.
4. Parvas, Hora
One of the island’s oldest tavernas, the renowned Parvas grill house (Tel. (+30) 22850.712.42) was famous a decade ago for its legendary musical celebrations, when Dimitris Giannakos’s lute encountered George Nomikos’s violin, the “Stelios Kazantzidis” of Amorgos. It was also well-known for its meatballs and freshly fried potatoes. Both are still cooked together with other delicious dishes, honoring the reputation of the past, by the new owners, Mr. Christos and his wife Niki Kolyda, who is from Hora.
5. Ston Pyrgo, Arkesini
The fact that 99% of ingredients are produced in-house is reason alone to visit Amorgos. After all, with thousands of goats and sheep living on the island, grazing on all kinds of herbs, how could the goat meat not be delicious here?
At Ston Pyrgo (Tel. (+30) 22850.722.58), they know how to cook it perfectly, even in August when they serve a total of 6-8 goats per day! The Greek salad here is also delicious, as well as their fresh capers and their own xsinomizithra cheese. Additionally, you can try the dolmadakia (stuffed grape vines), wild greens gathered from the mountains, and all kinds of pies made with homemade pastry. To accompany your meal, there are at least fifteen different bottled Greek wines to choose from on the menu.
6. Naftilia tou Preka, Katapola
Once famous for its lively traditional music celebrations hosted by Old Skopelitis, it has been operating since the 1950s at the waterfront of the port in Katapola. Its walls are decorated with pictures of iconic personalities alongside paintings of boats created by amateur artists alongside old televisions, reminiscent of another era. We had an exceptional fried octopus cooked by Mrs. Zoi, boiled vlita (wild greens), xsinomithizthra cheese, fried small fish, and reggosalata (herring fish spread). On another day, they served us kavourmas (preserved meat) and stuffed tomatoes. At Preka’s (Tel. (+30) 22850.712.56), you can also purchase ferry tickets for the islands of the Small Cyclades.
7. Makis’ Kafeneio, Arkesini
Unique in the Aegean, it represents a typical example of a Cycladic kafeneio with its traditional coffee-making area separated by a wooden partition. Mr. Makis and Mrs. Sofia, who once made the perfect Greek coffee for me, have grown older, but thankfully, their granddaughter Sofia has taken over. She serves traditional Amorgian dishes in one of the last, authentically Cycladic places in Greece (Tel. (+30) 22850.722.52).