Avantis made its debut in 1983 as a classic beach-side taverna. With a loyal clientele, it has evolved into a modern restaurant specializing in charcoal-grilled fish – the grill master is not just an artist in his craft, but also a very colorful character – and other seafood. Its lobster and other seafood pastas are exceptional.
Avantis Fish Restaurant, Afantou Beach, tel. (+30) 2241.051.280
This is a solid example of the classic Greek taverna, where the entire family is involved in day-to-day operations. A clean and tidy establishment, both up front and in the kitchen, it serves household staples like casseroles that have been cooked in a wood-fired oven for 10-13 hours, stuffed vine leaves, the traditional local pitaroudia (chickpea fritters) and roast suckling pig. The mother is always responsible for the dessert – pancakes served with a sweet orange preserve.
Taverna Artemida, Psinthos, tel. (+30) 2241.050.003
Located beside the sea, the fine-dining restaurant of the Aquagrand Hotel is a great place for dinner with a view. It serves modern international cuisine with Greek notes, from the mains to the desserts. Start with the fish broth with handmade seafood ravioli, followed by a new version of the classic Greek “kleftiko” lamb, where the meat is tenderized in a sous vide for hours instead of the traditional method of burying it in embers.
For dessert, try the traditional ravani syrupy cake with a Greek coffee mousse and Turkish delight. You’ll find plenty of Greek and international wines on the list, though we recommend something local so you can explore the island’s distinctive terrior.
Blue Fin Reastaurant, Aquagrand Resort, Lardos-Lindos Regional Road, tel. (+30) 2244.049.100
The first things you’ll notice when you enter this traditional house, where Cristina and Elia – a cool couple from Italy – have been cooking up a storm for the past 14 years, are its shady courtyard, its colorful, exotic mural and the mosaic-inlaid tables.
All the food – hailing mostly from the Emilia-Romagna region – is full of flavor and includes fresh pasta, salads with local ingredients and more sophisticated recipes like the shrimp tartare with white-fleshed peaches. On the list of must-tries is the truffle-and-provolone gnocchi served with fresh tomato, creamy mozzarella and basil. Desserts include a very memorable tiramisu. Broccolino serves only Italian wines.
Broccolino Restaurant, Lindos, tel. (+30) 2244.031.688
If you’re in the Afantou area and yearning for fresh fish, this is an excellent option. The owner’s husband is a fisherman who provides the fresh catch that is served in this simple family taverna. Fresh salad, boiled wild greens and grilled octopus complete the no-frills menu. Give the house wine a miss and order bottled ouzo, beer or a soft drink instead.
To Fresko Reasturant, Afantou Beach, tel. (+30) 2241.053.077
Not an inch of wall has been left uncovered in this restaurant, which is abundantly adorned with shells, clay cooking pots, garlands and shelves stuffed with all sorts of pantry staples. The owner, Dimitris Kozas, is one of those hyper-creative types, forever rushing in and out of the kitchen, seating guests, serving the complimentary appetizer of sourdough bread with local olive oil and sea salt, and recommending wines.
Despite the crush that tends to prevail here, the staff’s good mood is contagious. The fish stew made with the daily catch and seafood is inspired, as are the linguini with sea urchin, the lentil risotto with crispy fried onions, the baby octopus and the fresh shellfish. This is not the place for a quiet meal, but it is one of the island’s best fish restaurants.
Kozas Sea Food Restaurant, Stegna, tel. (+30) 2244.022.632
Louis’ kafeneio is the first café you’ll see in the main square of Kattavia village, with tables arranged in the shade of a huge tree. It’s the perfect place for lunch. The cuisine here is no-frills: Greek salad, omelet, sausages, a couple of dishes of the day and roasts, and a few grilled meats. At night, it’s packed with surfers returning from Prasonisi.
Louis kafeneio, Kattavia • Τel. (+30) 6956.138.169
MARCO POLO MANSION
In 2001, Efi and Spyros, a well-traveled local couple with impeccable taste, opened a small bed-andbreakfast in a Venetian building in the Old Town and initially cooked only for guests. They took the restaurant up a notch, however, in 2008 and now it’s hard to find a table in the gorgeous courtyard that serves as the dining area.
The kitchen and wait staff are perfectly synchronized so the service is swift. The menu is inspired by the food of Tuscany, Andalusia and southern France, with lots of dishes of the day. Try the seafood salad of octopus, shrimp and parmesan, the baked bream with a bouillabaisse sauce and vegetables, or the beautifully prepared tagliata. Don’t go without a dessert of strawberry or peach tiramisu, saffron panna cotta or lemon semifreddo. The liqueurs are all homemade.
Marco Polo Mansion, 40-42 Aghiou Fanouriou, Old Town, tel. (+30) 2241.025.562
Listed in every guide about the island, lauded by the New York Times and renowned for all the celebrities that have dined here, Mavrikos is as famous as the acropolis of Lindos. The family has been in the restaurant business since 1912, when the grandfather ran a bistro in Marseille.
Today the cuisine, which pays homage to the local food heritage while also including modern elements, is focused on fish. Try the bulgur with minced octopus and nutmeg or the calamari sautéed with beetroots and saffron. Opt for one of the reasonably priced wines from local producers.
Mavrikos restaurant, Lindos, tel. (+30) 2244.031.232
Melenos Lindos Exclusive Suites
One of the top accommodation options in Lindos boasts an equally high quality restaurant, located on a rooftop overlooking meandering cobbled streets and gardens blooming with bougainvillea and fragrant herbs. With a view of the acropolis, the design motif here is ethnic Moroccan – with bright colors, candlelight and streams of cloth – while the food is both homey and creative. Try, for example, the lamb cutlets with an artichoke puree and a lemon sauce. We recommend booking a table in the first sitting so as to enjoy the sunset and the view of the acropolis.
Melenos Lindos Exclusive Suites, Lindos, tel. (+30) 2244.032.222
Even though its stands 11 stories above sea level, it is the food rather than the view that sets Noble apart, as it serves creative and modern versions of local rustic recipes. Executive chef George Troumouchis studied old cookbooks to create a menu of previously “lost” dishes, which are executed by the talented chef Stamatis Misomikes.
The two experts recommend the pitaroudia (chickpea fritters), the sundried octopus, the squid with rice and traditional dishes that have been deconstructed or subjected to molecular techniques, cooked sous vide, using smoke or liquid nitrogen.
They also recommend the well-priced “passport menu,” with dishes inspired by different Aegean islands, such as the spaghetti with sea urchin from Kalymnos, scallops with cured louza pork from Mykonos, and the Symi shrimp. The wine list is arranged by geographical provenance, with selections from Greece and other parts of the world. Live piano music accompanies every meal.
Noble Gourmet Restaurant, Elysium Resort and Spa, Kallithea, tel. (+30) 2241.045.700
This is one of the few places on the island where you can try the local cuisine in its purest form. The owner, Yiannis Efthymiou, is a stickler for tradition: the restaurant has four wood-fired ovens, all the food is served in earthenware dishes and the beverages are from local wineries or the local VAP soft-drinks company.
The cheeses are from Rhodes and the bread is made traditionally and served with shoots of fresh myrtle and mastic. Specialties include the nanny goat stew, a heavy yet delicious dish, and the kapamas, baked goat or lamb stuffed with rice. Dessert consists of yoghurt with fruit preserve: watermelon, damson or apricot.
Paraga, Apollonas, tel. (+30) 2246.091.247
This is a minuscule traditional kafeneio in the New Market of Rhodes, with tables on the sidewalk. The smiling owner, Irini, is the granddaughter of the original proprietor and serves omelets, eggs and yoghurt with honey for breakfast; the lunch menu includes by ouzo and meze such as small fried fish, fried potatoes, fava split-pea dip and octopus marinated in vinegar.
Symi, New Market, Rhodes, tel. (+30) 2241.022.881
Located for the past 23 years on the main road of Pefki overlooking the sea, Terpsis is known for its excellent service. It has a lovely green courtyard with a fountain and serves modern Mediterranean cuisine influenced by international trends. Try the batter-fried cod with a parsley sauce, the red porgy (or other white-fleshed fish) in a sauce of tropical fruits. There are 23 selections on the wine list, but the bottled house wine is recommended.
Terpsis Restaurant, Pefki, tel. (+30) 2244.048.140
Stani Ice cream
This is arguably the best ice cream you’ll have on the island. It’s a thick, smooth cream, made using the same recipe for decades. The man behind Stani, Ibrahim Sarri Hasan, was a dairy farmer who started trading in milk some time after World War II. We don’t know when he invented his ice cream recipe, but the first store opened in 1974.
There are four today, which Ibrahim’s grandchildren manage (there are also three franchise stores on Rhodes and one on Symi). The ice cream comes in more than 30 flavors, with vanilla being the most popular.
Stani Ice Cream, 28 Aghias Anastasias, tel. (+30) 2241.031.991