Because Naxos is an agricultural island most of the restaurants feature locally grown vegetables, fruits and meats, and of course fish, though chances are better that your meat is local than your fish. Octopus and squid are imported as they are almost everywhere. The specialties
island are their delicious cheeses and sausages which should be tasted everywhere because in each restaurant they are a little bit different. Local wines are good and the local
ouzo is distilled and pure and one of the best in Greece. They also drink Kitron, an alcoholic drink made from the tree which is in the orange family. It is more for desert than dinner.
are plenty of restaurants in Naxos
town and on all the beaches near
Naxos town and it just a matter of
finding what you like. I usually
ask where the locals eat but
restaurants like Elli and
Oniro are recommended by
one guidebook or another. If you ask the concierge or owner of your hotel where they eat you usually can't go wrong. Even if it happens to be owned by his cousin or brother it is probably good. The taverna on the roof of the Naxos Island Hotel has gotten great reviews from people in my Greece Travel Guides Group and
other friends I have sent there. For a romantic dinner or a nice place to propose this is probably a safe bet.
My eating experience in Naxos was a relatively good one. There
were places I will definitely go back to and one that I will avoid
forever. My favorite
restaurant was the Picasso Mexican Bistro and not just because I
had been traveling for two months and was weary of Greek food. This
was a really terrific Mexican restaurant, as good as any I have
been to in the USA, (and I go to a lot-it's my favorite food). Picasso
is owned by Debbie Richards and Stratos Perakis and after the first
margarita and chips and salsa I was ready to commit myself
to eating all my meals here. By the third pitcher I knew that if
I did my life would be in danger. We came with our Slovenian friends,
Darko and Zonka and their kids who are not as into spicy foods as
my family is, but there was something for everyone and we all left
happy and they left with an appreciation of Mexican cuisine which
they had never tasted before in their lives. If you have a yearning for jalapeno poppers,
chicken wings, burrittos, tacos, sizzling fajitas, great nachos that look and taste the way nachos are supposed to, and you need a few frozen margaritas
to recover from your day at the beach or exploring the island then go to Picasso. They have moved their restaurant from Naxos town to Plaka beach which is a good enough reason to stay at a hotel there. Mexican food on the beach in Naxos? Count me in! You can e-mail them at email@example.com
or see their menu at www.picassoismexican.com
Popi's Grill in the port is one of the most famous of the island
and except for a couple immigrants clearing the table the restaurant
is unique in that it is an all-girl staff. Single guys don't get
your hopes up because their average age is about sixty, but it is
run in an organized yet chaotic way and specializes in grilled meats.
What attracted me was the whole lamb and kontosouvli turning on
the spit and I dragged everyone back to it though they wanted to
eat elsewhere. Nobody has raved about the food though, in fact the few comments I have gotten from travelers have said it is mediocre. But I am a sucker for psistarias (grill houses) and I will check it out next trip. The Lucullus Taverna is the most famous taverna on the island
mostly due to an article in the New York Times from 1998. The tavern is
the oldest on Naxos and
celebrated its 100th Anniversary in 2008. It is located up the Old
Market Street on the way to the castle and is decorated with antiques.
All the small ouzeries
in a row on the waterfront had octopus grilling and a wide
variety of mezedes and you will probably be pleased with any of
them. If in doubt try Stis Irinis Cafenion-Ouzerie. The Anemos Ouzeri is closed and has been replaced by Ellis which has live rembetika music on weekends. It is in the Grotta neighborhood on the north side of town. Metaxi Mas in Naxos town is a ouzeri-mezedopoulion that is popular with locals and with travelers. Meltemi is a popular taverna in Naxos Town that has been open since the seventies and specializes in local meat, fish and vegetable dishes. Scirocco Restaurant is a family owned with friendly service and delicious food and has been a Naxos staple for almost 20 years. Maros Taverna is also popular, mostly with tourists, with more Naxian-style food and large portions at low prices. Naxian Gastronomi run by Manolis. His mother does all the cooking which is what you want in a good authentically Greek restaurant.
For breakfast in Agios Prokopios we liked the Golden Beach
or Xrisi Paralia Zacharoplastion (sugar-shop) mostly
because Anastasia (photo) and the other girls who ran it were so sweet and charming and also
because they had super-fresh eggs which came from their family farm that were delicious as omelets
or fried. It was also our hangout for after dinner because they
had a nice selection of local deserts and sweets, all home-made and lots of flavors of ice-cream
in case you wanted to top them off. The cafe is right on the beach
by all the restaurants and bars. When we moved to the Porto Naxos in town
we had their breakfast buffet which was more than ample. So ample
that we really did not need to eat lunch. Have their fresh local yogurt with Cretan Honey and the best frappes in town.
La Vigne is owned by two French women, Elizabeth and Frederique, who have been living in Naxos for 3 years and were inspired to open a French wine bar in Naxos Town just a few steps up from the harbor. They sell French wine directly imported from
France as well as cheese, pâté from France, prosciutto, and
different mezzes ... and sweets, all home made. They are open every day all year, and have tables
outside in front of the church of Panagia Kristou in Naxos town. The traditional restaurant Platanos in the village of Apeiranthos is next to a small church in the shade of a platanos tree and we
had a very nice lunch here during our journey around the island. It
is high in the mountains and cooler and they had a menu full of
local dishes. Try the kokoras (rooster) either grilled or in a red
sauce. On the outskirts of the small town of Mesi Potamia is the very
nice taverna H Magi Thea owned by the charming Dimitrios Deoydes (photo), where you can
find inexpensive local dishes in a beautiful setting. If you are
looking to escape the town for a real honest-to-goodness country
meal of fresh local meats and vegetables and good local wine in
a cool mountain setting with a beautiful view come here one night.
(If you drink be sure to have a designated driver to get you back
to your hotel). Good news for lovers of potatoes. Naxos grows potatoes
for all of Greece and when they are sliced large and cooked
in fresh olive oil you will forget about all the French-fries you
have eaten before. And for desert lovers, the best galactoboureko in Halki is at To Spitiko Galactoboureko. About a mile from the beach at Mikri Vigla is a family run restaurant called Naxos Gastronomy which prides itself in locally grown produce and meals that are like you would eat in a Greek home. You will need a car to get there but call them and if you are nearby maybe they will come to pick you up. Tel 2285 075491. Samaradiko Cafe in Apeiranthos has good food from a staff that's proud of their restauant and a terrific view of the valley to boot.
Gemma Naxian Bistro is one of the most beautifully decorated restaurant/bar/cafes in Naxos with a friendly owner, helpful staff and a large assortment of sandwiches, snacks, meals and drinks and maybe the best coffee in Naxos town. They open from 8 o'clock in the morning and serve breakfast with Naxian products including
a large variety of organic and natural homemade jams, omelets with Naxian cheeses, homemade traditional pies, sandwiches, pancakes, local yogurt with fresh fruit, criossants, and much more. Try their rizogalo (rice pudding). Though they are not on the sea that should not deter you from coming here as prices are lower and quality better than the most popular waterfront cafes and they play nice music in a lovely atmosphere. They have only been open a couple years and already
their burgers are famous. In the evening they transition into a bar and the drinks are excellent. It is up the street from the port road near the intersection of Papavasileiou Sokratous and Protopapadaki Petrou. If you can't find it just ask someone. By the way for those of you who are fans of the famous O Bakalogatos restaurant in Kypseli, the dinner menu is a mix of their recipes and traditional Naxian dishes. Tip: Try the Meatballs Saganaki and the Gemma's Salad or the Potatoes Pentarates (potatoes fried with onions) and you will probably come back the next night for more.
Readers Restaurant Choices
From one of the regulars in my Greece Travel Group on Facebook, Anders Alvheim who visits Naxos several times a year: "To Elliniko near the police station
has live music good traditional food... Scirocco on the main square is a very popular "tourist-place" but the food is good and the service great... Marou is another fine place... and not to forget my favourite Italian: Susanna(photo), who used to run Susannas Pizza some years ago, has opened Su e Giu in the port/on the seafront, and if you're into Italian food or "seasonal seafood" it is THE place! And be sure to go to Sergianis near Saint George
Beach and tell Fotis I sent you. Outside of Naxos Town I suggest Lefteris Taverna which is in Apeiranthos, and if you get to the village of Filoti try Baboulas Grill House. Visit Manolis and Yorgos at the Paradise Beach Taverna in Saint George and you will probably spend every day there like I do."
According to Michael and Shannon Hadjis from Chicago: "In our opinion (me and my Greek husband's) Spiros Taverna DOES have the best Greek food we have ever had. We tried this
place based from
your "sadly" missed experience on your website. Next time - go there! We could only compare the food to Aunt Crisoula's homemade food back in Athens. We ate there 4 out of 6 nights. Wished we had just done all six. YUM!"
Greek Traveler David Berchoux from France has this to share about his favorite Naxos restaurants: "Axiotissa in
Kastrakihas a fantastic setting and service, a great menu with
original creations using top fresh organic products, I've eaten
the best swordfish of my entire life there : juicy and tasty, perfect cooking.
For sure the best restaurant in Naxos in my opinion. Pighi in Ano Potamia in the mountains usually only only local people, and has great BBQ & meat (roasted goat). Petrino on Plaka Beach has a nice terrace, excellent fish and all the classic Greek dishes."
Nightlife in Naxos
for bars and clubs there are many
choices and Naxos town literally
rocks at night. Unfortunately I was traveling with a wife and child so the best I could do was a fun filled night of margaritas at Picasso so in terms of being a good travel writer and checking out the nightlife by drinking in every bar or pub I am adraid I dropped the ball. But with posters and flyers around town and the cards you will find in your hotel you should find something going on within a few steps of wherever you are staying, hopefully not too loud and too close. For rock,
reggae and soul there is the
Kahlua Music Club at Agios
Prokopios and for the wild younger
crowd seeking that throbbing disco
beat there is the Ocean Club on
the road to Agios Georgios. Also try Island in Agia Anna for swing, jazz and more mature dancing music. There are plenty more so ask
your conceirge, waiter or anyone
else you talk to. Because of the crisis clubs and bars come and go so if any of these no longer exist please let me know. Of and of course there is Gemma Naxian Bistro which I mentioned above which should appeal to anyone who wants to hangout, drink, watch and meet people and be right in town. Order one of their beautiful cocktails using local or Greek drinks in combination with Naxian fruit preserves! Come for Latin Night, Ladies Night, Men's Night