My last post explored what you can expect to find on a Mykonian plate, but which plates were almost unforgettable? The stars of our trip to Mykonos….
1. Kiki’s @ Agios Sostis beach: Once upon a time I imagine this beach side beauty was a relatively unknown treasure which travellers stumbled upon only in a divine moment of luck. Today, be prepared for at least an hour’s wait but be consoled that the wait will be teamed with a picture perfect view over a turquoise bay and a bountiful supply of gratis local rose. As far as waiting for a table goes; this may be one of the most pleasant queues of my life. Plus you can be assured that everyone, famous or not, waits just the same; legend has it that Kanye & Kim and Naomi Campbell have all parked backsides on the small rattan chairs outside amongst the muggles.
On entry you’ll be struck by Kiki’s simplicity, not just in menu but also its surroundings. Wooden tables fill the restaurant’s shaded terrace, which overlooks the postcard view, and the staff provide friendly and efficient service to ensure that all are catered for without fuss.
The menu makes the most of Kiki’s charcoal grill, as well as offering a daily selection of delicious salads that wouldn’t look out of place in Ottelenghi. Our lentil & sundried tomato salad was deeply flavoured with garlic and herbs and incredibly moorish, while the butter beans with tomato and onion was almost a revelation as to how tasty a plate of beans can be. We honestly would have left contented just based on these salads alone and there were at least another 8 salads we could have sampled.
The real tour de force however was the succulent and gigantic pork chop. Generally my least favourite meat, because of pork’s tendency to dry out, we ordered this dish based on recommendations alone and we were not disappointed. The chop was caramelised and glistening with juiciness and has completely changed my opinion of pork. If that doesn’t sell you on a trip to Kiki’s then the famous chocolate cake might be the final push you need; a genuine triumph balancing sweet almond and cocoa richness.
Fancy grabbing yourself a plate at Kiki’s? It opens at 12pm and closes at 7pm, so there is no place for late dinners here, but why not team your trip with a bit of sun bathing on Agios Sostis beach and make a day of it? Your stomach will thank you heartily.
2. Ma’ereio @ Mykonos Old Town: The site of the best dish I ate during our entire island stay and the only place we visited twice. Yup, that’s how good this family run palace of tradition is. The menu may be small but the results are mighty.
The food is heavily focused on the rustic Mykonian classics, both famous and less familiar; the plates are so homely that you get the sense that you could be enjoying the food of a talented family friend. Our particular favourites were the courgette fritters, fried until crisp but revealing a soft inside heavy with fresh herbs, and a special of prawns with a sauce of peppers, onions, dill and Ouzo. The second being a true game changer for me. An exceptionally fine chocolate mousse with notes of orange and mint rounded the meal off.
The restaurant itself is small and atmospheric; there are a limited number of tables so there may be a wait but again it will be worth it. Take a pew on the street, enjoy a drink and Mykonos’ favourite past time; people watching. If you are a table of two, you may be lucky enough to nab a spot at the bar where you can keep an eye on the chef at work in his tiny kitchen, laughing and singing to himself all the while.
3. Fokos Beach Taverna @ Fokos beach: nestled next to a wild and remote beach (which can feel like a rarity in Mykonos) this taverna makes the most of its enviable location by placing all the tables on its wide terraces overlooking the sea. We were treated to a delicious selection of salads and grilled meats and the generous portions certainly did not disappoint. The fire blistered lamb chops were our firm favourite, served with a simple fire baked potato and crunchy coleslaw. The pita breads that accompanied the mushroom pate were some of the best of our trip; exceptionally thin and a perfect foil for the earthy pate. A perfect spot for a few hours unbathing and a delicious , pocket friendly lunch.
4. Kavos @ Mykonos Old Port: the freshest fish, a view of the harbour and the chance to dangle your feet in the sea as you eat; nab yourself a table at the edge of this restaurant and all that can be yours. While the menu includes all the classic Greek staples, you come here for the fish alone. The grilled sardines were as fresh as they can be and served rustically with garlic butter and a tomato salad they were the perfect light lunch for Mykono’s mid afternoon heat. Our favourite dish though was the mussels in tomato; juicy mussels in a balanced, light sauce that we ate every last drop of with the help of spoons and bread (no airs and graces required). Wash it all down with carafe of local wine and you can very pleasantly while away a few hours of the afternoon.
Other honorable mentions:
- For rustic beach relaxation: Joanna’s Niko’s Taverna @ Megali Ammos beach. A five minute drive away from Mykonos Old Town, this beachside family taverna makes the most of its sea front position with beautiful views from the terrace restuarant. The menu is classic Mykonos and everything we ordered was very enjoyable. The atmosphere and position wins its though and you certainly won’t be rushed away (it took quite some time to get all we ordered and, eventually, the bill).
- For a taste of Italy: Casa Di Giorgio @ Mykonos Old Town. A romantic spot just a few minutes from the famous windmills where you can people watch to your heart’s desire. The family run operation makes its own pasta on a daily basis and my Spaghetti Puttanesca was full of the simple, bold flavours of the Mediterranean. Our real favourite however was the tomato covered focaccia, cooked in the wood burning oven; paper thin with a sweet, salty tomato sauce, dusting of oregano and the smokiness of the fire, we couldn’t get enough of it.
- For refined elegance: Katrin @ Mykonos Old Town. I warn you that this will not be cheap, but the quality will be hard to beat. Tucked down one of Mykonos’ ubiquitous winding side streets, Katrin oozes curb side appeal and class. The staff are exacting and know their craft inside and out, so expect all the bells and whistles when it comes to service. The food was, as expected, very well executed and the dishes we ordered were simple but cooked perfectly. The kitchen prepares a lot of French classics as well as Greek fare, so look out for the gigantic Tarte Tatin that is just waiting to be sliced on your order.
- For a romantic, secret garden escape: Mama Louka @ Mykonos Old Town. This restaurant and cocktail bar comes into its own once the sun has set and the open air restaurant becomes a softly lit haven for romance. Beautifully decorated and featuring lots of towering plants, you could forgive yourself for thinking you were in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. The cocktails were entirely delicious and I would recommend popping in for a tipple alone. The food was refined Greek featuring many of the traditional ingredients from the island but produced in interesting and more complex ways. A perfect evening for lovers.
- For a tasty brunch: Kalamaki @ Mykonos Old Port. Both the soft feta and tomato omelette and my traditional Greek breakfast of fried eggs and louza (local cured ham) with pita breads hit the spot in every way. The coffee is strong and perfectly roasted, the orange juice freshly squeezed and bitter sweet and the view of the harbour ticks the final holiday brunch boxes. The restaurant also serves a wider menu for lunch and dinner making use of its charcoal grill.
- For the best gelato: shop next to Niko’s Taverna. OK, so we may not remember the name of the shop (and Google is being uncharacteristically unhelpful) but we definitely remember the gelato, which was easily the best quality of the many little tubs of creamy goodness that we tried on the island. Take the street down the side of Niko’s (you will go past the Niko’s kitchen on the right which is in its own separate building) and ice-cream heaven will be just to your left