Tag - Crete

Best Restaurants in Rethymno, Crete

Rethymno, Crete

Rethymno, Crete

by Sandra Bancroft,

The chefs of Crete combine local, seasonal produce to create traditional dishes with contemporary twists. Here are some of the best restaurants in Rethymno. The people of Crete have always known that local seasonal food not only tastes delicious but contributes to their good health and long life span. The ingredients of Cretan cuisine are plain and natural: olive oil, wheat, milk, cheese, meat, fish, greens, vegetables and wine are combined to make yummy meals. With almost zero food miles and no pesticides, the restaurants of Crete offer visitors menus of traditional Cretan fare that will delight. Here is a list of some of my favorite restaurants in Rethymno.

Avli, Xanthoudidou 22:

Located in a beautiful 1600s Venetian villa, this restaurant boasts the most romantic courtyard and garden in the Old Town of Rethymno. Dining in the multi-tiered courtyard is a sumptuous treat surrounded by lush greenery and exquisite exterior design. The impeccable design is carried on inside to the wine cellar where dining is also possible. The menu at the Avli is traditional Cretan with a contemporary twist. Dinner for two without drinks will cost €50-75.

Maistros, Akrotiriou 7:


The Maistros specializes in fish and seafood and a delicious array of fish mezedes (starters). The restaurant itself is perched on the edge of the sea and dinner can be enjoyed listening to the crashing waves below while admiring the spectacular view of the nearby Fortezza, the principle landmark of Rethymno. Dinner for two without drinks will cost €30-50.

Othonas, Pethihaki 27

This tavern is found in the heart of the Old Town and has been in operation since the late1980s. The menu offers international fare as well as traditional Cretan favorites such as lamb with artichokes and apaki (smoked pork). Antique pictures hang on the walls reminding visitors of a by-gone era; before Othanas the building was an old wine tavern. This restaurant often has live music and is wheelchair friendly. Dinner for two without drinks will cost €30-50.

Prima Plora, Akrotiriou 4

Prima Plora translates in English to Bow and Stern, which accounts for the nautical theme of this quirky restaurant. It sits only a couple of steps from the water’s edge and obviously fish and seafood are popular choices on the innovative menu. Other recommendations include steak, grilled wine greens pita or feta saganaki baked with honey. Inside there are comfy benches strewn with big cushions alongside white-washed tables and chairs. Dinner for two without drinks will cost €30-50.

En Plo Stis Gefsis, Kefalogiannidon

This is a top restaurant serving the most delicious food. The menu includes feta saganaki in a light phyllo crust with caramelized figs and grilled calamari stuffed with Cretan graviera, tomato and kritamon (sea-fennel). The restaurant can be found on the seafront just past the Fortezza. Dinner for two without drinks will cost €30-50.

Gefsiplous, Akrotiriou 3

Another restaurant located at the water’s edge on the outskirts of Rethymno. The menu is heavily weighted towards seafood with mussels, cuttlefish and shrimp popular ingredients in the delicious starters. A must-try main dish is Ravioli stuffed with lobster with ouzo sauce and pine nuts. As with all Rethymno restaurants, Cretan wine is a perfect accompaniment to traditional dishes. The restaurant is wheelchair friendly. Dinner for two without drinks will cost €30-50.

Myrogdies, Vernadou 32

The name of this Mezedopoleio, a Greek-style tapas restaurant, is a play on the word pomegranate and the fruit theme prevails. Not only are there wall paintings and fruit-shaped candle holders, there is also a huge pomegranate tree growing in the courtyard. There are lots of original dishes on offer such as local smoked pork with mushrooms and balsamic sauce and lamb chops with mustard, olives and herbs. Or join the theme and opt for the house salad with its addition of pomegranate. The restaurant is wheelchair friendly and often has live music. Dinner for two without drinks will cost €20-30.

Source: Meet and Eat in Crete (Dine & Wine Guide) written and published by Agnes R. Weninger- Canadian/Hungarian Restaurateur & Food Writer.

Naturally Crete

Steeped in history and enveloped in mythology, the rough and rugged Greek island of Crete is a Mediterranean marvel. To sample what the island has to offer, visit Crete’s western region and experience a taste of its natural beauty and diversity. Whether trekking through the panoramic wonder of the Samaria Gorge or dining under the stars at Hania’s Venetian harbor, discover some of the treasures that make Crete so appealing.

Hiking the Samaria Gorge

Iron Gates, Samaria Gorge, Crete

Iron Gates, Samaria Gorge, Crete

Standing at the threshold of the National Park of Samaria at 4,101 feet, the play of morning light and shadow casts a smokey blue tinge on the distant faces of the White Mountains. A vista of soaring peaks and a vastness of greenery will beckon nature-lovers to explore this embodiment of flawless creation. Over the course of millennia, the river, which flows through the park, has sculpted this ecological pocket of Crete into Greece’s celebrated Samaria Gorge.

Considered one of the longest gorges in Europe, the journey begins by descending the 500 steps of the winding trail known as the Xyloskalo, or “wooden staircase,” which segways into the depths of the Gorge. While traversing this breathtaking terrain amidst towering pine trees, jagged cliffs and imposing mountains, hikers will find themselves in awe among these exemplary whims of Mother Nature. In 1962, the Greek government established the National Park of Samaria in order to save the local wild goat, the kri-kri, from extinction. Yet, it is the small church of Saint Maria of Egypt, located in the formerly inhabited village of Samaria, from which the park received its name. One of most pronounced features of sheer grandeur to admire are Samaria’s Iron Gates; for this is the Gorge’s narrowest point. Once passing through this striking portal of vertical stone walls, which are 11.5 feet apart, the landscape opens up once more until the finale of this illustration of natural beauty meets the sea. It is here, at the rendezvous point in the costal village of Agia Roumeli, where hikers have a chance to have a proper meal at a restaurant, or head directly to the black sand beach and plunge into the inviting, warm waters of the Libyan Sea. To embark on this impressive expedition, nature-enthusiasts can organize transportation arrangements while staying in the delightful port city of Hania.

Charming Hania (Chania)

Chania, Crete

Chania, Crete

Located on Crete’s northwestern coast, the seafaring city of Hania boasts a who’s-who in ancient rulers from its chronicals, which extend as far back as the Minoan era. While exploring Hania, visitors will revel in the architectural and cultural imprints from centuries past. The reflection of 400 years of Venetian influence is prominent throughout the old city. The Siavo Bastion, Firkas Fortress and the western fortification wall are reminders of the Venetian’s defensive efforts against outlaws of the high seas and would-be invaders; however, these stockades were no match for the Ottomans, who took over the island in the mid 17th century. The 16th century lighthouse is the beacon at the entrance to the bustling Venetian harbour, which hosts a string of soft-hued buildings that support restaurants bars and small hotels. Catch the complimentary ferry from Katehaki Square to the outer sea wall, where a romantic view of the waterfront at sunset is on the menu at Fortezza restaurant. Meander through the streets of the Turkish Quarter, known as the Splantzia, and discover traditional Greek tavernas that serve up tasty Cretan cuisine. Along with the excavation site of the Minoan settlement of Kydonia, whose many unearthed treasures are on display in the city’s Archeological Museum, another notable landmark is the Mosque of Kioutsouk Hasan, which stands on the eastern side of the harbour and houses various exhibitions today. Looking for a day of sunshine and sandcastles? Then, head to the beach at Elafonisi on the southwest coast of Crete.

The Waters of Elafonisi

Nestled between rolling hills and a seemingly endless expanse of blue sea, Elafonisi offers an ideal location to while away the day at the beach. After soaking up the warm rays of the sun, cool off by wading 50 meters out into the crystaline waters of the Mediterranean and float effortlessly on gentle waves back to shore. Just 2 ½ hours from Hania, Elafonisi’s uniqueness makes for a popular day-trip destination. Turquoise waters, delightful port cities and a landscape that is breathtaking from one end of the island to the other, Crete’s attractions captivate its visitors and entice them to return for more.