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.