Ta 2 Rou (in Greek “Τα 2 Ρου”) is one of the most authentic, affordable and hospitable eateries to enjoy true Cretan cuisine with locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. Eating there is a culinary experience; the menu changes depending on what is available both in terms of the season (vegetables, wild mushrooms, bitter greens, cheese, meat) and also on the daily catch when it comes to seafood. In addition, the ambience is special, as the walls are covered by antique photos of life in Rethymno (some of them century old), easily resembling a folklore museum. Ta 2 Rou is a Cretan casual eatery (“inomagirio“) and an authentic meze restaurant (“mezedopolio“). Apart from normal dishes, smaller dishes to share are also served which greatly accompany raki or wine. Either way, Ta 2 Rou is one of the top places for immersing yourself into the authentic Cretan cuisine. As a rule of thumb, not to be missed are the meat and seafood based casseroles and stews, such as cuttlefish in greens and their ink (“soupies me chorta“), octopus in wine (“chtapodi krasato“) and goat cooked in olive oil and wine (“rifi tsigariasto“). The vegan crowd will also be really satisfied as the eatery always has vegan dishes on offer, such as rich salads, vegetable stews and legumes. The offered dessert is sumptuous and is comprised of fresh seasonal fruits and some truly delicious mizithra cheese (kind of Cretan ricotta) pie rolls with sugar and cinnamon (“tzevremedes“).
Taverna Zisis (in Greek “Ταβέρνα Ζήσης”) is an all time classic eatery in Rethymno where one can enjoy all facets of Cretan cuisine. The taverna is the biggest in size and also one of the oldest eateries in Rethymno. It offers a great multitude of Cretan dishes including traditional vegan Cretan cuisine, snails, pies, meat, Cretan barbecue and seafood. These can be ordered as mains or meze dishes to share (as most Cretans do). If you wish to quickly gain an understanding of Cretan food, this should be your fist stop! The taverna has a fixed a la carte menu and a large range of daily specials. Customers have the option to choose what to eat from the purpose-made food showcase of the taverna. As the taverna offers a great range of dishes, you need to visit it at least a few times to get a good impression of its cuisine. As regulars of the place, we usually start our meal with seasonal bitter greens which are nicely boiled and accompany well most Cretan dishes. As starters, we usually order some of the classic highlights of Taverna Zisis. We choose the juicy and soft stuffed vine leaves (“dolmadakia“), which are tender vine leaves stuffed with rice and herbs, accompanied with Cretan yoghurt. We also order the signature dish of pan fried and oven baked aubergine in tomato sauce (“melitzanes imam“), topped with grated cheese; easily one of the best executions of this really balanced dish. As mains various meat cuts and Cretan hamburgers on the barbecue are highly recommended. Same applies to meat or vegetable stews and casseroles. As dessert, the taverna brings delicious (although usually cold) doughnuts (“loukoumades“) topped with sesame and honey.
Taverna Othonas (in Greek “Ταβέρνα Όθωνας”) is one of our favourite choices in Rethymno for having an absolutely fulfilling and affordable meal involving creative cuisine while dining in style. It is greatly located bang on the old town centre of Rethymno and offers very pleasant ambience as well as great service. Apart from the standard menu dishes, the taverna also has daily specials. It is recommended to follow the advice of the chef and owner when ordering, who explains with pleasure about the daily specials and gives great recommendations regarding dishes and combinations. Taverna Othonas is really good at chargrilling fillets, such as pork, chicken or beef, and topping them with signature sauces that bring their taste to altogether different levels. We tried really succulent pork fillets in cherry sauce accompanied with a risotto and pork fillets in ouzo and mint sauce (called “Zorbas sauce”) accompanied with hearty mashed potatoes. The pork matched very well with the sweetness of the cherry. The intense taste of aniseed of the ouzo was balanced out by the pungence of mint and the outcome was a pleasure for the palate. Salads and starters are also not to be missed; “Ktima salad”, containing greens, tomatoes, avocado, apaki meat, slices of graviera cheese, pomegranate and pine seeds, is a classic. The feta pie in filo pastry, grape syrup, dried figs and sesame seeds, is also one of the signature starters. House wine is of exceptional quality and the offered dessert at the end is always a great surprise.
Hasika (in Greek “Χάσικα”) is a Cretan gourmet restaurant that raises the culinary standards of the city of Rethymno. It offers small meze-style dishes that are easily shared, based on local ingredients. The place has a warm and cozy ambience and combines traditional with modern elements in its decor. The menu comprises smaller dishes that can act as starters, rich salads and more substantial meat and seafood dishes that can be ordered as mains. Meat dishes are mainly based on pork or beef. The smoked pork with chickpeas and the beef liver we tried were exceptional. Highlight of the seafood dishes are squid and octopus, prepared in creative ways. The ingredients are locally sourced from all over the island. The chef combines his ingredients in creative ways resulting in well-balanced tastes without letting you forget that you are having Cretan food! The outcome is gourmet Cretan cuisine of very high standard.
Taverna Argonautis (in Greek “Ταβέρνα Αργοναύτης”) is one of the best fish tavernas of Rethymno, located on the seaside boulevard (quite far from the centre). It is owned by a fisherman and his family who often cook their catch of the day. You must try the different types of fried fish. Certainly not to be missed is the grilled or pan-fried Mediterranean moray fish (“smerna“) fish, if available, and the fried courgette sticks (both being signature dishes of the fish taverna). Other fish worth trying is the mixed fried fish platter (“tiganopsara“), basically containing the daily catch. The taverna also offers bigger fish upon availability, such as red porgy (“fagri“), white sea bream (“sargos“) or greater amberjack fish (“magiatiko“), which are ideal for chargrilling. In winter months expect nice homemade desserts as treats. Service is very friendly and prices are reasonable. In general, do not miss this place if you want to try Cretan fish.
Named after the famous Erebuni fortress in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, Erebuni restaurant (in Greek: “εστιατόριο Ερεμπούνι”) is an authentic Armenian eatery in Thessaloniki, Greece. The place is a must for foodies as both the Armenian cuisine itself and the particular restaurant are exceptional. Armenian cuisine is pretty heavy justified by the fact that Armenia is a land locked country having continental climate and cold winters. We tried the Armenian pies (made on the spot), the aubergine rolls with walnuts and the delicious minced meat kebabs. A big surprise was the traditional Armenian manti, which is something between dumpling and tortellini open on top, stuffed with minced beef and topped with garlic yoghurt. This dish has a great warming effect (ideal for a cold winter night) and is a culinary experience by itself. A great Armenian halva came at the end of a great meal , made of flour, butter and sugar. The ambience of Erebuni is very cozy (seating area is quite small). The service is great while prices are reasonable. All in all Erebuni offers a great culinary experience and is highly recommended.
Taverna Alekos (in Greek “Ταβέρνα Αλέκος”) is a unique village taverna in the area of Rethymno, offering authentic meat-based Cretan cuisine with a creative touch. The taverna always offers a set menu, meaning that you do not order; the food comes to you, which is quite rare for Crete. The food is of exceptional quality and the offered food quantity (number of dishes and portions) is huge. The set menu always comprises salads, appetizers, casserole dishes and stews (served as starters) which vary depending on the day. A complete Cretan barbecue comprising hamburgers (some of the best you can have in Crete!) and steaks is always served as main accompanied with housemade French fries. The indoor area of the taverna is cozy, dominated by stone walls which gives it a rustic and friendly ambience. Taverna Alekos is highly recommended for tasting rustic Cretan cuisine with creative touches. It also offers great value for money. Please make sure though that you are really hungry before going to this taverna, as the offered food quantity is huge!
Ouzeri Lola (in Greek “Ουζερί Λόλα”) is really authentic seafood restaurant in Thessaloniki, Greece, where one can enjoy traditional seafood meze dishes, such as mussels, smoked fish, squid and various dips as well as fresh fish, either grilled or pan fried. As a typical “ouzeri” restaurant, Lola features a great selection of ouzo or tsipouro to match the seafood and meet every expectation. We tried the really succulent and delicious grilled octopus tentacles (“chtapodi sti schara”) in olive oil and vinegar sauce. Also the grilled fresh squid (“kalamari sti schara”) was very good. Further highlights were Thessalonian mussels “saganaki” (pan cooked mussels in mustard sauce with peppers and feta cheese), a very balanced taste, and the grilled smoked mackerel (“skoumpri kapnisto”) with the delicious and strong characteristic taste. We also tried the rich “Lola salad”, made of red cabbage, rocket, tomato and Greek hard cheese topped with seeds and a special salad sauce. Last but not least, the “taramosalata” dip, a dip made of salted and cured roe, was exceptional. A treat of a very nice homemade chocolate and cream dessert came at the end of our very fulfilling meal.
Taverna Galera (in Greek “Ταβέρνα Γαλέρα”) is an upscale taverna situated in one of the nicest seafront locations of the city of Rethymno. The taverna enjoys fabulous views of the city and the coast and is very pleasant both in winter and summer. We almost feel compelled to enjoy seafood at such great seafront location. The signature dish of Taverna Galera is the shrimp “kritharoto” (risoni pasta cooked in shrimp broth). The shrimp pasta (“garidomakaronada”) is also great. Cuttlefish with greens (“soupies me maratha”) is also a must try when available. Worth trying are also the smaller meze style dishes, such as wild green pies (“xortopites”) and the spicy feta dip (“tirokauteri”), which is a great accompaniment to seafood. In summary, this taverna is a great place to relax while enjoying a seafood or meat based Cretan style meal also offering wonderful views.
Taverna Kompos is one of the all time classic tavernas in the greater Rethymno area in Crete; a heaven for meat lovers. Speciality are the various cuts of lamb on the barbecue, what I would call a “Cretan barbecue”. Beware that if you do not like meat there are two chances when you go to this taverna, you either change your mind (meat there is so great!) or you barely find anything substantial to eat. Truth to be said, meat is not the healthiest nutrition, however this taverna is worth for having a break from your healthy routine.