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“).
Fantastic meze dishes accompanying top quality raki or wine
Ta 2 Rou is located in the less frequented picturesque western part of the old town of Rethymno. It is easily accessible on foot from anywhere in the city, although is not bang on the popular spots, therefore receiving a location score of 2 out of 3 (🗺️🗺️). As we are talking about the old town of Rethymno with its narrow streets and alleys, if you come by car do not expect to park right on the spot, although parking areas are not far. Therefore, the parking score is 1 out of 3 (🅿️).
Ambience, comfort, decor
Ta 2 Rou is a very small eatery, having around 7 tables able to accommodate around 30 guests. The seating area is indoors and only has 2 small outdoor tables in summer time. Guests are sat comfortably in a very special ambience evoking memories of the Cretan past. The space of the seating area is limited which justifies an ambience/comfort score of 2 out of 3 (💺💺). As the outdoor area barely exists, the outdoor score is 1 out of 3 (⛱️). Ta 2 Rou has a very friendly attitude to children and has special children seats. As the seating area is not large, it receives a 2 out of 3 kids score (👦👦).
Food, quality, quantity
In this eatery you can eat authentic Cretan food that is also creative and purely based on fresh locally sourced ingredients. You can either have a full meal or just enjoy smaller meze dishes accompanying wine or raki. A full meal always contains meze dishes that are brought in the beginning without ordering them. Either way, Ta 2 Rou is one of the top places for immersing yourself into authentic Cretan cuisine. Ta 2 Rou every day offers a different spectrum of freshly cooked dishes based on the season and the daily catch when it comes to seafood. The chef and owner comes to take your order and happily explains what is on the menu on that particular day.
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 xorta“), 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, justifying a 3 out of 3 vegetarian score(🌱🌱🌱). Food portions are very big and of great quality, justifying a quantity score of 3 out of 3 (🥣🥣🥣) and an equal quality score (✅✅✅). The house wine is of good quality, justifying a 2 out of 3 housewine score (🍷🍷).
A fantastic selection of Cretan starters and appetizers; boiled bitter greens (top left), chickpeas topped with homemade hummus (bottom left) and Cretan edible bulbs in vinegar (right)
At this eatery we always start our meal with little meze dishes, acting as appetizers, that are brought without ordering. These change every day and always contain some homemade dips, such as guacamole, spicy cheese dip (“tirokafteri“), hummus or mashed beetroot and garlic dip. In addition, there is always a dish with small Cretan barley rusks (“dakakia”) accompanied with Cretan dried mizithra (“anthotiros” or “tirozouli“) or graviera cheese. Sometimes the barley rusks are topped with fantastic “kritamos“, being a pickled handpicked wild green that grows on rocky shores. Other offered appetizers are Cretan bitter green pies (“chortopites“), stuffed vine leaves (“dolmadakia“), pickled edible bulbs (“skordoulaki“), potatoes on the fireplace (“patates oftes“) or fresh raw artichokes (“agkinares“). These appetizers have always been part of the Cretan cuisine and are perfect accompaniments to raki.
A mouthwatering dish of Cretan appetizers; bitter green pies (“chortopites”), stuffed vine leaves (“dolmadakia”), small barley rusks (“dakakia”), pickled edible bulbs (“skordoulaki”), tirozouli cheese and olives.
The evening we visited Ta 2 Rou, the chef had prepared a Cretan special that we could not resist; “black” cuttlefish stewed with bitter greens and its ink (“soupies me chorta“). This dish was a pleasure to the mouth as the sweetness of the perfectly cooked cuttlefish and the ink was greatly balanced out by the pungence of the wild bitter greens. We accompanied our cuttlefish with stewed black butter beans (“gigantes“) with carrots cooked to perfection; mellow and starchy. As salad we had boiled (on the spot) Cretan bitter greens in olive oil and lemon. We also tried pan fried whitebait (catch of the day) dredged in corn flour. Admittedly, the chef at Ta 2 Rou is very skilled at pan frying fish. The use of corn flour instead of the conventional wheat flour greatly elevates the taste.
Seasonal bitter greens; a great and healthy salad and accompaniment to Cretan food
A Cretan special: cuttlefish stewed with bitter greens and its ink (“soupies me chorta“)
A traditional black butter bean (“mauri gigantes”) stew with carrots cooked to perfection
Cretan whitebait dredged into corn flour and pna fried to perfection
Service at Ta 2 Rou is really special as it is provided by the owner and chef. It is truly friendly and welcoming. There is always a meze treat coming first and then the daily list of available dishes is recited by the chef. Service is always fast and deserves a 3 out of 3 service score (💁💁💁).
Treats at no extra charge
The meal always starts with dish full of fantastic home made Cretan appetizers that come without ordering. 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“). This is the only eatery that offers this version of Cretan sweet and it is really worth trying it as the sweetness of the mizithra cheese together with the sugar matches greatly the cinnamon. The usual raki that accompanies the dessert is exquisite.
Delicious “tzevremedes”, mizithra cheese pie rolls with sugar and cinnamon
Reservation is advisable especially at peak times, such as weekends and summer, as the eatery is very small.
Price and overall score
The price for a full meal at Ta 2 Rou is a great surprise, lying between € 10,00 and € 15,00 per person (price level: €) including drinks (housewine option). In addition to the exceptional quantity and quality, Ta 2 Rou is the ultimate place to experience Cretan hospitality and culinary authenticity and easily deserves the exceptional overall score of 3 out of 3 (⭐⭐⭐).
Review last edited: 12/04/2019
© Review and photos by Agisilaos Papadogiannis