Taverna Kompos (in Greek “Ταβέρνα Κόμπος”) is one of the all time classic tavernas in the greater Rethymno area in Crete; a heaven for meat lovers. Specialty is the Cretan barbecue, consisting of char-grilled Cretan lamb and pork chops as well as veal steak. Also not to be missed are the various meze dishes consisting of lamb insides, such as liver, testicles, intestines etc, either char-grilled or pan-fried. 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 while experiencing the famous Cretan barbecue. However, if you are a strict vegetarian this is not a place for you.
Near the village of Atsipopoulo (Violi Charaki area), 3,5 km to the southwest of the city of Rethymno. You have to go there by car. There is designated parking with plenty of space; parking score is 3 out of 3 (🅿️🅿️🅿️) . As it is far from the city centre and not at the seafront it receives a location score 1 out of 3 (🗺️).
The restaurant has an indoor and an outdoor seating area. A part of the latter also acts as a protected terrace in winter months. The indoor area has a rustic ambience, has a fireplace but is fairly dark. The ambience score is 1 out of 3 (💺). The outdoor area is under trees and is pleasant in summer, receiving a score of 2 out of 3 outdoor score (⛱️⛱️). Both seating areas are comfortable. The place is children friendly and features a children toilet, which is a rarity, as well as an indoor children play room. There is also a small outdoor playground. It receives a well deserved 3 out of 3 kids score (👦👦👦).
Food, quality, quantity
The food is based on Cretan meat specialities that are of outstanding quality. The vegetarian score is 1 out of 3 (🥩), as there are only vegetarian salads and very few starter dishes. Food portions are huge, so the quantity score is 3 out of 3 (🥣🥣🥣). You would not call the food creative, however it is truly authentic and the ingredients are carefully selected. It deserves a 3 out of 3 quality score (✅✅✅). The house wine is of acceptable quality, receiving an 1 out of 3 housewine score (🍷).
Starter highlights are the barbecued lamb brains (“miala”), fried lamb testicles (“ameletita”), lamb intestines filled with splene (“splinogardoumo”) and fried lamb liver (“sikotaki tiganito”). One should also try the wild chicory greens (“agria radikia”), if available, and the excellent “dakos” (hard bread made of wheat or barley). Not to be missed is the “athogalo”, a fantastic west Cretan dip made of a special type of sheep milk cream.
Main course highlights are the lamb chops (some of the best on Crete) and the succulent veal steak. The hefty pork chops are also great. Cretan style hamburgers are average. Last but not least, the homemade potato chips are a must. The portions are huge but beware that they do not come with accompaniments to the meat. So one should order fries and salads as extras.
The service is generally good and friendly. It can get slow or very slow when the restaurant is busy, therefore receiving a service score of 2 out of 3 (💁💁).
Treats at no extra charge
The offered dessert is usually Greek “loukoumi” and “kormos”, a sweet made of biscuits, butter and chocolate. The accompanying raki is of good quality.
Reservation is normally not necessary with the exception of Greek feast days.
Price and overall score
The taverna offers an exceptional value for money. Expect to pay between € 15,00 and € 20,00 per person (price level: €€) including drinks (house wine choice) for a totally fulfilling meal with fantastic Cretan meat. We give the restaurant an overall score of 2 out of 3 (⭐⭐) purely because customers are limited to meat based options.
Review last edited: 31/01/2019
© Review and photos by Agisilaos Papadogiannis