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.
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!