Our top 7 spots to eat & drink in the Saronic Islands
We weren’t surprised to hear on our return from the Saronic Islands in 2015 that Monemvasia had just been featured on Rick Stein’s culinary journey from Venice to Istanbul! The food in this region in unbelievable. Far from your average Greek taverna fayre this region of the Peloponnese is an undiscovered gem and foodies gold mine!
From the delicious, locally produced and bottled wine, to the annual aubergine festival, the area loves their food and wine and we can see why. Read on to find out more about our favourite spots (to name a few...).
Our favourite places
1. Explore the homemade wine cellar
Batis Restaurant in Astros has an unassuming façade which certainly kids you into thinking it is just another Greek taverna. Little did we know that out back there was an incredibly quaint courtyard. Funnily enough, the entire harbour had had the same idea, and so the courtyard was packed! There was no particular menu, just what was fresh that day and by the time we got there, what was left! But it was all delicious and washed down with wine from the restaurants’ very own wine cellar. It is owned by friendly Vangelis who, gave us a short tour of the open cellar in the middle of the courtyard, after we had finished our food. We highly recommend the keftedes (stuffed vine leaves) washed down with the rosé!
2. A spot of Leonidhion luxury wih rooftop views
Once moored up in Plaka, having visited before and it being August we thought we’d venture further afield to Leonidhion Town. Nestled in the mountain valley with view of the moutains and the sea we discovered Archontiko Hatzipanayioti. A bit of a mouthful we know! But this tiny little boutique hotel had a stunning rooftop garden with exquisite views and an oasis of calm in the midst of the otherwise rather chaotic little town.
3. A secret gem (let's keep it that way!)
The second place we discovered, in the back streets of Leonidhion, was our favourite taverna in the whole of the Saronic Islands by far. It is so off the beaten tourist track there are no links online to 'tell you more'... just that it is at a small fork in the road up in Leonidhion Town and is called: Restaurant Pizzeria "In LEONIDIO". The local wine was delicious and only €5 a litre - it doesn't get better than that. The food was fuss free Italian, including some of the most delicious bread we have ever tasted! To top this all off we couldn't believe the bill at the end of the night...for all the right reasons! There is no doubt that next time we are sailing within a 50 mile radius of this place we'll be calling in!
4. Wine tasting with Byron in Monemvasia
Sample the local dry white wine along with deliciously fresh antipasti. The bruschetta was to die for - and the wine it was washed down with is yet to be beaten by any other we’ve tried in the Greek Islands. We recommend anyone looking to spend a relaxing hour or so in the Byzantine walled city, before dinner, head here for a spot of old world charm.
5. A fuss free feed
Between the South Quay and Monemvasia Old Town, Mateo’s Quayside taverna offers a range of Greek favourites, many with a modern twist. We went for lunch one day and had amazing calamari and Greek salad (I know what you're thinking - such tourists!). We also learned that they stock around 300 different types of beer! And so we stayed and enjoyed a couple of cold ones whilst we watched the other boats come in – a wonderful afternoon’s entertainment! We also had our briefing here the next day, and can attest to the fact that they’re breakfasts and frappes are an excellent cure for those who have over-indulged, in the aforementioned wine tasting the night before.
6. Get out of town in Spetses
Wandering through Spetses Town was a minefield of inviting tavernas! But rather than follow the masses we kept walking and we were glad we did. Just past the main town (to the west) there is a small beach with just 2-3 tavernas. The taverna on the beach, whose name literally translates to ‘Beach’ was incredibly busy and the food was amazing. The tables were on the beach, with the water lapping just feet away, so not a spot for posh footwear if you were planning on packing any! We later found out this restaurant is rated number 4 on Trip Advisor on the whole of Spetses...
7. This one is a bit of a cheat...
...But we reckon one of the most enjoyable spots to enjoy breakfast or lunch, with unbeatable views and a waterside location, is your very own boat! From early mornings with coffee and breakfast on the move as the sun rises, to lazy lunches (along with the obligatory lunchtime beer) in beautiful bays on a different island each day, what’s not to love? The only downside? Washing up! Just make sure you’ve got a willing cabin boy/ tiller girl to do that bit for you....shhhh we didn’t say that.
Fancy visiting the Saronic Islands?
Check out our Rough Sailing Guides for the Saronic Islands...
If you have a little more time, and are taking friends or family who prefer relaxing to covering miles, our Two Week Saronic Island Hopping provides a great itinerary.
If you have two weeks, a crew of (relatively) keen sailors and committed foodies, this Two Week Adventurous Saronic Islands Route is the one for you!
Or get in touch to ask one of our experts!