Travel

The Cyclades Restaurants

Establishment neighborhood
Elia Kafenes
Antiparos
Come here for the best breakfast sandwiches on Antiparos. Five minutes’ walk from the port, this is not an establishment that throws together two slices of untoasted bread with a bit of bacon and egg squished in the middle. These sandwiches are carefully crafted: perfectly toasted bread with crisp bacon, locally-grown tomatoes, ripe avocado, and lightly fried eggs. Their coffee is fantastic and effective, and their stack of pancakes, meanwhile, come drenched in chocolate sauce and fresh berries. Elia Kafenes is open late by American standards (meaning 4am, which is entirely normal in Greece), and while it’s also popular for dinner, you should really be coming here for the breakfast. You’ll probably find yourself sitting back at the same table the next day, and the day after that—the food is that good. And the staff won’t mind—they’ll probably recognize you after the first visit, ready to welcome you back with genuine enthusiasm.
Beach House
Apantima, Antiparos
While this gem of a hotel is open only seasonally (mid-May to October), it’s worth the effort to go during that season. It’s that lovely. Each of the nine rooms is simply appointed with cool cement floors, air conditioning, a bathroom done in Parian marble, and the all-important Nespresso machine—ideal for your morning coffee on the balcony overlooking the Aegean. The extremely helpful concierge will organize all the island activities you’d possibly want, including boat trips and guided hikes. There are also yoga and meditation classes on-site.
Lollo’s Pizzeria
Antiparos Port, Antiparos
Trust: You will tire of grilled fish and Greek salad at some point. That’s when you will be happy for Lollo’s pizza (make a reservation; it’s that good—and popular). The pies here are of the pinsa romana variety—stretched, oval, flat-crusted, and made with a mix of flours that supposedly is easier to digest than conventional pizza. The sides and salads are decent, but we recommend sticking to the pizza and leaving room to share the hazelnut chocolate slice of heaven that is the Nutella pizza for dessert.
Medusa
Mandrakia, Milos
Island newcomers will find Medusa perched above a series of syrmata—the Greek name for the brightly colored fishermen’s homes—locals are already well-acquainted with the place. The cooking is mainly the product of two older Greek women who run the kitchen, and it is good. Smoky mackerel; thick-cut, grilled swordfish steaks; local cheeses; and an especially notable chocolate cake for dessert make Medusa one of the tougher tables to score on the island. Note: Portions are on the larger side so be ready to share. The sound of the water crashing against the rocks below and the breeze sweeping in off the water mean leaving your table is hard, but at Medusa, there are always people waiting.
Giannis Taverna
Chalkio, Naxos
The scent of simmering chicken and pork roasting on the spit draws people into Giannis, but vegetarians will find plenty to order, too. The bean salad with feta had one goop staffer coming back more than once on her summer trip, and the hilltop setting in the village of Chalki is gorgeous (try to explore the little alleyways and meandering streets after dinner). Service can be slow, but such is the pace of life in this hidden-away town, far from the crowds at the port. Just roll with it—and bring cash.
Matina Taverna
Koronos, Naxos
The little town of Koronos is about eighteen miles from the main town of Chora on Naxos. This means that Matina Taverna is pretty much a locals-only spot, and a trip here is a good excuse to get off the beaten track. Stavros—Matina’s husband—is a Naxian who grows his own vegetables, churns his own dairy, and even makes his own wine. It’s all served at the restaurant, with plentiful portions of Stavros’s cheese to round off a meal. There’s no menu. Instead, the server lets each table know what’s cooking that day. Matina’s slow-cooked stews and meat braises—all simmered in traditional clay pots—and her flaky vegetable-stuffed pastries make for deeply nourishing, soul-satisfying dinners.