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.
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.
Plaka Beach, Naxos
If you’re into the idea of trying an island delicacy like wild goat (and you should), try it here. It’s what Petrino is known for—along with some killer homemade chocolate ice cream. The setting, off Plaka beach, with tables shaded by a leafy trellis, makes for relaxing, lazy lunches.
Naxos Town, Naxos
Meze Meze sits right on the main harbor and can get a bit touristy, but that has no bearing on the food. The garlicky shellfish and cheese-stuffed squid are standouts, but you could skip dinner and come here just for dessert. The crispy and sweet candied carrots, unlike anything we’ve had before, are served with a healthy dollop of savory Greek yogurt.