Big, loud, and lively, Barbarossa is the place to come for first-rate people-watching, and the religiously observed sunset cocktail hour is the time to do it. Settle in beneath the strings of small twinkling lights strung above the tables for big platters of fish and pasta. Sure, there are better restaurants on Paros, but the buzzing ambiance and cosmopolitan feel at Barbarossa sets it apart, and the setting, alongside the old Venetian port, where you can watch the last of the boats come in is something special.
All the wines here are made entirely by Greek producers and are organic or biodynamic. So half the pleasure of dinner at Open Garden is working your way down the list and trying a few glasses of something you’re unlikely to taste elsewhere. As for the food, start with the tarama, tzatziki, and eggplant dip, scooped up with wedges of warm pita. Follow with a plate of oily sardines flecked with fresh basil before a grilled fish and salad. Though if you’re starting to tire of seafood, the burger is excellent.
French chef Fred Chesneau decided to bring something that teeters on fine dining to the island—a departure from the more classic Greek tavernas that fill Paros. Set within a small garden full of flowers, trees, and ivy, Stou Fred's menu changes weekly, but the format—five courses of French-influenced dishes—remains the same. The well-curated wine list (of mostly smaller French producers) draws a loyal crowd, as does the beautiful garden setting.
When the owner is also the in-house sommelier, you know the Agiorgitiko is going to be top-notch. Nikos Kouroumlis does indeed have an expansive wine cellar (and his own wine club), but Thea is just as renowned for its food. The cuisine is vegetable-forward Greek and Turkish fusion, like zucchini noodles simmered in tomato sauce and marinated eggplant with yogurt. Meat eaters, however will not be disappointed with the lamb, slow-cooked for hours until it’s falling-apart tender with sweet, stewed apricots. The entrance looks like a porch, filled with sofas and small tables, and you can sip a pre- or post-dinner drink looking over the water and Antiparos, across the bay.