Greece: Haute cuisine in Mykonos and authentic local food in Crete (Outside danish gastronomy)

Even though this blog is about danish restaurants, I like to share my findings abroad. In this case its about Greece, the islands Mykonos and Crete.

I have been to Crete many times during the last 15 years, and experienced how the island has come a long way, from very simple food, often of no interest to the foodie, to the present state where there are still more and more interesting places.

I am in no way an expert on Crete as such, my knowledge is concentrated in West Crete and the Kissamos/Castelli area, where I have spent many vacations. I usually do my own cooking, but pop out to eat now and then.
In Kissamos I like to eat at the very simple, local taverna Korakas, just at the far end of the beach promenade with seats in and out. The menu states what is fresh and what is frozen. I often have the grilled sardines, and enjoy the fish right from the sea. I do not drink the local wine and I will not recommend it anywhere (except at Meltemi, if you can get the one from 100 year old vines!), but go for the Retsina from Chania cooperative, or their Romeiko.

Meltemi Taverna seen from a distance

My favourite place for local cuisine is Meltemi taverna, 45 minutes from Kissamos/Castelli and very practically on the way to the marvellous (but often crowded) sandy beach of Elafonisi. Meltemi is located in the little mountain village Amigdalokefali ( αμυγδαλοκεφαλι ), 600 meters above sea, so the view is splendid – if not hindered by the clouds.

When I first came to Amigdalokefali there was no places to eat. Then Jorgos – who is a goats herd like his father was – and his wife Natasha, transformed an old horse carriage to a small cantina, selling sandwiches and drinks. After a few years they build a regular taverna, a very nice and clean place with the most splendid view.

Natasha and her mother Tania are cooking, eldest son Pavlos is serving and Jorgos takes care of the goats and his vines. He has some vines that are more than 100 years old, and the wine from these is very good, ut not easey to get out of him. You can try asking for the wine before placing your order of food, that is a better negotiation standpoint.

The goat meat is great, but don't knock the Moussaka, this is also fine!

Most places sell Moussaka and this they also do at Meltemi, and the quality is really fine. But you can also taste the local goats, bred by the family and cooked with a skilled hand. Local sausage is also recommendable, as is the fish that Alexandros is catching at the beach, visible from the taverna.

Entrance to Bill & Coo, where rocks are used differently than at Meltemi.

A whole other ballgame is Bill & Coo at Mykonos, an island that is a completely different animal, in many ways. Mykonos has much to offer, but I think Bill & Coo is in the very top, with their modern take on the classics, as shown in these pictures. Her in july the renowned danish chef Morten Kok (Motens Kro in the city of Aalborg) is guest chef at Bill & Coo, which should make it even more interesting. But anyway I will warmly recommend the restaurant anytime, as well as the rooms if you are looking for a chic, luxurious place away from the action of Mykonos town.

Elegant haute cuisine á la greque.

Below are pictures from both Meltemi and Bill & Coo. Click to enlarge.

Slideshow with the pictures from Meltemi:

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