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PAROS - FOOD

While in Paros you have an excellent opportunity to sample the best of traditional Greek food. With its superb choice of taverns and restaurants, you can have the very best fresh sea food, grilled local meats and fresh, organic produce grown no more than a few miles away. The choice of environment is also outstanding. Not only have you many options of seaside restaurants and taverns but there is a great variety of excellent places to eat inland and in the mountain villages. If, however, you crave a taste of something more exotic, Paros also has several restaurants that offer Indian, Chinese, Thai and European cuisine as well as fusion menus.

In Parikia you will find most of the restaurants and taverns at the right side of the port towards Argo beach and further to Krios. There are also many eateries, ice cream parlors and fast food places around the Mando square and inside the old town. To the left of the port, the long promenade is bursting from cafeterias, pizzerias, music bars and snack bars. Here you will find the oldest restaurant of Paros, the Hibiscus as well as one of the oldest cafes of Parikia the Stelakis cafe where you can eat the best Galaktobouriko. For the largest portions of food ever seen in a Greek restaurant try the Balkoni in Alyki.

Parian cuisine is based mostly on vegetables and pulses, but with the added flavors of delicious fresh fish and the finest shellfish. These are easily available in every single fish tavern on the island.

What to Eat

Gouna
A local specialty - a sun dried salty mackerel fish, served grilled with fresh lemon. You will certainly see it hanging in the sun outside tavernas and houses on the island.

Salatouri
Another Paros seafood specialty is fresh stingray salad. The stingray is caught and kept in salt before boiling, baking or grilling. It is served with mixed leaves and is perfect for a light lunch. Served with extra lemon juice!

Kakavia
An absolute classic. It is a fish soup made with any kind of fish that fishermen caught in the early morning but are unable to sell. The soup is so easy to make, since it was made in a simple pot on deck, however the magic is in the experience of the one who cooks it!

Wine
There are many delicious Greek wines, but it is not easy to choose the right one. Often you can get lucky with homemade wines served from the barrel. If the restaurant offers "open wine", just ask if you can try it first, restaurant owners will be happy to let you do so. There are especially many light and tasty white wines. Retsina is very digestible, although some people don't like its rather 'special' taste (resin is added).

Fresh fruits/vegetables
Especially delicious are: watermelons, honey melons, grapes, peaches, tomatoes and cabbage! Usually the little grocery stores and of course the farmers (who gather in the mornings in the centre of the towns or the harbors and sell their stuff) offer local products.

Restaurants

Below is a selection of just a few of the excellent places in Paros where you can sample gastronomic delights in a delightful island setting.

Porphyra
This highly recommended seafood taverna is located in front of the port on the seafront road, close to Atlantik Supermarket, between the pier and the Post Office. It was the first fish restaurant to open in Paros around 15 years ago and is the perfect place for a romantic dinner at very reasonable prices. The restaurant is quite small, with an indoor seating area and tables under the pergola in the courtyard where you can obtain views of the harbor and the world passing by. The owner, Yannis, farms his own shellfish whilst his son dives daily for fresh clams, sea urchins and oysters to tempt your palate. All vegetables used in the restaurant are grown locally and brought fresh to the restaurant every day. Menu choices vary depending upon the season and the catch, but you will always find interesting dishes that are cooked to perfection. All the fish are predictably fresh and if you wish to try a selection of different fish for your main dish then ask for the chef's specialties such as 'Poseidon's Dish' which combines tope, tuna, cuttlefish, prawn and octopus or 'Fruits of the Sea' which consists of lobster, crayfish, oysters, clams, mussels and jumbo prawns. Porphyra also has a good selection of meat and vegetarian food on their menu. Porphyra is only open during the tourist season when it opens at 18.30 until midnight. However, get there in good time because, as they say themselves, 'when the fish is finished - we close'
The same owners of Porphyra also run the Art Café which is close by. This charming little café/gallery, which sometimes has live music during the summer, serves drinks and tasty snacks throughout the day.

Levantis
An enchanting garden restaurant located in the centre of the old town of Parikia in Market Street. It is one of the oldest restaurants in Paros and its ancient courtyard has a grapevine that is even older (some 200 years) for you to sit under while savoring the innovative, international gourmet cuisine, freshly and superbly prepared and cooked by owner and chef, Yiorgos Mavrides, who offers unique dishes that are influenced by Mediterranean, Asian and Western styles of cooking. Ingredients are wonderfully fresh, local products and Yiorgos grows the herbs that are used to season and compliment his dishes. Make sure you don't get there too late, because some dishes, like his cake of the day or tempting soups and starters sell out fast. As well as daily specialties his repertoire includes such things as oven baked lamb rolled in vine leaves with fresh herbs and feta, served with fava, caramelized onions and mint sauce to tantalize your taste buds. Or try succulent grilled beef tenderloin with crispy goats' cheese polenta and black olive aioli. If fish is your choice then spiced-rubbed salmon with clove reduction, herbed lentil salad and roasted zucchini or fillet of lavraki with chickpea, coriander and olive oil sauce, ginger-braised fennel and green rice - both will blow you away. Vegetarian choices are equally mouth-watering such as perfumed couscous with roasted vegetables, grilled banana and green harissa broth. The array of scrumptious desserts is equally impossible to resist and a meal out at Lavantis will be a something you will want to repeat again. The wine list is extensive and has many fine local and national wines. Lavantis is definitely a restaurant to visit if you are looking for an alternative to traditional Greek food for a change.

The Happy Green Cow
A very successful vegetarian restaurant that is located in a side street in the old town. If you are vegetarian, or simply want a change from mousakka or souvlaki, then this is the place to try. The menu is extensive with around 30 different dishes offered every day. There are also some fish and chicken dishes but most of the food is vegetarian with flavors of Greek, Mexican, Italian and Chinese. The décor reflects this ethnic mix; it is bright and cheerful with red walls and lots of gold decoration. The walls are hung with a collection of folksy artwork and plenty of smiling green cows. The Happy Green Cow also boasts an excellent wine list that includes local wine from Paros as well as from all over Greece. The house red wine is particularly good. The creative menu includes such culinary delights as wonderfully original and substantial salads. Try 'Ambrosia Salad' a delightful green salad with a topping of warm gorgonzola, pine nut and cranberry sauce or 'Fantasia' concocted from a variety of green salad vegetables combined with dried figs, sun dried tomatoes and hard cheese from Paros. If you eat seafood then the tiger prawns in vodka, pepper, almond and basil sauce, or mango, roast peanut, lemon grass, coconut and cream sauce are exquisite and will really tantalize your taste buds. Whatever your taste and preferences you will be spoilt for choices on their vast menu. Everything will tempt you.

Impasto
Is an extremely good pizza parlor located close to the port in Parikia and a step away from all the nightclubs. It is a very reasonably priced, and as well as having tables on the beach, across the pedestrian street, it also offers a pizza-by-the slice take away service. The pizzas are prepared in front of you by the friendly and polite owners. The décor is traditionally Italian with lots of interesting photographs pinned on the wall. Strongly recommended if you want a good filling meal on a low budget.

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