MYKONOS - FOOD
Of the traditional specialties unique to Mykonos, three foods have risen to fame and due to their demand are now often available in cafes, restaurants, certain specialty shops, butcher shops and supermarkets.
Many kinds of salami are produced in Greece but probably the most famous, particularly throughout the Cycladic region is the Louza. This prosciutto-like cousin is made from a complete pork fillet which is flavored with salt, pepper and herbs then hung to be cured in the open air for at least a month and often longer. As the balances of flavors vary somewhat from island to island the most famous is the combination found in Mykonos. Used in the making of this lousa is the herb `savory`, locally known as `throubi` which grows wild on the island.
This is a cheese that when first tasted will never be forgotten. Soft in texture and creamy in color it is a local favorite with a real kick. Somewhat similar to Roquefort, this cheese carries its own unique character and a much sharper bite. Although produced throughout the Cycladic Islands the particular variety that comes from Mykonos is world famous. Created and shaped by hand without any form of mechanization, this cow-milk product may on occasion also incorporate the use of sheep, goat or combined blends of these milks. Traditionally Kopanisti is used as an appetizer and often as an accompaniment to ouzo since its sharpness nicely counters the sweet licorice flavor of this traditional drink.
Accompanying the savory specialties of the island is the famous pastry known as Amigthalota or almond sweet. Often present at festive events such as weddings, baptisms and family celebrations, these pastries are also enjoyed by many at any time of the year. It should be noted that two forms of the almond specialty exist. First is the popular elongated cookie shape that is distinctively covered in powdered sugar. Second is known as the `kalathaki` (basket) that is actually almond cake which has been baked into a small pastry cupcake mold and often individually wrapped.
Mykonos Island was amongst the first places to offer a more sophisticated and contemporary version of the Traditional Greek Cuisine to offer the Island`s visitors a refined cuisine that will suit their cosmopolitan tastes. One thing is certain; in Mykonos you are really spoilt for choice!
There is a proliferation of dining places on the island, especially in Chora, where you can enjoy your meal in picturesque settings hidden in the maze of narrow streets. From simple Greek dishes to gourmet plates of the international cuisine, and from the naïve decor of small taverns to the avant-garde ambient of club restaurants, the choices are numerous and diverse, for every taste and every budget. Actually any kind of eatery can be found in Mykonos, from souvlaki and Gyros to Italian pasta and pizza, crepes, fish taverns and haute cuisine restaurants . You will find many locals eating at the cafeterias and taverns along the promenade, particularly at Vasiliki`s `Yalos` snack bar right opposite the fish market where you can enjoy Greek meze with ouzo, Calamari (squid), fried fish and huge portions of local sausages at very reasonable prices.
At the higher end of the market there are several restaurants offering dishes both from the Greek tradition and the international sophistication. La Maison de Catherine is one of the oldest and chicest sitting along a small lane (Lidou street.) off Matogianni street., which, despite its narrowness, is the perfect passage for those wishing to see and to be seen. On the central Matogianni street. you`ll find Phillippis with the trendiest garden of the island, where fresh fish and seafood, as well as classic Greek dishes are served under the trees. Also on Matogianni street, the atmospheric minimal design of Interni is matched by the fusion gastronomy that has earned this trendy restaurant a Golden Cap distinction in the recent past. Mamaca`s is situated on the beautiful courtyard of an old mansion, lined with huge palm trees, and offers a variety of tasty Greek plates.
Strategically placed under the Windmills, with a stunning view to the sea, the sunset and Little Venice, Sea Satin Market Caprice is trendy and always boasts a variety of seafood dishes, as its name suggests.
For more affordable dining you can choose one of the numerous taverns featuring lots of local color, like Kounelas, a unique fish tavern on a tiny spot hidden within the labyrinth of streets, famous for its fresh fish accompanied by Greek salads and appetizers (you`ll have to ask for directions at the block between Skandinavian Bar and the port). The Klimataria is traditional and unpretentious, serving Greek homemade food. Alefkandra, opposite the Catholic church, is a picturesque island tavern, also specializing in fresh seafood, while Ta Kioupia at Kastro offers authentic Greek specialties, as does Matthios at Tourlos on its pleasant veranda overlooking the new port.
At many beaches you`ll also find a variety of dining places. At trendy Psarou beach you can relax and enjoy exquisite tastes at Nammos, an all-day bar-restaurant with an elegant ambience in white and sand colors. At Agios Ioannis beach Manoula`s is a beautiful restaurant with a view to the sea and a "tampered" Greek cuisine. Fokos tavern at Fokos beach is quiet. At Panormos, the super-trendy Panormos beach-bar/tavern is responsible for putting the beach on the map, plus rivals the island`s other cosmopolitan beach restaurants. The veranda of Capelayo with a panoramic view to Elia beach is perfect for enjoying one of its numerous dishes, with the emphasis on the grill, away from the hot Aegean sun. Kalua at Paraga beach, white and beautiful, offers large tasty plates in a fun-charged atmosphere, while at Agia Anna beach, behind Paraga, under the shady trees of Achinaioi (Sea Urchins) is where you`ll want to be if you`re after top quality.