If you’re looking for a non-package holiday island, Hydra should be on your list. The most sophisticated of Greece’s Saronic Islands attracts a cosmopolitan and arty crowd – thanks to its ’60s links with the musician Leonard Cohen, who had a house here. All that bohemian pedigree has resulted in some eclectic places to eat today – from beachside restaurants to harbourside tavernas, all primed for people-watching.
On a sidestreet up from the port, this all-day bar and restaurant offers a wide choice of burgers with goat’s cheese or sea bass with red onion and avocado, washed down with the ubiquitous Greek-beloved Kaiser beer. During the day, come for brunch and relax in its courtyard garden with an iced freddo cappuccino or fresh pomegranate juice.
If you want to eat a simple breakfast of fresh fruit and yoghurt, followed by fresh fish in the evening with a gorgeous sea view, Omilos is the place for you. Sitting in Hydra port, with views of the bustling harbour from the balcony, it commands one of the best locations for eating dinner while taking in the beautiful sunset. Try its shrimp tempura or spaghetti with clams, rounded off with a piece of galaktoboureko (custard pie with filo pastry).
The Four Seasons Hydra – no relation to the Four Seasons brand of hotels – is a hotel and restaurant on Vlychos Beach, between the mountains and the sea. It’s a great place to relax on the beach and enjoy Greek souvlaki or vegetarian dishes such as stuffed courgette flowers or baked eggplant. Get there by a 10-minute water taxi from the port or a 35-minute walk around the headland.
Enjoy a slow-cooked beef rib with olive gnocchi or Aegean sea bass with wild greens, rounded off with a panna cotta, at one of the most unique restaurants on the island. Lying on Avlaki Beach, Téchnē sits inside a gorgeous, renovated historic building with a shaded courtyard and tables by the promenade. Its signature cocktails, such as the gin-based Aegean Breeze with citrus fruits, cucumber and kitron liqueur from Naxos, are a favourite, too.
Castello Hydra is a bar and restaurant on the beach of Kamini, a 15-minute walk from the harbour, in an old renovated 18th-century castle. Its gorgeous setting and location make it a more upscale dining choice, reflected by the prices – but perfect for a special occasion. Enjoy the chicken pasta with metsovone-cheese sauce or share a meze of fava beans, eggplant salad and calamari.
For an authentic Greek taverna experience, visit Kodylenia’s, which sits inside a typical fisherman’s house at the edge of Kamini harbour. Feast on dishes such as moussaka, lemon chicken and home-made tzatziki, along with bread from the local baker, on its terrace overlooking the water’s edge, watching the boats come and go. It’s accessible only on foot or with traditional boats and high-speed water taxis. Expect traditional music and sea views on arrival for your troubles.
Another favourite on the Kamini harbour is Pirofani, where you can kick back at one of its pavement-side tables and enjoy its famous Pirofani salad – lettuce with bacon, Greek semi-soft manouri cheese and mustard dressing. It’s one of the only places on the island that also serves a mild chicken curry. It’s more than just food – come and enjoy your dinner on an evening when there’s a poetry reading or classical music.
Once an old sponge factory, the Bratsera has been converted into a boutique hotel in Hydra town, but you don’t need to be a guest to enjoy the delights of its restaurant. You’ll love the stuffed tomatoes or shrimp risotto with eggplant salad as you dine in the garden around the pool, away from the bustle of the harbour.
If you’re looking for a more traditional taverna in Hydra town, give Geitonikon a try. Enjoy simple yet delicious dishes, such as meatballs, home-made fries sprinkled with oregano, zucchini fritters and beef in tomato sauce, either from its pavement, indoor or terrace seating as you enjoy a slice of Hydra life.
Book your stay in one of the best hotels in Hydra now through Culture Trip. Hungry for more? Why not take a trip to the not-too-far-away capital. Stay in one of the best hotels in Athens, visit some must-see historical sites or chill out on the best beaches nearby. End the day by sampling the best of Athenian cuisine and sees how it compares to Hydra.
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