Greek island Ithaca, or Ithaki, is a small island in the Ioanian sea with epic mythological and literary significance. It is where the fictional (perhaps!) character Odysseus longs to return after the Trojan War in Homer’s epic The Odyssey. Ithaca is a quiet island with secluded beaches and great hiking paths. All that swimming and hiking can build up quite the appetite. Regardless of where you are on Ithaca, a great restaurant is not too far away.
Huge portions of delicious Greek food are the main draw at To Chani, in the centre of the island. With a stunning view overlooking the bay, the restaurant was established in the 1800s and here they continue to honour their culinary traditions. Their signature dish, chicken tserepa, is not to be missed. It is made in the traditional Ithacan ceramic pan, called a tserepa, and slow cooked over charcoal. Make sure you eat at To Chani at least once during your stay.
Hearing the waves gently lapping the sea wall while you dine on delicious Greek food is exactly why you came to Ithaca in the first place. Kohili delivers that and more. Step inside the restaurant and take a look at the daily offerings of traditional dishes before you take a seat by the sea. The seafood dishes are exceptional but the moussaka is the best you will find anywhere across the seven Ionian islands. Kohili is where the locals go, need we say more?
If you’re looking for a romantic restaurant from which to watch the sunset, head over to Dona Lefki. The village of Lefki didn’t have a place to eat for more than 60 years until Spiridoula Paxinou opened this place. She brought in renowned chefs to solidify the menu. Try the freshly caught fish or shrimp risotto. The food is as sensational as the service and the view, taking in the neighbouring island of Kefalonia. It’s a bit of a splurge but you won’t regret – or forget – dinner here.
The Mediterranean dishes from Yefuri’s wood fire oven are irresistible. As of 2020, it is under new ownership but they’ve maintained the integrity and quality that locals have come to expect from Yefuri. The ingredients and menu are fresh and simple. Many of the dishes include vegetables straight from the owner’s garden. This is a great spot for a glass of wine and flatbread made in the wood fire oven, or for a full Sunday BBQ meal. It is located on the main road, which makes for great people-watching, too.
Lizzy’s restaurant occupies a traditional stone building from the 19th century, with an awe-inspiring view of the entire bay of Kioni. The restaurant has three levels, each with bright and cheerful rooms, and a rooftop bar that serves up delicious cocktails. The menu is innovative and has both Greek and international dishes. Try the tomahawk steak and the grilled octopus. Lizzy’s often has live music on one of their terraces which makes the atmosphere even more irresistible.
Seafood lovers should head over to O Batis in Vathy. It’s a traditional fish tavern on the water with great views of the boats coming in and out of the bay. The seafood is as fresh as it gets and is displayed so that you can choose exactly what you want. Calamari, sea bream, cuttlefish and sardines are just some of the daily offerings. The tavern is casual and a great place to wind up after a long, lazy day on the beach.
It’s on the Vathy waterside, overlooking the bay, but fish is not the main event at Arethousa: this place is a dream for meat lovers. They have lots of classic Greek favourites, including souvlaki and gyro but they also have a full suckling pig on rotisserie. The meats are melt-in-your-mouth tender. Classic shared meze portions and spreads are a delicious accompaniment to the main courses. Arethousa is great for both a family dinner because of the large portions and low prices but also for a lunchtime beer and snack with a view.
Great service and the freshest produce are the hallmarks of Kanenas restaurant in Stavros. Grab a table in the shady back terrace next to their aromatic herb and vegetable garden when you go for lunch. You’ll often see the chef come out and grab the tomato you’re about to eat. There are plenty of vegetarian options available as well as grilled meats and fresh seafood. For dinner service, the front of the restaurant has a hip vibe. Give the house wine a try, too.
If you want to explore Greece further, then check out our recommendations of the best hotels in Folegandros, or beautiful places to stay on Corfu Island. These stays are bookable with Culture Trip. During your adventure, explore the best things to see and do in Corfu, and relax on the most beautiful beaches in Kefalonia. Make sure to book a table at one of the best restaurants on Kefalonia Island to sample some delicious Greek dishes.
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