The Best Restaurants in Lefkada, Greece

Lefkada has a diverse restaurant scene, ranging from family-run tavernas to contemporary Mediterranean dining
Lefkada has a diverse restaurant scene, ranging from family-run tavernas to contemporary Mediterranean dining | © freeartist / Alamy Stock Photo
Anna Kaminski

Writer

Lefkada is an Ionian Island of icing-sugar beaches, terracotta-roofed townhouses and windswept waves perfect for kitesurfing – plus it boasts a diverse food scene, from tavernas to swish upmarket eateries.

Accessible by car from the Greek mainland via a causeway, the island of Lefkada was originally a peninsula. In the 8th century BCE, Corinthian conquerors dug a canal through the narrow isthmus and turned Lefkada into one of the Ionian islands. Today, it’s a laid-back destination that’s popular with kitesurfers, windsurfers and beach lovers. And its dining scene is surprisingly diverse, ranging from tavernas run by the same families for decades, to contemporary Mediterranean dining. Here are the best restaurants in Lefkada, Greece.

1. Vagelaras Taverna

Bar, Restaurant, Authentic

Vagelaras Taverna, Vasiliki Harbour, Lefkada
© colinspics / Alamy Stock Photo

Overlooking the boat dock on Lefkada’s southern coast, this locally acclaimed taverna has been around for over a century, run by generations of the same family. The food isn’t fancy: expect generous portions of grilled octopus, calamari and sardines with just a drizzle of lemon, or mezedhes (meze) dishes like fried courgette. Grab a seat on the waterfront to watch ferries and fishermen come and go.

2. Thymari

Restaurant, Greek

The best contemporary Mediterranean food on the island is served on this large, sunny terrace hidden in the heart of Lefkada Town. Start with the homemade bread and olive oil tasting, and move on to the likes of octopus carpaccio with fish roe, smoked eel with fava beans, homemade pasta with slow-cooked lamb and smoked Metsovo cheese and sea bass with Jerusalem artichoke. The wine list spans the globe, with a hand-picked selection reflecting the best of Greece. Book ahead.

3. Basilico Restaurant

Restaurant, Greek

Perch on the large outdoor patio overlooking Nidri’s boat dock at this waterfront ouzerie-taverna, popular with locals, and ask for recommendations from chef Eleni and her two sons, Kostas and Thodoris. Fresh fish, delivered daily, is the speciality here – cooked simply on the grill and priced very reasonably by the kilo. The mezedhes are good, too, including a superlative moussaka and handmade pasta.

4. Maria’s Tavern

Restaurant, Greek

Head inland from Nikiana on Lefkada’s east coast and you’ll soon reach the hamlet of Kolyvata. Just off the tiny main square, Kiria Maria is a one-woman show, feeding diners inside her home with whichever fresh ingredients she happens to have at hand, including vegetables and herbs from her own garden. Expect the likes of slow-cooked lamb and aubergine and courgette pie, served with a side of hill views. Calling ahead is essential.

5. Ey Zhn

Restaurant, Greek

You don’t come to Ey Zhn for the views, but for some of the most creative cooking on the island. Hidden down a tiny pedestrianised side street in Lefkada Town, this little restaurant is decked out like an artist’s loft, and the menu, ranging from tandoori chicken and Cajun-spiced tuna to ceviche and calamari with oyster sauce, draws on the chef-owner’s far-flung travel experiences. The background music is similarly eclectic, with global aural touches enhancing your meal.

6. Segreto Vino e Cucina

Restaurant, Italian

Porto Galini Seaside Resort and Spa
Courtesy of Porto Galini Seaside Resort and Spa / Booking.com

Located inside the five-star Porto Galini Seaside Resort & Spa, this smart restaurant is focused on serving modern Italian dishes using the best of Lefkada’s fresh produce. The outdoor terrace, subtly lit in the evenings, overlooks the twinkling Aegean. Besides the homemade focaccia with whipped gorgonzola with green tea, must-try dishes include beef cheek ragù, seafood tagliatelle and the signature dessert: berry-sprinkled panna cotta with strawberry soup. A well-curated list of Italian and Greek wines seals the deal.

7. To Bareli

Restaurant, Seafood

The Barrel Nidri
Courtesy of the Barrel Nidri

Fish and seafood are the stars of the show at the Barrel, a family-run restaurant on the busy waterfront in Nidri. The fresh catch is delivered by local fishermen, crafted into specials that can be recommended to you by owner Anestis Mavromatis. On the fish-first menu, the likes of seared tuna steak and cuttlefish risotto with octopus and blue crab are presented with flair. The extensive wine list showcases tipples from all over the country, and traditional Greek music playing in the background adds old-school atmosphere.

8. Pardalo Katsiki

Restaurant, Authentic

Pardalo Katsiki
Courtesy of Pardalo Katsiki

This traditional taverna can be found in the mountain village of Karya, in the centre of the island. Sit on the terrace beneath the flowering trellises and choose from a succinct menu of traditional recipes, such as slow-cooked goat with rosemary and thyme from the owners’ garden, moussaka baked in a clay vessel or fennel and mushroom orzo. The mountain views, hospitality and house wine combine to make a memorable experience.

9. Nissi Mediterranean Kuzina

Restaurant, Greek

At this bright, contemporary taverna off Nissi’s main square, the chef draws on the rich culinary repertoire of the Mediterranean to put together a smart menu of well-executed dishes, such as herb-crusted lamb chops, chargrilled squid and an array of seafood-heavy pastas and risottos. Ample outdoor seating makes for good people-watching, and homemade profiteroles sometimes come on the house. Dress nicely and bring a date.

If you’re interested in Lefkada, you should book a stay at a local hotel through Culture Trip before checking out the island’s best attractions. For something different, you could head over to Kefalonia and see some of the most beautiful beaches, followed by a bite to eat at the local restaurant and a stay at a Kefalonia hotel.

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