The Top Restaurants in Lesbos, Greece

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Photo of Anna Kaminski
Writer29 September 2021

Dazzling white-sand beaches, stone-house villages, olive groves and thickly forested mountains make Lesbos, the birthplace of the writer Sappho, an undeniably beautiful spot for a classic Greek getaway. But it’s also a diverse food and dining hub with seafood and meze platters served by tavernas and ouzeris all over the island. Here are the best restaurants to visit.

Vafios Taverna

Restaurant, Greek, Coffee, $$$
Map View
This family-run taverna in a mountain village 4km (2.5mi) southeast of Molyvos, and going strong since 1987, has a menu rooted in traditional recipes passed through the generations. Sit on the sunset-viewing terrace overlooking the valley and bring company along to share the signature dishes, from stuffed courgette flowers and gkiouzlemedes (traditional cheese pies) to wine-cooked rooster and oven-baked lamb. Wash it all down with local wines and ouzo from small producers.

Misirlou

Restaurant, Cocktail Bar, Contemporary, $$$
Map View

This American-run diner, set above the harbour in Molyvos, offers quirky decor – think cheese grater ceiling lamp – and wonderful views of the castle if you’re lucky enough to grab one of the balcony seats. The international menu includes gourmet burgers (the pulled pork stands out) in homemade buns and pizza topped with fresh local produce. It is also one of the best cocktail bars in the evenings.

Soulatso

Restaurant, Authentic, $$$
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This ouzeri, on the boardwalk in the south coast village Skala Eresou, is a cut above the rest and puts a creative spin on traditional Lesbos dishes. Come early to secure the best spot on the waterfront patio, since it packs out almost every night. The dishes are ideal for sharing and the house salad with dried figs, the tirokafteri (a spicy cheese dip) and the louloudia (stuffed courgette blossoms) are all excellent – along with the catch of the day, of course.

Women's Cooperative of Petra

Restaurant, Seafood, Greek, Mediterranean, Vegetarian
Map View
This excellent restaurant overlooking the bay of Petra is run by the Women’s Cooperative – an initiative pioneered in 1983 by the Ministry of Sexual Equality to enable local women to earn an independent living. This homely place, with a balcony ideal for sunset viewing, is one of the best places to sample hearty island cuisine. You’ll be invited into the kitchen to choose from the likes of beef stew, fresh fish, and lamb in wine sauce.

Kafeneion O Ermis

Restaurant, Greek, $$$
Map View
Octopus - Greek-style
Octopus - Greek-style | © Sarah Murray/Flickr
The oldest kafeneio-ouzeri (Greek coffee and ouzo joint) in Lesbos, dating back to when the island was part of the Ottoman Empire in 1800, attracts a loyal local clientele with its 15 varieties of ouzo. Then there’s the excellent meze; the stuffed courgette flowers, dolma (stuffed vine leaves), wilted seasonal greens and homemade pasta are standouts. The high-ceilinged, old-school interior, with walls decked with faded paintings in gilded frames, is also a great place for people-watching.

Cava Doro

Restaurant, Italian, Mediterranean, $$$
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This understated taverna, owned by Yanni Soulios and housed beneath a woven awning overlooking the water in the westernmost village of Sigri, does both traditional and creative seafood dishes exceptionally well. Yanni’s wife Hereclia is the in-house pro when it comes to old-school fare, but it’s his daughter Vivi, a Cordon Bleu chef, who brings innovative methods to the catch of the day. Come for the giant grilled prawns, shrimp kritharoto (a local spin on risotto) and fava bean terrine with smoked eel – and don’t skip dessert.

Sarandos

Restaurant, Authentic
Map View

This sweet little place, on the main road between Anaxos Beach and Petra, guarantees a warm welcome from friendly owners Babis and Dina. Join a good mix of local families and visitors for superlative takes on Greek classics, particularly the kleftiko (oven-cooked lamb) and the beef stifado (stew). Portions are generous, as are the carafes of local wine.

The Octopus

Restaurant, Greek, $$$
Map View
You’ll easily spot this traditional stone taverna at the north end of Molyvos harbour from the octopi drying on the line outside. True to the name, this place is all about the octopus. Caught daily by the brother of one of the waiters and slapped straight onto the grill, it’s the one dish you must try here, ideally washed down with ouzo from nearby Petra. Seafood spaghetti, grilled sardines and calamari are other big hits, along with meze such as courgette flowers stuffed with cheese.

For more of Lesbos, check out the top attractions on the island.

This is a rewrite of an article originally written by Chrisa Theodoraki.

These recommendations were updated on September 29, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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