Where to Go for Great Local Cuisine on Zakynthos, Greece

A visit to the island of Zakynthos is not complete without sampling the local cuisine
A visit to the island of Zakynthos is not complete without sampling the local cuisine | © Milan Gonda / Alamy Stock Photo
Judy Cogan

Eating out on Zakynthos, Greece is thoroughly encouraged – among locals as well as travellers. Try rich Ionian stews, Italian-inspired pasta dishes and traditional meze at these excellent restaurants in Zakynthos town and beyond.

A visit to the island of Zakynthos, also known as Zante, is not complete without trying the local cuisine. It’s through tasting the best moussaka and sensational oven-baked fish that you’ll learn the most about the island’s culture and history. The owners of family-run tavernas and modern restaurants will welcome you with open arms and feed you until you almost pop. Check out Culture Trip’s list of the places to go to enjoy great local cuisine on the island.

1. To Ladofanaro on the Beach

Restaurant, Greek

Amboula (Ampoula) Beach, Tragaki, Zakynthos, Ionian Islands, Greece. Image shot 05/2008. Exact date unknown.
© Ian G Dagnall / Alamy Stock Photo

This stylish fish tavern serves up a delicious menu of homegrown Zakynthian specialties, including lamb kleftiko, braised beef with smoked eggplant purée, lobster spaghetti and fresh grilled fish drizzled in local olive oil. The setting on Ampoula Beach is close to the quaint village of Tragaki and offers clear views of the blue-green Ionian Sea. Enjoy with a chilled Greek white wine or cold beer. The restaurant is open from May to October and only cooks with local, seasonal produce.

2. Scloubou’s Taverna

Restaurant, Greek

In the low-lit courtyard here, with red and white checked tablecloths, colourful blooms and crawling vines, local families spanning generations enjoy weekend meals. Set back slightly from the tranquil beachfront of Agios Sostis, Scloubou’s is as authentic as it gets. Look out for blackboards chalked with specials from mixed grills and lamb kleftiko to stuffed chicken and eggs saganaki. The friendly staff will buzz around while making you feel right at home. There’s a decent menu for kids and a vibrant fun atmosphere.

3. Prosilio Restaurant

Restaurant, Greek

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Courtesy of Prosilio Restaurant

Proving authenticity isn’t limited to moussaka and meze, Prosilio delivers a high-end, modern interpretation of island cuisine in the centre of Zakynthos town. The minimal sleek interior, open kitchen and beautifully designed garden complement an innovative menu. Start with a green scented salad and catch of the day tartare, before rabbit stew dumplings or compressed lamb shank. End with the basil-infused lemon meringue pie. The wine list has over 100 different labels, many from Greek wineries. Definitely a place to indulge.

4. Zakanthi

Restaurant, Greek

Set in a peaceful garden covered in vines and twinkly lights, Zakanthi is the perfect spot for a romantic Greek dining experience. The friendly owner Nico and his family will look after you from the moment you sit down. Dishes are made using locally sourced ingredients and fresh fish. Enjoy small plates such as grilled sardines, garlicky calamari and stuffed tomatoes as well as hearty mixed grills and impressive seafood platters. Live music gently infiltrates the sea air. Don’t leave without a drink at the adjoining 111 Cocktail bar.

5. Votsalo

Restaurant, Greek

Votsalo, Zakynthos
Courtesy of Votsalo

This taverna is in a special spot. Down a narrow road lined with olive trees in Marathias, it’s close to Keri Lake and the area’s sandy beaches. This restaurant offers spectacular views over the bay and on to Marathonisi island, a haven for loggerhead sea turtles just off the south of the island. The menu is simple: grilled sardines with a wedge of lemon, shrimp fishcakes, lobster linguine and freshly baked breads, for example. The service is spot on.

6. Avil

Restaurant, Greek

avli31
Courtesy of Avli

In keeping with the eco-friendly living on Zakynthos, this stylish and homely restaurant offers modern organic dishes with plenty of choice for veggie and gluten-free diners. The owner, Giota, has curated a nourishing menu based on her experience as a personal trainer that stays true to authentic Greek cuisine. Try feta in oat crust, a vibrant Greek salad and the forest orzotto. The roast lamb, grilled seafood and steaks will keep all the carnivores happy.

7. Varkarola

Restaurant, Greek

Varkarola Tavern in Zakynthos town
Courtesy of Varkarola

Sitting on an unspoilt stretch of coast in Zakynthos town, the kitchen takes influences from other parts of Greece and adapts them to Zakynthian recipes. The results are dishes such as rabbit cooked in one pot with olive oil, oregano and traditional olive cheese and beef sofrito, a Zakynthian version of a famous Corfu dish. The fresh fish of the day is served with thick-cut potatoes. The interiors are homely with tablecloths, vintage adverts and mandolins hanging on the walls. A highlight comes in the form of the live and authentic Zakynthian songs (kantades).

8. Ole Ole Restaurant

Restaurant, Greek

The wooden sign outside declares that Ole Ole is a family taverna serving traditional Greek cuisine. The restaurant’s owners, father Andreas and son Roberto, take a no-nonsense approach to serving you the best local specialities from a beautiful location on Agios Sostis beach. Expect stuffed peppers and tomatoes, moussaka and oven-baked fish. The restaurant is filled with family and local friends who are always ready to welcome new faces. If you want to take things up a notch, they also offer cooking classes using traditional Greek recipes.

This is an updated version of an article originally by Ethel Dilouambaka.

Looking for more? Make a weekend of it and book a stay at one of the best hotels in Zakynthos. Too pricey? These great budget hotels are a more affordable option. Best of all, you can make your booking right here on Culture Trip. There’s plenty to keep you busy during the day, too, from discovering the best things to do in Zakynthos to taking it easy and relaxing on one of the best beaches around.

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