Feast on local Greek pasta at family-run tavernas, dine in converted Cycladic homes or dig into al fresco meals in scenic village courtyards on this small but satisfying island.
With its typical whitewashed Cycladic houses, narrow streets, cheerful painted shutters and blue-domed churches, the tiny Greek island of Folegandros – at only 31sqkm (12sqmi), three villages and a year-round population of 800 people – is the perfect traditional Greek island getaway, where it’s not uncommon to see goats gamboling freely. The island’s small size means restaurants and cafes are mostly family run, dotted throughout the main Chora (town), the port and the beaches.
Family-run Dal Capo, in the harbour of Folegandros, makes up for its small size in the portions of its dishes. Perch at an outside table or on their terrace and drink a coffee while enjoying the sunset, or order one of their seafood dishes such as tuna steak, swordfish or fried calamari served with fresh salad, vegetables and local wine. If you’re a vegetarian, you’ll love their zucchini croquettes – meat lovers should go for the veal in tomato sauce.
Located at the entrance to the Chora, you’ll love the courtyard/garden setting at Blue Cuisine – one of the the top spots in Folegandros to enjoy a meal, with uninterrupted views of the church. A little more sophisticated, so not your typical family-run taverna (hence more expensive), this is a place to treat yourself. Bread is homemade and their dishes come with a twist – such as shrimp donuts, cuttlefish risotto or goat with chickpea mash. Round this off with white-chocolate panna cotta, if you’ve room.
The charm of Irini is that it’s housed inside an old Cycladic building that doubles as a small grocery store. Two tables are located at the front entrance with a scattering of seating inside. Titular owner Irini cooks up a delicious matsata – the local pasta, indigenous to Folegandros, made from flour, olive oil, salt and water, typically served with pork and beef – but she can tailor-make any sauce you wish. Or try her homemade onion pie or the keftedakia (meatballs). A traditional experience in Ano Meria – one of Folegandros’s lovely villages.
In a quiet area of the Chora, Zeryfos is al fresco delight, where sitting outside to dine in their courtyard will give you great views of the famous Folegandros church. If you like fish, you’re in for a treat with dishes such as red snapper or octopus. Round off with karpouzenia: the dessert native to Folegandros, a sweet pie with a mixture of watermelon, honey, cinnamon and sesame seeds.
A small taverna in the tiny village of Ano Meria, operating since 1920, Sinadisi specialises in delicious local dishes such as ampelofasoula: similar to string beans, boiled then seasoned with salt, olive oil and lemon juice or vinegar – a great salad alternative. Or try their homemade meatballs, goat in red sauce or a meze of tiropita: cheese pie made with local cheese and zucchini croquettes. All served against the backdrop of a traditional farming village.
Dishes such as shrimp saganaki (the Greek appetiser), beef cheek with aubergine or caramelised manouri (a Greek soft cheese), await you at Eva’s Garden – with both indoor and pavement seating. Swig a glass of sauvignon blanc or a Yellow Donkey (a fresh beer from Santorini) and enjoy the ambiance. If you’re a cat lover, you’ll love Eva’s – essentially, the island’s feline hangout.
Get ready for your stay and book one of the best hotels in Folegandros through Culture Trip. Explore more of the area by discovering the best things to see and do in the city. For more, go further and visit not so far off Mykonos. Book a stay in one of the best hotels and chill out on the beach until it’s time for a well-deserved drink in one of the island’s best bars.
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