Food and hospitality are important in Crete. Well-prepared, delicious, fresh food and wine made from local produce is available in abundance around the island. A typical Cretan diet contains lots olive oil, fresh fruit and vegetables, cheeses and meats. Cretan cuisine is famous for marrying vegetables with many different ingredients.
Like other parts of southern Europe, the main meal is eaten late in the evening once the temperature has cooled down. Food is served on many small plates or bowls and is a social affair, accompanied with water, beer or wine.
We’d recommend sampling some of these tasty Cretan treats while you’re here:
• Olive Oil
• Dakos (bread with tomatoes, oregano, feta)
• Cretan cheeses
• Sarikopitakia (cheese pastry parcels)
• Kalitsounia (sweet cheese pies)
• Loukoumades (honey and walnut doughnuts)
• Chochlioi Boubouristi (fried snails)
• Cretan salad
• Local fresh fish
Keeping it in the family
Many restaurants or tavernas in Crete are real family affairs. More often than not, the cook is the owner, with his wife and children or other relatives as bar and waiting staff or doing odd jobs. The welcome is so warm in many places you’ll soon feel like part of the family too.
Eating out in Crete
A range of food and drink options are available throughout the island. Most menus are available in Greek, English and German – translated well enough to give a general idea of what’s on offer. Resort hotels and tavernas are traditionally cheaper than those further inland, but there are options to suit all budgets. Fresh fish, lobster and octopus are the most expensive dishes but definitely worth a try being so close to the coast. Typical Greek dishes such as gyros (kebabs) or souvlaki (meat skewers) are widely available and reasonably priced.
Excellent places to eat in Crete
We’ve picked a few of our favourites to help you sample the local cuisine:
• South of the island
In the charming little village of Agai Galini you will find many small tavernas and restaurants right on the waterfront. At Miros you can order many Cretan specialties, including fried courgette flowers, which you should try at least once. And the Avle Taverna offers the best fish from a lively landlord, offering homemade Raki – not to be missed.
• North of the island
In the north you will find Marias Golden Beach Tavern, a small restaurant located directly on the beach. Serving the most delicious typical Cretan food, it offers everyone a warm and friendly welcome. If it’s a good coffee or a typical Cretan sweet you’re after, Sweet Worlds at Agiou Ioanni is the best place for a caffeine and sugar fix.
• East of the island
To the east lies the village of Kato Zakros, home to Nostos. Located by the sea, it is well-known for its vegetarian dishes, particularly the artichokes with chorta. Don’t be fooled by the exterior though, inside you can find real Cretan culinary treasures.
• North-east of the island
Further to the northeast, in the village Trachilos, a small, romantic fishing tavern on the harbour, O Gero Tsegkas, is a great place to eat and watch the fishing boats come in from the sea.
On Crete you will find many restaurants with a fine Mediterranean cuisine. If you ask for the bill, you will often get an Ouzo or a small free dessert with it.
Leaving a tip
As a rule, the tip is generally included in the price of the meal. However, it is customary to leave something on the table as a thank you. Usually 5-10% of the total bill is fine.
Have we whet your appetite?
If your mouth is watering at the prospect of a Cretan getaway, contact our Customer Service team on +30 28340 51505 between 07:00a.m. and 21:00p.m. (MET) 7 days a week or email firstname.lastname@example.org We’d be happy to arrange your rental car in Crete and tell you the best places to eat.