With the popularity of epicurean journeys on the rise, folks are more commonly opting for an extended layover in a different European City just to sample another local cuisine, restaurant, food truck, chef’s tasting, or food tour. Greece is understandably high on the list of must-visit foodie destinations. It’s a country rich in history, varied in topography, and high on life; it’s no wonder that traditional Greek cuisine is as rich, varied, and vivacious as the Country from which it hails!

For centuries, food and drink have been the cornerstone of Greek life -and as the primary contributor to the Mediterranean diet, Greek cuisine receives high marks from health professionals, without compromising high flavor. The generally light density of meals means you can eat, and eat, and eat …and eat some more without feeling weighed down or (too) guilty.

As you plan your trip through Greece, it’s good to know ahead-of-time the top spots to guide your culinary journey. Here’s an introduction to the five top-rated restaurants and spots in Greece:

Athens: Simul Gastronomic Situ

Of the nearly two thousand restaurants in Athens, Simul Gastronomic Situ is ranked at the top of the list! In-situ refers to the art of cooking with the available, in-season ingredients that are naturally at the height of their flavor and nutritional value. Throw in the Restaurant’s style of infusing a bold, experimental, and artful culinary creativity and you’re set for a traditionally-inspired yet modern meal you won’t soon forget. The small yet inviting gastronomical mecca is close to the City center which makes getting there easy, and the friendly and accommodating staff ensures your visit exceeds expectations!

The best restaurants in Greece - Fresh fried octopus with cucumber, avocado and crispy pancetta

Fresh fried octopus with cucumber, avocado and crispy pancetta
Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/SIMULgastronomicsitu/

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Santorini: Melitini

Self-described as “A Sweet Greek Crisis Story Made in Santorini,” childhood friends left their professional lives in Athens to open the very first traditional Greek tapas restaurant in the picturesque village of Oia on Santorini. The menu of traditional Greek cuisine (meze) features fresh local products, cured delicacies, and traditional alcohol drinks (wine, raki and beers) served by the friendly staff. The cozy restaurant can easily be found just off the main road and offers stunning panoramic views from its terrace of the famous caldera and sea!

The best restaurants in Greece - Stunning views overlooking the island of Santorini

Stunning views overlooking the island of Santorini
Photo credit: TripAdvisor.com

Crete: Elia Traditional Cretan Taverna

This Cretan gem is so authentic, it doesn’t even have a website — which is why our NJ travel agency visits these places to give you the best tips that you can’t always find online! Located in the Southern village of Sellia, the family of owners cook only with the products from the region – including the freshest extra virgin olive oil. Diners can enjoy their artistically high-quality and freshly-prepared meals on the restaurant’s main terrace, offering beautiful views of the surrounding sea and mountains. In this part of the world, sometimes a simple taverna is the must-visit local gastronomic destination!

The best restaurants in Greece - An authentic meal with a view

An authentic meal with a view
Photo credit: TripAdvisor.com

Mykonos: Kiki’s Tavern 

Kiki’s Tavern is as simple as they come, but what the space lacks in flair it more than makes up for on the table! The spot boasts no electricity, but with just a simple grill they deliver some of the freshest local ingredients accompanied by intoxicating wine. You can’t visit the Island without this clandestine spot (no website, phone number, or even sign out front) it’s recommended because it’s a local favorite! Don’t miss the char-grilled shrimp, or especially the COMPLIMENTARY WINE they provide to those waiting in line. What a refreshing treat!

The best restaurants in Greece - Grilled seafood aplenty

Grilled seafood aplenty
Photo credit: Kiki’s Tavern Facebook page

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Paros: Anna

This affordable, local spot in the center of town is well worth a diversion from the beautiful beaches nearby. Host Anna Vlachogianni grew up on the island and sources most ingredients directly from her family farm straight to your table; all meat and seafood are locally sourced as well. The restaurant’s popular margarita dishes (casserole-style) are perfect for groups, their two-course feast includes house-made bulk wine, and Anna is known to treat diners to complimentary freshly made dessert and fruit!

The best restaurants in Greece - A meal beneath the lemon & olive trees

A meal beneath the lemon & olive trees
Photo credit: http://www.efistudios.gr/paros-drios-restaurant.html

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