The food of Syros and where to go

Greek food in Greece is so good, it makes me wonder why it never achieves this level of tastiness at home. One reason must be that the vegetables mostly come from small farms or gardens right next to restaurants, while here in Vienna that’s almost impossible. Another is probably that you are on vacation, relaxed, and have the smell of the sea in your nose. Everything tastes better when the sea is just behind you. But let’s get to the food in Syros.

Every island adds its own twist to the staple foods of Greece. In a way its the same, but the dishes are always prepared a little different. Our first contact with the food of Syros was at Sta Vaporia, right next to Asteria Beach in Ermoupolis. The fava beans dip with raisins was delicious and boded well for the rest of the trip.

fava beans @Sta Vaporia

We liked the restaurant and the view so much that we came back for breakfast one day. Portions are huge, so you can easily share one breakfast dish.

terrace of Sta Vaporia @Syros

eggs with spinach and Croque Madame @Sta Vaporia

Our first evening we spent at Stin Ithaki, a traditional tavern. Unfortunately that was rather unspectacular and really not a tavern to go for dinner. It was nice to sit though underneath a lot of Bougainvillea but the food was mediocre.

mediocre food @Stin Ithaki

We fared a lot better the next day at Galissas Beach at aVentoura. We got excellent lentil salad with beetroot, eggplant dip, and fried zucchini with a dipping sauce. All in all a very tasty lunch in a very nice location.

lentil salad and eggplant dip @aVentoura restaurant

Since lunch was good we could get over the forgettable dinner at Plora Prima. Directly in the port this restaurant specializes in fish and seafood dishes. The marinated anchovies were hard, the Saganiki (fried cheese) bland. At least the local greens (not horta, it had a different name) and the fennel pies (what looks like spring rolls) were great. Still, you don’t want to eat dinner here.

dinner at Plora Prima @Syros

We got some amazing food in Ano Syros at Maison de Meze. Best of all, you can buy some of their stuff in the little store. I got myself some amazing tomato chutney.

small lunch at Maison de Meze @Ano Syros

Another restaurant with an amazing location underneath a Bougainvillea was a big letdown. I really thought this would be the perfect little Greek restaurant, which I was sure had to exist on Syros as well, but it wasn’t. To Mikraki is so far the only place where I ate tzatziki made with mayonnaise. This was by far the worst place on Syros, so please avoid at all cost.

We fared a lot better the next day at Asado on Kini Beach. After the dismal experience the evening before, my expectations were gone. My surprise was all the bigger when the food turned out to be really tasty. So good in fact that we spent our last day at Kini beach to eat here again. Just beware of the local rosé wine, that’s a rather sour grape.

tomato salad with rusk @Asado restaurant

real tzatziki and parsley dip @Asado restaurant

When we came back we got another tzatziki, but also the Greek salad, meatballs, and fried anchovies. Way too much food for us but it was just so delicious.

cold white wine on the beach @Asado restaurant

Greek salad @Asado restaurant

fried anchovies @Asado restaurant

One of the most interesting restaurants on the island is Laoutari kafreneio near the main bus station in Ermoupolis. Greek food but very different from everything else I knew so far about Greek cuisine. We got some octopus stifado and an amazing beetroot salad.

octopus stifado and beetroot salad @Laoutari kafreneio restaurant

Another winner was Apanohoritissa on top of Ano Syros. Yes, we made the walk up there twice since we wanted to try the restaurant in the evening. The view is spectacular and food good enough for the 20 minutes uphill walk. Besides the Greek salad, we tried the roasted mushrooms, feta in phyllo, and leeks with sausage and feta. It was all very interesting and new to me. The mushrooms had a lot of lemon juice on top, the sausage in the leeks was quite heavy, and the phyllo wrapped cheese was special.

dinner at Apanohoritissa @Ano Syros

Last but not least was The Talaras Taverna in Mega Gialos. Even though the beach didn’t impress us when we passed it by bus, we spent a day here to eat at the recommended tavern. And it was not to our disadvantage. Besides tzatziki we got stuffed vegetables and some kind of variation on the Greek salad, as well as meatballs. I loved the filled tomato and the salad best.

lunch at The Talaras @Megas Gialos

stuffed vegetables @The Talaras Tavern

Foodwise Syros was a really interesting island, especially now when I look back on it. While there, I was sometimes disappointed (think tzatziki with mayonnaise!) and sometimes elated (think everything from Asado directly on the beach). If you are on Syros you should definitely shop at Prekas. This local deli in Ermoupolis is full of the good stuff, especially the really tasty capers. I bought quite a few thing for home and am more than happy that I can extend my Greek experience in Vienna. Yours, Pollybert

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