Sfakia & Lefka Ori
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On the waterfront as you enter town, with the fish tank in the front, Kyma has a good selection of mayirefta . The restaurant uses its own meat, and fresh local fish is supplied by the owner’s brother. Try the goat tsigariasto (sautéed) in wine sauce or the rabbit stifadho. Fried kalamari or the langoustine spaghetti (€70 per kg) are good seafood picks.
Tucked away off the Hania road behind the police station, ex-hippie Yianni makes his own oil, wine and raki and even makes dolmadhes (vine leaves stuffed with rice) from the vines that cover the shady courtyard. All Greek cuisine is strong on vegetables, but this is perhaps Sougia’s most vegetarian-friendly place.
This taverna at the western end of the port does some solid trade; try the goat stifadho and wild greens.
This friendly place up in the quiet Halepa neighbourhood has great ambience, with big, wood-silled glass doors and original tiled floors. Take your pick from a selection of home-cooked meals including the soft horta (wild greens) in olive oil and lemon, mixed cooked vegetables, or stuffed peppers with rice. It also serves the new Cretan- produced beers from Rethymno.
Near the meat section of the food market, this place has been serving great fresh, and cheap traditional cuisine for 75 years.
Near the minaret in the revitalised Spantzia quarter, this trendy mezedhopoleio (restaurant specialising in mezedhes) serves an array of classic and more creative dishes. Try the fried zucchini flowers, aubergines, pork meatballs and its excellent raki .
Housed in an old hammam (Turkish baths), Tamam offers Greek fare with an appropriately Ottoman flourish. Along with a superb selection of vegetarian specialities – try the spicy avocado dip on potato (€6.50) – there are Turkish-inspired dishes such as the tas kebab (veal with spices and yoghurt) or the Beyendi chicken with creamy aubergine purée.
This unpretentious restaurant tucked behind the harbour is half-hidden amid the vines and foliage surrounding the outdoor terrace. The traditional cooking is faultless. Pick from the various trays of mayirefta casseroles and bakes cooked daily, and sample from a good array of local wines.
This is a popular place with outdoor tables near the Great Arsenal. There is a good range of seafood (try the grilled cuttlefish) and classic Cretan dishes, such as octopus stifadho (octopus in red tomato and wine sauce), plus a fine wine list.
The best place to eat is the Oasis Taverna, part of an excellent family-run studio and apartment complex at the western end of the beach. The taverna's well-executed Cretan specials include a delicious kreatopita (meat and cheese pie). The spacious rooms have full size kitchen, are set amongst a lovely garden and you can walk to a quiet stretch of beach.
This taverna serves decent, good-value meals under a shady vine canopy tucked behind the family’s rooms and minimarket.
This family tavern is recommended for its friendly service and produce from its farm.
Well located right on the far end of the beach, with classic blue-and-white-chequered island decor, Psaros has fresh fish and friendly staff.
At the entrance to the town; serves good-value traditional cooking on a lovely shaded terrace.
Near Andy’s Rooms, Arolithos has an extensive selection of appetisers, traditional Greek dishes such as spetsofaï (sausage and pepper stew), and some creative offerings such as grilled chicken with orange sauce.