Play, Eat, Visit...

Play:  Info for the active types.
Eat:   A list of tavernas, bars, restaurants that I've been to, usually with a link for you to check out further info about them.
Visit:   Ideas for other islands and places in Greece that can't be reached from Rhodes during a holiday here.

Note: if any of the links on this page don't work any longer, I'd be grateful if you would let me know. It's a virtual impossibility to keep up with all of them - thanks.

PLAY
Watersport fan? If you're coming to Southern Rhodes please do check out "Sabinas Watersports" website. Roland and Sabine will always tailor an activity to suit your specific requirements. Do tell them how you found them though, please!

If you feel like hiring a boat, then you could do a lot worse than to go to Vlicha Beach, turn left into the first carpark at the bottom of the hill and at the far end, where there's a path leading straight on to the beach itself, you'll see my good friend Dino sitting waiting to rent you one. Below is his sign (that yours truly designed for him some years ago). Not sure if it's faded away by now, so you may simply see a handpainted one, but if not, you'll see this...



EAT
Below is an alphabetical list of the tavernas and bars that I've written about here on Rhodes, to enable the reader to read a brief review of each establishment and click a link to their website (if they have one) or other posts on the blog where they're mentioned or reviewed in more detail. This list is ever-expanding, since whenever I visit a new taverna or bar it'll be added here as soon as I can do it - that's if I like the place of course.

• Agapitos Taverna, Asklipio
When I mentioned this taverna on the blog it was quite some time ago and that post is now deleted as it's found its way into the fourth book, "A Plethora of Posts". It's the taverna where my wife and I go to collect our mail. Athanasia and her hubby Agapitos (slight clue as to where the taverna got its name there) are very welcoming and very "down home Greek". No airs and graces here, but a really cheap traditional lunch on a terrace with a great view, whilst often surrounded by backgammon or domino-playing locals is a definite possibility.


• Angelaki Taverna, Kiotari
Traditional family-run taverna on the main road toward Gennadi toward the south of Kiotari. Appears in the post "A Tale of Two Tavernas".

• Taverna Anthoula, Kolumbia
We visited Anthoula's last winter and I wrote about it in the post "Leaving Anthoula's". It's just a few metres up the road toward Epta Piges from the main crossroads at Kolumbia.

• The Bandit's Lair (Το Λημέρι του Ληστή) Profilia
A superb little taverna up in the hills between Gennadi and Apollakia. It's run by Konstantina and her husband Savvas. A really good menu of home-cooked recipes. Not a bad view either. A detailed report can be found in the post "The Bandit's Lair".

• Bottoms Up Cafe-Bar, Haraki
Despina and Vasili run Bottoms Up, a bar on Haraki sea front for which I run out of superlatives. It crops up in the post "Crisis? What Crisis?", plus there's a forum about it on Tripadvisor. I can't recommend this place enough. There's a photo taken whilst sitting in this bar in the post "Odd n Shots" too. "Bottoms Up" also gets a mention in the novel "The View From Kleoboulos".

• Taverna Chrissa, Pilona
Saturday night a Taverna Chrissa
Nice, family run traditional taverna where at least once a week there's live music and dancing. See the post "Just Wanna Dance the Night Away"...
 

• Chrissy's [Acropol] taverna and village rooms, Lahania
Run by an elderly, yet very sprightly and cheery priest, Papa Giorgo, this delightful little family-run traditional taverna is tucked away in the village that invented the word "sleepy", not to mention "remote". It gets a mention in this post, plus in chapter 39 of the book "A Plethora of Posts".

• Elafos Hotel, Profitis Ilias
This place is simply amazing. It's also the setting for opening scene of Robert Goddard's superb thriller "Into the Blue". There's info in the post "On Old Italian Buildings and Stuff". The reference to the Elafos is right down the bottom. There isn't much text there, but there is a link to a nice snippet of video about the place on YouTube.


Ο Γιαλος - O Gialos [The sea shore, or coast]
This delightful little taverna is situated on the front at Stegna, the hidden gem of a resort down over the hill by way of a "James Bond car-chase" road from the village of Arhangelos. My wife and I went there on Sunday October 8th, 2017 after having decided that we wanted to go out for Sunday lunch and to go somewhere that we hadn't previously eaten. The staff were very friendly and the food was very good. We ordered skordalia, a green salad, garlic bread, pitaroudia (a Dodecanesian speciality, vegetable fritters with several vegetables in them plus a nice blend of herbs), boiled potatoes (which came with chopped red onion mini-cubes sprinkled on top), plus a bottle of water and a bottle of retsina. When we'd demolished the food they brought us a complimentary plate of sliced apple, peach and some grapes and the bill came to €26. I'd loosened my belt by the time we'd eaten, always a good sign.

They're open all through the wintertime on weekends too. We definitely hope to go there again some time during the coming winter. The web-site link is in the bold heading at the top of the first paragraph. I don't wish to make fun of them because it's a really good traditional taverna, but you will have a laugh trying to understand some of the English on that web-site! Just as an example, how about this:

"As for the end, our orange pie that not copied countless homemade sweets and the traditional “kourkoutenes” with honey will close with the most beautiful way your lunch or your dinner leaving you a nostalgic flavor, a tradition taste that found its way and passed on today."

I love it actually. Isn't it part of the charm?

• The Gré Café, Kiotari
Right across the road from the Rodos Maris Hotel and just along from the Kiotari Carrefour Express store, the Gré Café is our local. Run by the two Georges, plus assorted other family members like grandad, Stella and Panagiota, it's often packed solid in high season.
 
In low season and during the winter it's usually got a good smattering of locals and passing business people all enjoying the excellent service and reasonable prices of the Gré café. 
The two Georges couldn't be more different. There's the slightly quiet tall George and then there's the everso cuddly shorter George, whose personality alone makes it worth stopping by. He always has a smile and a happy disposition to share with his guests. It's not surprising that many holidaymakers who frequent the place during their stay leave him generous tips before they leave for home.

He's worth it! They both are.


• Igkos Taverna, Laerma
 In the post "Why Not Take a Drive-2" we ate a light lunch at this taverna. You'll have to scroll down a fair way, but it's down there somewhere, I promise! It's a very nice basic village family taverna with friendly and welcoming staff.

• Il Gelso, Ristorante and Pizzeria, Lardos
Il Gelso occupies the premises that used to be Taverna Lukas, just over the road from Valantina's near Lardos Square. Although it's now Italian, it's still very traditional-looking, with a front terrace on flagstones under trees by the roadside. The building too is very old and photogenic. The food and service is excellent and very authentic. It's run by Paola, a slim, attractive Italian woman who sadly lost her husband Claudio in very sudden and tragic circumstances some years ago. She has long frizzy blonde hair and a gift for the cuisine of her country of origin. Her teenage children often help out too. Great atmosphere.

• Il Porto cafe/bar/restaurant, Kiotari Beach (formerly "To Steki")

This place was formerly called "To Steki". It's run by Anastacia and her husband Tassos, a very nice couple from Asklipio. They do a really nice budget range of foods, ranging from a  simple toastie up to kalamari, salad and chips, which you can wash down with a Mythos if you want to.

The sign (above right) is new as the place was only recently re-named. It takes pride of place above the steps which lead up to the terrace from the beachside road below.
Posts where Il Porto gets a mention, including photo - Here, and here.

• La Strada, Kiotari
This is a lovely traditional taverna in a really beautiful location. Situated as it is in a modest row of eateries, including Stefano's nextdoor and Il Porto (see above) at the other end, just past the Pelican's Nest, which in 2015 is now a restaurant no more, but rather a tourist shop (see the post Three Brief Chats). It's right across the narrow road from the quiet part of Kiotari Beach. Here is both sides of their business card (right).

They have a fixed phone too, 22440-47112, which will in all probability be answered by the lovely Eleni, who speaks excellent English. They're open on weekends during winter now too. See more info and photos about La Strada in this post.

The menu isn't as extensive as you'll find in some other places, but that means that what you do order is home-cooked traditional Greek cuisine, and it's delicious. As I've said many times, the larger the menu, the more likely it is that you'll hear the "ping" of a microwave! Definitely no "pings" heard here!

• Maria's Taverna, road to Tsambika Beach
This delightful, family-run traditional taverna is reviewed in the post "Ice Cream on the Lawn".

• To Nisaki taverna, Kolymbia (North beach)
Went there for Sunday lunch, June 23rd 2013. Absolutely loved it. The food was top notch and the location TDF....



Couple more photos in the post "Photo Frenzy".


• Oasis Taverna, Beach Road, Lindos
Our friend Brenda has been raving about the Oasis, which she's called "Rocco's" for a long time. She calls it that owing to the name of the senior of the two brothers who run it, whose name is Rocco. His younger brother is called Yiannis. We finally went there on Monday evening October 6th 2014 and loved it. The food was excellent, the prices also and the view TDF. Plus Rocco, a stocky 40-something Greek with a big personality, just puts the icing on the cake.
The characters of the staff make a huge difference to us when patronising a restauarant and Rocco doesn't disappoint. We shall definitely be going there again and I've already recommended the place to some guests on my excursions this week. Rocco even offered any of my friends a discount if they turn up with one of his cards with my name written on the front. Top man.
We spent three hours there with Brenda and two close friends from the UK. That was another plus point - they don't hurry you, which the most certainly do in some of the tavernas in the centre of Lindos itself. We never hurry and don't want the staff to hustle us either when eating out in Greece!!

• Odyssey Taverna, Rhodes Old Town
I love this taverna. It's in Menekleous Street, just off of Socratous Street. The Odyssey has a basic web site, where you will find among other things the rudimentary map which appears on the back of their business cards. There's also a post about the Odyssey on the blog, it's called "A Very Good Lunch".

I've also written some more about the Odyssey in this post, where you'll also see a scan of their new business card.

• Palestra Beach restaurant, Lindos Beach
We had lunch here during late summer 2012. A better location or view would be hard to imagine. They have a website, here. The only mention the place gets on the blog so far is in the second comment on this post. Read the comment from Georgie Wood, who had been on the Lazy Day Cruise [onboard the Magellanos] with me whilst on her honeymoon and I'd suggested they go there for lunch. Her words will no doubt give you an idea of how good the place is.

• People and People Bar, MandrakiThis is a small cafe in a small corner, but it's right across the road from the harbourfront and tucked in beneath Starbucks. It's smashing!! I mention a brief interlude there in the post "Business As Usual"

 • Taverna Perigiali, Stegna
In chapter 14 of "A Plethora of Posts" there's a tale about a woman we gave a lift to one November day after we'd taken lunch at the Perigiali Taverna at the far end of Stegna beach (chapter 14, "Beware Hitchhikers II") Clicking on the above link to go to the taverna's website. When you get there click on the "restaurant Gallery" link on the left to get some lovely views of the terrace and its outlook. It's a nice traditional taverna, replete with check tablecloths and a smashing view of the entire bay at Stegna, plus it's right above the tiny harbour, which is formed by a pile of rocks having been deposited in the sea to create a small haven for boats. Quite frequently there will be a heron sitting atop the rocks, awaiting his lunch too. We've only ever eaten a simple lunch there, but we concluded that it's the real deal, a nice essentially Greek taverna with friendly staff, providing local or homemade produce.

Incidentally, "Perigiali" literally means "on the shore", which indeed it is!

To get there go right to the far end of the bay, passing the last hotel on your right, the Porto Angeli, along the narrow lane between the hotel and the beach. the taverna is then on your right.

http://www.lachaniaplatanostaverna.com/• Platanos Taverna, Lahania
You'd be hard-put to find a more traditional taverna than the Platanos at Lahania. It's in the small square at the bottom of the village, right next to a recently restored tower of the old church. It may not have much of a view, but it does have wonderful ambience and does things the traditional way still. the old Greece is alive and well at taverna Platanos. To find it is easy, as you drive into the village there are signs directing you down the lane to the square, in the left hand corner of which is located the taverna. The website (link above of course) is very good.

• Plateia Taverna, Psinthos
This taverna is situated in the main square of the pretty village of Psinthos. It also appears in the post "A Tale of Two Tavernas". We were impressed by the service and by the quality of the food.

• Porto Antico Taverna, Near Ancient Kamiros
The setting for this taverna is superb and we had a very nice meal there toward the end of the 2011 season. The account about our visit is some way down the post entitled "The Tourist Trail". They also have a website, it's here.


• Savvas Grill, Lardos
Check out this post for a piece about Savvas. Highly recommended for true Grecophiles.

• To Spitaki (Little House) Haraki
There is a taverna by this name in Pefkos, where we ate during the summer of 2011 and were well pleased. The other one, and the one which this listing concerns is the one on the front at Haraki. It's described in the post "Something Fishy". It's also mentioned on Tripadvisor, where the first review is from yours truly! There are only two reviews so far because the place only reopened for business under this name during this past season, 2012.

• Stavros Bar, Old Rhodes Town
For a report about my visit to this bar, check out the post "That Comfy Old Pair of Slippers".

• Stegna Kozas taverna, Stegna
A very good fish restaurant, right on the beach. A little more expensive and a bit a la carte here and there, but excellent food and location. They've won an award or two, a fact made evident on their website. I've written about this taverna in the post "Any Bream Will Do", plus there are a couple of photos with that post as well.

• Top Three Pub, Rhodes Town
Spiros and Maria, along with their son Dimitri, run the Top Three. It's a few metres up the street from the bus depot and the Sound and Light show car park, close to the taxi rank at the south end of Mandraki Harbour. Kostas, their other son usually drops by during the afternoon, after he's finished work. I'm not usually a fan of British-type establishments abroad, after all, what do we come away for? It doesn't make sense to me to bring the UK with us. But Spiros and Maria are such a lovely, kind cheery couple that I make an exception with the Top Three. Yes there are football scarves around the place and no it doesn't feel much like a Greek Kafeneion, but the welcome is very warm indeed and the prices good too. When I'm doing my Rhodes excursion I while away quite a bit of time in the top three and can't think of another couple who are more friendly, kind and generous than Spiros and Maria. The Top Three gets a mention in a number of posts. These are:
Books and Covers
Pounding the Pavement
Overtime at the Office
The Pegasus


• The Tramonto Bar, Arhangelos
This bar has a spectacular view from the ridge high above the seaside resort of Stegna. It's run by a lovely couple called Stefanos and Anthoula. I wrote about it in the post "All in the Interests of Research-1". There's also a bit of video taken at the bar in that post. You have to follow the piece down a little way before I get to the visit we made to the Tramonto. Stefanos also has a Facebook page for the Tramonto too. I put this video clip on Facebook too. He's open every Sunday (weather permitting) throughout the winter too and I've little doubt that we'll be going there!!

• Valantina's [correct spelling!!] Restaurant, Lardos
This place is always packed to the gills and it's not hard to understand why. The portions are huge, the presentation excellent, the staff very friendly and they very seldom let you leave without a freebie. In our case we received a plate of four balls of vanilla icecream topped with caramelised grapes, along with 4 spoons for the four of us that ate there on Tuesday evening October 14th 2014. Having put that away in fairly short order they then brought us four tots of a very tasty pink liqueuer which I forgot to ask the name of. Petros particularly is very good at his job, but the other guy and the two girls waiting at table were all smiley and attentive without being in our faces. In fact it's a family affair from kitchen to front of house. They didn't rush us either. Check out the Tripadvisor page about this place.

• Yianni's Taverna, Old Rhodes Town
There's a brief mention of Yianni's in the post  "Overtime at the Office", down towards the bottom. It's a small, family-run traditional taverna which isn't too expensive. It's just a few metres up a side street from Socratous St. in the Old Town.


VISIT
Below are some ideas regarding other islands (those more far flung and not near enough for a day trip from Rhodes. For these, see the Nearby islands page) and parts of Greece that I've visited over the years, along with live links so that the reader may find out more, possibly with a view to visiting these islands or areas in the future. So far the list is quite short, but it will lengthen with time.

Finally, at the bottom there's a little info for those considering moving out here to live.

In the list so far: Poros, Thassos, Crete (certain part), Kefallonia, Samos (more will follow with time)...

1. Poros, Saronic Gulf
Poros was my first ever Greek island. it doesn't get a huge flow of visitors from the UK even now, owing to the fact that it's a little more difficult to get to than many islands, not being situated close to any particular airport. Still the best way to get there is to fly to Athens, take the electriko to Pireaus and then a ferry to Poros, often stopping along the way at Aegina and Methana en route.

I was delighted to discover quite recently, that the rooms in which we always used to stay from 1977 until 1982 (the last time we actually went there) are still going and still the ideal place to stay in this delightful island's main "town". Poros "town" which is little larger really than a village, is a sparkling iced cake of sugar-cube houses rising out of a bay between Methana and the furthest eastern tip of the north-easterly peninsula of the Peloponnese, around which one comes to Hydra. These rooms are called Georgia Mellou, after the lovely lady, Mrs Mellou herself, who runs them. Mrs. Mellou was widowed when quite young and converted her modest home in the narrow streets of Poros Town into rooms in order to make ends meet. Now in her sixties (we think!) she still runs them and, although modest, they are spotless and afford beautiful views to the guests who stay in them. Check this out (both photos are links)...


This is the very room in which my wife and I stayed many times between 1977 and 1982. And the view from the modest balcony? See below...



We fully intend to go back there some day, hopefully soon.

2. Thassos, Northern Aegean
Thassos is found way up north of the Aegean to the East of the three fingers of Halkidiki. To reach Thassos you fly into Kavala on the Greek mainland and then it's a half-hour crossing by ferry to the island.

Thassos town (Limenas) is very "low-key", not too big and only has one main "tourist" street to speak of, which does bear a casual stroll in the early evening before choosing somewhere to eat later. The town beach is reached by a short stroll around what's known as the Old Harbour, but that epithet tends to conjure up a more picturesque idea than is the reality. Don't let that put you off though, this island is still very much the real Greece.

Having walked around the Old Harbour from the town itself, the town beach is very acceptable. It's  only a couple of hundred metres long, but it's backed by a more than adequate supply of bars and tavernas, one or two of which have tables actually on the back of the beach. A small road runs along behind the beach, but it's not busy and the waiters cross it to serve those seated at their tables. It was at a taverna on this very beach that I once sang "Hotel California" as the final encore of the evening with a small band which had entertained the diners and the embarrassing account of this memorable musical event is recorded in "Tzatziki For You to Say" chapter 25, "Diving for Jellies".

Recommendations:
Stay in or near Thassos Town, which is sometimes called Limenas.
Visit the village of Theologos, way up in the hills, magical.
Nice coastal resort in the South: Limenaria.
Really nice beaches: Makryammos, and Chrissi Amoudia on the east coast.

3. Crete
"Crete?" You say, "Isn't that a bit mainstream?" Not if you go where we did, to the south coast, about 20k east of Iera'petra (not "Ierapet'ra" as Brits usually pronounce it), to a tiny coastal village called Makri'gialos [sometimes spelt Makry Gialos. The "g" is soft, like a "y" in English]. To get there takes a couple of hours from Irakleion airport, during which you drive past Hani, Gouves and Agios Nikolaos. Once you get to Ierapetra you go left and follow the coast, through a region reminiscent of the west coast of Rhodes, peppered as it is with huge hothouses where they grow vegetables. The village is a delight, with a tiny harbour of rough stones, piled into the sea at the western end of the open bay, from which leads a small promenade (pedestrian only) sprinkled with a few eateries and bars, some of which have their tables and chairs spilling out on to the sand of the beach.

We stayed at the Helios Studios, run by a very warm and friendly lady called Despoina and her husband Manoli. Each evening she would come out on to the terrance behind the modest pool area (which was sublimely peaceful and had a great view) with some small delight for her guests to sample. It may have been something she'd just baked, or some seasonal fruit, but she always came out with something and would sit with her guests awhile. She would hug everyone and say continually, "people who stay here aren't strangers, they're family" and she'd treat you just as though you were. Check out their own modest website, which does have some excellent photos on it, here.

While staying there, which we did on two occasions, we met people who'd been coming back to enjoy Despoina's hospitality time and again. The essential Greece, folks, you just found it.

4. Kefallonia
I'll expand this bit as and when I have time. But wanted to place this link to a really nice photo that Nigel Sparks (who provided the front cover photo for "Tzatziki For You to Say") had just posted on Facebook. It's a large island and thus, like Rhodes, has some beautiful quiet spots, like Assos and Fiskardo. Nigel's photo is of Assos, a really wonderful tiny village straddling an isthmus of land which joins a huge rock to the main island. It's the perfect place to unwind, snorkel and take lunch where the expression "laid back" seems almost too energetic a description!!

5. Samos
We stayed at Pythagorion, a lovely little seaside resort named after the most famous person who was born there, none other than the mathematician Pythagoras himself. This video give some idea of what the front is like. The best bit starts from around 2 min 40 seconds in from the start. Another nice video, starting out at Pythagorion.

Samos Town is well worth a visit, but I wouldn't stay there. But from here you can do a day trip to Turkey, arriving at the huge port of Kusadasi, where you can take a really cheap Dolmus (small public bus, bit like a larger VW camper in size) to Ephesus, which is a must to visit really. The hinterland of Samos is very like Rhodes, with pine forests where you come across pretty old villages and people selling pine honey at the side of the road. The usual ceramics stores are also to be found dotted around the island and some of their wares are really lovely.

One beach, called Psili Ammos, just a few km east of Pyhtagorion, is so close to Turkey that you feel like you could swim across. It's a beautiful sandy beach and not over-developed at all, least not when we went there a few years back.

The coastal village of Ireon is also really nice and sleepy. It's close to the airport, true, but we didn't really notice it owing to the direction of the runway. I had what was arguably one of my best ever snorkelling sessions right here.

Check back soon to see both of the above lists as they grow.

Thinking of making the move?
Where we live on Rhodes is described by many Rhodeans themselves as the "fillet" of the island, ie: the best part of the island in which to live. This holds true in a number of ways...

• We most certainly enjoy a mini-climate here. It rains considerably less during the winter months than other parts of the island.
• Most of the new builds here have a decent area of garden around them, thus giving everyone space to breathe.
• It's quite a lot greener than some other areas where new building has taken place. There are some developments not all that far from here (a little further north), where we'd describe the experience as "living on a grill", since they are quite barren, rocky and thus much hotter during the summer, whereas here the greenery helps to keep the temperatures down a little, plus we enjoy slightly more breeze.
• By and large, once you get a few metres past the few low-rise hotels, here you'll find the real Greece.

So, why am I telling you all this? The answer is because if you're half attracted by the ways in which I've described life here in Kiotari and half-serious about perhaps taking the plunge, my close friend and landlord John (sorry about the confusion, but we're both Johns, as it happens) has a number of plots for sale quite near our home. The views are quite wonderful and the peace simply TDF. If you're worried about possible rip-offs or cowboy builders, you'd have a head-start coming in this direction because my wife and I, plus John & Wendy, now have many years of experience which we are happy to pass on to anyone buying from John. I have a number of good contacts with reputable builders, decent lawyers and reliable accountants, which can spare anyone buying from John many of the disasters that have afflicted some who've bought out here without knowing the way things "work" here, as it were. You could even simply purchase the plot with a view to developing it at a later time.

Plus, if you read chapter 5 of my 3rd book, Tzatziki For You to Say, you'll find an indispensible checklist for all potential buyers, which I compiled with huge input from a close friend out here, who did buy from a criminal (there's no other way of describing him) and learnt the hard way.

Finally, what about the economic crisis? If you're retiring out here it won't affect you hardly at all. The islands in general are doing OK, much better than the mainland, due to tourism. Notwithstanding the fact that some ex-pats have returned to the UK recently, by far the majority wouldn't leave their lives here on Rhodes for all the tea in China. The only possible drawback would be if you had some ongoing medical condition that meant you needed a regular supply of drugs or therapy. In that case a lot more research would be in order before making your decision.

So, if you are seriously interested in making the move and would like more information about John's plots of land, in the first instance send me an e-mail. My e-mail address can be accessed by clicking in the left hand column under the heading "The Culprit", where it says "View My Complete Profile".

PLUS!! This website is really helpful for anyone considering a move abroad within Europe. That link takes you to the page about Greece, but once in the site you can navigate anywhere.

In conclusion, come on in, the water's lovely.

2 comments:

  1. Stuart & Joan3 July 2014 at 13:21

    John you must really visit the Milos taverna previously grammata near tbe little harbour near Glystra Beach, went there for lunch yesterday was superb

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    Replies
    1. Stuart, we did visit it years ago when it was still the Grammata, but have to confess not to have been since the renovation and name change. Will make an effort to get there some time as we're well impressed with what they've done to the place visually. Thanks for the tip-off.

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