Monday, 10 May 2010

Escape from Blue Palace

Aloha! Or whatever the fuck they say in Greece. Look, I totally won't bore you with a million photos of my honeymoon because it's only the modern equivalent of getting you all round to mine for a 4 hour slide show of holiday snaps. And anyway, I know you don't care about Knossos or sea views or any of that smulchy crap: you want to know about that damned food.

So, okay, here we go: eating in Greece is as tricky as eating anywhere else in the world: big hotels will insist on serving you 19€ cheeseburgers or dim sum and sea-view lunch joints (even on teeny tiny islands) will fob you off with limp, cold dolmades straight from the fridge and a sad chicken souvlaki with giant puffy white rice and carrots and peas out of a can.

Fine for some but not OK for us, right? So, I whittled down for you the best places to go in Agios Nikolaos (Crete) and Santorini. Specifc? Yes, but I only had a ten-day honeymoon and we had to sift through a lot of shit to find nice places.

We stayed first in a huge mega hotel called the Blue Palace. Nice, if you do want that 19€ cheeseburger or dim sum at 4am, but in terms of food, about as real as sour-flavour Haribo. Nearby, in Elounda  was a restaurant called Vritomartis (do not confuse it with the naturist hotel if you are looking it up), which did fantastic dolmades and actual fresh fish - for only about £10,000! A snip. Here is a nice view of the sea from Elounda harbour:

Then in Agios Nikolaos there is a brilliant place called Pelakonos, which has a sort of tree-house feel and has delicous spinach pies, more fish and shrimp saganaki, which is shrimp in a kind of spicy cheese and tomato sauce.

Here is Pelakonos:

... isn't it nice? And here's a shot of the food:


[N.B. I would like to point out that although I disapprove quite strongly of taking photos of your food in restaurants (it freaks the kitchen out, it freaks other diners out) I took a photo here because we were the only people having lunch. This is no reflection on the quality of the place, it was just early May and very quiet.]

Anyway, after about a week we did a runner from Crete and went to Santorini, which is what people are talking about, I guess, when they rave about Greek islands. It is, it must be said, teeming with Japanese and American tourists. I didn't mind, as all the prevalence of Japanese and American people usually means is that a place is a) clean and b) picturesque.

We stayed at Perivolas, a hotel at the end of a mile-long stretch of "Traditional houses" - that is, rooms made out of caves carved into the side of the cliff - in Oia (pronounced "Eee-yah"). Whitewashed, all clinging to the side of the teetering cliffs, these hotels were just bloody gorgeous. The main town of Oia was beautiful, quiet and mostly traffic-free.

Here's a nice view from our cave-room:

... and one from Oia:

and Giles hard at work (seriously):

The two places we found here to eat were Dimitris, in Ammoudhi bay and Krinaki in Finikia. None of this is useful or makes sense or is interesting unless you are planning to take a holiday in Santorini. But if you were, what a stroke of luck this post would be.

1 comment:

  1. Welcome back. Glad you two made it out in one piece.
    Giles looks pretty happy reading the menu.