Best Places to Eat in Crete

Best Places to eat in Crete

The Best Places to eat in Crete offer great view, ambiance, and service. They provide a variety of cuisine including Cretan, European, and Mediterranean.

A new generation is reviving the island’s food and wine culture. From ceramic artists to a stylish environmentalist, they’re coming back to Crete after stints abroad to refresh family businesses and revive vineyards.

1. To Monastiri Tou Karolou

A rustic tavern nestled beneath fat-leaved mulberry trees in western Crete’s White Mountains offers a taste of island life. Papa (priest) Manolis Stavroulaki and his energetic wife serve up a feast of home-cooked dishes, including crisp courgette fritters (kolokokithedes), creamy pasta and bechamel with minced beef dish (pastitsio), and their signature deep-fried, honey-doused loukoumades.

The island’s diverse culinary scene brims with inventive fusion and international cuisines, but there is also much to discover in the bustling local favourites. From cosy cafes and quick-service spots to stylish lounges, every corner reveals a cherished local haunt.

2. Barraki

The island is an edible landscape, and chefs and locals alike aren’t afraid to pluck a sprig of sage or thyme from a patch growing randomly along the rocks. That same mindset goes for the restaurants; a recent visit to Dounetas (Agias Varvaras 17, Rethymno) found me sinking my teeth into crusty home-baked carob bread, kleftiko baked lamb and seafood paella, sprinkled with salt gathered from the shoreline.

The restaurant’s rooftop patio overlooks Heraklion’s old town harbour and Venetian fortress—a perfect spot to enjoy a cocktail and creative twists on Cretan dishes.

3. Well of the Turk

The birthplace of Zeus and home to the ancient Minoan civilisation, Crete is home to some of Greece’s most unique dishes. Here, farmers cultivate grapes to produce prized local wines; the island’s elixir of life is its olive oil; and herbs, meats and cheeses (like hard straw-yellow Kefalograviera and soft ricotta-like mizithra) are sourced from local fields and villages.

Along uneven paved streets near Peza, this rustic taverna’s cosy plant-filled interior makes a home to hearty Cretan classics. Try dakos, a mound of grated tomatoes, capers and cheese piled on brittle barley rusk; and boureki, a baked stack of minty courgette, cheese and potato stuffed with minced lamb.

4. Chalkina

In this time-honored venture housed in a 16th-century Venetian mansion, chef Vassilis Leonidou interprets Cretan flavours in a modern way. Using seasonal ingredients, their tasting menus pair dishes with extra virgin olive oil and local wines.

Diners sit on rough-hewn wooden benches in this stone mock up of a 17th-century village and are ushered out to see the copper pot where the raki is made, sample the home-produced organic olive oil and meet the goats whose less fortunate fellows will be featured in your meal of crispy fried quail, wheat-stuffed zucchini flowers and antikristo lamb cooked over a blazing fire.

One of Chania’s best restaurants, this cosy meze spot creates a remarkable culinary experience by merging Cretan and Ottoman flavours. Try their grilled snails and liver, as well as the local pita bread and Raki!

5. 63 Mezedoscholeion

Crete’s long, sun-soaked seasons yield luscious herbs and a variety of hearty dishes. One of the best places to experience these is at this rustic taverna. The raw ingredients come from the owner’s farm or nearby, and everything is cooked on wood fires. Try the feather-tender wine-simmered lamb dish, antikristo, or a rich beef and onion stew called stifado.

Chrisostomos Restaurant offers Mediterranean and Cretan food for lunch and dinner. The menu includes dishes such as tsigariasto of lamb, stuffed vine leaves, and moussaka. It has a cosy atmosphere and is known for its excellent service. It also serves raki, the local spirit, after meals.

6. Xilouris (Ta Neoria)

Crete is home to many top restaurants that showcase the unique flavors of Cretan cuisine. Thigaterra, for example, is a champion of the slow food movement, offering dishes that reflect the season using ingredients from local farms. Peskesi, meanwhile, is located in a restored traditional Cretan house in Heraklion and serves dishes based on old family recipes that use ingredients from their organic farm.

Visitors rave about the great sea bream, grilled squid and the delicious desserts served here. They also praise the restaurant’s exemplary service and its scenic location. Raki and local wine are available to drink. It’s best to reserve in advance.