Best Places to Eat in Hydra

Best Places to eat in Hydra

Getting a bite to eat on Hydra is a great way to cap off your day, and there are several great restaurants. Try these tried and tested options to round out a perfect day on this pretty island.

A favorite on the island, this tricky-to-find taverna serves the best food and hospitality on Hydra. It’s the place to go for a drink before or after dinner, and to enjoy an unforgettable sunset.

1. Isalos Cafe

Located down an alley inland from the port and surrounded by a secluded private courtyard, this Italian-owned restaurant serves Neopolitan cuisine (think spaghetti with clams and pillowy stuffed ravioli) alongside wine imported from Italy. The portions are small but tasty, and the ambience is lovely.

Techne is a restaurant and social, set in a renovated 1870s former boat factory above Avlaki beach (about 10 minutes’ walk from Hydra harbour). The menu has Greek and Mediterranean influences, and the chef and co-owner Yannis Michalopoulos worked at top-flight London restaurants before setting up here.

The tavernas of Hydra are among the island’s best places to eat and drink, with many of them family-owned and operated. Taverna Leonidas, which feels like a cross between a history museum and a friendly local home, was the hangout for sponge-divers a century ago and is still run by the same family. It doesn’t have a sign, but the people of Hydra know it well.

2. Amalour

The island’s breezy, cosmopolitan vibe attracts New Yorkers and other discerning travelers. The island has no cars, which keeps it from getting bloated with big hotels or cluttered with overzealous souvenir shops. And it is so tiny that it takes just a few steps to reach any restaurant, shop or beach.

The cliff-top tavernas on Hydra are a great place to start the night, with their cocktails and snacks. Xeri Elia is one of the most beloved by locals, with a huge wisteria, two pine trees and a secluded courtyard where you can sit for dinner or drinks. It serves cooked traditional dishes, local fish and hunted meats (partridges, quail snipes, venison) and wine imported from Italy.

There are also a number of bars with a lively atmosphere, especially around the port and in Hydra Town. You can get deluxe cocktails and quality spirits at the Pirate Bar, or try 1821 or Hydronetta for laid back lounge evenings.

3. Sunset Restaurant

A chic waterside eatery set in a renovated historic building above Avlaki beach, just a short walk or water taxi ride from Hydra harbour. It’s a lovely peaceful setting to enjoy a light lunch or dinner, especially with a cocktail while watching the sunset.

Hydra has long attracted the fashionable set, who flock to its cliff-side galleries where they show off their art money and get un-Greek drunk. This can be entertaining to watch, especially when the tavernas erupt with chatter.

But it can be tiresome to the islanders, who have to manage their beautiful island when all that noise and excitement goes home at night. Isalos Cafe, one of the first shops you pass on your way into town from the ferry, offers a respite from the horde and is open all year round. It’s not just a great restaurant, it also serves the best coffee on the island. It’s worth the splurge. Other good tavernas include Petkakis above the swimming rocks in Kamini, where Leonard Cohen used to come for supper with his friends, and Xeri Elia Douskos in Hydra town, where tables beneath wisteria, a pine and two mulberries create an idyllic environment for supper.

4. Bratsera

In a little alleyway of Hydra town lies an authentic Italian restaurant with the atmosphere of Napoli and southern Italy. It serves pasta, seafood and top wines. In summer nights it’s filled with candlelit tables and Caribbean, Latin or jazz music, while in winter the place resembles an unpretentious local tavern.

On an island with few beaches, the hotel pool is a big draw. Rooms and suites are in a low-rise stone building that was once a sponge factory, retaining personality with polished wood or tile floors softened by coir matt. Ask for a veranda.

A reference point for the people of Hydra and their most loyal foreign friends, Xeri Elia Douskos is a tavern with cooked traditional food (such as quail, partridges, snipes and lamb) and fish, in all forms and flavors. It’s also where you’ll eat the best Greek salads of the island and a whole range of appetizers and desserts. The service is always impeccable and the prices are reasonable.