FOOD & DRINK
Here is a selection of traditional dishes that you can expect to find at some of the tavernas:
Taramosalata: A fish roe dip made with garlic, onion, bread crumbs, olive oil and lemon juice.
Tzatziki: A yoghurt and cucumber dip.
Melitzanosalata: An aubergine dip made with garlic, onion, lemon juice and herbs.
Dolmades: Vine leaves stuffed with rice, egg and lemon sauce.
Zuccini Balls: Fried pates of courgette, dill, feta and lemon juice.
Horta: Traditional local wild greens, boiled. Add plenty of oil, lemon juice and black pepper!
Tiropitta: Cheese pie made with filo pastry
Spanakopitta: Spinach and feta cheese pie made with filo pastry.
Saganaki: Deep fried cheese served with a wedge of lemon
Yigantes: Butter beans cooked in seasoned tomato, garlic and onion sauce.
Scorthalia: A garlic dip made with mashed potato and served cold as an accompaniment to fish or on its own.
Horiatiki: Greek Salad of course!
Moussaka: Layers of aubergine, mincemeat and topped with bechamel sauce.
Papoutsakia: Baked aubergines filled with mince meat, topped with cheese.
Keftedes: Deep fried meatballs flavoured with garlic and herbs.
Stifado: A meat stew with red wine, garlic, bay leaves, sometimes nutmeg, baby onions and tomato.
Kleftiko: A slow cooked lamb stew with onion, herbs, lemon, white wine.
Loukaniko: Spicy sausages.
Yemista: Stuffed tomatoes or peppers. Sometimes the filling includes mince so if you are vegetarian, check before you order.
Fasolakia: Green beans in a tomato and herb sauce.
In nearly all tavernas and restaurants you can buy a half or whole litre of “house” wine – there is a wide variation in taste! It is available in white, red and rose.
There are now many Greek wineries producing some excellent wines but in small quantities so many are not exported and we are therefore ignorant of the present standards. Even in Greece bottled wine can be expensive when compared to the UK marketplace where prices are more competitive. As a suggestion, try a few bottles from a minimarket, remember the names of ones you like and then see if the taverna stocks one of them.
TAVERNAS AND RESTAURANTS
Ithaca’s tavernas offer a variety of local dishes such as a traditional onion pie, an excellent selection of fresh fish caught by the local fishermen, who also sell their catch off the quayside, homemade moussakas, and with locally sourced lamb. The Rovani rice cake is a Moorish dessert.
Frikes and Kioni have a good assortment of waterfront tavernas.
When in Vathy have a wander around the side streets to discover the more traditional tavernas where no menu exists but a visit to the kitchen will show you what is cooking.
For something a little less Greek try the 'Gefyri' situated in Platrithias offering an excellent selection of international dishes – a pleasant venue for a drink and Sunday lunchtime a tempting Brunch menu.
'Polyphemus' in Stavros also offers an alternative menu with an unusual but delicious twist on traditional Greek dishes. The 'Hani', which can be found at the narrowest point of Ithaca where the two peninsulas join, has a café bar and restaurant with dramatic views.
Some tasty wines are produced by local villagers who in turn supply the tavernas. These wines are still produced in the old fashioned way with the grapes being pressed by foot and without the introduction of chemicals.