The food is good!
Of course you’ll find fish and shrimp, but oddly, no clams or mussels. There is also a surprising amount of meat for a fairly barren island. Stews of lamb, goat, and rabbit are called ‘mastelo’ after the name of the earthen pot they are cooked in and you will have to try a few because every family makes them just a little bit different . Here’s more background on mastelo and some recipes.
Sifnos is a food lovers destination and lucky for us, has been that way for quite awhile. It is the birthplace of Nikolaos Tselementes who published the first Greek guide to cooking in 1932. This is a good post for background info on food in Sifnos.
These are some of the restaurants we went to, but there were always more that we wish we had the time to explore.
Located right at the end of the road into Faros Beach. Fresh fish, reasonably priced and hands down the best dolmades (stuffed grape leaves) on the island. The tender, small, spring grape leaves are stuffed with a rice meat combination that is served with an addictive dipping sauce of lemony mint yogurt. Guaranteed you will finish off that sauce with your spoon because you won’t want to leave a drop. Friendly and helpful staff helped us navigate the menu. We ate there a few times (which means we really liked it!). We did invent some excuses to find ourselves there at the end of a day for an ouzo and a plate of dolmades. I confess: I totally have a thing for good dolmades.
Chrysopigi – Apokofto Fish Taberna
This a twofer. You get to sightsee and take a good walk to work up an appetite. If you are taking a taxi, have the driver drop you off at the Chrysopigi monastery and have a good look around. Set on a knoll, you have great views up and down the coastline. Then follow the well maintained trail for a 10 minute walk into Apokofto. “Our” restaurant is the first one you come to. I think its called the Apokofto Fish Taverna, but the name is in Greek and incomprehensible to me! See photo for clues! We ate the trifecta of goodness: grilled sardines, fried gravos (little fishies) and fried calamari.
Phone: +30 22840 7111
Right smack on the beach, or what there is of the narrow strip of sand that passes for beachfront. Further on is a larger beach with beds and umbrellas. Manolis is famous for their clay pot cooking so have some stewed lamb and enjoy.
Artemonas 840 03, Greece
Phone: +30 2284 033562 Small dish tapas style restaurant off the main square in Artemonas. Bring friends so you can order lots of things to try. Open late, sometimes has music. Its very popular and the kind of place where you just wind up hanging out and making friends with the people at other tables.
Fish Taverna at Heronissos Possibly called Ammoudia. (Everything is in Greek, so figuring out names can be mighty tricky because nothing is ever spelled the same way twice. You do get used to it.) Its the most northern tip of the island. If you stand on the beach and look out towards the bay, the taverna is on your left on a narrow concrete ‘pier’. The water was ripping and the winds blowing, the day we were there, so the sea would occasionally come crashing right up under the table. Beware of your flip flops washing away! The owners are fishermen, so you eat what they catch. The seas were rough when we were there so there wasn’t much variety, but the guy sure knows how to grill a fish. Simple and delicious.
Leonidas Restaurant Kastro Phone: +30 22840 31153 If you walk from Verina Astra, take the trail. Its a meandering 30 minute walk along the sea and every step is a pleasure. We even had a full moon to light the way on our walk back.
Kastro is an ancient city, high on a mound with a few good restaurants, a wacky bar and great views. Leonidas Restaurant is a family run, traditional taverna that wasn’t much to look at from the outside, but has a perfect view of the sea as you eat. And windows to protect you from the fierce winds there were blowing that night. The portions are generous, the food is classic and delicious and the family could not be more welcoming to four hungry tourists.