Naxos is hands down the Gastronomic Queen of the Cyclades. Although compared to other islands such as Mykonos, Santorini, and Paros, Naxos lacks several fine dining restaurants, it is an open secret that its culinary scene is one of the most palatable in Greece.
✔ COOKING CLASSES IN NAXOS
Are you a gastronomy lover? Then you should take a cooking class with the locals! Check the Cooking Class by Vassiliko (in Potamia).
OUR SELECTION OF RESTAURANTS
We have hand-picked the best 57 restaurants in Naxos and marked our favorite ones with a ❤.
BEST RESTAURANT BY LOCATION
Most of the restaurants in Naxos are located in Chora - both in the New Town and the alleys of the Old Town - and at the beaches.
Several restaurants lie at the most touristy beach resorts on the island, like Agios Georgios, Agia Anna, Agios Prokopios, and Plaka, where most of the hotels of Naxos are located.
There are many restaurants at most beaches and villages, so you can organize your excursions around Naxos without worrying about where to eat.
BEST RESTAURANTS BY TYPE
Discover the options you have for:
• Fresh fish and seafood
• Local Meat
• Romantic dinner
• Eat like a local
• Dinner on the beach
• Gourmet dinner
• Modern Greek cuisine
• Meze dinner
• Best "rosto"
• Best Greek salad
• Vegans and vegetarians
WHAT TO ORDER?
The menu is usually extensive.
Being on an island, restaurants in Chora and places near the sea serve fresh fish and seafood: garides saganaki (shrimps with feta cheese and tomato sauce), fried calamari, gavros marinatos (marinated anchovies), and grilled sardines are only some of the most infamous Greek dishes you will come across on the menu.
But Naxos has a stellar reputation in meat too. The Rosto is a local dish (garlic stuffed pork leg braised in wine accompanied by pasta or potatoes) that you need to try before leaving the island. Other popular meat-based dishes include rabbit braised in lemon and slow-cooked goat with macaroni.
In some traditional meat taverns, you will find kokoretsi (grilled intestines from lamb or goat), while you can try home-produced sausages almost everywhere.
Of course, all the well-known Greek recipes such as moussaka, gemista (stuffed tomatoes), kolokithokeftedes (zucchini balls), cheese pies, spinach pies, tzatziki, and others are available almost everywhere.
The Greek salad and fries are always protagonists when it comes to making the order.
Olives and olive oil are exceptional, whereas potatoes of Naxos are well-known in Greece and considered of excellent quality for their earthly and exquisite taste.
Furthermore, cheeses of Naxos (graviera, arseniko & ksinotiro) are very popular, with some kinds, like graviera, registered as protected designation of origin products.
Sometimes, depending on availability, you may find zamboni (ham), a cured meat that probably originated from the Venetians who conquered the island in the middle ages.
As for local wine, it is not the best in the country, but you can always give it a try. Of course, many restaurants have a wine list with excellent and world-renowned bottled wines from other islands like Santorini or Paros.
Naxos is one of the few Cycladic islands with water abundance, a good climate, and fertile soil. Therefore, it produces plenteous agricultural products.
Locals cultivate fruits and vegetables, and animals are bred throughout the island.
The vast majority of ingredients used in cooking are locally produced and as fresh as they can get.
Note that many tavern owners are farmers, breeders, or fishermen themselves. That results in the most palatable meals at very reasonable prices.
Naxos restaurants stand out for their delicious dishes and quiet atmosphere.
They range from Greek taverns with traditional food to international cuisines, like Mexican, Italian and French eateries.
Regarding setting and location, you will be surprised by numerous marvelous places. For example, many restaurants put their tables on the beach, just a few meters away from the sea, offering their clients a dinner with an unobstructed sea view and sunset.
Others, located in the Venetian Castle on a small whitewashed paved alley, serve just a small number of tables under the candlelight.
More authentic taverns are found in the villages of mainland Naxos and are situated in the main square, surrounded by a very traditional scenery.
Lunchtime: 12:00 -17:00 / Dinner time: 18:00 - 24:00.
Note that in Greece, in general, and especially during the summer season when days are longer, people eat later compared to the European habits and meal times are very flexible.
Usually, lunch is served around 14:00 and dinner at around 21:00. Even if you arrive around 23:00, most establishments still operate and will serve you.
Although restaurants and tavernas in Naxos had this easygoing atmosphere and showing up anytime would not be an issue for finding a table, this is not the case when it comes to successful eateries.
The circumstances have changed and in some cases, such as for Axiotissa restaurant, a reservation is recommended even four days in advance.
Reservations during the high season for our recommended restaurants are mandatory.
Tipping in Greece does not work by percentage. An average tip, depending on how satisfied you are with the service, is around €2-5. Leaving no gratuity at all, however, is considered impolite.
Tap water is drinkable in Naxos, but restaurants usually serve bottled water.
Every restaurant, even a small tavern, has a menu in English. Some might have a menu in other languages like French, German, or Italian.
The vast majority of staff members speak basic English, so communicating is easy.
They are also eager to introduce you to Greek cuisine and its ingredients.
As you will see on the menu, all restaurants in Naxos present their dishes by category: salads, appetizers, main dishes, fish, meat, etc.
If you are more than two people eating, you can order several appetizers and share them, instead of ordering main dishes. Greeks call such plates (small and savory) mezedes and accompany them with a spirit, usually ouzo or rakee.
That is very common in Greece and you will encounter many Greeks sharing their food.
The reason is that Greek cuisine has a variety of delicious appetizers and you will want to try as many as possible.
The Pikilia dish
If you prefer dining at traditional restaurants, you will probably come across the pikilia option.
Pikilia is the Greek word for variety, and the dish comprises a mixture of meats or seafood, depending on the type of establishment, and fried appetizers.
Ordering such plates is a very common food behavior among Greek people.
Like mezedes, it is a dish for the middle and diners share it.
In Naxos, portions are quite hearty. Also, note that meat dishes are usually accompanied by fried potatoes, rice, or pasta.
Prices in restaurants vary. Overall, Naxos is considered an affordable destination in terms of meals.
Also, it is a fact that restaurants on the island have the best prices for the offered quality, which is the finest.