Naxos is hands down, the Gastronomic Queen of the Cyclades. Although compared to other islands such as Mykonos, Santorini and Paros, Naxos might lack in fine dining restaurants, it is a common secret that its culinary scene is far beyond one of the most delicious in Greece.
On a quick note: The best restaurants on Naxos island that you should definitely not miss are Axiotissa, Kontos Restaurant, Vassilis Tavern, Pigi, Tortuga, Stou Vasilarakiou and Paradiso.
Below, we explain why Naxos is a top gastronomic destination, we introduce you to the best dishes that you will find on the menu and we present a list with the best restaurants on the island by type.
We have hand-picked the best 53 restaurants in Naxos and marked our favorite ones with a ❤.
Click on the "read more" link to discover more information about Naxos restaurants, where to eat and what to order.
✔ COOKING CLASSES IN NAXOS
Are you a gastronomy lover? Then you should take a cooking class with the locals! These classes are very popular, so you should register promptly! Check the Cooking Class in Kaloksilo (near Halki) or Cooking Class at Basiliko Family Tavern (in Potamia).
Best restaurants in Naxos by type
- • Where to eat the best fresh fish and seafood in Naxos? Paradiso, Palatia, and Axiotissa.
- • Where to eat the best meat on the island? Stou Vasilarakiou, Kalliopi, and Lefteris.
- • Where to enjoy a romantic dinner? Tortuga, La vigne, Barozzi and Dal Professore.
- • Where to eat like a local? Pigi, Vassilis, Kalliopi, and Irini’s.
- • Where to have dinner by the beach? Paradiso, Palatia, and Kontos Restaurant.
- • Where to eat gourmet? Barozzi and Tortuga.
- • Where to eat modern Greek cuisine? Axiotissa, Petrino and, Typografio.
- • Where to eat a meze dinner? Metaxy mas.
- • Where to eat souvlaki? Kontos Restaurant.
- • Where to eat the best “rosto”? Lefteris, and Axiotissa.
- • Where to eat the best Greek salad? Mitos and Axiotissa.
- • Where to eat vegan and vegetarian? Axiotissa and Irini’s.
Naxos is one of the few Cycladic islands with water abundance, a good climate and a very fertile soil therefore it has a very rich agricultural production. Fruits and vegetables are cultivated and animals are breeded all around the island. The vast majority of ingredients used in cooking are locally produced and as fresh as it gets. Note that many tavern owners have their own gardens and are farmers, breeders or fishermen themselves. This results in the most tasteful meals at very reasonable prices.
Naxos' restaurants stand out for their delicious dishes and quiet atmosphere. They range from traditional Greek taverns to international cuisines, like Mexican, Italian and French eateries. Some of the loveliest restaurants are found in Chora, the island's main town, and along beaches, like Agios Georgios, Agia Anna, and Plaka. In terms of setting and location, you will be surprised by many interesting 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 are located inside the Ventian Castle, on a small whitewashed paved alley serving just a small number of tables under the candlelight. More authentic taverns are found in the villages of Mainland Naxos and are located in the main square surrounded by a very traditional scenery.
What to order at a restaurant in Naxos?
The menu is usually extensive. Being on an island, Naxian restaurants especially in Chora and in places near the sea serve fresh fish and seafood: garides saganaki (shrimps with feta cheese and tomato sauce), fried calamari, gavros marinatos (a kind of greek sushi), grilled sardines and grilled fish are only some of the most popular dishes you will come across on the menu. But Naxos has a huge reputation in meat too. The “Rosto'' is a local dish (garlic stuffed pork leg braised in wine accompanied by pasta or potatoes) that you definitely have to try before leaving the island, other popular meat-based dishes are rabbit braised in lemon, goat served with potatoes, and slow-cooked goat with macaroni. In some traditional meat taverns you will find kokoretsi (grilled intestines from lamb or goat) and almost everywhere you can try the home produced sausages. 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 served 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 very famous in Greece and considered of excellent quality with an earthly exquisite taste. Furthermore, cheeses of Naxos (graviera, arseniko & xynotyro) are very popular and some kinds like graviera cheese are registered as a protected designation of origin product. Sometimes, depending on availability, you may find jamboni (which means " ham"), a cured meat that has 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 most restaurants have a wine list with excellent and world-renowned bottled wines from other islands like Santorini or Paros.
Where are the restaurants in Naxos located?
Most of the restaurants in Naxos are located in Chora, the main town of Naxos, at the beaches, in the new town or in the alleys of the old town. You can also find many restaurants at the most touristy beach resorts of the island, like Agios Georgios, Agia Anna, and Plaka. There are many restaurants, at most beaches and villages, so you can organize your excursions around Naxos without having to worry about where to eat.
General info about restaurants in Naxos
Lunch time: 12:00 -17:00 / Dinner time: 18:00 - 24:00.
Note that in Greece, in general and especially during summer season where days are longer, people eat late and meal times are very flexible. The average time for lunch is about 14:00 and for dinner around 21:00. But even if you arrive as late as 23:00 at the restaurant, the kitchen will still be operating and you will be served.
Although until recently restaurants and tavernas in Naxos had this easy-going atmosphere and showing up anytime would not be an issue for finding a table, this is not anymore the case when it comes to successful eateries even if this is a local taverna in a village of the mainland. In some cases, such as for Axiotissa restaurant, don’t be surprised to need a reservation even 4 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 from the service is €2-5. Not leaving a tip at all is considered impolite.
Tap water is drinkable in Naxos but usually in restaurants they serve bottled water only.
Every restaurant, even a small tavern, has a menu in English. Some might have a menu in other languages as well (French, German, Italian). Also, the vast majority of people working in restaurants speak English (at least the basics) and communication is easy. They are also very eager to introduce you to the Greek cuisine and its ingredients.
As you will see on the menu, all the restaurants in Naxos present their dishes by category: salads, appetisers, main dishes, fish, meat etc. If you are more than 2-3 people eating, you can ask to make a mixture different main dishes and appetizers for the middle of the table and share them, instead of ordering one main dish per person. This is very common in Greece and you will see many Greeks eating and sharing their food. The reason is because Greek cuisine has a variety of delicious appetisers and you will want to try as much as possible.
In Naxos, portions are considered quite generous and big. Also, note that meat dishes are usually accompanied by fried potatoes, rice or pasta.
Prices in restaurants vary but in general, Naxos is considered a very affordable and cheap destination in terms of meals. Also, it's a fact that restaurants in Naxos have the best prices for the best quality.