Just a short ferry ride from Athens, the island of Kea combines relaxation and freedom with beautiful beaches and footpaths. This is the perfect day trip or an addition to a longer stay in the eastern Cyclades.
Right on the beach at Pisses, this family run restaurant is known for its traditional dishes from Kea. The highlight is the succulent piglet and the other grilled meats.
With its blue sea, white pebbles and picturesque villages Kea offers a variety of culinary delights. From the cosmopolitan Vourkari with its many bars and cafes to the quaint and traditional Koundouros and Otzias you can find an eatery for any taste. Whether it is an evening cocktail with beautiful yachts at the harbor of Vourkari or fresh lobster pasta at Aristos Tavern, dining on this gorgeous island will make your holidays unforgettable.
Located near the Bay of Panagia, this restaurant offers a nice view from its terrace and good Mediterranean dishes. The chef makes creative proposals with the finest products from Kea’s land. Their lamb chops are the best you will ever have. The restaurant is very popular and it is a must to reserve in advance.
The best place to eat in Kea for seafood lovers. It is one of the most famous fish taverns in the whole island. They offer a great variety of delicious Greek dishes. The service is very professional and friendly. This restaurant is also a perfect place for special occasions as they can organize a private room for you and your guests.
A very nice and family owned restaurant in the heart of the village. Their food is delicious and the service is excellent. They have a huge selection of Greek dishes and the prices are very reasonable. The restaurant is open year round and it is a must-go for all the visitors of the island.
Located on the main road to the harbor. This is a very nice and cozy restaurant with great Greek cuisine and wonderful service. They also have a big selection of wine and the prices are very reasonable. The only downside is that it can get a bit noisy sometimes.
This is one of the best and oldest taverns in the town. They serve classic Greek food with a lot of pot dishes and grilled meats. The owner is a very kind woman who loves her job. The place is small and always crowded but the food is amazing. It is a must-visit when you are in the city of Ioulis.
It’s hard to go wrong with any of the Kea tavernas dotted around the island but Koundouros is the best of them all. It’s one of the few restaurants on Kea to have a view (albeit not a great one) but the food makes up for it. Chef George and his family cook to perfection with fresh ingredients from the island. Their grilled lamb chops are a must-try but you shouldn’t pass up the pork rib eye slow cooked in beer and the mushroom risotto with Porcini, Pleurotus and three cheeses from Syros.
Koundouros is a blue-chip eatery open all year round. It’s a good choice for meat lovers but the seafood is fantastic too especially their lobster spaghetti. It’s also a place where many of the local X-pats who have houses on the island come to eat and hang out at night. Rolando is something of a spiritual father to them and you can see why. He makes a great mousaka and for vegetarians they have bouzakos (meatless mousaka).
On the road towards Otzias from Ioulida there’s another good taverna called Taverna to Kampi. It’s a family run restaurant, mom Ritsa cooks and dad and son Yiannis serve. It’s very homey and the menu has a lot of delicious traditional dishes. My favourites are the aubergine wraps with minced meat and the rabbit in beer sauce but I haven’t tried anything bad here.
Kea isn’t just about the tavernas though, it’s about swimming at beaches with blue-green waters and fine white pebbles. There are cosmopolitan beaches like Gialiskari and quieter beaches like Sikamia and Kaliskia. There’s even a beach in the middle of the island, Agios Nikolaos, with a natural pool that’s ideal for families.
A visit to Kea transports you back in time. It’s a great day trip from Athens and the short ferry ride instantly transforms you to a Greek islander. There are great walks to be done, beaches to swim at and of course great food to eat. With a little planning, your holiday in Kea will be one to remember for years to come.
3. Platia Restaurant
Located just an hour by ferry from Athens, Kea or Tzia as it was known in antiquity is a wonderful island retreat with clean beaches and wonderful stone-clad villas. It is a great holiday in its own right or the perfect complement to an Athens break.
One of the best places to eat in Kea is Platia Restaurant. This little gem in Ioulida is loved by both locals and visitors alike. Chef Vaggelis Marinopoulos is an amazing cook and he has made the most of the small space. His evolving menu has dishes that go beyond what you would expect to find in a traditional village on a Greek island. He does this without going over the top and he manages to please the Athenians and the tourists at the same time. Try his Pork Rib-Eye cooked in beer with sauteed potatoes and cherry tomatoes or his Mushroom Risotto made with Porcini and Pleurotus and a touch of local red wine. Both are delicious!
In Vourkari, the main port of the island, there are several restaurants that have a reputation outside of Kea. The taverna Aristos, famous for being the place where yacht owners stop with their boats to have dinner rose to fame outside of Kea many years ago. Unfortunately the original owner got fed up with the celebrity attention and sold the business. The new owners have kept the same name but have changed the menu a bit. It is still good but avoid the dubiously “fresh” lobster pasta (frozen) that costs a fortune!
The other main villages of the island have a variety of taverns serving up local food. There are also a number of restaurants in Korissia that specialize in meat-based plates.
Another great place to eat in Kea is Poularakia, a cute little taverna that serves limited meze and also has a couple of entrées. It is a good choice in the evening for a drink or dinner. There are also a number of cafes in the town and on the beach that serve fresh juices and smoothies as well as coffee.
Whether it’s the fresh seafood tavernas in Korissia and Vourkari, or the meat-based restaurants on Ioulida, Kea’s culinary scene is based on high-quality produce and local ingredients. Virgin vegetables and meat, grilled fish, and traditional pasta dishes make for mouthwatering starters and mains.
The island also excels in savoury, dense-flavored meat. Typical dishes include kokoretsi (grilled intestines of goat or lamb wrapped around offal) and kontosouvli (grilled pieces of pork cut from bone). Many restaurant owners breed their own animals to guarantee the best quality of meat served on their menu.
In Koundouros, a little road leading uphill from the port leads to a small traditional taverna called Margarita’s. It’s a great spot to enjoy lunch with views of the port and a really good atmosphere at night when they play laika and rembetika music. They also serve excellent loza, the local smoke-cured pork rubbed with the fragrant and aromatic local thyme.
Located near the pretty beach of Otzias, this taverna serves a wide selection of Greek dishes. It’s one of the best in town and is run by a lovely old couple. The food is the kind your grandmother used to make and it’s reasonably priced.
The taverna is close to the pier of Gialiskari and gets busy during weekends and in August but they have a few tables under a plastic greenhouse roof which keeps it cooler than the direct sun. Another excellent choice for lunch is the nearby Poularakia which is owned by the same people who run Margarita’s.
In the picturesque taverna on the top of the hill, the owner Rolando serves very tasty and affordable vegetarian and meat dishes. His mousaka is especially good and he also makes bozakos, a vegetarian version of the classic mousaka. He is a favourite amongst the ex-pats who own houses on the island and he has a nice atmosphere at night. It’s worth stopping by for a meal even if you’re only on the island for a day.