"Kali Orexi!" (Bon Appetit!)
Where and how to find a good restaurant?
There must be hundreds of restaurants and taverns on Paros. Some are great, of course, and some aren’t. But how do you recognise a good restaurant before getting disappointed?
If you have the possibility, ask someone. Greek people are usually very fussy about going to good restaurants and being served fresh food, so they will know. Ask other tourists, surely they will have had some good food somewhere.
Preferably, choose restaurants that look clean and tidy, but not necessarily all fancy. Sometimes very simple places have the best food. If you see many people sitting somewhere, especially Greeks, it is most likely to be a good restaurant. (However, this rule applies at Greek eating times - Greeks for example don't usually go out for dinner before 10 pm!)
What to eat?
The Greek cuisine has a big variety of wonderful foods. Unfortunately many people think it is only meat and nothing else! But the Greek cuisine offers a lot even if you are a vegetarian!
The only problem is that as a foreigner you usually read the menu and don’t know half the stuff, so you don’t know what to choose! (It would be even worse if you knew what you were missing...)
There are many starters that are very delicious and can easily make your meal without a main dish. And don’t forget to enjoy all the fresh vegetables, they are very tasty here. The tomatoes are incredible!
Tips: Don’t just stick to the menu if you are in a restaurant. The Greeks don’t read menus much, usually they ask the chef what is on the menu or go directly into the kitchen to choose. This still happens, so don’t be surprised, but rather flattered, if you are asked into the kitchen! Be open-minded and do so! Sometimes things are not even written on the menu. Ask the waiter or chef for recommendations. It is best to avoid cooked food (like stews) in the low season unless you are sure that it is fresh. Ask for the meal-of-the-day recommendation, which will definitely be fresh.
Fish & meat are usually ordered and charged by the kilo, which doesn’t mean you have to take a kilo.
Optional: You can always have something added or taken away, they are very flexible. For example take the Greek Salad without feta if you don’t like the cheese.
The Greeks don’t usually order individual dishes except for the main meal. They order a sufficient amount of starters and share them to have a variety. This usually leads to over-eating, as the starters are so delicious that one is more or less full by the time the main meal comes... ;-) Don’t be surprised if your food is not served hot. It is a Greek habit to serve food lukewarm, as people believe hot food is bad for the stomach. But some have adapted to the foreign habits and serve food hot like international customers like it.
There are many delicious Greek wines, but it is not easy to choose the right one. Very expensive doesn’t necessarily mean very good and vice versa. Often you can get lucky with homemade wines served from the barrel. If the restaurant offers "open wine", just ask if you can try it first, restaurant owners will be happy to let you do so.
There are especially many light and tasty white wines. Retsina is very digestible, although some people don’t like its rather ‘special’ taste (resin is added).
We can only recommend buying and eating fresh fruits and vegetables, as they are very tasty. Buy Greek products (ask) and you can’t do anything wrong!
Especially delicious are: watermelons, honey melons, grapes, peaches, tomatoes & cabbage! Usually the little grocery stores and of course the farmers (who gather in the mornings in the centre of the towns or the harbours and sell their stuff) offer local products.
How much money do you need?
Prices in restaurants are all very much the same on the same island, with slight differences of course. Calculate for an average meal for two approx. 11 - 21 Euro, depending on whether you drink wine and how expensive your main dish is! (Watch out, some fish is pretty expensive)
As a tip: It doesn’t need to be a main dish every night, just stick with the delicious starters! Or share a main dish, since the portions are often huge anyway.
Finding a place that serves good breakfast is a matter of luck; there is no way of telling in advance whether it will be good. Best is to ask for recommendations. You can find all kinds of breakfast, from "Continental" to "English"...
Selfcatering & nightlife info!
Some budget tips for you on selfcatering:
Many people choose to stay in an apartment or studio with a kitchen to be able to provide for themselves, which is understandable if someone is on a low budget or doesn't want to go out for dinner every night. However: If you are island-hopping and staying in one place only for a few days, it will probably not be worth buying all the ingredients you'll need to cook, as you'll have to carry them with you.
Greece has approx. "European" prices when it comes to supermarkets, and some things are even quite expensive (like milk, orange juice, foreign products), whereas eating out is comparitively cheap (check and compare restaurant prices!). Plus, you'll get to know all the delicious Greek specialities.
If you do decide to provide for yourselves, you don't necessarily need an apartment but could do with a studio (= room with kitchenette in corner) or a simple room. Most rooms come with a fridge these days or at least a shared fridge, so all you need is to supply yourselves with a few basic things (plates, cutlery, cups) to be able to eat in your room sometimes.
Some accommodations may also give you some simple device to boil water so you can make your own tea/coffee, which will save you a lot of money! Just ask!
In the mornings you could get yourselves fresh bread or croissants, as there are plenty of bakeries around, and enjoy a nice breakfast on your balcony.
Tip: Many hotels & accommodations offer breakfast included, but if you're not sure, ask what exactly that means, as it usually means the most basic breakfast (bread, butter, jam & coffee). Whatever you order on top of that you have to pay for!
Some suggestions for eating in, snacks and low budget:
fresh bread, butter & jam croissants & pastries Greek yoghurt & honey fruit Cheese-/ Spinach Pie Souvlaki/ Giros-Pita take-away (very cheap!) Pizza take-away Nescafe - Tea wine from super-market
Drinking in & out:
Coffee and tea can be quite expensive, depending on where you go and what kind of coffee you drink. The prices range between approx. 1,50 to 3,50 Euro, a cappuccino being more expensive than a Greek coffee. So it is well worth equipping yourselves with some coffee and/or teabags if you can't do without it - and who can?!
So as mentioned before, ask your host if he can give you something to boil water with if you don't have your own equipment with you (as many experienced travellers of Greece do).
Unless you are from Scandinavia ;-), alcoholic drinks most likely won't be cheaper than in your country, either. Here also there can be big differences from bar to bar, so check it out beforehand! For liqueur and longdrinks expect prices to range from 5,00 to around 10,00 Euro!
There are a great number of bars and nightclubs on the island, and as they often change name, close and re-open, it is difficult to recommend any. Also, tastes vary. The best is to check it out when you are on the island, ask people for recommendations or just choose a place that looks nice to you and/or plays your kind of music.
Be careful - CONS: In the high season there are some people around who like to take advantage of people having fun and not paying attention to their belongings. Keep your money in a safe place; best not to carry important documents around with you. (Most hotels/ pensions etc. offer to keep your belongings in a safe place.)
Tips for season 2014
Paros Island has a lot to offer to its visitors. Whether you prefer a quiet, peaceful holiday enjoying the beautiful nature & traditional Greek atmosphere or you would just like to party, you'll definitely find what you are looking for.