Between all the hiking, swimming, and outdoor adventures on this magical island, we discovered something else incredible… The food! Almost everywhere you go in Greece you can find traditional cooking, but Karpathos food is different. Recipes are passed down through the generations and served the same way to customers as they would make to their own families. So what is the best food in Karpathos? Join us as we cover our favorite dishes, what specialties to look out for, and tips for amazing Karpathos restaurants.
Intro to Karpathos Food
Like many other travelers, food plays a major role in our experience at each destination. We ALWAYS want to eat as the locals do and enjoy fresh ingredients. While this doesn’t always happen when traveling it does on Karpathos!
Karpathos food is a mix of traditional Greek food and unique island specialties that create a flavorful experience wherever you go. Each meal we had felt like someone’s grandmother was in the kitchen hand-making the dish for us, and that’s because it probably was!
This can be found at local tavernas, upscale eateries with a view of the ocean, and even small-town bakeries. We have been to several Greek Islands now and the food and culture of Karpathos really left an imprint on us.
Dining is an Experience in Karpathos
When you go out to Karpathos restaurants you’re not simply getting a meal, it’s a whole experience! Eating is never rushed and it’s common to spend hours sitting at the table enjoying the view, sipping on house wine, and tasting different dishes.
At one restaurant we walked in for lunch and after sitting down the server told us to relax and have a drink. He then proceeded to tell us that the Moussaka would be done in 10 minutes. Keep in mind, that’s before we even mentioned what we wanted or asked for a menu!
The more Karpathos food we ate, the more we began to realize how common this is. Yes, you can order off the menu. However, you’re better off just seeing what is fresh out of the oven or going with the specialty of the house. Either way, the love and hard work put into each meal by Karpathian’s is noticeable from your very first bite.
What’s on the Menu in Karpathos?
When you sit down to eat you might notice something strange… The menu might be missing. Like we mentioned above, this became a theme of our Karpathos traditional food journey.
We would say about half the time we ate out this happened. So how do you know what to order at Karpathos restaurants?
Simply ask! The menu is missing typically because it’s a very local restaurant where the food choices are already known by those who visit. It also may be because the menu changes daily depending on what is fresh or being whipped up randomly in the kitchen.
We recommend always trusting your server or the owner of the Karpathos restaurant you’re dining in. More often than not you’re in for a real treat!
Karpathos Food Tip: Don’t worry, you’re almost always able to get a traditional Greek salad everywhere you go. We got one with basically every meal.
Our Favorite Karpathos Restaurants
Ladokolla: Set on a small corner in the middle of the city center, this was where we had our first meal on the island and it set the standard very high. Meat is what they do best and you can’t go wrong with the pork Giouvetsi, lamb in the oven, or whole roasted chicken!
Erasmias Grill House: If you’re in the main city of Pigadia and looking for something quick then this is the place to go. Here they serve up fast and delicious pork and chicken gyros, as well as souvlaki. Dine-in or grab a gyro to take away and head to the beach.
Skala: This bar is actually right outside the main town in the area of Lakki. The view is amazing and it’s the perfect spot to grab a morning coffee or sunset cocktail.
Meltemi: The small coastal town of Lefkos is packed with seafood restaurants that line the harbor. Really you can’t go wrong with any of them. For the one night we had in Lefkos we ate at Melemi and it was delicious. Make sure to try the special fish balls made fresh and more local seafood dishes.
Sofia’s Taverna: The oldest restaurant in Kyra Panagia is a must-visit in town. While there is a full menu available, check the blackboard in the back of the restaurant for the daily specialties. Some of our favorites were Sofia’s greek salad, local goat, and calamari.
Taverna Akropolis Kyra Panagia: Set in the hills above Kyra Panagia, you will have a lovely meal overlooking the water. Here they serve local specialties as well as traditional Greek dishes.
Taverna Avlona: This is the only restaurant on this list we didn’t visit because we ran out of time. So why include it? It’s the only place in the northernmost town of Karpathos and it was recommended by a local who grew up on the island. If you go let us know how it was in the comments!
Milos Taverna: Have you ever sipped Greek wine under a windmill for sunset? We hadn’t either! The view is not only stunning, Milos Taverna also had the best food that we ate on the island. From stewed artichoke hearts to mountain goat and lamb dinners, This is one place not to miss while visiting Karpathos Greece.
Must-Try Karpathos Traditional Food and Drinks
There is a wide range of Karpathos traditional food and drinks to try on your visit. We only spent a week on the island so we didn’t even come close to tasting it all!
The meat and pasta dishes were good, but to be honest it was the seafood that really stuck out to us. You can tell fishing is a way of life on Karpathos and they have spent hundreds of years perfecting these recipes! Below are some Karpathos Greece food dishes we would recommend trying on your visit.
- Starters: Greek Salad, Tzatziki, and Artichoke Hearts.
- Seafood: Karpathos Shrimp, Grilled Squid, Fried Calamari, Whole Fish, Mussels, Taramasalata, and Grilled/Stewed Octopus.
- Pasta: Mousakka, Makarounes, and Pastitsio.
- Meats: Lamb, Pork, Gyros, Souvlaki, and Local Goat.
- Dessert: Baklava, Lokma, Galaktoboureko, and Yogurt with Honey.
- Drinks: Ouzo, Raki, & Local Wine.
Enjoying the End of the Meal
One thing we need to mention is that meals are never rushed on Karpathos. If you want something quick grab a Gyro or something easy on the go. Yet, actual meals are a time to relax and fully enjoy yourself in Greece. Don’t be surprised if the server leaves you alone once you’ve finished with your meal.
It’s expected to order another drink, enjoy a small sweet treat, and let your food digest. If you’re lucky you may even get a dessert on the house! When you are ready for the check simply ask for it, but know there is truly no rush. At a typical Karpathos restaurant, you can spend hours after your meal enjoying some wine and conversation and no one would question it.
More of the Best Food in Karpathos
As you can tell, one week on the island of Karpathos isn’t nearly enough to try everything. From the little breakfast bakeries to long seafood lunches (and even longer dinners), we loved it all!
Even though the local Karpathos restaurants will be the highlight of your visit, make sure to go into the small markets and stores around the island, too. You will find island products like homemade jams, thick sea salt, pasta, liquor, and more.
Have any tips for what food or restaurants we should try on our next visit to Karpathos? Let us know in the comments below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
Where to Stay in Karpathos
Pigadia – Porfyris Studios and Apartments – Located in the center of all the action, this hotel is within walking distance of everything you need in town. Oceanview balconies, a small living room, and compact kitchens.
Lefkos – Zorbas Studios – Basic studios with beautiful ocean views! Just steps from the sand and close to all the shops and restaurants.
Olympos – Aphrodite Hotel – This is where we stayed in Olympos and we loved every second. Enjoy incredible views from the small balconies that overlook the rugged coastline. Basic accommodations, but one of the best deals you can get for the location.
Olympos – Olympos Archipelagos – Gorgeous apartments just below the town center and close to Milos Taverna. Stunning views of the ocean and Karpathos Island.
Kyra Panagia – Bella Vista Suites – Cute apartment situated above Kyra Bay. Clean and stylish space with amazing views of the island.
For more places to stay in Karpathos Greece you can explore the latest prices here!
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