The best restaurants in Zante take some snuffling out. Sure, you’ll never be more than a few feet away from a baked bean and bacon combo on the island’s party strip, but discerning palates will be looking for something a little more Mediterranean. We’ve swerved the fry-ups and found the foodie gems on this island. And boy are your taste buds in for some Greek treats. Rove up into the mountains for sunsets to feast in front of, find fine dining on the beach or relax in front of a plate of traditional, home-cooking…
Vasilikos Coffee House - Vasilikos
From the exterior, and the alarmingly minimal website, you’d never know that the Vasilikos Coffee House is one of the best restaurants in Zante. The rather charming little, deli, shop and cafe brings the best breakfasts to its rustic tables with the kind of care and attention you’d expect from a home-cooked meal. It’s seasonal and simple here – so don’t expect anything more elaborate than a flaky croissant and a well-cooked full English. But you can be assured of one thing. The fresh fruit salads do come without the whips of canned-cream you’ll find in less discerning establishments. Oh, and the brownies and apple pie are dreamy – get a slice to go.
Grekas Bakery - Argassi
For 40 years, Grekas Bakery has been serving hot, Greek coffee alongside its mouthwatering selection of loaves and cakes. So this family-run has staying power, but can it brew up a decent breakfast? That’s a huge YES, if you’re happy to nibble on patisserie – or perhaps, throw caution the sweet and savoury wind with a ham, cheese and tomato croissant. The secret at Grekas is to go Greek – every time. Their ‘sirop cake’ section is where you’ll want to focus. Creamy, custard filled, ekmek and galaktompoureko, citrus-scented saragli and pistachio-clad baklavas make for a very indulgent start to the day. But the calories here are oh so worth it.
Avil Restaurant - Zante
Giota Papadopoulou, the owner – and occasional chef, at Avil Restaurant is something of a legend in the vegan community. Serving up a menu with recipes that span the dietary spectrum is no mean feat. But her selection of dishes does allow families, couples and friends to sit down together for a meal and put the plate politics aside for an hour or two. Meaty mains, vegan specials and organic and gluten-free options all pepper this sparkling menu. The first foodie spot on the island to really cater to all tastes might have garnered it rave reviews. But it’s Papadopoulou’s eagerness to nip in the kitchen and whip up a vegan dessert or two that’s earned her a gold star. Gorgeous interiors, traditional Greek cuisine and ‘grammable plates should tick all of your travel taste boxes.
Orbzii tip: Don’t go too crazy with the menu requests, but at Avil, if you don’t see it on the menu, it pays to ask. Papadopoulou won’t always be able to nip in the kitchen and rustle something up. But when she does, expect wonders.
Fishalida - Alykes
Foraging for foodie hidden gems can see you leaving sun-kissed shores of Zante’s beaches behind in search of lunch. At Fishalida in Alykes, there’s no such compromise needed. Serving fine dining, right on the beach, this cocktail bar and restaurant brings luxe cuisine almost straight to your sun lounger. The spice, citrus and salt notes from the sea bass ceviche pair perfectly with a day on the sands. And the mini beef sliders should keep hungry little ones happy – or larger appetites fuelled for an afternoon of watersports. The mixed menu includes simpler dishes – think grilled octopus and fries – along with Med classics (spinach pie and Greek salad) that all wash down exceedingly well with the restaurant’s pick of the island’s wine.
Cave Damianos - Aglas
The Doxara family have taken destination dining to new levels with Cave Damianos. But before you phone ahead to book, you’ll have to take your pick from the sunset deck, the private treehouse or the gorgeous nooks and crannies dotted around this enormous space. If in doubt, go for anything available with a view. Let’s just say, there’s a reason the family built out a sunset platform. Table booked, expect a mouthwatering menu with a hefty helping of Greek and Med influences. There’s an expectation you’ll likely have your eyes anywhere but on your plate. And while other restaurants would exploit this – serving below par food, at hiked prices, Cave Damianos gives you a reason to consider booking a table for every night of your stay. Tenderloin sautéed in ale and carob honey, aubergine rolls stuffed with feta and Zante gruyere and salmon marinated in ouzo leave you feeling food envy on almost every course.
Orbzii tip: The restaurant has an entirely vegan menu too (rare on this island). It does lean a little too heavily on salads, pasta and sorbet – but it does mean plant-based diners can enjoy the sumptuous views too.
Estia - Tsilivi
For a taste of traditional food – with few frills, pop in to Estia. This charming little restaurant will serve you up a hearty plate of Greek food – keeping your travel budget largely untroubled. There’s a smidge of eco-action on the recycled paper front – keeping the napkins, placements and the menus green. The ‘rough around the edges’ vibe continues, with a few traditional eats being paired with fries. Though, who can’t resist a chip or two on holiday? By now, you’ll have gathered that Estia’s isn’t a place for food snobbery. Rather, a place to relax, laugh heartily over a well-cooked meal and feel the warm and fuzzy feeling that only really kicks in around day 4 or 5 of your holiday. Contentment. Not a recipe many restaurants can match.