The gastronomy of Paros is full of traditional recipes that stand the test of time and are cooked in all Parian homes as well as in many restaurants that respect the tradition of the island's taste and identity.
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The traditional foods of Paros, made from a few local ingredients that respect the cycle of nature, are healthy, and many of the local recipes, whether they're sweet or savory, are 100% vegetarian.
In other words, seafood, vegetables, greens, herbs, cheese products, pulses, cereals, poultry, and to a lesser extent, meat are used, with an emphasis on goat or rifaki as the locals call it. The island's inhabitants follow the course of nature. As a result, in March and April, they cook Kalfa. In spring, green beans and artichokes. In summer, they cook pumpkins and zucchini from their vegetable garden, while in autumn, they bake stuffed figs, Pastries.
They extract the famous spirit of suma, roast the sweet quince, and gather Amanites and Agathites (wild mushrooms), which they cook in many ways -fried, stewed, grilled, or scrambled.
Naoussa taverns - credits: Pit_Stock/Shutterstock.com
The gastronomy of Paros goes hand in hand with the lifestyle of the Parians, something that becomes apparent immediately after your arrival on the island. Despite the tourism that Paros receives every year, the traditional tastes have not been affected or internationalized. You can savor them in the most authentic way all across Paros, in its many hotels and even more restaurants.
In fact, the loyalty of Parian cuisine to its roots has become one of the most appealing elements of the Greek island, and its scrumptious creations are sought-after by the multitude of travelers that visit it.
Let us introduce you to our comprehensive food guide for Paros island and grant you the opportunity to try Greek dishes that will blow your mind. From the most popular ingredients to the best restaurants on the island, this journey across Paros' flavors will elevate your Greek vacation in the most mouthwatering way!
Paros' traditional products
Paros through a window - credits: Aerial motion/Shutterstock.com
The eating habits of Paros have their roots in the Mediterranean diet. Fruits and vegetables, fish, olive oil, wine, spirits, and cheese products are the show's stars, and for good reason.
Fresh xynomyzithra, ladotiri, excellent gruyere, and kefalotyri, tulumisia, and kopanisti, are some of the local cheeses you don't want to miss. Combine them with wonderful local olive and the famous barley buns or Parian nuts, and you will have a first-class meze dish to accompany a glass of local suma!
Moreover, the island produces fragrant honey, as well as fragrant herbs, such as oregano, sage, and thyme, and brilliantly potent capers. At the same time, the local meats that are bred in Paros are of unparalleled taste and quality.
Last but definitely not least comes suma, a strong drink that comes from the distilling of grape skins. The production of suma usually takes place in November and is an event for the island, as it is almost always combined with a feast.
Paros' traditional Greek dishes
A traditional Greek table - credits: Utku_Demirsoy/Shutterstock.com
Like all regions of mainland Greece and the Greek islands, Paros boasts a wide selection of local dishes that belong to the traditional Greek cuisine but can be exclusively enjoyed on its grounds.
Below you'll find some of the trademark dishes you should be looking for when dining in the best restaurants in Paros. You'll find both meat dishes and excellent vegetarian options.
Salatouri: Salatouri is a common dish in the Cyclades and is prepared with salachi, a large bottom-dwelling fish known for its flat body and large fins.
For the salad preparation, the fish is boiled, plucked, and separated from the bones. Then the cold meat is mixed with chopped parsley, onion, dill, pepper, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. It is left in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.
Mirmizelli: The traditional pasta of Paros is called mirmizelli and looks like barley. The dough for mirmizzelli must be firm enough to be shaped like thin barley with your fingers. In the past, after making the mirmizelli, the locals used to spread it on a sieve and leave it to dry in the hot Parian sun.
Kremmydokeftedes (Onion fritters): These onion fritters are popular all year round, as they are made with ingredients that are usually available in every home. In Paros, parsley and mint are used coarsely chopped and added to the mixture, while some onions are cut into larger pieces for texture.
Zucchini fritters - credits: Helena Zolotuhina/Shutterstock.com
Garlic Kalfa: Kalfa is a type of asparagus, much larger and thicker than classic asparagus. It is green with a sweet taste that can be made into a fricassee with artichokes or a boiled salad with olive oil and garlic.
Kalfa is hard to find in a restaurant, and if you are lucky enough to find it, you will do so only at the beginning of spring. For that reason, many locals collect them during the short time they exist in the countryside of Paros and freeze them. Whenever you see an omelet with Kalfa, please know that we are talking about a rare delicacy you must try.
Karavoli: Snails, usually chargrilled, braised, or fricassee with courgettes, dill, onions, and a rich egg-lemon sauce.
Kolitsanokeftedes: In Paros, the small sea anemones are not simply fried in flour, as in Mykonos, but are made into meatballs with the addition of cheese, onion, mint, and a little flour.
Fava Padremeni: A common dish throughout the Cyclades and Crete, that is made from fava beans, which are cooked with a little onion and olive oil. It can also be found cooked in tomato sauce.
Patouda: Goat or rooster stuffed with rice, liver, cheese, and raisins. It is served mainly at Christmas and is a generally festive dish.
Sougli: Sun-dried small fish that are dipped in gruel and fried.
Zaxarobaklavas: A delectable local dessert that tastes like baklava but looks like a macaroon. Its recipe is traditional from Paros, where women used to make it at festive tables, weddings, and baptisms. This delicious dessert with almonds, walnuts, honey, cinnamon, and cloves is one of the sweets that you must try at least once.
Paros' eateries for traditional and modern Greek cuisine
Naoussa from above - credits: Aerial motion/Shutterstock.com
Paros is an incredibly important gastronomic destination. Its significant tourism growth over the last 20 years has rewarded travelers around the world with delicious taverns and fancy restaurants with acclaimed chefs.
The island is visited by millions of tourists annually, yet it has retained its top-quality food and has enriched the cooking scene with various cuisines. From freshly baked bread to gourmet creations, almost all local restaurants serve fantastic food and are worth a try.
Naoussa port - credits: PitK/Shutterstock.com
Even though a multitude of tasty restaurants and places to eat are available across the island, making reservations is necessary, especially when visiting Paros during the high-season months.
Please remember that the best time to make reservations is at least three days in advance.
Paros tavern - credits: Aetherial_Images/Shutterstock.com
In the eastern part of the magnificent Paros, in the area of Lolandonis, 20 meters from its pristine beach, there is the traditional tavern 'Lolandonis.'
In a quiet, friendly environment next to a lemon grove, you will find the family-owned tavern that boasts a traditional wood-fired oven, authentic traditional cuisine, and local homemade wine.
It has been serving homecooked food since 1987, using ingredients of its own production (oil, suma, wine, fresh fruit, and vegetables) and other local products. Traditional recipes such as wine rooster, roasted chickpeas, but also meats baked in the shell in their own traditional wood-fired oven will amaze you.
Flavors for all tastes, such as grilled, fresh fish and seafood, but also a variety of appetizers, such as pumpkin meatballs, tomato meatballs, feta with honey, eggplant rolls, and other local delicacies, will offer you an unmatched culinary experience.
Traditional table of Greek food - credits: ORLIO/Shutterstock.com
With almost 40 years of history, the ouzo tavern of Tsachpinis is a must-visit destination for fresh fish and seafood, but also for enjoying the endless sea and the sea. Sun-dried octopus and charcoal-grilled fur are considered top specialties, and you cannot visit the eatery without trying them.
This is one of the best restaurants in Parikia, Paros. When visiting the port, eating here is absolutely necessary. There are countless dishes you can choose from, from its traditional Greek salad and fresh dakos salad with creamy, soft cheese and crispy baked bread underneath to sun-dried mackerel fish, octopus, meatballs, sausage, and peppers.
The staff in Koutouki is extremely friendly, and the establishment is usually less crowded compared to the other waterfront restaurants flooded by tourists.
Located within the little picturesque village of Piso Livadi, the ouzo tavern of Halaris a culinary destination you won't regret visiting. Wind through Lefkes beautiful village in order to reach it, and spend the afternoon at the beach, and at night, walk to the lovely tavern to enjoy a scrumptious meal.
Paros' traditional house - credits: Kite_rin/Shutterstock.com
Mario, is one of the most beloved and popular restaurants on the island. Always with an emphasis on fresh fish, which you will enjoy expertly grilled, the chef of the restaurant Yannis has composed a menu with very special seafood specialties that have a modern Greek touch, such as the grilled octopus with hummus and Parian chickpeas and the fine hunkiar tuna.
Being one of the best seafood restaurants in Paros, Mario is known for the freshness, and upscale quality of its dishes since the family farm feeds the kitchen daily with the goodies of the Parian land, and the fish and seafood come from the trawlers that open in the Aegean every dawn.
The incredible wine list includes a wealth of selections from domestic and international vineyards.
Vegetarian wraps - credits: Nic Crilly Hargrave/Shutterstock.com
On the road to Santa Maria beach, one of the best Paros' beaches, 'Siparos' is without a doubt one of the most interesting restaurants of Paros, and its elegant island courtyard with modern touches fits perfectly the cosmopolitan vibe of the island and is a perfect choice for both lunch and dinner.
The menu has been made to whet your appetite, even for dishes that you might, under other circumstances, not dare to try. The chef has curated a menu with an enviable abundance of special options. Fresh pasta meets seafood and herbs that take you on a journey, while raw preparations and tuna tagliata will star in your appetizers. Despite the strong seafood element, there are also meat options on the menu, so the restaurant provides a more complete dining experience for every guest.
To enjoy your moments in the restaurant, even more, is to try a cool aperitif from the cocktail list, which will perfectly match the elegant atmosphere of the restaurant and will put you in the best mood.
On an elegant and relaxed corner terrace with a delightful view of the sea and minimal island references in the decoration, the marvelous 'Blue Oyster' opened a few summers ago in a privileged position on the beach of Ampelas.
As the name of the restaurant testifies, there is an emphasis on all kinds of shellfish and seafood that you can choose from the special aquarium, while the menu gleans interesting seafood proposals with a Greek essence, typical flavors, and products of Paros, as well as selected cuts of meat.
Wine tasting outdoors - credits: eyeris.work/Shutterstock.com
In a quiet part of the 'Summer Senses Luxury Resort' hotel, with a wide view of Paros villages, including Piso Livadi and Marpissa, 'Galazia Hytra' the summer sibling of the award-winning Athenian restaurant 'Hytra,' upgrades the culinary scene of Paros in terms of fine dining.
There, you will enjoy very interesting modern cuisine, with an emphasis on the Greek element, made up of memorable specialties such as the excellent mullet savouro with white aubergine cream and the "minimalist" charcoal-grilled crayfish with asparagus and white grapes.
The emblematic Barbarossa in the old port has been transforming the locals' and visitors' nights and days since the 80s with its creative Greek dishes, sushi, and incredible cocktails. One of the most see-and-be-seen establishments of Paros, you need to visit Barbarossa if you are after luxurious and extravagant experiences.
The globe-trotting restaurant with "siblings" in Cairo and Turkey has a bar, as well as a quiet corner that loves delicious coffee, sushi, and brunch, and as the kitchen gets closer to closing time and the night goes on, it turns into a hot spot fun.
In any case, while you wait for the mood to flare up, you will enjoy unique dishes inspired by the flavors of the Aegean and the international cuisine, with lobster pasta, sea bass fillet, and beef tagliata being some of the highlights.
Grilled fish - credits: Toms Auzins/Shutterstock.com
Stilvi is a lively and allegro bar restaurant in one of the most beautiful courtyards of Naoussa, with a large bar and tables under the open sky. An award-winning chef is in charge of the modern flavors, as in the Athenian branch 'Dalliance House,' proposing Greek dishes such as the sea bass with tarama and marinated lettuce hearts with mustard seeds, as well as selected premium cuts of meat.
Visiting Stilvi will be one of the highlights of your trip to Paros!
The emphasis on local production is integral for the restaurant and also has an exotic side since, in addition to fresh eggs and vegetables from nearby vegetable gardens and selected farms of Paros, Hello Mango also finds excellent bananas, mangoes, and papayas, which sets the basis of its recipes, such as the delicious mango summer rolls with homemade sweet and spicy sauce, but also the now famous mango raw vegan cheesecake.
Greek spinach pies - credits: zi3000/Shutterstock.com
The Foodie bar
Perhaps some of the nicest summer memories are the moments after a night out when you satisfy your cravings by enjoying authentic street food against the background of the picturesque island alleys. And where is better to carve those cravings than in The Foodie Bar?
Top-quality sandwiches, burgers with fresh patties fermented daily, crepes, delicious Mexican dishes, and irresistible waffles are among the options for your fast food "fix."
Without much decorative excess, clean and tidy, with tables outside, it awaits you with a menu that promises to cover every taste, including those holiday sugar cravings. Hearty sandwiches are a hallmark, where you can go classic or get creative by making your own, while there is no shortage of hot dogs and club sandwiches, salads, and crepes – both savory and sweet. Visiting The Foodie bar is one of the top things to do in Paros!
It might not look like much; in fact, it is as far from bougie as it gets; however, Chaniotis in the region of Paroikia, in Paros island, is by far your best bet when it comes to burgers.
The restaurant 'Chaniotis' has been located in the same place with the same address since 1981. The staff is experienced and has been working in the restaurant for many years, while it has gained a loyal following of locals and travelers that visit it regularly.
Its success can be attributed to the pure and fresh material it uses to prepare the delectable dishes that come from the island itself. The stews are made from pure ingredients and are prepared daily in our restaurant using only olive oil and traditional recipes. The handmade burger is made from 100% ground beef, the unique handmade pies are tasty and of the highest quality, and have been famous for decades!
Tzatziki dip - credits: New Africa/Shutterstock.com
If you're fans of the superior Greek fast food called souvlaki (and why wouldn't you be?), you cannot visit Paros and not try the delicious wrap from Kargas, the best-known souvlaki spot in Naoussa.
Naoussa restaurants are probably the most renowned and frequented. There are plenty of food restaurants on the harborfront, packed with tables, and in one of its busy alleys, you will come across Kargas, known for its delicious meat and fluffy pita bread.
Even though the prices are a little higher than other souvlaki shops on the island, it is a fairly affordable lunch option that is incredibly tasty and totally worth your time and money!
Bakeries have a very special place in the Greeks' hearts, as they are visited daily for breakfast food and for a cure for late nights and hangovers.
The central market of Parikia houses the 'Ragousis' bakery. For four generations, the Ragousi family, for almost a century, has left its own history on the island by making the best flavors based on flour.
You will also be able to try a wide variety of croissants and sandwiches for your breakfast, always made with the best ingredients. At 'Palio Fourno,' you can also find traditional Parian dishes, such the fragrant sugar baklava, mizidropitakia, and loukoumia of excellent quality, traditional dips, and barley buns. Don't forget to try the syrupy sweets famous for their delicate taste!
Paros' wine production
Wine - credits: DeepMeaning/Shutterstock.com
From the very ancient presence of Dionysos, the rich folkloric tradition, the manners and customs of the island, with the local dances and festivals, to the church of Ai-Georgis the Drunkard in Parikia, everything testifies to the timeless relationship of the Parians with the art of winemaking. Here, among the beauties of the Cycladic landscape, a remarkable vineyard has been thriving for years now with fine varieties of grapes from which the famous wines of Paros come.
Paros is the second wine-producing island of the Cyclades after Santorini. Today, many white rosé and red wines are produced on the island.
The whites come from the local Monemvasia and Savvatiano varieties, while the rosés come from the red Mantilari variety.
The most well-known and famous wine in Paros is considered to be red and dry, which is also entitled to the indication Wine of Designation of Origin of Superior Quality (OPAP). This wine comes from the island's vineyards, which are planted with the Aegean dye variety Mantilari or Mantilaria.
The annual production on the island does not exceed 2,500 tons, and the wine produced has a deep ruby red color, a fruity aroma, a rich body, complex character, and many natural pigments, while it lends itself to ideal aging.
Greek tavern - credits: Veniamakis_Stefanos/Shutterstock.com
Paros is an island with a lot of tourism from all over the world, but it still retains its definitive flavor in local households. What characterizes the cuisine of Paros are its traditional foods and sweets, which have remained untouched by time and which Parians continue to enjoy at their daily table.
Every recipe of the Parian gastronomy, as it happens in every place, hides behind it a long history, and each one has a specific reason it was created. Nothing is accidental in Aegean and Meditteranean cuisine. There is a reason for every recipe. Sometimes the reason the recipes are created is the seasons, sometimes the abundance of goods from the land of Paros that had to be utilized, and sometimes it is the manners and customs that influenced the local gastronomy.
In any case, one thing is for sure: Paros' cuisine is an integral part of the island's culture, and exploring to the best of your ability will be the best gift you've ever given to yourselves!