Travelling to new places is always fun. But what I like even more is when I have a local contact who can direct me to places that are not touristy or hyped in travel guides. Places where the locals go and where I get to enjoy, taste, and witness the culture and flavours in its most authentic way. Today I would like to share some insider tips for Chania city, Crete.
3x Where to eat
Chania old town is packed with restaurants and taverns. But that also makes it harder to differentiate the authentic from the tourist-driven ones. If you are looking for a real authentic Greek tavern experience with local flavours and quality food, Tamam is the place to be. Located in an alley in the Evraiki quarter you can indulge in typical tavern food like calamari with a spicy cheese dip, and fava. Tamam – 49 Zampeliou Spyridonos, open for lunch and dinner
For real Cretan food with a modern twist you go to Mezedosxolio. This small restaurant serves up authentic Cretan recipes but with a contemporary flair and presentation and international influences. They have the ‘shared dining’ concept where you get to choose multiple dishes that are appetizer size (mezzes) to share and taste with your party/partner. The theme of the restaurant is also fun: School. The menu for example looks like an exam that you have to fill in to order. The interior has many references to school as well. You can also sit outside on the terrace. Mezedosxolio – 63 Chatzimihali Daliani Str, open from 19.00-2.00
Highly recommended dishes:
- the smoked pork with lola, local cheese, raisins, sesame and balsamic dressing
- feta cheese fried in sweet & sour sauce with orange juice and sesame
- apaki smoked pork with local cheese and tomatini
- chicken roll bacon with cheese and dried tomatoes
- kebab with pita, yoghurt and tomatoes
Another local favourite for traditional cuisine is Chalkina in the old harbour. Traditional cuisine and live music guarantee an evening to remember
3x Hip and happening hotspots
After dinner comes drinks. The best places to mingle with the local trendy crowd while sipping on traditional and modern cocktails and spirits are Pallas, Faggoto and Nama. Pallas and Nama, both in the old harbour and neighbours are also hip restaurants with a trendy interior. Their outside terraces offer a romantic setting with view on the light house. Read more about Pallas here.
The Faggoto Jazz Bar is located in the Topanas quarter in the street Agelou. Here you can sample cocktails in a nice interior design while listening to Jazzy tunes.
3x Where to shop
When in Chania, a visit to the inside market hall is a must. This is the best place to buy olive oils, soaps, olives, honey, cheeses, baklava, herbs, and other Cretan delicacies and natural products.
For the best coffee in town you go to the oldest coffee shop Archondaki Bros on 45 Mousouron street. They still use the traditional coffee processor.
The Cretan ceramics are also something to invest in. Although there are many ceramics shops in Chania, the best is found in the Evraiki quarter in the street Zabeliou. A huge workshop lures you in with hundreds of designs in a myriad of colours.