An insider's guide on where to eat, what foods to try, what time to eat dinner, and how to make reservations at the best restaurants on the Greek island of Paros.
Nighttime strolls through Naoussa’s warmly lit walkways were filled with anticipation—anticipation for the next delicious dinner we’d be sitting down to, just a few steps away.
Dining turned out to be the unexpected highlight of our lovely and relaxed island stay. While almost all restaurant menus offered similar traditional cuisine—Greek salads, saganaki (fried cheese!!), grilled seafood, moussaka, creamy yogurts, etc.—the fresh catch was the star of every meal. You couldn’t turn a corner in Paros without seeing a clothesline of octopuses hanging out to dry in the hot sun.
Below are 5 of the best restaurants you can find on Paros. Most are in the idyllic harbor town of Naoussa. I haven't provided addresses because in most neighborhoods, there are no street numbers or names—it's just somewhere in the maze of cobblestone streets. Navigate your way there with Google Maps, or just ask a local.
WHERE TO EAT IN PAROS
1. SOSO (Naoussa)
Tucked in the narrow alleys of Naoussa town, Soso’s tiny footprint doesn’t give away its position as one of the best restaurants on the island. Tables and chairs are set out on the cobblestone streets on warm summer nights; it’s utterly cozy and romantic. The owners are lovely and attentive. Shrimp pie, saganaki (fried cheese), and lamb shank were delicious. A complimentary tart arrived for dessert, too. The meatballs and sea bass also came highly recommended. We agreed that Soso was best dinner in Paros for the food, the ambiance, and the warm hospitality. We saw several hopeful diners get turned away, so be sure to make a reservation.
2. TAVERNA GLAFKOS (Naoussa)
We stumbled onto this waterside restaurant with somewhat unique takes on traditional Greek taverna options. The squid ink risotto was one of their signature dishes, and the yogurt dessert with fruit preserves was also delicious. I’d go to Taverna Glafkos for lunch; with the wind, dining outside could get a little chilly late in the evening.
3. YDROUSSA RESTAURANT (Naoussa)
You’ll see a lot of Italian influence on Paros, which extends to the elegant Ydroussa, a restaurant featuring an Italian-influenced Greek menu. A modest entryway hides an open-air dining space, set in what feels like an intimate, secret garden. The melon salad and fish dish here were unexpected and divine.
4. SIPAROS (Santa Maria)
While we didn’t make it here, Siparos was one of the most highly recommended restaurants with a sea view between Santa Maria Beach and Naoussa, known for their fresh fish, the orzo, tagliata, and mussels. I think it'd be gorgeous for sunset.
5. OUZERI TON NAFTIKON (Naoussa)
Naoussa’s port area comes alive at night—all of the bars and restaurants pack the square from end to end with white tables and chairs. Starting around 10 p.m., the harbor fills with people starting their evenings. It’d be hard not to have a wonderful meal at Ouzeri Ton Naftikon with seemingly endless plates of octopus, fried fish, and risotto. Tables and tables of wine-happy diners with a view of the twinkling harbor make for one of those lovely, blissful dinners.
FOODS TO TRY IN PAROS
- Octopus : You know the octopus is fresh in Paros because you see it hanging out to dry all around town! Most places serve octopus simply grilled with lemon and olive oil.
- Baked chickpeas : Revithia sto fourno, or baked chickpeas was common on menus—I loved this small plate dish! Baked in clay pots with sliced onions and a little rosemary, they were savory and melted in your mouth with warm bread.
- Saganaki : This fried cheese dish, often drizzled with honey, seemed to be on every menu and certainly contributed to our vacation weight gain.
- Doughnuts for dessert : There are also two dessert spots next to each other that were swarmed at all times in the alleys of Naoussa. One sold doughnut holes drizzled in sauce, the other sold ice cream cones made out of doughnut—the English signs say the “sweet of the spit.” It looked amazing! They also had other fantastic Greek desserts like baklava, orange cake, etc.
WHAT TIME TO EAT DINNER IN PAROS
Greeks dine later than most cultures, and Paros in particular is a late-night town. The best time to eat dinner in Paros is 9:30 or 10 pm, though you can easily do so much later, too. Most restaurants open for dinner until midnight, but there are still options available after that. One night, Mike had to do his draft pick until midnight, and we still had a normal sit-down meal after midnight. If you start dinner at 8 pm, you very well may be the first to arrive at the restaurant.
HOW TO MAKE RESERVATIONS IN PAROS
Do you need to make reservations for dinner in Paros? Not always, but I’d highly recommend it if you have a few places in mind—especially in high season (late June to early September), when many restaurants book up fully for the evening. I called restaurants one week or so in advance.
If you’re not sure how you’ll be charged based on your phone plan, you can also pay add a few dollars’ worth of credit to your Google Hangouts or Skype account, both of which will let you call internationally. Some restaurants requested that I call back again 24 or 48 hours before to re-confirm. (If you plan to skip a reservation, be a good tourist and call to cancel!)
If you try any of my recommendations—or have any spots I missed—I'd love to know in the comments below. Happy eating!
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