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Where and What to Eat on Paxos (2024 Guide)

Updated: Jan 4

Paxos (or Paxi, Greek plural, including Paxos and Antipaxos neighbouring islet) is a lush island complex with great Greek food amidst the shimmering Ionian Sea. Unknown to many and not featuring in the top touristic destinations of the travel tabloids like its siblings in the Ionian (Corfu, Kefalonia or Zakynthos), it is a hidden gem summer destination for those seeking not heavily touristic and overcrowded Greek islands.
I am Niko Douniko and this is my Paxos Food Guide!

Food in Paxos

First and foremost the food on the island is incredibly tasty, comforting and authentic. The island lacks massive touristic complexes and fast food chains which inevitably means you will eat good, local and fresh food. That all of course comes with a proportionate price tag.

With an abundance of fresh and super tasty Mediterranean vegetables, herbs, fruits, seafood and meat kissed by the Ionian sun and blessed by the local microclimate, food is a reason to visit the island by itself, if you are a foodie, or simply a pleasant surprise to the visitor that food comes second. The food in Paxos can go from traditionally Greek to Greek with a twist, all the way up to upscale gastronomy with high-quality ingredients, techniques and artistic presentations. The absence of massive resort-style tourism and the small size of the island helped shape a pretty remarkable gastronomy scene, so wherever you choose to eat on the island the chances of going wrong are pretty slim.


What to Eat

For what it's worth, food in Paxi can be expensive and on some occasions without delivering. Having said that, there are still places that offer reasonably priced dishes and there's always street food (souvlaki, gyros and pizza) in the alleys of Gaios for the budget traveller. In this post, I will pass on some tips on what to eat and where to minimize your risk of failure.

The regional food in the north Ionian region is mostly defined by the times of Venetian rule. Heavily influenced by Western Roman Empire eating habits (like pasta and herbs) and nicely blended with the aromatic spices of the Eastern Byzantine Empire. This blend is so unique so make sure you don't miss local dishes like "Pastitsada" (tender rooster stew served with pasta) and "Sofrito" (divinely aromatic veal stew). Needless to mention that seafood is top-notch on Paxos, as on every island of the Mediterranean. Also, don't miss the locally made "spanakopita" and other filo crust pies with different fillings (see the "Breakfast" section below).

Quality-wise, it’s pretty much safe to eat anywhere on the island, and food standards and hygiene are kept high. During our visit, we tried everything from beach bar canteens and local bakeries to traditional taverns and upscale gourmet restaurants. In this post, there is inside info for those venues we liked most, plus some suggestions on what's worth ordering. Taste buds heavily differ from person to person, however, my Greek palate was utterly satisfied by all things listed in this post. I deliberately omitted a few others we tried that were either too expensive and not completely worth it or not serving Greek cuisine (with the exception of Capriccio in Gaios for its fantastic gelato that admittedly Italians do best).



Mambo

Where: Gaios

Style: Traditional island Tavern

Budget: Mid-range (£20-30 pp)

Best to go: Evening (there’s no tent or parasol for earlier feasts)

What to eat: Meat: Stifado, Kleftiko, Pastitsada, Sofrito

Kids: There's pasta and fries, and plenty of space to play on the road (cars prohibited after 7pm)

Best restaurants in Paxos Mambo

Mambo is located in a magnificent spot. Right on the promenade of Gaios, where life is slow and everywhere smells tasty food. Mambo is serving honest, traditional and homemade Greek food and you need to take it easy there. While I wouldn’t call their dishes “instagrammable”, that is entirely what not mambo stands for. Mambo represents the traditional Greek comfort food and local regional grandma-style recipes excellently executed to satisfy the most demanding visitor seeking traditional Greek food thrills and chills. Apart from the nation’s beloved and Mambo’s signature dishes “Stifado” (rabbit stew) and “Kleftiko” (lamb stew), my suggestion is to try the regional "Pastisada" and "Sofrito" both staples of the north Ionian region. Complimentary dessert is offered after every meal, which is always a plus (although quite common in Greek restaurants).



Genesis

Where: Gaios

Style: Fish Tavern

Budget: Mid-range (£8-10 for appetizers, £15-25 for mains and £25-35 for fresh fish)

Best to go: Sunset after a swim at the adjacent Beach Gianas or evening for dinner

What to try: Catch of the day, Seafood risotto, Courgette fritters

Kids: plenty of space and large tables for big families available.

Genesis and Thalassa are two very good casual taverns at the southernmost edge of the promenade. Located next to each other they both serve traditional Greek seafood and fresh catch of the day. From the two I would choose Genesis for a few practical reasons like being more spacious which basically means two things: (a) plenty of table availability if you show up without a reservation and (b) space for kids to play/explore. The style is typical Greek seafood tavern kind of thing, with some inspiring additions to make a difference. Things like quinoa in the salads or crushed red peppercorns over locally fished anchovies (an appetizer that I definitely recommend) and a delicious minty pesto sauce to pair the most flavoursome and fluffy courgette fritters I've eaten on the island, are not what you commonly get in a fish tavern. A good variety of fresh catches, straight from the Ionian Sea to your plate, and a spectacular seafood risotto to come back for, are also a couple of things that didn’t go unnoticed. Heads up, delicious traditional “loukoumades” (fried dough with honey and cinnamon) are offered complimentary after your meal!

Gianas beach right next to Genesis

Vasilis Restaurant

Where: Loggos

Style: Gourmet Restaurant

Budget: Expensive fine dining (around £50 per person)

What to eat: Lobster or prawn pasta

Kids: Better keep toddlers at bay as the pier is very close to the tables and there's no fencing.


Located on the promenade of the charming port of a sleepy village, Loggos, this restaurant is arguably one of the most upscale takes on modern and creative Greek cuisine on the island. Head to Loggos for an early evening stroll around its picturesque alleys, go shopping for some artisanal souvenirs and homeware from a fantastic nearby shop (right past the restaurant on the right) and end up at Vassilis for an unforgettable meal.

For some reason (which I find hard to understand) Vasilis is low in Google reviews, perhaps because it is a bit more expensive and service can get slow at busy hours. Yet, we absolutely enjoyed the food, the service and the atmosphere there. From the ridiculously tasty, succulent, slow-cooked octopus with fava puree, to sharp and fresh Greek-style ceviche, mouthwatering salads and sensational seafood and lobster with pasta or orzo (signature dish), every single plate is worth trying and has been carefully designed to satisfy all senses. The menu might change over the seasons and years, but Vassilis and the crew definitely do not lack inspiration and dedication to fresh and locally sourced ingredients.

Price wise it is on the expensive side, however, for a fine dining venue of this quality, variety, presentation and service, I wouldn't complain...



Breakfast, Coffee and Brunch

Generally, there is no simple answer to the question of what Greeks eat for breakfast.

Breakfast habits can utterly vary per region. However, a typical Greek breakfast will see equal proportions of sweet and savoury on the table. Spanakopita (or some other sort of filo-based bake), koulouri (sesame bread rings like this one), yoghurt with honey and nuts or just milk, fresh fruits and juices and lots of coffee are some of the staples nationwide. Brunch (with eggs like the traditional "Strapatsada") is also very popular in Greece, and Paxos has a few restaurant options for posh brunch but also bakeries for budget brekkies and snacks.


To Spitiko (Το Σπιτικό)

Where: Gaios

Style: Traditional bakery - take away

Best to go: early in the morning

What to try: Spanakopita (Spinach pie), bread loafs

A lovely bakery, with helpful and polite personnel and fast service. The girls that run the place are very proud of their homemade (“Spitiko”) spanakopita, and for good reasons. Multiple crusty layers of thick handmade filo pastry and a generous filling of spinach, feta and aromatic herbs are just what you need for an authentic Greek breakfast feast. If there is chocolate-flavoured milk in the fridge, grab one to wash down every savoury bite of spanakopita. This salty-sweet combination is the nation’s favourite and dates long back in time (I remember having this since my early childhood years in Greece). Now if you show up late with a hangover, worry not: there’s a great selection of sandwiches and other pastries which means there will definitely be something there to satisfy one’s hanger… but generally, the rule is the earlier in the morning, the bigger the selection.

People really flock to the nearby bakery (which apparently has good reviews on Google) but I liked Spitiko best, as there’s always something to grab no matter the time you head downtown.

Louka’s Bakery (Ο Φούρνος Του Λουκά)

Where: Magazia and Loggos

Style: Traditional Bakery - take away or eat in

Best to go: Early Morning (most goodies disappear after 10am)

What to try: Spanakopita (Spinach-feta pie), Kolokythopita (Courgette-feta pie), bread

Traditional Bakery Greece Paxos
Lucas' Traditional Bakery at Magazia

Loukas' bakery is a traditional bakery run by the same family for generations. Named after the first owner’s grandson, they have been baking a unique kind of filo crust pie unlike any other you have seen. Their pie is rather slim in looks but big in flavour. With only two layers of hand-made/hand-stretched thick and juicy filo pastry, you get a soft bite (not crunchy) and a gooey thick filling. The best thing is that they not only do spanakopita (which is the highlight) but also other local herb and vegetable stuffed pies like butternut squash and feta, which is truly delightful. They’ve also got bread loaves, lots of cookies, “koulouri" (see my recipe here), so head here if you are looking for beach snacks, breakfasts, wine pair crackers and birthday cakes too! I was so lucky to be renting nearby so I got to have snacks from there almost every day!



Capriccio

Where: Gaios

Style: Café - Gelateria

Budget: £3 for a scoop, £5 for two scoops

Best to go: Anytime of the day for gelato

What to try: Waffles and Gelato

Capriccio has by far the best gelato I’ve tried on any Greek island. As I said, the Italian influence is engraved in the Ionian islands, with gelato being no exception. It’s so satisfyingly creamy and fragrant that we drove back and forth to our villa in the middle of the island just for this gelato. There’s also outdoor seating with parasols and they serve mouth-watering waffles, crepes, juices and coffee, making it a good spot for a lazy breakfast by the promenade.




Fanalino

Where: Gaios

Style: Café - Restaurant

Budget: Reasonably priced

Best to go: Brunch (they also serve dinner)

Kids: they can play safely in the square just in front, plenty of food options for fussy eaters

Family-run business with a few tables lying welcoming just off the main square of Gaios. The reason to visit Fanalino, among others around is not just the food but also the surrounding area which absolutely offers the ultimate Greek island vibe with an Italian aesthetic. Fanalino offers a good variety of breakfasts with pretty much all the Greek staples like Greek omelettes, yoghurt with honey, pancakes, pastries, salads and smoothies. If you missed pizza or a club sandwich, it is on sale there but I generally recommend going with the Greek stuff. Also don’t miss to try the traditional ‘portokalopita’ (orange pie). Not as good as my recipe though :-D



Averto

Where: Magazia

Style: All day Café/Bar/Restaurant

Budget: Expensive (around £30 per person)

Best to go: Brunch

What to eat: Eggs and pancakes with a twist

Kids: The terrace is protected all around which makes it a safe place for exploration. No highchairs

Greek brunch restaurants Paxos
Averto Terrace at Magazia

Averto is one of those renovated modern bar restaurants with a gorgeous pergola terrace at the back and a huge old olive tree for shade. Little aesthetic additions like elegant serveware, a seating area nicely blended with natural wood-metal-concrete materials and a carefully designed branded menu, are also little things that make a difference in the overall experience. It still maintains some traditional Greek island architectural characteristics like the wooden interior and the olive trees on the back terrace and some Mediterranean notes on its menu, which is fusion. Al fresco brunch is recommended at Averto for it is the daylight that will offer these spectacular views of the hillsides. Food-wise, Averto has all that you wish for brunch. Poached turmeric eggs benedict and omelettes with Greek twists like red pepper pesto, herby sausages and local cheeses are on the top of the list and definitely recommended. Fresh juices, great coffee blends and desserts for the sweet tooth (like pancakes, cheesecakes and local yoghurt-honey-granola combinations) are also on the menu.



Bournaos (Μπουρνάος)

Where: Magazia

Style: Traditional Café/Mezze tavern

Budget: Reasonably priced

Best to go: Brunch or drinks with live music nights

What to try: Traditional Greek omelette with feta cheese, "spoon sweets", coffee

Kids: there's a large terrace to play but not fenced for toddlers. Also no highchairs.

Greek island restaurant coffee with sea view
Bournaos Veranda at Magazia

This is the typical little Greek island-style ‘Kafeneio’ (local café) and ‘Mezedopoleio’ (tapas-style tavern). What makes it unique, is that it keeps its traditional old island aesthetic and still cooks the very same recipes in the very same old pans the old owners cooked a few decades ago. This is the kind of place Greek holidaymakers wish for on every island they visit. The back-yard pergola is covered by vine for shade and extends to a large veranda overlooking the sea from above. So just take it easy and slow there, enjoy the sea views, and order an utterly aromatic Greek omelette loaded with feta and green peppers along with a hot cup of Turkish coffee and perhaps a traditional “tou koutaliou” (Spoon sweet - homemade sweet fruit preserves very typical in East Med and Middle east) to cheer you up.



Aeolus Beach Bar

Where: North of Gaios

Style: Beach Bar Restaurant

Budget: £8-10 Cocktails, £10 food (average)

Best to go: morning or late afternoon for snacks and sundowners. Avoid busy hours (it gets hectic between 12-4) or make a booking to be on the safe side.

What to eat: Brunch or Lunch. Latin American street food classics and fascinating exotic cocktails

Kids: a great place for kids with lots of shade and options to eat/drink. There's also a shower.

Tropical Beach bar Greece
Aeolus Beach Bar Paxos

Driving from Gaios to the north, there are a few meters of dirt road with a sign to Aeolus bar. Fortune favours the bold and if you take that turn you will find yourself immersed in this absolutely fabulous beach bar! Exotic feeling, Polynesian aesthetics and lush tropical plantations surrounding this rustic-boho bar, a great spot to spend the day, provided you have an early start (or a booking) to grab a good spot and find somewhere to park your wheels. Fantastic music, refreshing exotic cocktails fancifully served and a good list of Latino-inspired snacks and street food, with lovely presentations to make you drool. All the seafood dishes we tried had been pretty yummy for the price and location.

Layflat Food Photography Tacos photography



Conclusion

Despite its petite size, Paxos offers lots of dining options that can be difficult to choose from. If I was to choose a handful I would certainly go for trying the local regional recipes at Mambo restaurant at Gaios. If you have no car and are stuck around Gaios, don't miss Genesis for fresh seafood with a seaview after a refreshing swim at Gianas beach followed by a gelato cone from the nearby Capriccio. Evenings are wonderful at Gaios with bars squeezed into alleys, but my favourite was Marinella (photo 👇).

For those looking for something exquisite and upscale and who have a vehicle to roam around, I would definitely recommend Vasilis at Loggos to savour modern Greek island cuisine in this picturesque, sleepy fishing village. If you are a budget traveller, I would suggest visiting Magazia village, which has so many options for all times of the day, breakfast, lunch and dinner, but I would definitely recommend getting there for brunch and dinner and drinks at Bournaos to experience authentic Greek island atmosphere.

No matter what you do or where you eat, take it easy and slow down your pace to feel the island vibe.

Best Restaurants and Bars in Paxos


Bars and Restaurants Map

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