Kalives is known for its waterfront tavernas, many of which include sunbeds along the sand as part of their dining areas. You'll find the occasional restaurant tucked into more rural parts of town, but more often than not you're bound to end up with views of the sea. The cuisine here is largely Greek, with fresh fish and locally-sourced herbs, plus a dash of thin crust pizza and garlic-infused shellfish.
Provlita is highly sought out by holiday-goers and locals for its fresh fish dishes in an incredible setting. You can dine right along the coast underneath the restaurant's outdoor cabana, on meals like fried calamari, black snapper and swordfish, all with a side of refreshing sea breeze.
The pizza at Il Forno is a hot commodity, with a nice thin crust and cooked to your liking in a stone oven. While this restaurant also features moussaka and other Greek treats, there are a range of Italian dishes to choose, from lasagne to pastas and even the odd plate of schnitzel.
The Mistrali Taverna enjoys an amazing location right on the beach – as in, literally on the sand – with sunbeds to lounge on as you sip from a glass of wine in your swimsuit. The menu here offers up lunch and dinner, but most noteworthy is their range of breakfast dishes, with eggs, meats and salads plus freshly-squeezed orange juice.
This Greek taverna offers free use of their sunbeds on the beach behind the restaurant. And, if you choose to lounge around these parts of the shores, you'd be wise to pop in for lunch, or stick around late for their weekly live music. You'll find mezze platters, from crab croquettes to bowls of tzatziki, or dishes of the day, which allow you to mix and match a few dishes and a glass of wine for a reduced price.
Koumos is like a garden oasis tucked into the hills, with leafy overhangs, rugged stone buildings and peculiar sculptures sprinkled throughout the grounds. You can spend hours just traipsing around the courtyards, or stop at one of the stone tables for a meal of Cretan food, like lamb and rabbit stews or stuffed peppers.
Though still on the main road through Kalives, Piperia Restaurant is slightly off the beaten path, in that it's located further down the beach than the other town's eateries. Piperia's menu specialises in locally-sourced ingredients, with staff who pride themselves on knowing where everything comes from. They also offer a slight twist on traditional Greek dishes, with mains like goat stew and seafood-stuffed peppers.
Akrogiali Taverna has all the makings of a classic Greek dining experience – a coastal location overlooking the water, live music to soundtrack your meal and fresh Cretan dishes night and day. If you ask for fresh fish, you'll get to choose from the restaurant's fish counter, or you can opt for meals like seafood risotto and souvlaki.
Step into Mythos and you'll find a family-run taverna that feels a little like home, with occasional live music, ingredients straight from the chef's back garden and a moonlit terrace bordered by the sea. The food isn't half bad either, with prime cuts of lamb and pork chops plus mezze platters. Though you should be advised that the portions are extra large, so arrive hungry so you can eat as much as possible of this delicious food.
Kritiko Restaurant combines surf and turf in the ways of atmosphere, as it's privy to a beach-side location and a spacious central garden. You'll find all sorts of Mediterranean flavours here, with your pick of classic Greek dishes like tzatziki and stuffed vine leaves, plus dishes from across the sea like crab soup, lobster with pasta and tuna carpaccio.
Elena Taverne is a hangout for many holiday-goers and expats, but don't let that make you think it's any less authentic. It's run by a local family and features fresh food in a supremely laid-back environment along the coast. Everything is prepared with delightfully simple recipes, like sea bass and sea bream drizzled with lemon and cooked on the grill.