Plakias plays host to an amazing array of Greek restaurants, whose menus offer a diverse set of dishes to get your tastebuds in touch with Cretan food. Many of the top restaurants are located along the seaside or up in the mountains in the little towns of Sellia and Mirthios. Whichever locale you choose on holidays to southern Crete, you won't be disappointed by the surrounding scenery. You'll be hard pressed to find a taverna without an outdoor terrace that features stunning views of the Libyan Sea.
This family-run spot is tucked into the hillside and will require a drive to reach it. But you'll take one look at the beautiful views out to sea and the journey will be a thing of the past. One thing that will stick in your mind though is the Greek cooking, which is packed with flavour and fresh ingredients. Taverna Mariou also offers its very own homemade wine, best enjoyed on the spacious outdoor terrace.
Also overlooking the mountains, with tables that rest right up against the glass borders, Taverna Plateia dishes up traditional Greek cuisine. Mezze plates will get you tasting all the highlights, while the rabbit stifado and moussaka are favourite mains. The restaurant also offers a great range of vegetarian options, like salads and stuffed peppers, plus heaps of fresh seafood dishes.
With tables that lie just above the rocky shore, Gioma Taverna is about as close to the sea as you can get when dining in Plakias. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this eatery specialises in seafood, though it also features dishes like smoked pork cooked in ouzo and oven-roasted lamb. The desserts here are also highly sought-after, especially the ice cream.
The decor at Vrisi can best be described as Mediterranean chic, with basket-weave chairs and stone walls, plus an outdoor terrace that overlooks the hillside and distant bay. The menu here is largely Greek with starters of fried feta and calamari, but with more varied mains, like chicken curry and seafood linguine.
You might find you have trouble wanting to leave Sirocco Taverna's interior, steeped in cherry-red wood and with leaf-lined ceilings, but the seaside terrace is also charming. Here, you'll find traditional Cretan food intermixed with grilled octopus and fish, curries, beef with chips, and not to mention fresh cocktails and towering desserts.
Ostraco is a top breakfast spot, dishing up everything from omelettes and crepes to full-blown fry ups with freshly-squeezed orange juice and filter coffee. In the evenings, the restaurant also doubles as a bar, with sports on the TV, pints of beer and a dance area on the first floor.
Elia gives you that authentic, rustic taverna decor, with a remote location up in the hillside and creative, home-grown recipes. It's tucked away in the village of Sellia, and features a chic veranda with amazing views of the rugged terrain. When dining here, you can expect Greek cuisine with gorgeous cheese plates, lamb dishes and fresh salads, plus incredibly friendly service.
Another delicious example of local Cretan food, Taverna Dionyssos is a family-friendly spot that treats its diners to fresh ingredients and views of the sea. Their standout dishes include goat with artichokes and seasoned snails, as well as traditional favourites like grilled fish and an aubergine casserole.
With a lovely front garden area and a pathway that leads directly to the beach, Paligremnos Tavern serves home-cooked meals in a family-run atmosphere. The daily specials are worth checking out, but rabbit stifado, souvlaki and freshly-cooked Cretan vegetables are staples you can always count on.
Arrive early in the evening at this restaurant and you'll be rewarded with a seat right against the glass walls of the balcony area. This means you've got a front row view of the sunset when the time is right. Taverna Panorama features live music from time to time, so the romance is often dialled up as you dine on mezze platters for two, grilled seafood and flavourful house wines.