5 Must-Try Restaurants in Mykonos

It’s been on Nikiou Alley for 45 years. I didn’t find it easily until my tenth trip, but Katrin is worth the wander and the search, because though it has hosted hordes of celebs and stars, upon your second visit (stay in Mykonos a week, and you will eat there more than once) owner Kyria will embrace you like an Oscar-winning relative, the manager will send glasses of rosé and the chef will hover awaiting approval as if you wrote for Michelin. Their kindness is not compensation, however, for here is where it’s wise to indulge in traditional Greek dishes like spinach and feta pie, zucchini flowers stuffed with minted rice and pine nuts, that marvelous goat, osso bucco (To them, it’s Greek. Don’t argue) as well as French classics like coq au vin, chateaubriand, mussels and cream and tarte tatin. Greeks are very fond of this place, because though it also attracts tourists, it never feels like a trap.

Tel: 011 30 22890 22169

Bill & Coo

Warning: Do not drag your sandy ass off the beach to come here. Instead, take a shower, pull out that linen shirt or flowy chiffon blouse you’ve been saving for that special night, shave wherever you have to, and show up looking your island holiday best because Bill & Coo has done the same. It’s simply gorgeous. The restaurant, part of the same-named 5-star hotel, is midway up a hillside just south of town and the sea view at night, which first trips over an infinity pool with a starlit floor would be worth the visit if Bill & Coo were serving tuna salad. However, multi-Toque D’or winning chef Anthinagoras Kostakos is not about to be upstaged. His “100-mile diet” ever-changing menu incorporates local produce to create dishes that are unexpected, sometimes startling, occasionally quizzical but always visually arresting. But don’t come here with a table of ten. This is a somewhere you sneak away to; holding someone special’s hand.

Tel: 011 30 22890 26292

Jackie O'

How could I leave out my beloved on Super Paradise? Besides being my favorite Mykonian beach club, Christoforos Peskias’ menu served in this sensually curved space offers some of the brightest, lightest, most enjoyable food on the island. The house burrata is ‘can’t talk right now’ rhapsodic. You may need a cigarette afterward. The veal and cheese meatballs are fun and yummy, the garlic shrimp large and succulent. Offer a taste, and others will attempt to dig into your crab salad again. And again. Glistening salmon tartare is on a lush bed of purple potato tartare, and the formidable langoustines are expensive but so what? As if the food isn’t enough, the music is heaven, the staff is delicious, and the Aegean breeze beckons you to stay an hour longer. Be smart. Give in.

Tel: 011 30 22890 77298

An artful dish at Jackie O' (Credit: Jackie O’ Beach Club & Restaurant)

 

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I’m dining outside at Katrin, a favorite restaurant on an obscure, narrow street in Mykonos Town most people often find by accident (perhaps because it looks exactly like all of the other town’s obscure, narrow streets), blissfully gnawing on the house’s signature bone-sucking-good, fire-roasted goat, when I spot a chew-stoppingly handsome couple. She is Nordic blonde porcelain, the kind of beauty who always appears to be walking into a breeze. He is lithe, bronzed, permanently tousled, decked out in perfectly cropped Euro-preppy. You expect perpetual bliss from such pairings, but tonight they’re obviously agitated. Ten minutes later they reappear headed in the opposite direction. Soon after, they emerge from an intersecting road looking so stressed each nearly betrays evidence of a wrinkle, and encounter another couple that mirrors their looks and distress. “We just figured we’d wander around, hit one of the cool cafes we read about,” says the bronzed lad, “But all the good ones are full,” replies his pal. They head off together, a rudderless foursome. Later than evening we pass them on Kalogera, the town’s overcrowded main street, hunched over a snack table eating the Mykonian equivalent of turnpike rest stop pizza. 'Twas heartbreaking – and so easily avoidable.

If you're traveling now, during summer’s peak, to any fabled and fabulous destination, don’t treat restaurant reservations as a we’ll-wing-it-afterthought, because you can’t, certainly not in Mykonos. Few of the seaside tavernas subscribe to Open Table, others have out-of-date or no websites, and thanks to a 7 to 10-hour time difference, phoning from the States is complicated. Too bad. Make the effort and call the following places. It sure beats wrinkling your pretty face and missing out on a great meal. I’ll even give you the phone numbers.

Ftelia

Ftelia is as far north a beach as you’ll find, and one of the few where things are how they used to be. No chaises, waiters or bottle service. Folks show up with a blanket, cooler and a tote full of towels, hang out all day, then head up the hill, still sandy, oily and kinda sexy, to eat. So, it’s no surprise that the open air taverna echoing the name has it’s-all-good Woodstockian aura with alcoves of comfy pillows, painted mismatched furniture, amber candles and lighting, attracting a young, local, and distractingly sultry clientele (Every man in Greece under 30 has a beard, and on them it works. Every woman sports a sheer long skirt or cut-off shorts. That really works). The staff not only matches their guests in all three traits, they’re thoroughly disarming. I have only one complaint about the fare - the portions are too big and hearty (the superior veal tagliata boasts 19 slices. I counted). Order family style, so you can sample both the spicy and white pizzas, the silken mussels, spunky eggplant carpaccio with miso and pine nuts, pastas where you can taste the semolina as well as the fresh herbs and vegetables, and grilled turkey on greens won’t remind you of Thanksgiving. Greek desserts rarely inspire cravings but the orange cake and strawberry sundae had me playing fork hockey. The management is opening a spot in Coconut Grove this fall, appropriately called Boho. I’ll be there.

Tel: 011 30 22890 72466

M-eating

This is why you can’t always trust technology. The restaurant’s website is currently hijacked by a soft core ‘dating’ site where you can “Meet our College Cuties.” So much for branding with clever plays on words. Irresistible as those babies are, I’d rather chow down at M-eating. The menu is a trifle too Il Bulli-esque, so sometimes the dishes are beautiful, sometimes too composed, but despite their penchant for mousses, foams, and deconstruction, the kitchen has a refreshingly light touch with pork and lamb, knows exactly how much cheese will spark rather than overwhelm a salad, and successfully dares to do more innovative with fish than simply grill it in lemon. Served in a peaceful backyard oasis, it’s just footsteps from where our pretty foursome was resigned to paltry pizza.

Tel: 011 30 22890 78550

Katrin

It’s been on Nikiou Alley for 45 years. I didn’t find it easily until my tenth trip, but Katrin is worth the wander and the search, because though it has hosted hordes of celebs and stars, upon your second visit (stay in Mykonos a week, and you will eat there more than once) owner Kyria will embrace you like an Oscar-winning relative, the manager will send glasses of rosé and the chef will hover awaiting approval as if you wrote for Michelin. Their kindness is not compensation, however, for here is where it’s wise to indulge in traditional Greek dishes like spinach and feta pie, zucchini flowers stuffed with minted rice and pine nuts, that marvelous goat, osso bucco (To them, it’s Greek. Don’t argue) as well as French classics like coq au vin, chateaubriand, mussels and cream and tarte tatin. Greeks are very fond of this place, because though it also attracts tourists, it never feels like a trap.

Tel: 011 30 22890 22169

Bill & Coo

Warning: Do not drag your sandy ass off the beach to come here. Instead, take a shower, pull out that linen shirt or flowy chiffon blouse you’ve been saving for that special night, shave wherever you have to, and show up looking your island holiday best because Bill & Coo has done the same. It’s simply gorgeous. The restaurant, part of the same-named 5-star hotel, is midway up a hillside just south of town and the sea view at night, which first trips over an infinity pool with a starlit floor would be worth the visit if Bill & Coo were serving tuna salad. However, multi-Toque D’or winning chef Anthinagoras Kostakos is not about to be upstaged. His “100-mile diet” ever-changing menu incorporates local produce to create dishes that are unexpected, sometimes startling, occasionally quizzical but always visually arresting. But don’t come here with a table of ten. This is a somewhere you sneak away to; holding someone special’s hand.

Tel: 011 30 22890 26292

Jackie O'

How could I leave out my beloved on Super Paradise? Besides being my favorite Mykonian beach club, Christoforos Peskias’ menu served in this sensually curved space offers some of the brightest, lightest, most enjoyable food on the island. The house burrata is ‘can’t talk right now’ rhapsodic. You may need a cigarette afterward. The veal and cheese meatballs are fun and yummy, the garlic shrimp large and succulent. Offer a taste, and others will attempt to dig into your crab salad again. And again. Glistening salmon tartare is on a lush bed of purple potato tartare, and the formidable langoustines are expensive but so what? As if the food isn’t enough, the music is heaven, the staff is delicious, and the Aegean breeze beckons you to stay an hour longer. Be smart. Give in.

Tel: 011 30 22890 77298

An artful dish at Jackie O' (Credit: Jackie O’ Beach Club & Restaurant)

 

I am the author of 'The Looks of Love: 50 Moments in Fashion That Inspired Romance' and '100 Unforgettable Dresses.' I was fashion director at InStyle Magazine and the N...