What (and Where) to Eat on the Island of Ios

The delicious Greek cuisine is part of the Mediterranean cuisine. It is mostly based on vegetables, olive oil, grains, olives, fish, cheese, yogurt, and honey. Meat – mostly rabbit, beef, and lamb- is also present. If you happen to visit an island, then seafood is also present.

On the island Ios, almost every single taverna will carry the Greek staples, such as Horiatiki. But, the beauty lies in the details and you will be delighted with great options: such as including a local cheese in the said salad (either to replace feta or together with feta). And, just like in the case of any destination, you won’t be disappointed if you are looking for other cuisines.

Let’s take a look at what to eat on the island of Ios. All photos have been taken during our trip in May 2017 and we are also including some recommendations of places where we’ve eaten at.

Horiatiki

The classic Greek salad contains tomatoes, cucumber, green bell pepper, red onions, Kalamata olives, and olive oil. Traditionally, it is served with a big chunk of feta on top, sprinkled with oregano. Some places also ask you want to replace the feta with a local cheese – yes, do that! Xino is amazing. Or, you can go for a combo of feta and local cheese.

Where we had amazing Greek salad:

Drakos Fish Taverna

When our friend from Ios took us to explore Mylopotas, we stopped for a light lunch at Drakos. We ordered grilled fish with two salads: horiatiki and potato. Both were divine.

Price wise, Drakos was the priciest of all the places we ate at.

>>find them on TripAdvisor and Facebook

The Octopus Tree
We were lucky! The Octopus Tree opened for the season exactly on our first day on the island. We went for the opening and became regulars. Yup, even our wedding anniversary dinner took place here.

The Greek salad is amazing and you can choose between feta and the local cheese. Or a combination of them.

The Octopus Tree is really an affordable choice. They offer Greek fare with a bit of Spanish flair.

>>find them on TripAdvisor and Facebook

Alonistra Tavern
During our Ios Island Tour , we ate lunch at a lovely, traditional taverna overlooking Psathi beach. The Greek salad came with local cheese and it was amazing.

>>find them on TripAdvisor

Tzatziki

The well-known yogurt dip is an excellent choice for a meze. It contains grated cucumber, yogurt, and garlic. Sometimes it comes with dill as well. It is served with olive oil and an olive on top.

Where we had great tzatziki:

Alonistra Tavern

The Octopus Tree

Spicy feta dip (tyrosalata)

If you love feta, you’d love this dip. It contains green bell pepper, feta, yogurt, garlic, a bit of lemon juice, and some pepper. Ours wasn’t very spicy, so don’t worry if you are not into spicy foods. Comes with pita bread.

Where we had great spicy feta dip:

The Octopus Tree

Lord Byron
We had a lovely cheese dip here, as well, albeit the taste was similar to the Hungarian variety (so it must have included paprika). Oh and you may want to order extra pita.
PS: if you need to do some online work, the internet at their place works amazing.

>>find them on TripAdvisor

Grilled fish

Since Ios is an island, you can find quite a lot of fish to eat. In its simplest form, fish is grilled. You want to choose a place where you can pick the fish.

Grilled fish typically comes with a vinaigrette made with olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic; as well as lemon. You’d want to pair it with something light which brings out its flavor, such as potato salad.

Where we had grilled fish:

Drakos Fish Taverna

Fried kalamari (kalamarakia tiganita)

Perfectly crispy and seasoned to make your mouth water when you smell them, the fried kalamari are a staple in almost all tavernas. We love them paired with tzatziki.

Where we had amazing fried kalamari

Alonistra Tavern
The Octopus Tree

Stuffed zucchini blossoms

We have never had these before our trip to Greece. And we loved them! The zucchini blossoms can be stuffed with either a mixture of feta and herbs; or rice and herbs. We had the latter version and it was amazing. They are served warm but can be enjoyed cold as well.

Where we had stuffed zucchini blossoms

Alonistra Tavern

Yogurt with honey

Everyone has heard of the yogurt and honey. And how yummy this combo is in Greece. On the islands, it is offered as a choice for breakfast. But it can also show up as a desert.

Where we had yogurt with honey:

Galini Pension

Our breakfast of choice at our accommodation was the Greek breakfast. It included yogurt, local honey, and Greek coffee.

>>find them on TripAdvisor

Other dips

We had the most amazing beetroot hummus at Lord Byron. When I saw they offer it, I had to order. I have a thing for beets and hummus.

Other salads

You can imagine that there are a lot of salads available. We found potato salad in two lovely varieties: the creamy one with Spanish influences at The Octopus Tree; and the very simple one, featuring just red onions, capers, and olive oil at Drakos Taverna.

We also had an amazing Mediterranean salad at The Octopus Tree, while Lord Byron offers a lot of interesting choices. This is where you can find Cesar salad or a salad featuring avocado. The servings are so big, you’d be asking to take your leftovers with you.

The simple and tasty beetroot salad we had at The Octopus Tree deserves a special mention, too.

Ethnic food

Yes, there are plenty of ethnic food choices on the island of Ios. We spotted Italian places, Spanish places and a Thai place. All of these, in the port, since we explore Chora when most of the places were not open for the day.

Where we had ethnic food

Thai Me Up

We showed up for refreshments one day after we’ve walked quite a bit exploring the area. That’s when I tried the spring rolls which I loved (bonus: they are vegan). On another day, we showed up hungry after a hike and decided to try some stir fries. It was ok but neither of us like the sweet-sour combo that much. The fried rice, though, was great.

>>find them on TripAdvisor

Allo Bar Tapas

We planted ourselves here to wait for the ferry back to Athens. And we decided to have a simple “second breakfast”: baquette with various fillings and chips. Offering lovely views of the port, it is a great place to just chill. PS: great internet, too!

>>find them on TripAdvisor and Facebook

Café frappe

Well, yes, you cannot visit Greece and not have café frappe. Cliché? You bet! But it surely hits the spot on a hot day. Make sure to state your preference (with or without sugar; with or without milk) when you order. Café frape is made simply from instant coffee and water. Sugar and milk are added , if requested, and it is served on ice.

Where we had great café frappe:

Louis Café
After exploring the museum and then Chora, we were in need of a pick-me-up. Obviously, we chose café frappe. And why we chose Louis Café? Because it was quieter and no one ‘tempted’ us to sit down. Ended up chatting the owner and loved the coffee, too. PS: they have good internet.

>>find them on Facebook

27 thoughts on “What (and Where) to Eat on the Island of Ios

  1. Great post. You brought back memories of our visit to the Greek Islands last year. The food is seriously great, and the portions generous. The salads were my favourite, along with a seafood dish, either octopus, calamari or fish, and you simply can’t go wrong.

  2. Greek food is one of my faves! I’d be quite happy with a simple Greek salad, accompanied by a cold frappé for days on end 🙂 However I also love Prawn Saganaki, Briam, Aubergine Salad, and Dolmades 😀

    • We had Saganaki (fried cheese) but I really don’t like dolmades (we have something similar where I live so this is not really unique for me)

  3. I LOVE stuffed zucchini blossoms and The Octopus Tree sounds fantastic! I’m hoping to see more of the Greek islands next year so will bookmark this for our trip to Ios one day!

  4. Wish I knew about these dishes when we were in Greece – because the names on the menus were in Greek, we unfortunately mostly stuck to the obvious choices such as Moussaka 😛 These look absolutely devine – would have loved to try the stuffed zucchini blossoms especially!

    • On Ios and Athens, all dishes had translations (cause even knowing the alphabet won’t get you too far haha). I really don’t like moussaka…I favor vegetarian / or fish dishes.
      we also got a ton of recommendations, you just need to ask! 🙂

  5. I have never been to Greece but I have tried some of its food and I can imagine how much better it actually is in the country. The zucchini blossoms must be heavenly! I have tried them in Italy (fried though) and I couldn’t stop eating them. The tzatziki is one of my favorite summer dips as well. I wish I could go to Greece now and try everything on your list 🙂

    • Yeah, I make Greek food at home but it’s just not the same. The local ingredients are the key!
      I have never had zucchini blossoms before (that’s because I am not a fan of rice haha) but I did like them. I am a major tzatziki fan, as well.

  6. Awesome post!! I have to check out Los even just for the culinary tour of the culture. Greek cheese is my fave. So much better thanthe crap they serve here. Saving this for when I get back to my belived Greece

    • It’s Ios (but I think autocorrect got to you haha).
      We do have decent cheese in other European countries, but even if it’s feta (as per recipe), it’s not the same elsewhere

  7. Its brunch time (almost) in San Francisco too and these food photos are killing me, haha! Loved the stuffed zuccini blossoms! In eastern India, we fry them as fritters.

    • They do the same in Italy. Greeks have a much healthier cuisine than the Italian one (albeit both are Mediterranean).

  8. All of this looks so delicious. It would be great to try those dishes in Greece. I will be traveling to Northern Greece in the end of Summer, will look for those dishes.

    • The food on the mainland is slightly different. You can still get the salads, of course, but not the fish and calamari (or you can but they won’t be fresh). Enjoy Greece!

  9. I’m not a big fan of the Greek cuisine but you have found some really delicious food in the Island of Ios: these look super tasty ! The Greek salads & tzatziki are my favourite… so fresh at summer time when the weather is hot 🙂 However, I would like to taste the zucchini blossoms & the the fried kalamari 😉

    • Everyone loves the staples! I adore them and cook them a lot at home. As for fried kalamari i am somewhere in the 50-50 zone. Not a major fan but they were amazing 🙂

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