If you haven’t guessed already, Kamisiana definatley is not the village for nightlife. You’re in an area where the main income is farming, not tourism. This is a good thing – you’re in ‘Greek Greece’ not ‘English Greece’ – so if (like me) you’re someone learning Greek, you might find the locals’ English isn’t strong and they will welcome someone who speaks (or tries to speak) their language!
While the area is quite remote, there are still a good selection of tavernas/restaurants to eat at. We like to eat at different ones most nights and we do return to the ones we enjoy as well as eating in, so there are two or three which we didn’t go to. Of the ones we did go to, at all of them the menu was printed in Greek and English and at some they were also in German, even if the owners didn’t necessarily speak German.
After each meal, you will probably find that you are given a free dessert of some sort – maybe watermelon, or some sort of cake, or yoghurt & honey. It depends on the restaurant. As well as that, you’ll be given a free, small glass of Raki (Ρακί) – and Dad has already commented on the Greek spelling. Raki is a grape based spirit, and most villages have one or two people licensed to produce it. Some mix it with honey to form Rakomelo (Ρακόμελο).
“Tsipouro” is a strong distilled spirit containing approximately 37 per cent alcohol per volume and is produced from the must-residue of the wine-press. The name “Tsipouro” is used throughout the country, except for Crete, where the same spirit with a stronger aroma is known as “Tsikoudia”. Also the Oriental name “Raki” is used, from which the term “Rakizio” is derived, used to refer to the drink’s distillation process, which usually turns into a huge celebration among family, friends and neighbours.
In the near and middle east countries the drink is known by different names such as “Araka”, “Araki”, “Ariki” which obviously come from the same origin. Some claim that it is called “Iraqi” (from Iraq) because it was first made in this country and spread to other regions. Others say it got its name from the Razaki grapes used in producing it. Both theories are acceptable. Another theory is that arak in Arabic means “sweat” and araki “that which makes one sweat.” If one drinks too much raki one does sweat sometimes and when raki is being distilled it falls drop by drop like sweat, so the name could have come from Arabic.
So now for some information of the different tavernas/restaurants we ate at. We were there for 14 nights, which included 3 nights cooking in the apartment and one night walking in to Tavronitis. But these are the ones we at at in Kamisiana:
Conaros Viccenzos (3 times)
One where we ate on the first night and a couple of other nights. Good Greek food and their menu clearly marks with an asterisk (*) which products are frozen rather than fresh. Located on the main road, next to the petrol station and bus stop.
Michalis (2 times)
Michalis has his taverna to the West of Katsikoulakis and there are apartments and a swimming pool which one of the German tour operators use for their guests. German is spoken here.
To get there, if you follow the road along the beach until you get to the end of the dirt track and there is a sign pointing towards the Michalis. It’ll be on your right. If approaching from the main road, go down the side road next to the newsagent and it’ll be on your left.
At first glance its a fairly standard menu but he does do a very nice goat stew using goats from his farm over the road. This isn’t on the menu so you have to wait for him to take your order, and if he has it he’ll probably tell you.
In addition, when you get the bread before your meal, whereas most tavernas will give you some butter as well, Michalis will give you goats cheese with olive oil and a few herbs. Again, the goats cheese comes from his farm over the road.
And Michalis will come and check to see what you think of his goat! Once you’ve had Raki, he’ll come and offer you more… Mum didn’t really like Raki so only asked for a small one, to which the reply was: “Only a baby glass of Raki? How big do you want the baby to be?” Michalis’ wife came out of the kitchen soon after to see all the guests.
“Kriti” (1 time)
“Kriti” (pronounced Krea-ti) is the Greek word for Crete. This taverna is located opposite the Conaros. Its actually split in to two sides with a bar on one side and the main taverna on the other.
Next to the Church – Behind the Kastalia (1 time)
I’m not sure what the name is, but this taverna is off the main road, behind the Kastalia Village Hotel (where there is also a mini church). It is signed from the main road, near the mini market, opposite the large “ΖΑΧΑΡΑΚΗΣ Α.Ε.” building. It was an enjoyable meal and nice to be away from the main road, but they did bring it out rather fast – we hadn’t even finished our starter!
Tsitsikas (3 times)
The Tsitsikas (ΤΖΙΤΖΙΚΑΣ) is located opposite the news agent, with a sign above it saying “Taverna” which lights up in Green when it gets dark. The first time we went, we’d gone out an extra hour earlier so that Corrie could have time to play cards on the balcony before going to bed.
It was a very nice meal (I had his special of the day, the lamb), and after we’d finished the owner – I don’t know his name – he came to sit with us and we talked about what we’d done while being on Crete, and he suggested a place to go with the car at the weekend.
He brought us a glass of wine each, as well as the post-meal yoghurt & a sauce his mother had made to replace the honey, and Raki… I liked his saying of “A Raki a day will keep the doctor away“. In fact we were talking to him for so long that by the time we left it was an hour later than we’d been the previous night!
We ate there a further two times – on Saturday (his busy night) I had pork in red wine sauce. There was a Greek family sat next to us as well as a table of about 14 Greek people. I listened to the family next to us as they ordered their meal and tried to get their young son to sit down… whilst Mum wanted to see what the Greeks eat when they go out and it seemed that the table of 14 were all having egg and chips!
We also went there for our last nigh, which was quieter and the owner had more time to talk to us. This time he brought us a jug of wine, and he still had his saying of “A Raki a day will keep the doctor away“, and then he continued… “but 7 Rakis a day and the doctor will come as fast as a train“!
As you can see, there’s quite a range of places to eat – there are one or two we didn’t eat at but there are enough that you can eat at a different one most nights and a small enough number of them that if you’re staying for 14 days you can return to some and still get round all of the tavernas before your holiday is up.
That’s it for today, come back tomorrow to read about an excursion we went on with Olympic Holidays.