20 Greek Foods You Must Try Before You Die: My Favorite Chania Restaurants

greek foods

Greek food is some of the most captivating food in the world. The deepest, richest olive oil you can get. Fresh seafood. Flavorful olives and cheeses. Dark red wine paired with savory lamb. I did my share of eating at the many Chania restaurants, and these were my favorite dishes.

20 Greek Foods You Must Try Before You Die:

Portes Restaurant got my vote for the best Chania restaurant.  I ate there twice. Portes means doors, and the path to the restaurant is decorated with charming old doors. Susanna, the owner, is an excellent hostess. The restaurant was filled with her local friends that made it feel like you were at a dinner party instead of a restaurant. Portes had a cozy, comforting feeling, and the food tasted like home-cooking.

1. Wild Fennel Pie

wild fennel pie Greek food at portes restaurant in Chania

Wild Fennel Pie at Portes-One of The Best!

2. Octopus with Avronies

octopus Portes restaurants in Chania

Octopus with Avronies (a Greek version of wild asparagus)

Portes

Doors of Portes

3.  Sun-dried Tomato Fritters

Sundried tomato fritter and tzatziki at Portes restaurant in Chania

Sun-dried tomato fritter and tzatziki at Portes

4. Spicy Pork With Couscous

Spicy Pork over couscous at Portes

Spicy Pork over couscous at Portes

Akrogiali Taverna was in front of the beach in Chania and had excellent seafood. I absolutely loved the calamari stuffed with feta (who says cheese doesn’t go with fish?), and they gave complimentary baklava at the end that was some of the best I’ve ever had. I went at night, but during the day, you can sit and watch the ocean waves.

5. Calamari Stuffed With Feta and Herbs

Calamari at Akrogiali Taverna Restaurant in Crete

Calamari stuffed with feta at Akrogiali Taverna Restaurant in Crete

6. Baklava

Complimentary baklava with raki at Akrogiali Taverna Restaurant in Crete

Complimentary baklava with raki at Akrogiali Taverna Restaurant in Crete

Baklava is layers and layers of pastry with gooey sweet honey and nuts in between the layers. It’s rich and delicious and something you shouldn’t miss!

7. Meatballs over Fried Potatoes At A Taverna In The Chania Market

Meatballs Over Fried Potatoes Greek Food chania restaurants

Meatballs Over Fried Potatoes

Make sure to visit the Agora Market in Chania.  The market sells lots of local foods and the taverns there are some of the best in Chania. This is where the locals eat.

8. Donuts At Nanou

Donuts are all the rage now, but at Nanou Donuts House, they’ve made them the same way since 1979. Trust me, their practice has paid off. I had the one with bueno cream, which was a French cream that was stunning.

Donuts at Naou

The bueno cream donut at Nanou

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9.  Bread

The Greeks love their bread, and they are insulted by the restaurants outside of their country that don’t serve it with a meal. There are more bakeries than cats in Greece, and, trust me, that’s a lot of bakeries! The best bread I had with a meal was at Chrisostomos. Theirs was baked in a wood oven, and you could really tell the difference.

Bread from Chrisostomos Restaurant in Chania

Wood Oven Bread from Chrisostomos Restaurant

10. Lamb

I love the rich taste of lamb and no one does it better than the Greeks. Again, the best I had was from Chrisostomos. They really know what they are doing.

 Chrisostomos restaurant Chania lamb

Lamb from Chrisostomos Taverna

11. Loukoumades

Loukoumades, or the Greek version of the donut, are one of the best things I’ve ever put in my mouth. They are drenched in syrup and have a hint of cinnamon or nutmeg. Again, Chrisostomos hit the nail on the head with their version. Plus, it gets even better. They serve them complimentary with raki after your meal. (I love the Greek tradition of serving free dessert with raki!)

Loukoumades from Chrisostomos Restaurant Chania

Loukoumades from Chrisostomos

12. Wine

Honestly, I was amazed at how good the Greek wine was. And at an average price of just 2 euro a glass, I had to taste all that I could. Research, of course!

Wine from Glossitses Restaurant Chania

Wine from Glossitses Restaurant Chania

13. Seafood Souvlaki

This particular version was tuna souvlaki that came from my second favorite restaurant in Chania, Glossitses. Glossitses has an amazing harbor view. The best thing about the restaurant (besides the food) is that they are a fair trade restaurant. They buy directly from the fishermen and pay them fair prices. Also, most everything they serve is organic. This is a restaurant in Chania that you won’t want to miss!

Tuna Souvlaki at Glossitses restaurant in Chania

Tuna Souvlaki at Glossitses Restaurant

14. Cretan Oranges

I visited Crete in the spring and orange trees were everywhere (even in the bus station parking lot). The heady smell made Chania smell glorious, and the oranges are the most flavorful and juicy ones that I’ve ever had. I loved that for their complimentary dessert, Glossitses served one organic orange with a knife. It was a perfect pairing to raki.

Orange from Glossitses Restaurant in Chania

Orange from Glossitses Restaurant in Chania

15. Dessert From Pasteleria de Dana

The Pasteleria de Dana served some of the best desserts that I’ve ever had. It was tucked away down a little alley in Old Town, and with its free wi-fi, it became one of my favorite spots to write while giving myself a little treat. My favorite was the caramel panna cotta.

Desserts at Pasteleria de Dana

Desserts at Pasteleria de Dana

Caramel Panna Cotta at Pasteleria de Dana

Caramel Panna Cotta at Pasteleria de Dana

16. Crayfish with Squid Ink Pasta

Palazzo Almare wowed me with this dish. The crayfish was so sweet and fresh. There was also cuttlefish and mussels in the dish, and I had every cat in Greece longingly watching me polish off this one!

Crayfish with Squid Ink Pasta at Palazzo Almare

Crayfish with Squid Ink Pasta at Palazzo Almare Restaurant in Chania

17. Gelato From Delizia

Could it be that the best gelato that I’ve ever had was in Greece? Yes, it was. Of course, it is made by an Italian. He uses only the best of ingredients and milk to make it. Most of them are organic. He gets his vanilla from Tahiti, his hazelnuts from Sicily, and uses a local orange only found in Crete to make the orange one which was my favorite. (The pistachio was my second favorite!)

Pistachio Gelato From Delizia

Pistachio Gelato From Delizia

Cretan Orange Gelato From Delizia

Cretan Orange Gelato From Delizia

IMG_3378 IMG_3379 IMG_3381 IMG_3386

18. Greek Salad

You can’t leave Greece without having at least one Greek salad. It will be the best Greek salad you ever have. Everything made in Greece is about the quality of the ingredients and the freshness. This was a different version of the Greek salad (bread instead of feta cheese) from Koukouvaya, near the Venizelos Graves. Don’t miss this spot at sunset. It has stunning views. Don’t pass up the Knaafeh string pastry dessert they make! It’s a dessert that will transport you straight into the middle of a Middle Eastern dream.

Greek salad from Koukouvaya Restaurant in Chania

Greek salad from Koukouvaya Restaurant

Views from Koukouvaya Restaurant in Chania

View from Koukouvaya Restaurant

19.  Knaafeh string pastry dessert at Koukouvaya Chania Restaurant

 Knaafeh string pastry dessert at Koukouvaya Chania Restaurant

Knaafeh string pastry dessert at Koukouvaya Chania Restaurant

20. Pork Souvlaki Pita Sandwich (Gyro)

Yes, I saved the best for last. To me, pork souvlaki is better than bacon. Mix that with fries and put it in bread? Why, yes, I think I will. Pork souvlaki is the reason you won’t see McDonald’s in Crete. (thank God!) At only 2 euro each, pork souvlaki is always the first thing I want to eat when I get to Greece and the last thing, too. I don’t understand why there isn’t a stand right at the exit/entrance to the airport.

It’s messy food. The grease literally drips down your arm as you eat it. It’s the kind of food that makes you take a shower right after eating it. And that’s the kind of food that I like. The best one is at what in Greek looks like Opaka (click on the link to watch the video), but is apparently pronounced Charcoal in English. Just look for the crowds of locals. That’s how you will know you’ve found the right place!

IMG_3650 Pork souvlaki illuminated by spotlight

Pork Souvlaki at Opaka

Pork Souvlaki at Opaka

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kabob souvlaki

Kabob souvlaki

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  1. OMGosh. The calamari! The gelato! The souvlaki! Wait, no the calamari….I can almost taste the deliciousness. Although the soulaki looks very much like the al pastor at the Tuesday San Miguel market.
    Enjoying your posts….keep them coming.

    • Thanks,Susan! Yeah, I’m pretty much a sucker for any kind of meat on a spit…the souvlaki does look a lot the same but tastes entirely different. I think I like the souvlaki even better!

  2. We recognize many of these dishes from when we lived in Primrose Hill and used to eat at Lemonia and Retsina. However, the ones we don’t, we’ll clearly need to visit Greece to enjoy. Thanks for the recommendations.
    Gran Canaria Local recently posted…San LorenzoMy Profile

  3. As a citizen of Chania, I feel obliged to tell you that Thraka’s (Opaka) souvlaki is not really considered good quality. Sure, many locals go there, but that’s mostly because of the location, the price and the quick services they provide, not because of quality.
    There are other places which have much less fat in their gyros, and much better ingredients.
    If you ever come back to Chania, you might want to try “Ladi & Rigani” (Oil & Oregano), which is in a road opposite to the Agora square, or “Sta Karvouna” (the name means “cooked on charcoal”) which in my opinion has the best meat quality, and just opened next to Thraka.

  4. Omomomomomomo I would eat all of these delicious looking dishes if I could, seriously. I made it to Chania last summer and that was a real culinary journey for me. I loved the local gelato, fried lamb and fresh bread. I also tried seafood souvlaki and that was definitely one of the yummiest meal I have had in Chania. Great food recommendation!
    Agness recently posted…25 Lessons Learnt While Travelling In Asia For 3 YearsMy Profile

  5. Drool! These all look delicious and it would appear you are eating very well in Greece. Have you tried tarama spread yet? So good! It’s a creamy Greek dip is made from fish roe (tarama) that is combined with milk soaked and squeeze dried bread, lemon, and grated onion. It is then emulsified with olive oil until is has a nice whipped texture. It is served with bread.
    Jennifer recently posted…5 Vino Vacations to Take This SummerMy Profile

  6. Very nice article about Greek food. A few days ago we had this celebration, that we eat only things that come from the sea. The squid on wine sauce is my favourite. It is served together with a glass of Tsipouro (local scnap, like ouzo). That is what we say “Enjoy good things in life”
    Jim recently posted…Beaches in PelionMy Profile

  7. Wow, have to say that before I read this the only Greek food I would have been able to mention would have been kebabs or the fried cheese appetizer, which is pretty sad because I am planning on going to Greece. This is really eye-opening and tummy grumbling stuff, especially the seafood and wine!
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  8. Hi Valen,
    I just wanted to thank you for your blog on the delicious food in Crete on the evening before discovering Chania. While there we were totally confused on where to eat – way too many choices. I remembered your mention of Portes and their delicious food so we went along with your suggestion. We are forever grateful – the food was superb – their octopus and their fennel pita – insanely good. We bravely ate snails – delicious although very rich. Lots of vegetarian choices too. Great location – very peaceful and great service.
    Thanks again much appreciated.

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  10. Over the past years I travelled a lot to Crete. I stayed in Chania a couple of times and also in nearby Almyrida (also very nice and relaxed).

    I know the Pasteleria de Dana from my visits! It’s serves VERY good desserts! I love their tasty Loukoumades 🙂

    Next time I will pay Portes Restaurant a visit. Thanks for the tip!

  11. All food looking delicious, but being vegetarian, I would love to eat wild fennel pie and caramel panna cotta, both are looking yummy 🙂 Thanks for sharing such delicious dishes.

  12. I have to say, those sun-dried tomato fritters would be very hard to resist. I already love sun-dried tomatoes, but turning them into a fritter would definitely be irresistible. I’ll definitely have to see if there are any greek restaurants in my area so that I can, hopefully, try some dishes similar to the ones you’ve posted here!

  13. We are dutchies living on Corfu but decided to go to Chania for christmas and New Year’s eve. Splendid hotel Fortino near the old Harbour. Indeed very good restaurants and bars. Excellent food and wine (we even found Karanika wines, incredible) The Tamam restaurant was extraordinary……