If you are in Heraklion for just a day or longer you will not be disappointed by the wide choice of places to eat within the city. Be it a quick snack on the go or an evening meal Heraklion will provide it all with class and style.
In this quick guide we aim to provide you with a few places that from my experience of living in the city will give you a great meal at a great price across a variety of tastes.
If it's a quick bite on the go you are looking for then head to the bustle of the intersection where the bazaar meets Idis Street not far from the Lions Square and here you will find the best street food the city has to offer with 'Patatrak' taking you to french fry heaven and Storoloi hitting the spot with amazing ice cream and my personal favourite for food on the go... 'ChopChop'. Greek street food at it's very best ChopChop will provide souvlaki, bifteki, pancetta and more all in a rustic pita or cob roll with salad, fries and a wide selection of sauces. I usually opt for the chicken bifteki in a roll with fries salad and sauce and it is just superb and comes in with a coke under 5 euros. It's enough to fill you up for lunch or a quick dinner and if you are lucky you'll even find a stool to sit on and watch the world go by.
If it's a cheap but tasty sit down you are after but not a 3 course 'dress up event' meal then there is a lot of choice in the city. Greek fast food can be found at Krassas next to the Astoria hotel looking out onto Eleftherias or 'Freedom' square there's outside tables and a huge variety of Greek and western fast food. The Greek fast food chain Goodys can be found a little further along Idis Street whilst the psitopoleio or grill scene is constantly changing in Heraklion 'Hovoli' on Daskalogianni Square offers a tasty gyros along with a range of Greek food.
For me in this genre of dining there is one place I must recommend and that is Beer O Clock on Parodos Minotauros street just behind Theotokópoulos Park in the centre of the city. Walk past the Lions Square turn left past the numerous cafes and head around the little park and down the small street and on the left will be Beer O Clock. A favourite with the locals since it opened this is burger heaven with beers and a little rock music! It wont bend your wallet but will provide you with a fantastic burger (be it beef, pork or chicken) and an enormous range of both local and world wide beers that are a little away from the ordinary. I love this place for the food the vibe and the beers it's a gem of a spot and the atmosphere is not too shabby either with old records on the walls and tables outside for summer nights. If you're in town like burgers and are hungry go there you won't be disappointed.
Now onto dining. Somewhere to go for a high quality meal that wont bend the wallet? Here's our pick of the places to go. First up meze the Greek dining experience that is always an adventure in little plates of fantastic dishes spread all over the table for you to enjoy. Head for the centre for the best meze but go earlier in the evening as if you arrive around 9pm (the busiest time) without booking you might find getting a table at the best spots a challenge. Walk past the Lions Square toward the sea with the Morosini Fountain on your left and when you get to The Loggia turn right just before it and head down Agiou Titou then turn the next right up the small alley 'Milatou' and 30 metres up the path will open out and before you in a little square is the restaurant 'Tempelis'. This place does meze fantastically and is a huge hit with the locals and is always busy of an evening. You'll be given a little paper (In English if you need) to fill in with all the dishes you want that once returned to the waiter will come to your table rapidly and provide a feast of local delights. Wine can be obtained by the carafe along with beers and soft drinks and for me this place is a true local meze experience with a beautiful and free dessert to end of honey drizzled Loukoumades with ice cream to share with your guests. Prices are fantastically reasonable and this is also a superb spot for people watching as the narrow passages of the city centre bustle with families and youngsters alike taking in the Heraklion evening atmosphere.
You'll need to walk 5-10 minutes out of the centre for my second pick. Pastatempo on Ionias Street is through the Jesus Gate then turn right when you are the other side of the Venetian walls then walk up to where the road splits 3 ways and turn left. Half way up on the right is for me one of the best and most reasonable Italian restaurants in Heraklion and in addition offers some of the best pasta I have tasted anywhere. One again this place wont empty your wallet but offers classy indoor dining and terrace seating and a superb standard of Italian food. I've eaten here numerous times and only ever been impressed by the food, atmosphere and prices. If you are a pasta lover and in town it's worth the short walk.
Do you like steak? Well if you do there's a relatively new show in town that is exciting the locals. Kouzeineri is on the corner of Agios Titos Street and Evropis Street in a new development that had breathed new life into a once downtrodden corner of the city. With it's swish new purpose built facilities there's life sized bull in the plaza outside. This is the type of place where a level of smart dress would make you feel more at home (shirt and shorts would do) and the story is steak of many kinds. There's burgers and fresh fish too along with pasta and an assortment of starters and fantastic looking desserts. This is a little dearer than the 2 suggestions above but if you want something a little more special for your evening meal then this is a great choice.
In addition to all of these great choices above here's a list of restaurants in Heraklion that are a great choice:
Higher end recommendations:
Peskesi: Kapetan Charalampi Street. Up market Cretan food considered the best Heraklion has to offer for authentic Cretan food in fine atmosphere at a premium for that high class authentic Cretan dining experience.
Parasties: Chandakos Street, close to the sea. Cretan food and more in this urban kitchen. Indoor, balcony and street dining in a high quality atmosphere with rave reviews. The locals and visitors to the city love this place alike. Up market local high quality dining.
7 Thalasses (7 Seas): Irodotou Street, Alikarnassos. A little away from the centre close to the airport in a suberb of the city 7 Seas is all about high quality seafood and fish. A large restaurant with a stunning sea view terrace this is high end dining with rave reviews. If you are a seafood lover then this is a little piece of heaven.
Erganos: Georgiou Georgiadou Street. We often say get out of the centre to experience the most authentic local dining experience and Erganos is a fantastic example of this. Just outside the walls of the central city this is a traditional Cretan atmosphere with superb authentic local Cretan dining at a fantastic price. The locals love it and visitors to the city happy to explore a little love this place.
Amateur Fishermen's Association: Heraklion Port. Recommended reasonable seafood and fish down in the port of Heraklion. Just under the mural of Daedalus & Icarus this is a simple tavern with views, smells and tastes of the sea. Reasonably priced and revered by locals and a great place to eat quality local seafood at great prices.
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