Popi’s Grill, a traditional Naxos restaurant is the oldest family tavern on the island. I loved the setting of the restaurant, the delicious Greek specialties and the wonderful family that runs it with love and care.
Popi’s Grill: A Traditional Naxos Restaurant
When the oldest family taverna in Naxos opened in 1948 it didn’t have a name. Locals simply called it Popi’s, for the matriarch of the Margaritis family that ran the restaurant. They knew that was where they needed to go -right on the harbor-for excellent home cooked Greek food.
Today, the next generation remains true to the family tradition of serving authentic Greek dishes with homegrown Naxian vegetables and Naxian local products.
The Place on Naxos Harbor
There was a breezy outdoor seating area right on the harbor overlooking the boats and the sea. The Naxian harbor was full of foot traffic, making it a great location to people watch a bit too.
The setting was traditional Greek taverna in every sense, simple wooden chairs and matching rectangle tables, shelves lined with traditional Greek products from the region and one dedicated family running it all.
The interior of Popi’s Grill was a little museum in itself with beautiful black and white photos of Naxos Town. It was fascinating to see how the port literally grew around the taverna over the decades. Of course, there were vintage photos of the family too.
A Traditional Greek Food Experience in Naxos
The Margaritis family prides themselves on their local use of potatoes, tomatoes, olives, olive oil, fruits, honey, cheese, liqueur and wine. They even have their own farm to cook their dishes.
In their small store inside the taverna, the family sells locally produced kitron which is a lemonish-citrus liquor and rakomelo. Little round barrels of fresh local cheese was also available for weighing and selling.
Family Friendly Service
Mrs. Popi’s daughters, Georgia and Katerina were two lovely, friendly and hardworking ladies. Georgia lovingly encouraged me in “Greek mama” style to savor her fried cheese appetizer called Naxian saganaki, “while its hot with a bit of lemon.” I love fried cheese so I, of course, did not dare to argue. She was right, it just melted in my mouth.
Those Naxian Potatoes…
Even with growing competition from the harbor’s other tavernas and restaurants, locals love Popi’s Grill chicken and pork souvlakia served with freshly cut fried Naxian potatoes. I’ve learned you can tell a good Greek taverna by how fresh their potatoes are served. Popi’s fried potatoes were freshly cut and full of flavor — delicious.
Other favorite dishes made with Margaritis homemade recipes include moussaka and a range of Greek seafood dishes as well.
After the meal, I was offered their famous complimentary dessert of creamy, thick Greek yogurt mixed with honey and lemon. I never had anything like it. Not only was it healthy it was absolutely delicious! They even gave me the recipe.
Popi’s Grill: Conclusion
If you’re heading to Naxos, I highly recommend dining at Popi’s Grill. I came the first day for a review for Fodor’s Greek Islands but I returned before I left because I loved the environment, the menu of great dishes and of course to see my new Naxian friends, the warm hospitable Margaritis family. They love what they do and it shows.
Address: Chora Naxos 843 00 – On the harbor
Phone: +30 22850 22389
For more about where to stay, what to do and where to eat on Naxos, check out my mini-guide about Naxos island on this blog.
Have you ever eaten at a traditional Greek taverna?