At Aristos Taverna on Kea, Mr. Kostas wanted us to try his lobster pasta. However, the fishermen of the island didn’t haul in any during our stay. Instead, we got a taste of Kostas’ other seafood dishes and it was the best.
Aristos Taverna on Kea
I know, the best is a strong statement. However, the name of Kostas Karagiorgas’ restaurant in Greek is called Aristos. If you say it with a certain accent, the word derives from a Greek word meaning the best or excellent. Say it with another accent and it’s a Greek male name. (Yes, I’m a word nerd.)
Looking out for opinions on the best Kea island eateries, my business partner and fellow Travel Bloggers Greece founder, Elena Sergeeva, turned to our volunteer local guide and owner of Keadivers, Yannis Tzavelakos. He introduced us to Mr. Kostas. We found ourselves loving the outdoor taverna setting complete with a front row view to the calm Vourkari dock as the late spring evening surrounded us.
Aristos Taverna Dining Experience
We started off with local white wine and traditional Greek appetizers including saganaki or fried Greek cheese, salted anchovies, grilled octopus, fried baby shrimp and a fresh garden salad mixed with Greek olive oil.
Then came the big dish: big tuna. Yes, fresh and delicious baked tuna steak. Served with fresh baby tomatoes and a drizzle of olive oil, the cuts were moist, savory and full of flavor.
Then, I found out big tuna wasn’t the big dish. Kostas surprised us with this…
Yes. A whole (and gigantic) grilled calamari stuffed with roasted fresh vegetables and feta cheese.
The calamari was flavorful, soft and mildly sweet. A big fan of calamari, I savored every bite. The stuffed vegetables and Greek spices complemented it well and gave the dish a Mediterranean kick.
Kostas then sat with us and revealed some stories behind the family recipes. Then he said something that particularly caught my attention. He explained his philosophy on food, in Greek, which translated to this, “You have to marry the right ingredients. You have to have love and imagination to make good Greek food.”
I smiled and agreed. Love and imagination. What else does one need for an excellent dish?
Then Came Psarasoupa
The Aristos Taverna experience wasn’t over. He insisted we return for on his famous lobster pasta. The night before we left he called to tell us there wasn’t any lobster after all. He asked us if we would be interested in his psarosoupa or Greek fish soup instead. Psarosoupa happens to be one of my favorite seafood dishes and soups — ever. So, I kindly accepted, of course. But, I wasn’t prepared for this…
It was the first time I was served psarosoupa in whole parts. It wasn’t just your ordinary bowl of soup. No, it was a downright delicious food ritual. Kostas served a whole grilled white fish called sfirida or white grouper. A bright mix of fresh vegetables and baked baby potatoes lined the large serving dish. He poured the soup, cut up the fish and there were were happily assembling our fresh fish soup. The bright yellow color of the soup, he told us, derived from a mix of fresh vegetable broth.
“Eat slowly,” he’d say as he walked by to fill our wine glasses every so often. He knew.
It was one of those foodie moments that I wanted to last. The meal was that delicious and truly the best Greek fish soup I have ever eaten.
Greek Desserts at Aristos Taverna
Just when we thought we couldn’t feast on much more his Greek hospitality reared itself. He kindly brought us a little dish of the Greek sweet apple “spoon sweet” called firiki. You only need a little bit of the sweet fruit preserve, a traditional Greek and Balkan dessert, to feel sweetly satisfied.
Conclusion: Love and Imagination at Aristos Taverna
As we left he insisted that we make our way back to the island during the summer for what else but his famous lobster pasta.
“It has to be fresh,” he told us apologizing again, sorry that he couldn’t serve it to us as promised.
When I do return to lovely Kea, the Aristos Taverna lobster pasta will be on my list. I could only imagine what a great dish that would be — fresh and cooked with love and imagination.
Vourkari Dock – view of the sea
Reservation is recommended during summer season especially for the front tables.
10 Euro and up per dish
Open all day spring and summer season until November.
How to get to Kea
Take a ferry from the port of Lavrio. Tickets start at 11 Euro one way. Check www.openseas.gr for ferry schedules.
Where to Stay on Kea
What to do on Kea
Kea is a beautiful island with many places to explore including its main town, churches, hiking paths and more. Check out my post: Top Things to Do on Kea Island.
Aristos Taverna in Kea is the go-to place for great seafood on Kea. Have you ever been to eat out in Kea? Have you tried Greek lobster pasta?