Sifnos is well know for the quality of its food, and the tavernas in Kamares are great. There are a run of 4 along the harbour-side, all of which get fresh vegetables from their own farms on the island. As well as being picturesque places to eat at the food is excellent. They are popular with locals as well as tourists (lots of whom are Greek), and have a very typical Greek taverna feel to them. They all had menus in Greek and English, and unusually, always seemed to actually have quite a lot of dishes on the menu.
The atmosphere and food is slightly different in each of these tavernas, but all of them are good. We always drank the draft house wine, which was fine. Everyone automatically gave us bottled water – in Greece this is a sign that the local water isn’t great, or is in short supply. There aren’t the huge mark-ups on bottled water that you get in English restaurants.
If you are a vegetarian, or don’t eat much meat, there are lots of delicious vegetable dishes. These are usually seasonal, so not everything is always available.
Some of the good things to get are fava, which is a split pea puree; beetroot salad - simply cooked and served with oil and lemon, sometimes served with the leaves as well. It’s really nice with a thick garlic sauce called ‘skordalia’ or with tsatsiki. Corgettes come boiled with oil and lemon or 'tiganities' - sliced, dipped in batter and deep fried.
Horta is another good vegetarian dish. This is basically greens, boiled and served with lemon and oil. There are lots of different varieties, some of which grow wild and are gathered locally. Some taste quite like spinach, others a bit more like kale. Much nicer than it sounds!
Here are some of the specialities of Sifnos:
(You'll find these on Serifos as well)
Revethokeftedhes:chick pea balls, similar to falafel.
Revethosoupa: chick pea soup, although it’s more like a stew. This is a simple dish flavoured with lemon, but the chick peas are cooked slowly for a long time in a special pot. They are yellow, soft and flavoursome and nothing like the ones you get out of tins!
Kaparosalata: Caper salad - more like a dip than a salad, a mixture of capers and onions. In fact capers in all forms are a local speciality and often in the salads.
Amegdoulota: almond biscuits - delicious almond biscuits.
Manoula: a really tasty, hard, yellowish goats cheese. These are sold in rounds, which are covered in a brown spread similar to the caper salad. You can get them at the cheese and meat counter in the Merope supermarket.
Mizithra: a soft, crumbly white goats cheese. A really tasty, mild cheese. Often eaten instead of feta on a greek salad.
Posideon (usually known as Sofia's taverna)
This is the very first taverna you reach. It gets very busy with people waiting to the very last minute for the dash to the ferry. Sofia is really friendly and welcoming. She speaks a mixture of Greek and English, and is interested in everyone. Her husband used to be a chef on a boat, and he does all the cooking, as she’s quick to tell you if you compliment her on the food. She lives in Artemonas, coming down to Kamares everyday to run the taverna.
We had stewed goat (very succulent and tasty, a bit like strong lamb); stuffed tomatos, melitsanasalata (aubergine dip), horta (greens) and wine for 34 euros.
Although we didn’t really have a favourite amongst these tavernas we ended up eating in Merope more often than anywhere else. Some of this was just about what seats were available and who else was in the taverna, though.
One night we had lemon chicken; chicken souvlaki, caper salad, fava and wine for 24 euros.
Another night we had chick pea balls, tomato and cucumber salad, tsatsiki, a pork chop and wine for 24 euros.
More small dishes and less main dishes, although they did do chops etc as well here.
There was a slightly different feel to this place – local pottery jugs, smarter table clothes, heavy red and blue coloured glasses. We forgot to note the cost, but don’t remember it as being more expensive than anywhere else.
We had beetroot salad with garlic sauce; a ‘summer salad’ of lettuce, peppers, sundried tomatoes, cucumber and capers; fried meat balls (keftedakia); fried corgettes; fava (split pea puree) and wine.
The woman who runs Simos had a no-nonsense manner which verged on the abrupt. She spoke a small amount of English – but with quite a lot of authority.
The food and atmosphere here is nice and similar to the others in this run of tavernas.
We had caper salad; a mixed salad with tomato, cucumber, olives and capers; a pork chop; and stewed beef in lemon sauce, plus wine for 30 euros.