Footpath up to Ano Syros
There are lots of great options for eating out in Syros. The basic choice is between eating in Ermoupoli, or climbing up the hill to the Ano Syros restaurants.
In Ermoupoli you can eat right on the harbour front, or in the restaurants that take over a couple of streets just off the main square.
Ermoupoli is a fair sized town, and not dependent on tourism, so the tavernas stay open and lively all year round. The town is busy at night, with people having drinks on the harbour front, taking a gentle stroll or drinking coffee in the square while their children play.
Ano Syros is much quieter, with a more traditional feel to it. If you are staying in Ermoupoli, you can walk up to Ano Syros in about 30 minutes from the main square. It's a pleasant walk, but quite steep and if you don't feel up to it an easy alternative is to get a taxi from the rank on the harbour front. In September 2012 there was a standard charge of 3euros. Ask to be dropped off at Kamara.
Once you are up there, you can eat at a choice of tavernas, all with beautiful terraces with spectacular views across the town, the hills and sea. On clear days you can see Mykonos and Tinos on the horizon.
Unlike in Ermoupoli, outside of the high summer months a lot of the Ano Syros tavernas will be closed, reducing your options to a couple of tavernas (fortunately good ones, so still worth coming here).
We have our favourite places that we tend to revist, so this doesn't show you the full range of places to eat, just the ones we visit most. As we were staying in Ano Syros the last time we went, there is more about the tavernas there than in Ermoupoli.
Pistaria O Yiannena
Follow the harbour round past the Hermes hotel - it's the last building on your left.
In September 2012 we had a salad of black eyed beans, horta, aubergines with tomato and feta, chicken souvlaki and wine for 30 euro.
Yiannena taverna on the harbour front
This is an old style estiatorio in Ermopuli. It has tables out along the harbours edge, at the end of the run of cafes and tavernas along the sea front.
You get to sit right by the water, looking out over the pretty harbour front and the boats coming and going.
On the down side a fairly busy road runs right by you as well, going out to the town car park, although in September 2012 this was closed off to traffic from about 9pm.
On hot days there is a welcome breeze, and it is very pleasant watching the lights all around the harbour gradually come on as the sun goes down.
This is a popular place, and it always seems to be pretty busy.
There is a good range of tasty food. Take a look inside to see what they've cooked that day, on display in big pots along the counter.
On the main street in Ano Syros
In September 2012 we ate here several times. For example a spinach, rocket and fig salad, a boiled courgette salad, a fennel pie plus beef oregano cost 35 euros, including a litre of wine.
This must be one of the oldest tavernas in Syros. It's been going since 1953, and has the distinction of being played in by Markos Vamvakaris, the famous local rembetika musician. (You can listen to one of his songs on the video clip below.)
It's a classic taverna, with a big terrace and incredible views back over the town and sea.
It's open all year round - from midday to midnight during the summer.
They have a good range of nicely cooked taverna dishes. Service is efficient and the overall atmosphere is fairly smart but relaxed.
They have a lower terrace, and a semi-closed area just off the street, all with wonderful views. The seating is well spaced and comfortable.
It's the kind of place where groups from Ermopolis come for special occasions and can be impossible to get into during, for example, Easter.
We've been coming here for many years, and have had some really good evenings here.
The original taverna was in a little windowless basement - cosy in winter, but without the views, light and space of upstairs. Last time we were here the basement was no longer in use.
We felt a bit nostalgic about this, as the first time we came here we had a wonderful evening, listening to our first ever Rembetika songs on an old fashioned juke box, and the elderly owner showing off his Greek dancing skills amongst the crowded tables. The retsina was kept in big barrels lining the walls, and customers literally had to be clambered over when refills were need. It was an evening we've never forgotten.
Although for nostalgic reasons we miss the old basement, the new taverna (with its spectacular views) is still a favourite.
On the main street in Ano Syros
In September 2012 we had a meal of various mixed meze plates and wine for around 30 euros
View from Frankosyriani
A cafe mezethopolio at the end of the main street in Ano Syros, just below the house of Markos Vamvakaris.
There is outside seating only, in a little square - the main attraction is the fantastic views back
over the town and across the sea.
There is a nicely laid back 'modern traditional' feel to it. They have a fairly small selection of tasty meze - we enjoyed the food here. It was recomended to us by a Greek friend and is clearly well used by Greeks.
It's a very nice place for an early evening drink. Drinks are reasonably priced and the service is friendly and efficient.
In September it was only open in the evenings, and once the weather changes it closes down for the winter.
The name 'Frankosyriani' is taken from the title of a song by the famous rembetika singer, Markos Vamvakaris. If you'd like to listen to the song, you can hear it above.
I Ipano Hora
Sign for I Ipano Hora taverna
On the main street in Ano Syros
In September 2012 a meal of aubergine slices wrapped around feta in a tomato sauce, horta, and pork in orange and honey sauce, with wine, cost around 30 euros. We were given a free desert of yogurt and 'spoon sweets' - on this occasion made from little aubergines!
Located on the main street of Ano Syros this is a family run taverna with great views back over the town.
You are sitting on the roof of the house in which rembetika musician and local folk hero Markos Vamvakaris was born.Hence presumably the name of the restaurant which means 'the place above.' (although this could also refer to the fact that it is up in Ano Syros)
Vamakaris's house is now a small museum, with the emphasis on small. Still it only costs one euro.
The food in Ipano Hora changes from day to day and the waitress will explain what is available. It's all really nice and freshly home cooked and there are often things that you don't find on a standard menu.