Mykonos Town is a popular cruise port, so its natural downside is an abundance of cheesy souvenir shops, overpriced, mediocre restaurants and a daily influx of thousands of plundering ship passengers. In my three weeks on the island, I managed to avoid most of that (it can be done!) sometimes by willfully ignoring the tourist traps, and other times just by sheer providence.
One such providential moment came as Susan & I wandered the windy white stucco & blue trimmed streets of Mykonos Town. We were wind-chilled after a day of tootling around the water’s edge. Mykonos in early May could be sunny and warm or, in our case, famously and bitterly windy. To warm up, we darted into the first café we came across in the Little Venice area for some mid-afternoon hot chocolate and free WiFi. (Hallelujah! I adore free WiFi!)
The inconspicuous café was actually a compact, two-story restaurant & bar, named Katerina’s for an adventurous globetrotting relative, who actually still prepares some of the best dishes on the menu. Susan & I enjoyed the view of the Mykonos windmills from the bar’s balcony, bantered with the cute waiter and checked email (and probably played each other in Words with Friends) on our trusty iPhones. As we left, Stelios and a few of the other Katerina’s employees chatted us up about coming back for dinner. They were so charming and so convincing (like we had SO many other offers!) that we agreed to come back for a taste and of course, the famed sunset on the balcony.
Susan and I indulged in an epic meal – we shared wine, grilled feta (a bubbling vat of flavor) and a huge avocado and mozzarella salad, which were both perfectly presented by Daniella, Katerina’s adorable waitress. Though I loved both of the previews, it was my entrée that will go down in memory as one of my top 5 favorite meals in the world – the ultra-creamy, super decadent salmon risotto. Mmmmm, can your stomach fall in love the same way as your heart?
With just one bite, I knew I’d found my true love in Mykonos.
I loved almost all the Greek food I ate (except the weird fish & chips – that was messed up), so finding something tasty and satisfying was not too much of an issue in Mykonos. And even though the food at Katerina’s is outstanding (they do amazing shrimp, calamari, etc. in addition to the magnificent salmon risotto), it was really the welcoming atmosphere that kept me coming back with all my visitors and new friends in tow. The staff, from management down to the bartender, made me feel like part of their family, so Katerina’s quickly became my home base and the first place I took all arriving guests.
Honestly, it was the first location on my whole trip where I felt compelled to return again and again.
With every return trip, and there were so many return trips, I met more travelers and made more friends either at the cocktail bar, on one of the seaside balconies or in the main dining room. Susan and I had dinner at Katerina’s a handful of times during her visit, and I still wasn’t tired of it. Days later, I took my newly adopted British family for dinner, and it became our go-to spot for pre-dancing cocktails. And I still wanted more. When Courtney & Anita arrived, we made a beeline for the salmon risotto, making several visits during their trip. And guess what? I couldn’t get enough. Eventually I brought Lauren, too, and we spent the last few nights in Mykonos loading up on Katerina’s goodness.
Grand total? At least a dozen visits in 18 days in Mykonos. Salmon risotto is REALLY good.
Is Katerina’s pricey? Yes, a bit. But so is everything in Greece! For the quality of the food and service, it’s actually one of the more reasonable places… and not overrun with speedy-eating tourists rushing to get back to the ship.
Somewhere between the daily breathtaking sunsets, the banter with the fun staff, the rich food and the generous pours of wine, I think I fell in love with Katerina’s.
When you go:
1. Make a reservation. It’s not a must, but it’s helpful on busy days, especially if you want one of the coveted balcony tables for sunset.
2. Chat up the folks around you & the staff. You won’t be sorry.
3. Save room for dessert. Chocolate Heaven or baklava? Get both.
4. Don’t miss the sunset. Sunset is the big ‘do of the whole day in the Greek Isles, and Katerina’s is one of the primo locations to see it set over the Aegean.
A big efxaristo (thanks!) to Stelios, Zoran, Daniella and the entire staff for making me feel at home in Mykonos! I will be back.
Katerina’s Bar & Restaurant
Little Venice, 84600 Mykonos, Greece
Tel: (+30) 22890 23084
Don’t miss THE famous recipe for Katerina’s salmon risotto! Score!