Tuesday, 24 May 2016


This blog is a report on the resort of Parga as it was experienced on my holiday in September of 2007 and subsequent visits since. It will be updated on a irregular basis. Please be aware that opinions are purely personal and it's entirely possible that you may love a Tavena that I don't like much and similarly may hate one I love. I hope you enjoy Parga as much as I do - it's a wonderful place!
I have returned to Parga many times since and will continue to do so over the years to come, and so I will continue to add reviews of other Tavernas, Bars and Restaurants while there. Hence, note that the dates on each post are not the original ones, but are altered to keep posts in a more consistant order - I will add the review date to the bottom of each post and check any comments as I may use these to add or change details. One day I will get around to transferring this to a proper website, but the blog format is too easy at the moment.
Feel free to add comments of your own to any of the posts and please send me an email if you have any questions.

Parga Town

Lets be clear to start with - Parga is a tourist resort. If you are looking for the "real" Greece (whatever that means) then this is not the sleepy little fishing village where you will need your phrase book to hand to get by. Tourism is the main business here so there are lots of souvenier shops, bars, tavernas and tourist offices offering trips to islands and local sites. Having said that Parga is the place I would have no hesitation in recommending to people as a wonderful introduction to Greece. Although a tourist resort it was a sizable town before the package tour was created so there is much of the original architecture still in evidence and the layout of the town is one that has evolved naturally.
Parga nestles in the hills that slope down to three small coves. The first contains the harbour with a jetty from which the various tour boats dock and the water taxis run from. The second cove next to the harbour is the towns main beach and is a mixture of sand and shingle. It's fairly crowded with the sunbeds and parasols. Both of these coves are lined by a promanade with lots of cafes, bars and tavernas mixed in with the souvenier shops and small mini markets and they look out onto a sprinkling of small islands which shelter the beach from the bigger waves. The larger island has a couple of chapels and the remains of an old fort on it and it is lit up at night creating beautiful views at night when eating or relaxing with a drink on the front. During the day too, the vista is a perfect backdrop as you sip a drink in the bars and people watch.
The third cove is a small shingle beach hidden just around a large rock outcrop at the end of the main beach. You get to it down a small path and it's served by a single taverna. This is much quieter and ideal to get away from the bustle of the main town without having to go far.
To the right of the harbour, a ruined Venetian castle overlooks the town which is free to enter and is well worth a walk round for the great views down on the town through the pine trees that have grow in and arround the castle walls. A restored building just inside the castle contains a cafe bar which is a lovely spot to spot for a drink or a bite to eat in tranquil surroundings. You can climb up to the castle following an alleyway the snakes it's way from the harbour front up the hillside. All the way up there are more bars with views out over the bay, and souvenier shops with an assortment of clothes, jewelery, wine & liquor, olive oil and preserved fruits etc. The town carries on past the castle entrance and onwards on the other side of the hill on which the castle sits, down to Valtos beach which is a mile of sandy beach with a couple of tavernas and bars with watersports. Getting over to Valtos is a pleasant stroll up over the hill and takes about 20 minutes to half and hour from Parga Town harbour at an amble pace.
Going the other way out of Parga, following the road that runs from the main beach into the olive groves, you can continue up over the hill through a path the winds through the olive trees until in about a hour you decend through Lichnos town via a steep road switching back and forth down to Lichnos beach. This beach is the best for it's clean sand and quiet atmosphere. It makes for a pleasant day to strollover to Lichnos in the morning and then take the water taxi back to Parga Harbour in the afternoon. The water taxis run regularly to both Lichnos and Valtos beach from the harbour and only cost between 5 and ten euros.
The town is a fairly large resort so you won't be in need of chemists, doctors, post offices, banks etc should you need them. There is at least 3 cashpoint machines within 20 yards or so of the main crossroads at the centre of town and there's even 2 dentist surgeries in town - I know this having managed to break as tooth and need treatment while out here.
Parga has much to offer as a resort with the castle, the views, the shops in the twisting alleyways of the old town and the many bars and tavernas. It seems to have a little bit of everywhere else in Greece which is why it's one resort which will have me returning again and again. You can find out more about the resort and get a wide variety of views and lots of photos from http://www.parga.com/.

Adams Hotel

Adams has been a popular place to stay in Parga for many years, but recently has gone through a fairly major expansion and improvement. It's now quite a complex with two accommodation blocks set in an L around the pool and bar area, and the reception block. By all accounts this was finished a mere couple of weeks before we arrived, and certainly throughout the early part of last year it was just a big hole in the ground. The whole place now has a very modern feel to it, right down to those oh so popular orange filament light bulbs in the restaurant area.
We arrived after a daytime flight at about 8:30 and the staff got everyone checked in and sat down in the bar with a welcome drink before they took each party up to their rooms one by one. OK, for us Brits, a little moaning ensured with the, 'I've had a long day travelling, and I just want to get to my room now', but hey, chill, and get a bit more 'Greek' attitude into you.
Within a short while we were all in our rooms and they turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Again, modern looking, there are mosquito nets throughout on all the windows and the door to the balcony so you can let the air come in without fear the insects will follow. That's especially good in the bathroom so you can let the moisture out.
There's plenty of sockets and enough thought has gone into placement so there's one either side of the bed serving the bedside cabinets and another by the dressing table with sports a large mirror and again, whether by design or accident, that table is set next to the balcony door so benefits from natural light. You might be surprised how many times I've stayed in places where the dressing table is in a dark recess of the room with a single power outlet over in the opposite corner, and I can tell you that kind of hassle does not a wife's mood improve!
The bed is comfy and the bathroom spacious with an actual bath rather than just a shower cubicle and the obligatory 'elephant's trunk' style hairdryer on the wall (good for de-misting the mirror if nothing else). Shower gel and soap if provided in the bathroom.
There's also a fridge, kettle, safe and a telly, but this is more hotel than self catering so no hob, pots, pans or crockery other than the mugs. Outside on the balcony is also a clothes drying frame.
I think my only real criticism of the room was a lack of storage. There is a single wardrobe space which was enough for clothes, but the bedside tables had a single shelf built in, and there is a larger unit against one wall also with a single shelf. If that had been replaced by a set of draws I think that would be better. Similarly there's not a great deal of shelf space in the bathroom, although the sink does have a cabinet beneath it you can hide all your toiletries away in.
All in all through, I was very happy with the room indeed.
Pool and Bar
So this is all brand new and looks good, albeit nothing inspiring, but in keeping with the relatively minimal design of the whole complex, with the fairly standard crazy paving round the pool and stone block walls round the bar area. One side of this area runs along the road, although raised up above it, and there is a fair amount of passing traffic noise, so I wouldn't say it's a tranquil place but it's pleasant enough. The other side is a bar area with a wooden roof over to provide shelter and/or shade.
However the area does seem a tad small for the size of the hotel and it doesn't cater well for couple like me and my wife where one likes shade and the other sun because the umbrellas are firstly bolted in place, secondly fairly small, and finally made of that mesh which actually lets through about half the sunshine and you are still in danger of getting burnt even when you think you've been in the shade all day. So it ends up being fairly unsociable with my wife sunbathing round the pool and me sitting away in the bar area enjoying my shade.
Restaurant and Breakfast
We were on B&B basis (although half board is catered for too) and again the restaurant area is a very modern design with a little more thought put into finishing touches to make it a nice place to sit for a meal. We only really had an evening meal on the first night having arrived late and it was very nice if a little on the expensive side, trying to be far more restaurant than taverna. For example the tsatsiki served with pita bread will taste the same however it comes (assuming you have a decent tsatsiki to start with) but here it is served moulded into a cylinder on the plate with pita triangles leant up against the sides. Very nice presentation, but for me...hey it's a tsatsiki. However Parga in general has been trying to go more upmarket in recent years, with only about 2 or 3 very traditional tavernas along the front now, the rest having made way from more gastro-eateries, and The Adams restaurant (called The Olive Tree by the way) is trying to compete in that growing market.
Breakfast on the other hand is a buffet affair with a limited, but perfectly adequate choice: eggs, bacon, sausage (frankfurter style ones of course) as staples on the hot food side, a selection of about three basic cereals, a few different type of cakes, croissants, bread (toaster on the side so you can toast your own) ham, cheese, etc. And of course, yogurt and honey. Hence given we paid very little extra for the B&B than what we would have paid in other not so nicely appointed accommodation, I was as happy as Larry with the breakfast.
Really a huge thumbs up for me as a place to stay. OK I haven't been as complimentary about the pool area, so if that's important for you then consider a bit how fussy you are when by the pool for shade vs sun (I'm very fussy as I am not by nature a pool person). Also it's on the edge of town (a good 20 minute walk back uphill from the front) so if you might want to be more central - again for me I enjoy having that walk back as I spent precious little other time burning off any calories while I'm on holiday, and a taxi back when you need it, is about 5 euros. But on the whole, with very friendly owners and staff, great rooms and a decent breakfast, any faults I have managed to find are fairly inconsequential and I would very much consider using Adams again.
May 2016

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Irini Studios

The Irini studios are on the outskirts of Parga (a few more paces down the road and you pass the sign indicating you are leaving Parga) but it is an easy walk into town either by the track running down behind the studios that leads down to the beach or by the main road which now has a recently built pavement running along it. The pavement makes a big difference as, although it has not been completely finished (the top paveing has yet to be laid) it does mean you are not constantly watching out for cars and bikes while you walk. The path and back roads is probably a more pleasant route but the main road is easier going and now well lit when returning after dark.
The studios themselves are a 4 storey block built on the hillside such that the "ground" floor is got to by decending a stairway from the higher up "front" of the building. We were on the 2nd floor which from the front is only a half flight of steps up. All the rooms have balconies (or terrace) facing roughly south so get the sun during the day. There are 16 rooms in total. Inside the room are fairly standard basic Greek self catering accomodation but the owner Christos has added proper kettles this year rather than the little water pans you find in many Greek places. There are a few spare sockets in the room and one is well located by the dressing table (often overlooked in many places I've stayed and alwaays a pain for the ladies with a assortment of electrical haircare devices!). There was a a small electric oven with a three plate hob if you want to cook for yourself (never used it so I can't vouch if it even worked, but I'm sure it would had we tried) and a fridge. One other nice touch was that Christos had supplied a scouring pad and cleaning cloth - a small thing I know, but it's the kind of thing you never think to pack and is often on the list for the first "supplies" shopping trip of the holiday. The style of theb rooms is not particularly modern, with old style wooden multi-pane patio doors and windows. These have wooden shutters on the outside to keep the light out when you're sleeping. The water is on a timer rather than the usual solar heating so you get hot water in the mornings, early afternoon and then from about 5 to 8pm. Aircon is available but at extra cost (in September we didn't need it) and the balconies have convenient clothes drying lines attached to the railings.
Next to the apartment block is the pool (Hexangonal) and the bar where Christos and his family (his wife Irini is who the srtudios are named after) can provide any drinks you need together with breakfasts and meals. There are ample sunbeds round the pool for the guests and Christos keeps the place very clean. The whole area is very well laid out on several levels down the hillside and faced in a crazy paving sytle stonework. The wooden topped sunshades are static which is a bit of a shame as it makes it less easy to ensure you have either sun or shade (depending on your preferance) but the bar is only about 10 steps up from the pool where there's ample seating in the shade. There's also toilets and showers round the pool area and the whole studio complex has lots of palms, flower beds, potted plants etc to give it a really good atmosphere.
Friday evenings Christos puts on a Greek evening with a BBQ (loads of food) and teaches you some Greek dancing, which costs €25 per couple (as of May 2009) which is usually a great evening.
Christos himself we have always found very helpful with questions you may have and quite often puts himself out to help - he's offered to drive us to Lichnos Beach to save us the hour walk and even went to to pick up our friends staying in town to bring them up to the BBQ.
All in all I can thoughly recommend the Irini Studios if you like a friendly place that's a little away from the bustle of the town. There can be a bit of noise from a builder's yard next door but I personally have never been disturbed by it. If you have problems walking very far you might want somewhere closer in to town but I found the walk back each evening a good way to aid the digestion of the meal and Christos keeps the bar open into the morning hours so there's a friendly atmosphere to relax with a nightcap or two (or three...). A taxi back from town is about €4 or €5 (as of May 2009)

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Salvatore Spa Hotel

Ever since the completion of the motorway that links Thessaloniki to Igoumenista just north of Parga, bringing in more rich Thessalonians, there has been an increase in some more up-market places to stay and eat about town. The latest of these is the Salvatore Hotel which sits above the main road, a fair bit away from the main town, almost as far as Lichnos, although there is a courtesy bus into the centre.
The hotel is elegantly furnished in a fairly minimalist fashion with an olive green colour theme running throughout the common areas and rooms. There are four different room types to choose from ranging from the still spacious junior suites, to the luxury villas with their own private swimming pools. I dared not ask how much those villas cost as the junior suites were well over 100 euros per night even in low season. Still, this isn't the place that's aiming for the average package holiday maker, so it would be absurd to try to compare it to places I normally stay at in terms of value for money.
An infinity swimming pool and sun terrace sits in between the two main buildings with a wonderful view down the valley to Parga's cove, where, on the right day, you can watch beautiful red sunsets over the hills.
We were lucky enough to be treated to an evening meal up at the hotel as a birthday gift to my wife from friends, and I have to say we loved every minute of it. The Italian chef as yet hasn't got the a la carte menu going yet (but promised soon) but at present presents a different set menu each night with a choice of two offerings for each of four courses. The food was absolutely delicious! And there is an extremely extensive wine list to complement it which I was happy to note started at a humble 12 or so euros a bottle, rising to 100 euros (for those that know what they are looking at) with everything in between.
We also tried out the spa with my wife enjoying a hydrating facial treatment and I had a much needed neck and back massage (Nicoletta commented on the knots in my back for which any girl guide would have gained her badge 100 times over), which cost about 60 and 30 euros respectively.
So if you are in Parga for a week of two, I could thoroughly recommend a pamper afternoon spent up at the spa followed by an evening of very fine dining at The Salvatore.
Can I find a fault with the the place (if you have the money that is)? Well, I don't like to give out A+ grades, but here I am struggling. So to be incredibly nit picking, I thought it would have been better to ensure you always have stock in of your lowest price wine - the Boutari Rose was out of stock (it's one of my wife's favourites - I'm not just a stingy git, honest!).
The only other minor niggle I might have is that in the rooms we were shown there is no real dressing table with a mirror and close by power sockets for the ladies. There is a power socket in the bathroom, so it wouldn't have given us any grief, but at the price level of the hotel, I don't think it can really be forgiven on the grounds of 'minimalist design'.
So I'm saved from having to dole out a plus mark but the place still gets a very solid A grade..... if money is no object, that is. If, however, you do bring "value for money" into the equation, it's still OK as a place to go to eat and drink, but I think probably not as a place to stay (a stay in June via Thomas Cook was coming in as £2000 per person half board for a fortnight)
May 2011

Flisvov Taverna

Overlooking Valtos beach, Flisvos shares great views with many of the other tavernas nearby (Three Plane Trees, Romantica, Stefanos etc), so although this view is lovely, it's not a reason to pick this taverna by itself. The food, however, was a good reason. Traditional Greek with a few other extras (such as mushrooms gorgonzola which were lovely, if, like me, you are a strong rich cheese addict) all the food seemed really fresh and had their own twist to it. We had lunch there so ordered a selection of starter plates with a Greek salad to make our own little meze. My wife particularly recommends their cheese and ham pies that look like spring rolls, and I would also say try (apart from the previously mentioned mushrooms) the dolmades, which came in a sauce I'd never had before, couldn't identify, but never the less worked perfectly. Wine comes straight out of two barrels prominently on display and was very drinkable.
May 2011

Maistros Restaurant

We went to Maistos with high hopes as we had heard a lot about it, most importantly that it was run by the same guy who has the Arkoudas taverna on the front (which has always been excellent) and that it commanded lovely views down onto Parga. I had also heard from others who had already been, some saying it was excellent, others not.
Certainly, that place looks the part. Turn right down a small side alley on the way up to the castle just past the Sail Inn, and in a few meters you come to the bottom of this new multi terraced building that manages to offer that wonderful view to as many tables as possible. There are plenty of spacious tables, catering for couples or larger groups and it's all made with heavy dark wood. The impression is one that this is a more up-market place to dine.
We had the mix of hot starters which I enjoyed, especially the baked chick peas and the rochforte stuffed mushroom, although my wife felt the whole plate was a bit on the greasy side. I had a plate f scallops to follow which were tasty enough if nothing special (although to be fair I was warned it was the last few they had left so the best may have already gone), but the lamb my wife ordered was a disappointment - very fatty and the bits of meat you did get from the cut, very dry underneath the sauce. Add to this that the potatoes were a little under cooked, and I also would have expected something a little more imaginative than the shredded cabbage garnish on the side of the plate for a restaurant that is trying to stand out.
My impression is that they have bitten off more than they can chew. It was fairly full but many of the staff seemed to be panicking like it was there opening night. Perhaps with a few less tables they might have the time to improve the quality.
When asked if everything was OK, I did mention the lamb and they did apologise and also took some off the bill (although that was not my intention). We will go back and try the Maistos again, but that will now have to wait for another year. However, go yourselves, as I did see a couple of souvlaki zoom past to the next table that looked utterly delicious, and leave a comment on your opinion.
May 2011

Taverna - Bacchus

In all the times previous on my visits to Parga, I have avoided this and the Zorba's Taverna next door which sit right on the corner of the promenade as the town beach turns round to the harbour, because they have been the ones with staff lurking on the front to invite you in. A small reason but I think it's something about the British that as soon as someone tries to sell us something, we don't want to buy it. Anyway, don't get me wrong, they are not seriously hassling you, just saying "good evening" and asking if you'd like to come in for a meal. Not exactly a hard sell, but enough to put me off.
However finally, this year we ventured inside the Bacchus as we'd spoken to people who said it was good, and I'm really glad we did! The waiters are very friendly, in that good natured joking way (don't go here if you like formal dining) and the food was very, very good. The best Stuffed Tomatoes and Peppers I've had in Greece in a long time and the metaxa sauce I had over liver was to die for. We ate a couple of times there and thoroughly enjoyed the meal each time.
It gets very busy, but if there is no table free when you arrive they seem to be happy to provide complementary wine for you to drink while you wait on the harbourside.
They also brought out drinks on the house at the end of the meal (which in fairness many, if not most of the tavernas in Parga did) which consisted of what I think was flaming metaxa - the waiter refered to it as "Greek Viagra!"
It can get a bit warm when it's busy especially if you are at the back, so try for a table at the front if you can.
May 2009

Taverna - Rudis

Situated just to the left of the jetty on the main harbour Rudis commands a great view of the bustle of life in the centre of the waterfront of Parga, especially as the seating is either on the first floor with several settings available out on the balconies, or there is a further roof terrace available up another level. For some this location may be seen as a problem as the open space in front of the jetty is the customary playground for the kids in the afternoon and evening so there is a fair amount of noise.
This restuarant is again a little more upmarket than the competition of the harbour front and the menu lives up to the lovely location and decor. I started with a deep fried cheese in Blackberry sauce and followed it with an excellent Duck in orange sauce, while my wife had the mushrooms ala creme and a Lamb fillet with sun dried tomato. There's the traditional greek favourites on the menu too together with several pasta dishes which had tempted me too. All the dishes we had were prepared to a superb standard and we both could easily say it had been the best meal we had had all holiday. Together with a bottle of the Rose Boutari the meal came to €55 so the prices of Rudis, Castello and Kastro all seem comparable.
Heartily recommended and had we not only tried this place on our second to last night we would have definitely gone back for a second try.
Sept 2007

Taverna - Don Camillo

This used to be the Sitaki taverna opposite the Coop supermarket but has been reborn as an Italian doing pizza, pasta and various other Italian cuisine and with it's elevated position above the road it's great for people watching if you have an edge table. 
The decor is quite smart with the chairs painted in distressed pastel shade and the Vespa handlebars stuck to the outside wall by the menu make an interesting feature. 
The meal I had was great starting with a very tasty beef carpaccio and followed by a rich Gorgonzola rigatoni which was made with spinach leaves and walnut pieces. With a glass of house red that cam to 17.50 euros which was fairly reasonable, and they served herb bread with a few olives as a pre starter.
On the house was a little galaktoburiko (milk pie) with a cherry sauce, which was also delicious.
The staff seemed very friendly and the pizza kitchen is open to the dining area so you have a view of the chef throwing the dough about. Given the coming and going of the moped with top box I'm guessing they deliver too.
So if you can drag yourself away from the sea views, this place I'm certainly recommend if you fancy a meal away from traditional Greek dishes.
Sep 2013

Taverna - Nafsika

The Nafsika taverna (http://www.nafsika.net/) sits towards the far end of the harbour front and has a lovely view of the jetty especially in the evening when the tour boats are in and lit up. It claims to be an international restaurant as it's menu includes a few chinese and indian dishes but I can't vouch for these as I tend to eat the more local dishes when in Greece. Certainly the meze starter I had there was delicious as was the Kleftiko althiough it was cooked in yet another different way more as a pie with the lamb and vegatables cooked in a dish covered with a pastry top. My wife had the chicken kebab which she commented was one of the best she has had with the meat being very tender and not at all dried out as grilled food in Greece can often be.
The taverna itself tries to be a little more upmarket than some of it's competition (the waiters all have logo-ed shirts and use Palm Pilots to take orders) and with it's position it may be a little more pricey than some of the competition away from the harbour front, but it's still not really expensive - our meal withb drinks came to about €35.
Sept 2007
NB As of 2016, Nafsika has closed down and been replaced by Baros, a more upmarket Wine and Steak place. I've not been there yet to give my views

Taverna - Perivoli

Follow the road that leads up from the beach past the Villa Rosa into the olive groves and you will in about 10 minutes stroll arrive at the Perivoli taverna. Carry on past it and you go up into the hillside amoung the olive trees, or turn left and another road takes you back to the main road by the petrol station. The Taverna is run by a cousin of Christos (from the Irini) and serves traditional Greek cuisine. Being away from the centre of town the prices are a little cheaper, with a meze meal for two, which is a lot of food, being €25. We had our own selection of about 5 or 6 appetizer dishes and a half litre of house wine for just over €20, and the food was excellent - probably the best stuffed tomatoes and peppers I've had. Again, being away from the centre of town, the Perivoli provides a more peacefull setting for an ev eing meal and if you get just the right time of year in spring the fireflies are lighting up the bushes arround it. The bulk of the seating is outside although at least 2 thirds is under cover for shade and the odd shower.
Sept 2007

Taverna - Yanni's

Yanni's Taverna is about half way up the road from the harbour to the Perivoli into the olive groves. It's an unassuming place from the outside but always seems to be very busy which is usually a good sign.
The seating stretches down the side of the building from the road and opens out a bit towards the rear. There is some seating available inside but it's a tad echoey inside and i seemed while we were there that several people just sat inside with a drink until an outside table was available. The atmosphere is one of a very traditional Greek taverna and the menu bears that out with all the expected Greek favourites on offer. Prices are very reasonable - we had a selection plate of hot starters, a stuffed squid and Yanni's special chicken together with a half litre of wine and a small bottle of water all for €22.
One star attraction has to be the resident cat who's a dead ringer for puss-in-boots from Shrek. Especially when patintly waiting by the table and looking up at you with those mournful eyes! The food we had was very tasty and Yanni and the rest of the staff very friendly which made for a very enjoyable evening. Yanni did courteouly ignore my basic mistake as I tried to order the stuffed squid in Greek, and managed instead to order a "stuffed good-morning"!
Sept 2007

Taverna - Villa Rossa

Positioned at the far end of the main town beach, Villa Rosa looks out down the beach and across to the little chapel Island in the bay. The lights of Parga and the spotlit chapel provide a charming vista while you eat of an evening and this is one of the few tavernas along the front in Parga where it is quiet enough to here the waves lapping on the shore as you dine. There is a little play area for children and also a bit of sandy beach where the kids can also play that's overlooked by the seating area.
The food is great and I would thoughly recommend the flat mushroom starter in brandy sauce if like me you enjoy a rich creamy sauce. Thankfully although I ordered the dolmades starter my wife couldn't finish the mushrooms so I got more than just a taster. I also had the Veal Liver which was grilled and really melted in the mouth. Again the whole meal with a half litre of house wine came to about €25 and we were brought an ouzo on the house with our bill. The only downpoint here is that the house wine (we tried the red so I don't know about the white) was a tad rough which had not been our experience in most of the tavernas in Parga (or in fact in much of Greece) where normally the house wine is particularly good. However bottled wine is available so I'd recommend splashing out a bit on the wine if you choose the Villa Rosa. (www.epirus.com/villarosa)
Sept 2007

Taverna - Castello

If you are looking for somewhere a little more out of the ordinary (a bit posher) to eat for a special meal then there seems to be about 4 main choices in Parga (apologies to any other restaurants or tavernas I've not heard about). The first mentined by many people on http://www.parga.com/ is the 5 Senses restaurant in the Alpha hotel between Yanni's and the Perivoli. I can't vouch for the food their as when we walked past it the decor looked a bit to clinical for my taste. Great if you like a minimalist approach - no sarcasm intended as it is very well presented - just not to my taste. The next two are the Kastro and Rudis which I'll discuss in futher posts.
The fourth place to try, which we did, was the Castello retaurant (http://www.castello-restaurant.com/) which is part of the Hotel Acropol situated in the back alleys between the road through Parga to Valtos and the shopping road. Its not far from the centre of town and if you walk down towards the harbour from the crossroads where the taxi rank is, follow the bend of the road as it turns up to go towards the castle and you come to a small square with a few coffee shops. Turn back into town at the square and you will start to see signs directing you to the hotel and restaurant.
There is a fairly extensive menu and the wine list tells you a bit about each bottle in case (like me) you are not overly familiar with many Greek wines. We plumped for just a half bottle of the Rose Boutari which at €7 is the cheaper end of the scale but we've had it before and know we like it. Whether it was just us or a standard practise but it seems that the food menu only comes with prices on for the gentlemen. I choose a beef carpaccio to start which was a popular dish as I heard the order repeated on several other tables. I also had the dusk breast which was very suculent in a balsamic dressing (the carpaccio was also in balsamic dressing and I got the impression its the "in" flavour at the moment. With my wife's tomato and mozerella tower starter and scallopini in a creamy gorgonzola sauce the whole came to €57 which is about twice what we normally pay in the more traditional tavernas, but you have to treat yourselves every now and then.
The bread is served before the meal with both a mixed white and brown basket (the brown bread having a very delicious nutty taste - I had to be quick to stop the waitress taking away the last piece when we'd finished our starters!) and also a plate of bite sized pieces of focetta and the like with a bit of olive tapanade and garlic butter. After the meal I was served with a Mextaxa with the bill on the house and my wife recieved a Port (or more probably a Marvodaphe a greek equivalent). There is both seating inside and in a covered area outside surrounded by plants and the whole decor creates a much more intimate atmosphere than the average holiday restaurant or taverna. I might have a business meal at the 5 senses but for a romantic meal the Castello would win for me hands down.
Sept 2007

Taverna - Kastro

The Kastro cafe-bar/restaurant probably enjoys about the best location for dining in Parga if you like a view with your drinkb or meal, being at the end of the shopping alley high up just before the gate to the castle. The seating is set out on several levels to maximise the view down onto Parga and the bay for as many guests as possible. You can see most of the town and the islands with in a single view out from your table. To the other side of you the castle walls conplete the setting with a fountain splashing 10 or 20 jets onto the rocks to cascade back down. Of course this location comes at a bit of a price - the cover charge was €2 each and you didn't have any choice about the €1.50 litre of water that the waiter pours out for you without asking. We had salads each, a chef and a caesar, together with sides of saganaki cheese and spring rolls, which all came to about €40. So it doesn't exactly break the bank, but it's noticeable more expensive than the average taverna in Parga.
The setup caters for the price differance though, with the atmosphere being much more that of a restaurant rather than a local taverna, i.e. There's real cotton tableclothes and you have sevral glasses each set out on the tables. I sound a tad sarcastic but I don't mean to be as the whole effect is one of a pleasant dining experience and it's definitely on the list for a more intimate or romantic evening meal.
The food we had was also very tasty, the caesar and the spring rolls being particularly good (which was a shame as that was my wife's order - not that there was anything wrong with the chef's salad or the saganaki). We only had a glass each of the house wine, but this is one other thing that adds a little to the price as their house wine is bottled rather than sold by the half or full kilo. Bottles in Greece are always a little more so I'm quite sure there would have been another €5 or so on the bill if we hadn't asked specifically for only a glass each.
Service was efficient enough and courteous if not overly friendly but I think there are trying to project a "professional" image rather than the more laid back style of many of the local tavernas. The only grumble I had with them was that they were keen to push extra dishes on you. It's noticable that the staff ask you what you would like to start rather than just what do you want so when we said we weren't fussed about starters (feeling rather fat after 10 days of holiday gluttony) our waitress went straight on to suggest a meze plate for two. Having declined and ordered of meal she then asked if we would like an extra side order of grilled vegatables. They weren't overly pushy about it but on top of the involuntary bottle of water, I did feel like there was a definite sales tactic here.
However, all in all, I would thoroughly recommend you take at least one evening meal of your holiday up at the Kastro for the setting, the food and the views make the price one well worth paying. My only other recommendation would be that if like me on a warm evening you don't cope with the heat particularly well, splash out for a taxi to take you up to the top of the road and walk down to the restaurant rather than up from the harbour to arrive as a sweaty mess!
Sept 2007

Taverna - Romantica

This Taverna is positioned up at the top of Parga a little way part the Castle and enjoys lovely evening views over Valtos as the sun sets from it's balcony perched on the hill. It's one of the more formal places and the service was impeccable, but I'm afraid I found the food to be a little wanting. Nothing was bad at all, but just not very inspiring and for a place that is obviously trying to be a bit more up market than the average Taverna, I expected something more. Rudis or Castello it certainly isn't.
We didn't go back, so it may be that I just choose the wrong thing from the menu, as I have heard others say they really enjoyed the place, so make your own mind up. Certainly the view is lovely and if you want to relax and take a break from the livelier more traditional tavernas then give it a try.
May 2009

Monday, 6 July 2009

Bar - Meeting Place

This place is a little hidden as it's at the end of a narrow alley leading up between the 2 shops immeadiately opposite the jetty. It's not much to look at, and it hasn't got the views, but Yannis who runs the place is a lovely guy and very friendly. It's also a lot cheaper than places on the front - fair enough as you are not paying for the view. To be honest I'm not sure how Yanni makes a profit, as every time you order a round of drinks, out with them comes a little meze plate of food - not much, but serveral days we had a couple of rounds of drinks and the snack did us for lunch. You have no control over what the snack may be - could be meatballs, could be green beans in tomato sauce, could be squid - that's part of the charm.
There's a bar and a fair amount of tables inside, but better if you can get sat on the three or so little tables out in the alley. It's a suntrap in the early afternoon, but Yanni will open up the sun canopy if you ask (if he hasn't already), and it seems to definitely attract "regulars" who discover the place while on holiday. I think we became some of them!
May 2009

Bar - Atrium

Opening from 10am to 10pm. The Atrium bar occupies a prime position looking down on Piso Krioni beach (better know to the tourists as 'Golfo beach') and you get to it via a windy set of steps in the hillside at. The town end of the beach. A cheerful sign as you get close states, "only a few more steps - you can do it!" And it's well worth the little climb for the lovely views back down onto the beach. I just stopped for a small beer, but that was served with a small mezze of bread with taramasalata and some cucumber, and the do serve more substantial food up there too.
It's shaded by the branches of old olive trees and some bamboo canopies and is has a fair chilled out beach bar feel to it. OK, the music is on the naff club lounge style of chilled (I didn't think 'Smooth Operator' could get more 'lounge' than the original, but the Greek cover version proved me wrong, as did, 'Love iz in dee air') but each to their own taste, and it is an otherwise fairly minor criticism of a lovely little bar.
Sept 2013

Bar - Island Bar

Past the Jetty and further down the harbour you come to the chilled out Island Bar, with a lot of space out front with about 20 tables outside with metal chairs covered in British racing green cushions and a row of low wooden sofas along the wall of the building under the shade of the second storey. Friday nights they generally have live music playing and is very popular so if you want to go it's worth booking a table then.
They do food too, and specialise in Mexican and Thai food, and although I've never gone there for a full meal, a plate of cheesy nachos has gone down well with a drink at times.
There a few staff that work there including Sarah who, after trying my best Taverna Greek on trying to order, I found out is actually a Scot.
There's also plenty of space inside to and there's a back entrance into the bar from the little shopping street that winds up to the Castle. Next to this door they sell ice creams to passers by too.
It's is a regular stop for me when I'm in Parga, and is also one of the bars that stays open out of season through the winter.
Sept 2013

Bar - Kafenes

Two down from the Bacchus Taverna along the harbour front is the Kafenes bar run by the very friendly Elpida Liakri. Like many along the front it's a nice shady spot for people watching as everyone wanders past and has a lovely view of the castle and island.
Other than the welcome, one reason I like this bar above many of the others is simply that the seating is a little more comfortable than a few of the others along the front that go more for style.
Little mezze plates of toasties are often brought out which sometimes causes a little panic to new customers who think they are going to end up with something on their bill they didn't order. But this is random, as and when it's not busy, so don't expect a mezze with every drink, but it's a nice snack when they do arrive.
Sept 2013

Bars - The Blue Bar

The Blue Bar sits on the little shopping road that leads up from the harbour front to the castle and commands a lovely view out onto the harbour looking straight out onto the jetty and the little island with the chapel in the bay. If you like cocktails then your only complaint here would be too many to choose from - the menu is very extensive and they'll make several more that aren't on the menu (Mohito being one I had that wasn't there). The staff are very friendly and there's always a little free shooter brought when you pay to finish off with. The steps upstairs are a tad steep, so hold on to the rail if you've had a few cocktails and then want to go up to the loo! The decor is (unsuprisingly) blue in colour and the music is normaloly fairly mellow. The bars sits just about the Nafsika taverna and there is a little side alley beside the Nafsika which takes you up to the shopping street close to the Blue Bar entrance.
Sept 2007

Bars - Sol bar

The Sol bar overlooks the main town beach and is a small affair with seating arranged on a decking platform with director style chairs, wooden sun-lougners and grass style sun shades. Of an evening tea tree light lanterns are on each table and the music is of a very laid back nature - certainly background music so this is a place to relax and talk with friends. Being round the corner and down the road a bit from the main harbour front it's much quieter here and again is a place where you can sip drinks while listening to the waves lap on the shore. Obviously it's position makes it ideal as a place for drinks when spending a day on the beach too.
Sept 2007

Friday, 14 September 2007

Some Further Photos

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