Here are some of my favourite tavernas and cafés from around the island. Whereever you eat, please tell them that Steve from Lesvos Birding sent you!
Be aware that many places aren’t open during the spring birding weeks, with some opening by mid-May, but others not opening until the main season starts in June. The ones listed are usually open at some point between mid-April and mid-May.
The harbour area of the village boasts a plethora of tavernas, but here are some of my favourites.
Dionysos – owned by Stamatis and Maria – right on the harbour front, is one of Lesvos Birding’s ‘homes’ in Skala Kallonis and has one a bird log. It offers a large and varied menu to suit all. Excellent, friendly service and value. They simply have too many good dishes to start listing – you won’t go hungry that’s for sure!
Ambrosia – near the church, where owner Nikos delivers a simple Greek kitchen menu and often becomes the firm favourite of those with discerning taste.
Sea Horse – on the sea front out of the main town square with a good menu, good food, good service.
Madousa – on the seafront between the square and the car park – is an excellent family run taverna with a very enjoyable menu. Unfortunately it doesn’t open until mid-May, so early birders won’t get the chance to eat here.
The harbour area is crammed with tavernas, some good, some bad, some outstanding!
One of my favourite tavernas on the island is Mistral on the harbour. Exellent food, especially the seafood and fish, and you won’t have to wait long (unlike at many other tavernas in Molivos which seem to pride themselves on slow service).
For good coffee, ice creams and snacks try one of my favourite cafés on the island, Briki (first on harbour front by the car park opposite the harbour chapel).
Sea Horse is also good – especially for ice creams!
In the town centre, try the taverna (sorry, forgot its name!), just through the arch on the left as you come up from hill. It has great food and a great balcony and view! Use the Taverna Panorama by the castle for drinks if you need them. The food and service is much better down at the harbour.
When at Molivos harbour make sure you check out the little gallery which faces the harbour – it’s great for Greek and Mediterranean art and crafts as well as souvenirs and nick-knacks.
Overlooking the southern Rüppell’s Warbler lay-by is the fabulously contemporary café Tsalikis. Simple bar-style menu for snacks, and excellent coffee and homemade cakes and ice creams – just wonderful! And what views – you can watch Rüppell’s Warbler and Blue Rock-thrush from your seat!
Sadly the Achille’s Well is no more. The owner has moved and the taverna has seen a complete revamp and now lacks the old rustic charm it had with Michael. Not eaten there as prefer to go to Molivos harbour now Michael has left, but I will miss the view.
The taverna Vafios on the western edge of the town has fantastic views from an olive tree lined terrace, an excellent menu and good service. A little more formal than most tavernas but casual dress fine.
Australia, one of the tavernas overlooking the harbour front, is excellent – try their fresh fried prawns – and owner Costas is never happier than when his taverna is full of hungry birders. Tell Costas that Steve sent you!
There are loads of beach tavernas and bars here. Just look for the ones patronised by the Greeks!
Soulatso (mid-way along front) rates as one of my favourite taverna on the island. What more can I say – eat there! It specialises in grilled fish, seafood and meat, and the Soulatso salad is to die for. The Flamingo (second in from the west end – it used to be Café Agua then Roots) is one of my favourite cafés on the island and is excellent for good coffee, drinks, snacks and ice creams. It also offers free Wi-Fi internet whilst you’re sipping and snacking! Adonis (at the western end) is also an excellent taverna with a great Greek kitchen menu including local specialty – roasted lambs head.
As with many real tourist traps good tavernas can be hard to come by in places like Vatera, but the Akrotiri is an excellent fish taverna situated on the headland of Agios Fokas to the west of the town. The Vatera Beach Hotel, on the seafront heading towards Agios Fokas, is also excellent. The rest of the resort will be shut in spring! I haven’t personally been to either of these for some years now as my day trip schedule doesn’t take me this way any more.
Near Mytilini airport
Taverna Liminaki is just a few km towards Mytilini from the airport on the beach side of the road. It does great fresh fish – a real welcome and tonic after that flight or a great way to say goodbye!
If you’re away from the main areas, don’t be afraid to eat in any of the town tavernas. When I’m leading a group I frequently end up in little tavernas occupied by old men sipping Greek coffee and stuffing themselves silly with local dishes. Vatousa, Skala Vasilikon, Skalochori – they all have tavernas primarlily for local custom, but don’t be afraid. Many will have an Engligh version of their menu, if not, then you’ll just have to brush up on your Greek! It can be great fun and you’ll be surprised at just how good and simple eating at the ‘local’s’ tavernas can be. See also Matt Barrett’s recommendations here.