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Eating at the best Chania restaurants is not only a way to explore the local cretan food but also to experience Greek hospitality.
When having a meal at a Cretan table you’ll learn about the island’s local culture. And discover the native ingredients that feature prominently in the cuisine.
Olive oil, fresh salads, wild greens, grilled meats, fresh cheese and desserts with honey, served with homemade wines await.
Generous portions, a welcome glass of raki, the local distilled alcohol, and sweet parting treats have you come as guests and leave as friends.
In this guide, we share 14 of the best Chania restaurants where you truly taste the Greek island.
A Note About Our Visit To The Restaurants in Chania
We spent 5 months during the winter in Crete and most of the time in Chania. This is the time of the year when the town is off season and some of the seasonal restaurants are closed.
Besides, the winter period, the impact of the pandemic and restrictions due to the lockdown affected the local business. As a result, some restaurants were closed and others only open for take-aways.
Despite the situation, we made it a point to visit the restaurant with the local cuisine we enjoyed or the ones we would have liked to eat at.
What could have been viewed as a wasted food and travel opportunity actually turned out to be a blessing.
The slower pace gave us the opportunity to meet with the owners, learn about their restaurant and cuisine.
We also talked about the impact of the pandemic and their hopes and desires during the challenging times.
This guide focuses mostly on the restaurants in Chania city, that are focused on local products and Cretan cuisine.
We asked locals for recommendations and the consistent theme was to avoid the tourist trap restaurants by the waterfront.
As our Greek friend Christos told us:
“The secrets of culinary Crete are hidden behind the tourist facade. Ask locals for small places and villages”.
Following that advice, we made the most of our stay in Chania and share these amazing 14 Cretan culinary gems. The restaurants are listed by distance, starting in the center all the way to the villages.
Best of Chania Restaurants Map
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: If you want to explore the secrets of Chania Old Town, consider taking a food and wine tasting tour. This walking tour with a local guide takes you to historic and traditional spots in the Old Town where you’ll learn the history and sample local Cretan products. Spend 4 to 5 hours exploring the delicious tastes of Chania, Crete. Find out more here.
Best Restaurants in Chania Old Town
The Old Town of Chania is charming and picturesque. All around the Old Town is a magnificent port built by the Venetians.
The jewel of the Venetian harbour is the historic lighthouse, one of the oldest in the Mediterranean Sea.
Taverns, restaurants and cafes fill the beautiful narrow streets offering a variety of food options.
However, you do want to avoid the touristy restaurants. Following are a few of the best restaurants in Chania Old Town for authentic Cretan food.
1- Kouzina E.P.E
Opened in 2008, Kouzina is a family owned restaurant specializing in Greek and Mediterranean cuisine.
In the old town, this was one of our favorite restaurants in Chania for very tasty traditional food. Everyday, the specials made with seasonal produce are listed on the blackboard on the wall.
Some of the traditional dishes you’ll find include boureki, fish soup, a variety of vegetable dishes as well as lamb and beef stews.
We enjoyed many traditional Cretan foods, especially the eggplant dishes. While in the restaurant, it was alway fun getting a peek into what’s cooking underneath the pots.
While talking to the staff, we learned the restaurant was the first in Chania to offer traditional home cooking.
In fact, Manoulis, the chef and owner, and his mother come every morning to cook the dishes for the day.
The portions are generous and the prices are reasonable. This is definitely one of the best Chania old town restaurants for excellent Greek home cooking.
Best Restaurant in Chania For Home Cooked Greek and Mediterranean Cuisine
While the meals we enjoyed were take-away due to the pandemic, the restaurant has an open and airy interior. The best time to visit Kouzina is for lunch.
It is a popular restaurant and tends to run out of the daily specials. Go early for the largest selection and freshest flavors.
Address: Daskalogianni 25, Chania
Hours: Open Monday – Saturday 12:00 pm – 8:00 pm, Sunday Closed
Prices: Main dishes between €5.0 – €10.0 per serving (approx. $6.00 – $12:00)
2- To Maridaki Fish Restaurant
To Maridaki or simply Maridaki is the undisputable local favorite for fish and seafood in the old town of Chania.
The owner and chef, Yannis Koumakis, whom we had the pleasure of meeting, opened the restaurant in 2014.
Fish soup is the restaurant specialty. And having tasted it several times, we could not disagree when Yannis told us “I make the best fish soup in Chania.”
The name of the restaurant, he told us, is the name of a local fish found in the Mediterranean. All the fish and seafood is fresh and purchased daily from the main market or Agora.
With this in mind, the fish and seafood dishes change seasonally based on availability.
In the winter, red snapper, white bream, grouper and striped mullet are common. Whereas, between October and May, cuttlefish and octopus are prevalent.
Besides the fish soup, we’ve enjoyed cuttlefish, orzo with seafood, stuffed vegetables and incredibly tasty wild greens.
Being on a Greek island you will probably want fish and seafood. If you are in the old town area, To Maridaki is definitely one of the best Chania restaurants for fish and seafood.
Best Restaurant in Chania For Fish Soup
Address: Daskalogianni 33, Chania
Hours: Open everyday 12:00 pm – 12:00 pm
Prices: Main dishes between €5.0 – €15.0 per serving (approx. $6.00 – $18.00)
3- Patsas Agnos Marmaritzakis Restaurant
Exploring the local food specialties in Chania was challenging due to the pandemic. When we first arrived, we went to the main municipal market or Agora to discover local Cretan specialties.
Fortunately, we stumbled onto Patsas Agnos Marmaritzakis, a little eatery opposite a busy fish stall.
There, we met Stamatis, the chef, and his wife, Sofia who graciously talked to us about Cretan traditional times. We went back on several occasions, each time trying new seasonal local specialties.
The name of the restaurant means “Tripe” in English which refers to the house speciality known as patsas or tripe.
Established in 1928, this is the oldest restaurant at the market. “The focus has always been traditional Cretan food”, Stamis, a third-generation owner told us.
Typically, the restaurant makes five soups daily, but it is the tripe soup that draws the crowd, from as far as Athens.
Beyond the soups, the restaurant specialties are lamb cooked in olive oil, snails, stuffed grape leaves, pork belly and celery, and much more.
Additionally, there is a spit rotisserie where you can get slow roasted pork, lamb, chicken and kokoretsi, a lamb offal dish.
What we really liked about the food is that it was always fresh, cooked well and very tasty. Roasted lamb for New Year was particularly memorable along with a bottle of romeiko homemade wine.
For traditional Cretan food in the Old Town, see Stamis and Sofia at the Agora. They are both very hospitable and the tasty food comes in generous portions.
Best Restaurant at the Chania Agora for Traditional Cretan Food
Address: Stall 65, Agora Market, Chania
Hours: Monday to Saturday from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm
Prices: Main dishes between €5.0 – €10.0 per serving (approx. $6.00 – $12.00)
Salis is one of the few exceptional restaurants you will find by the seafront at the old Venetian port. Perfectly located by the Venetian shipyards, Salis offers contemporary Cretan food paired with an excellent wine list.
While meeting Afshin, the owner of Salis and co-owner of Manousakis winery, we learned more about his vision for Salis.
As Afshin told us, he created Salis as a wine restaurant with the idea of serving simple, good food.
He described the restaurant cuisine as a modernized version of traditional Cretan food paired with wines that represent Crete.
The restaurant is praised for its creative twist on the local Cretan dishes. Salis also offers an extensive wine list where you find the best Cretan wines as well as excellent international wines.
The service is said to be impeccable and friendly. The food is delightful and the location ideal. This is definitely a must try restaurant for a special dinner in Chania.
Best Restaurant in Chania For Contemporary Greek Food and Wine
Address: Akti Enoseos 3, Chania 731 32
Hours: Open Mon – Saturday, 11:00am – 11:00pm
Prices: Main dishes from €6 to €30 euros (approx. $8 to $35 USD)
Chania Town Center
The center of Chania offers a modern contrast to the Old Town. Find fashion boutiques, houseware stores, cafes, grocery shops and stores selling all kinds of things.
The Central Square of Chania also known as Square 1866 is an important landmark and unmissable. Nearby, the bus station for long-distance buses is another marker within the city center.
While there are fewer restaurant options in the center as compared to the Old Town, we nevertheless discovered a few gems.
Following are some of the best Chania restaurants worth trying in Chania center.
5- Secret Tastes
We were thrilled to discover Secret Tastes after passing it quite regularly on our way to our Airbnb.
Intrigued by the name and their focus on traditional Cretan cuisine, we ordered a few dishes to go, before interviewing the chef.
The restaurant, we learned from Giorgios Vasilakis, the young chef, was opened in November 2017.
Before owning the restaurant, he worked as a waiter as a teenager and later as cook in the Greek army. Those experiences, including influences from his mother and grandmother propelled him to cooking.
His wife, Mikaela Zouridaki, who also works at the restaurant as a hostess described this Chania restaurant as a true farm-to-fork restaurant.
Secret Tastes focuses only on traditional Cretan foods and the ingredients are locally sourced from their family farms.
Giorgios family are farmers from Apokoronas village, where they raise sheep, goats, rabbits, chicken and pigs. Hence, their meat products, cheese and ice cream are made from the highest quality farm fresh ingredients.
On the other hand, Mikaela’s family comes from a village near Paleochora, an area with an abundance of olive trees and tomatoes. Similarly, the restaurant uses only the freshest olive oil and vegetables from the family farm.
The menu is seasonal with a keen focus on local produce. During the course of our stay, we tried several dishes and enjoyed them all.
The lamb was one of our favorites and is also popular at the restaurant. Zucchini flowers stuffed with rice, moussaka and the lamb, chicken and pork dishes are all exceptional.
It was interesting to learn that Giorgios was once a Masterchef candidate. While he didn’t end up participating because he was too busy, the restaurant has earned a local celebrity following.
At Secret Taste, they pride themselves for using high quality fresh produce. This is definitely one of the best Chania restaurants for traditional cuisine in the center.
Best Farm to Table Restaurant in Chania
Address: Koraka 24, Chania
Hours: Open Mon – Saturday, 12:00 pm – 12:00 am
Prices: Main dishes range from €6.5 euros to €10 euros (approx $7.80 – $12.00)
6- Evgonia Restaurant
This homey, no frills, uncomplicated restaurant was not far from our Airbnb and a wonderful stop for excellent traditional Cretan food.
The simple menu features a daily special using only the freshest seasonal ingredients.
The name Evgonia, owner and cook, Nectarios Xanakatebakhe, told us, “means Good Corner” or “Nice Corner” appropriately describing its location.
The restaurant has been around for 13 years, Nectarius told us. And the cuisine is “ traditional homemade food made without compromising quality and ingredients.”
Beyond grilled fish, meat, sausages and pork dishes, winter seasonal dishes feature beans. Stuffed tomatoes and boureki are Summer favorites.
“It just breaks my heart”, Nectarius told us as we discussed the impact of the pandemic on his business. “We can’t sit together and laugh with friends. People are afraid of each other.”
But even so, Nectarius remained optimistic and committed to providing quality Cretan food in his reduced menu.
Of the many meals we had, his wild mountain greens were some of the tastiest ones we had. The grilled lamb chops are not to be missed, nor the stewed seafood and meat dishes.
The writing underneath the name on the restaurant sign reads “Toikoudadiko.” And, this is in reference to a little glass of raki to share, Nectarius told us.
“This pandemic has been hard for everyone and we look forward to sharing with everyone again.”
Consider this as your invitation to visit Evgonia, one of the best Chania restaurants for traditional food.
The short walk up Milonogianni Street is well worth the effort to the “Good Corner” in the center of Chania.
Best Restaurant in Chania for Traditional Cretan Food
Address: Milonogianni 120, Chania 731 35
Hours: Monday to Saturday, 1:30 pm – 11:45 pm; Closed Sunday
Prices: Main dishes between €10 – €15 euros (approx. $12.00 – $18.00)
We stumbled onto Oasis by chance while on our way to the Saturday farmers market on Minos Street.
We noticed a long line with locals lining up and patiently waiting to get served. We took note of the location and decided to come back another day before it got too busy.
Oasis is actually a popular street food joint known for their souvlaki. In Crete, pita gyros are also called souvlaki.
Although not a Cretan specialty, this is a greek food you cannot miss while on the island of Crete.
Made with pork meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie, this delicious sandwich is filled with tomatoes, onions, and tzatziki, a yogurt sauce. It is then wrapped in a warm grilled pita bread.
Nikos and Giorgos, the two friendly brothers behind Oasis, invited us to come uinto their shop to see them making their famous pita gyros.
We learned that Oasis is a long standing shop in Chania, serving pita gyros for more than 54 years.
The secret of their success is said to be in the tzatziki sauce with a hint of oregano. Locals queue everyday to get their delicious pita gyros before Oasis runs out.
We savored these pita gyros, packed with flavor, several times. And, we highly recommend a stop at their shop for the experience.
Don’t hesitate to get at least 2 Souvlakis per serving to satisfy your appetite.
Best Traditional Eatery to Eat Souvlaki
Best Traditional Eatery to Eat Souvlaki
Pix of serving at oasis
Address: Voloudaki 4, Chania 731 34
Hours: Open Monday – Saturday; 9:00 am to 4:00 pm or until run out – closed Sunday
Prices: €2 euros per souvlaki (approx. $2.40)
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8- Bakaliarakia Fish & Chips Restaurant
Our very first restaurant experience was at Bakaliarakia restaurant when we arrived in Chania. Located at a corner with a blue sign with a fish, you won’t miss it as you venture out of the old town.
Giorgos or George, the owner, opened the restaurant at this location in 2009. His specialty is fish and chips made with cod fish and also seafood dishes like cuttlefish and octopus.
Other homemade Cretan food specialties include boureki, grilled eggplant with the local mizithra cheese and a hearty mushroom pie.
Sofia, his cooking partner in the kitchen, used to own a restaurant in the Old Town where George was a waiter.
Today, with more than 20 years of working together, she brings traditional Cretan recipes to life in George’s kitchen.
The food is flavorful and served in generous portions. Like all Cretan kitchens, olive oil is used liberally in cooking.
While the menu changes regularly based on the season, you will always find George’s signature dish: fish and chips.
The restaurant has a casual seafaring decor. The staff is welcoming and be sure to leave room for free loukoumades, Greek donuts dessert.
Best Restaurant in Chania for Fish & Chips
Bakaliarakia or Mpakaliarakia
Address: Zimvrakakidon 10, Chania 731 35
Hours: Open everyday from 11:00 am to 11:45 pm
Prices: Fish and Chips at €9.30 euros (approx. $11USD), other mains between €5 -10 euros (approx. $6 to $12 USD)
Best Chania Restaurants on the Outskirts of Town
Locals will tell you that some of the best food in Chania is found in the outskirts of the city or in the villages.
“Go beyond the old town and city of Chania”, is the advice we often got. The Chania restaurants further from the city are known for traditional Cretan cooking with hiqh quality local ingredients.
With the pandemic restrictions in place, exploring Cretan cuisine in the surrounding areas was not easy.
Even so, we did get a chance to visit a few incredible traditional restaurants with some of the tastiest Cretan food we had.
These easily accessible Chania restaurants are a short taxi ride away from the city center.
9- To Antikristo
Meeting Zoran, owner of To Antikristo was one of our most heartfelt experiences while exploring Chania restaurants.
Antikristo is a traditional Cretan technique for cooking lamb, goat and other meats. This type of cooking style, which means “across the fire” has been practiced since antiquity in Crete.
As part of our quest for authentic food in Crete, we wanted to experience Antikristo. However, restrictions due to the pandemic made it challenging.
One afternoon, we decided to visit To Antikristo in Perivolia and see if they had any options for takeaway. Unfortunately, when we got there, the restaurant was closed.
Determinedly, we decided to contact Zoran, the owner, to learn more about this unique traditional cooking style.
What happened next, blew our minds. Zoran graciously invited us to his restaurant for a demonstration of Antikristo.
Shepherds in the mountainous regions of Crete would cook in this simple manner using only salt and fire.
The meat, most often lamb, is cut into pieces and passed through huge skewers. These skewers would be placed around a fire opposite each other.
The meat would cook slowly with the heat generated by the flames instead of direct contact of meat with the flames from the coal.
At his restaurant, Zoran told us, he cooks the meat for about 4 to 6 hours, making the meat juicy and tender.
During the cooking process, we learned, the meat develops its rich flavors and the salt dehydrates it making it crispy.
In addition to Antikristo, Zoran surprised us with Cretan starters, delicious salads, wild greens and kalitsounia with cheese and honey for desert.
To Antikristo is one of the best restaurants in Chania and it is deserving of its reputation. Zoran took ownership in 2017, and his commitment to using the highest quality local ingredients has driven his success.
Although outside of Chania, a visit to To Antikristo should not be missed. This is one of the best Chania restaurants for Antikristo and everything else on the menu is local and organic, whenever possible.
Best Restaurant in Chania For Antikristo And Traditional Cretan Food
Address: El. Venizelou, Perivolia, Chania
Hours: Open Tuesday-Sunday, 1:00 pm to 10:30 pm; Closed Mondays
Prices: Main dishes between €5 – €15 euros (approx. $6.00 – $18.00)
10- To Dichalo – The Fork
On one of our many walks in Chania, we decided to check out this Cretan restaurant away from the center.
As we talked to our friendly restaurant host, we learned that To Dichalo means “The Fork” in Greek. Indeed, the restaurant is strategically located at the fork of the road with a nice shaded outdoor seating area.
It is also a nice play on word as you better be prepared to use your fork at this hidden gem on the outskirts of Chania.
Curious to try the local snail specialty from Crete, we ordered the appetizer version which turned out to be enough for a meal.
We really enjoyed the snails lightly prepared with rosemary and olive oil. To go with it, we added the traditional cretan dakos salad.
The salad portion was copious and the flavors bursting in the mouth with the combination of mizithra cheese, olive oil and fresh tomatoes.
We cannot wait to visit again and fully appreciate their local cuisine while relaxing in the outdoor dining area.
It is worth venturing out of the center to discover this hidden gem and enjoy a delicious meal under the shaded trees.
Best Hidden Gem in Chania For Generous Serving of Local Food
Address: Eleftherias 49, Chania 731 36
Hours: Open everyday from 12:00 pm to 12:00 am
Prices: About €5 to €10 euros for main dishes (approx. $6 to $12 USD)
Best Restaurants in Villages Near Chania
The mountain villages, unspoilt by tourism are often described as the essence of Crete or where real Cretan life is lived.
The many villages all around Chania are rich in history and the local tabernas offer regional specialties.
Even though most of the restaurants in the villages were closed, we did eat at a few. We enjoyed some of the best homemade meat dishes and french fries.
If there is one village that is worth your trip, it is to Drakona village and specifically to Ntounias restaurant.
11- Ntounias or Dounias Slow Food Tavern
The name “Ntounias”, Stelios, the cook and owner, told us as we walked around his farm has multiple meanings.
It pays homage to his family’s heritage and is also representative of the specific bird displayed on the restaurant sign.
Drakona village, in the mountains outside of Chania is where we had the privilege of meeting Stelios Trilyrakis.
Dounias restaurant is widely considered as the best Chania restaurant for slow cooked traditional Cretan food. All the cooking is done with fire and there is no electricity used.
Meals are cooked with wood stoves and the bread baked in wood burning ovens. As a result, the restaurant is only opened for lunch and not dinner.
Speaking passionately, Stelios talked about providing “good food”, “simple food” using hyper local products.
For example, Stelios raises his own animals including cows and pigs which he called by name as we visited them. His farm was filled with seasonal vegetables and traditional Cretan herbs,
And, the menu is seasonal and depends on what he has available at that time.
Opened in 1994, Ntounias, also a Gastronomic Center of Cretan Diet, is the reference for authentic traditional Cretan food.
Your visit to Crete should include a stop at this celebrated Chania restaurant. Get to savor the best authentic and traditional Cretan food, slow-cooked with passion at Ntounias.
Best Slow Food Restaurant in Chania
Address: Drakona, Chania
Hours: Open every day, 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
Prices: Main dishes range from €5 to €18 euros (approx. $6 to $22 USD)
Others Chania Restaurants Recommended By Locals
Our local friends in Chania also recommended a few additional restaurants worth visiting that were not open during our visit.
Here are three restaurants you want to add to your list of places to eat while in Chania.
12- To Stachi
To Stachi is a slow food vegetarian restaurant that serves both vegetarian and vegan friendly dishes.
What we like about To Stachi is their focus on local and traditional cuisine making it available to vegetarians.
Dishes like boureki or moussaka are served with a twist to accommodate vegan or vegetarian preferences.
They are known for their delicious stuffed zucchini flowers and homemade salads. There are daily specials which vary seasonally and they bake their bread in-house everyday.
Located by the Old Port, this is an excellent choice for good fresh local food even if you are not vegetarian.
Best Restaurant in Chania For Vegetarian Food
Address: Defkaliona, Epimenidou 5, Chania
Hours: Operational from March to November – from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Prices: About €5 to €10 euros for main dishes (approx. $6 to $12 USD)
13- Thalassino Ageri
Thalassino Ageri might be one of the most picturesque restaurants in Chania or possibly Crete.
Located in Tabakeria, the old quarter of Halepa, the outdoor dining tables by the water offer the best sea views.
Tabakeria means tanneries in Greek where factories would process the leather. Nowadays, only very few factories are still operational and the abandoned old factories buildings remain.
In the recent years, the area is slowly being revitalized using the old architecture of the tanneries to create new tourism accommodations.
These old factory buildings surrounding Thalassino Ageri add to the scenic decor for a unique dining experience.
The specialty of the restaurant is fresh fish and seafood including the traditional Cretan octopus, cuttlefish and squid dishes.
Accompany your main dish with fresh salads and fries, local appetizers and wine and you are on for a treat.
This is a great option for magical sunset views over dinner by the waterfront.
Best Restaurant in Chania For Seafood And Scenic Views
Address: Vivilaki str 35 Tabakaria, Chania 731 33
Hours: Seasonal – open weekends from April to May: 12:00 pm to 12:00 am; Open everyday from June to November: 7:00 pm to 12:00 am
Prices: About €10 to €20 euros for main dishes varies depending on the fish ordered (approx. $12 to $24 USD)
When we asked locals in Chania to recommend a traditional place to eat, often they would point us to Therisso.
Therisso is a village located about 30 mins south of Chania passing the stunning Therisso Gorge toward the White Mountains.
The village is home to several restaurants including Antartis, an open air restaurant. Antartis specialises in the traditional method of roasting lamb using Antikristo.
Antartis is more like a taverna, an unpretentious restaurant that offers a traditional menu with typical Cretan dishes.
The Antikristo roasted lamb is a must-try and it is served with fresh salads and fries.
More than a meal, eating at Antartis is an experience to visit a local village and meet Greek hospitality.
This also makes for a fabulous day of sightseeing in the villages and walking through the stunning gorge.
Best Restaurant in Chania Villages for A Taste of Traditional Antikristo
Address: Theriso 731 00, Greece
Hours: Check hours when the restaurants open again in May
Prices: About €10 to €20 euros for main dishes (approx. $12 to $24 USD)
While not an exhaustive list, we trust this Chania restaurant guide will help you enjoy the best local eateries during your stay.
With these restaurants you are sure to savor traditional Cretan food as well as experience the legendary Greek hospitality.
We also invite you to go beyond the familiar and comfortable restaurants in the city. There is more to discover in Crete.
Local taverns or tabernas in the villages with unpretentious settings will surprise you with their amazing food.
As one of the locals told us, “you haven’t met Crete if you haven’t been to the villages.”
Have you visited any of these Chania restaurants before? If not, please let us know in the comments below which ones you’d like to try.
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Claire, ex-engineer, is a digital nomad and content creator at Authentic Food Quest. Since 2015, with her partner, Rosemary, they travel the world in search of the best local food experiences. Their mission is to help you enjoy the best local specialties on your travels or via recipes in your home kitchen. Favorite country for food: Vietnam. Favorite local dish: Hainanese Chicken Rice. Favorite way to keep fit: Cycling. Claire is responsible for the website and the fun food & travel videos on Youtube. She is also co-author of Authentic Food Quest Argentina and Authentic Food Quest Peru, available on Amazon.