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How to find a real Greek taverna – on Zakynthos

If you’re on the Greek island of Zakynthos (also known as Zante) and Yiayia’s not cooking the Sunday lunch (that’s Greek for Granny) then you’ll be looking for a traditional taverna for your meal out with the family.

Sunday lunch in a Greek Taverna

You’ll want somewhere that serves the Greek specialities, not just the versions of Moussaka that they serve up for the tourists. When I picked up the business card at To Kartoutso , where we ate today and saw not a word of English on it, I knew this was the real deal.

Mezes in a Greek Taverna

First tip in finding this kind of place is to get in your car and drive away from the tourist resort, or if you’re in town, head away from the main drag down the side streets. Of course my sister took us to To Kartoutso but you can always ask the Greek locals where they like to eat with their family.

Take any recommendations from your travel rep with a pinch of salt as they may send you to somewhere that is giving them commission in return for customers. Obviously you should also look for somewhere busy with local cars parked outside and locals enjoying their meal inside.

Lamb with spinach and egg sauce

Second good sign when we sat down was that there was no long printed menu, but the waitress explained that they have a few freshly cooked dishes each day which were written on a board.

Today the choice was slow cooked lamb with spinach and egg sauce, beef cooked with lemons and chicken stuffed with tomatoes and local cheese. Then there were meze of fried cheese pastries, garlicky aubergine dip and fried bread crostini with peppers and capers.

Mezes in a Greek Taverna

They were just the sort of dishes you’d expect Yiayia to cook with the produce she’d find in her back garden.

To Kartoutso
Tel 26950 53115 or 6944265235 (phone first as it may not be open all year round)
Directions to get there: From the road between Argassi and Zante town, take the Kalamaki road, travel 200m from the turn-off, past the newly built housing estate on the left, you’ll see it on the right hand side of the road.

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See all my photos from Zakynthos

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