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EATING OUT VEGETARIAN

Although not of direct relevance to a natural history website, finding somewhere to eat at night is an important part of life on Thásos. For the vegetarian this can, at first sight, be daunting so these notes are intended to present some helpful ideas for the visitor to Thassos Town, but the principles are probably applicable to other resorts on the island.

Whilst the island boasts an abundance of restaurants and other eating places, most serving what appears to be a delectable menu of seafood and other meat dishes, choice for the vegetarian can be a little limited after a few days on the island. There would appear to be a niche market here for some enterprising chef, but until that happens the vegetarian is effectively faced with two standard options - pizza and spaghetti napolitan - plus a wide array of salads. Beware "cheese pies" - these might look like cheese and onion pasties but they invariably contain ham. Recently there has been some progress and 'vegetarian' options appear on one or two menus now, but don't be put off, there are ways around the problem. The solution often involves designing your own meal from a combination of side dishes and you can vary these sufficiently to make eating out a bit more interesting.

 

In Thassos Town I can recommend the following:

Alexandra's (formerly Patriko's) - 'Baked beans' are delicious, but don't expect Heinz. This is Gigantes Plaki, the Greek version of the popular Middle eastern dish called Fasolia and made with large kidney-shaped beans resembling butter beans, although authentic versions use a special bean from Kastoria in northern Greece. Zucchini fritters with tzatziki make a good accompaniment. Patriko used to serve 'Potatoes from the Oven' and his grilled feta was sublime. The restaurant is still in the family so these dishes are probably still on the menu. Omelettes also available.

Tavern Stratos (formerly known as Mythos) towards the end of the old harbour also serves 'Big Beans' and 'Briam', a Greek vegetarian stew. They have a couple of other vegetarian options (such as green beans in a tomato sauce) that are available seasonally. Their grilled feta, like Patriko's, is a real treat and I always make a point of savouring the exquisite taste of quality feta cooked to perfection here at least once a visit.

Simi's at the start of the old harbour area is very popular and in high summer you often have to queue for a table in early evening. They do (though I haven't checked the menu for a few years) mainly meat and fish meals but their side dishes of cheese croquettes, fried zucchini (courgettes) and fried eggplant (aubergine) can together make a filling meal.

Mesogeios is at the other end of the harbour, beyond the point where the ferry docks. This is a relatively new restaurant but has quickly gained a reputation as one of the best places to eat in town and is undoubtedly the best place to eat for vegetarians. They have a fairly extensive Vegetarian section on their menu, including a delicious spinach cannelloni and baked aubergine. Around early evening it is almost inevitable that you will have to queue for a table but they serve until midnight so if you can stave off your hunger then it may be wise to wait until after 10pm to order in July and August.

In Limenaria I hear that Molos taverna on the esplanade is recommended for vegetarians, whilst at the restaurant of Megas Alexandros in Skala Potamias, the owners will make vegetarian meals to order as their mother is vegetarian!

 

If you know of any other options or can suggest good restaurants for vegetarians at any of the island's resorts, please send your comments to thasos@btinternet.com