Before we get into this post, a quick disclaimer that Mykonos can be one of the most expensive European destinations… if you want it to be. However, contrary to most foodie travel guides, TripAdvisor rankings and YouTube vlogs, it doesn’t necessarily have to burn a massive hole in your pocket. We were rather worried for our finances before we departed London for the Cyclades island for five days, but we quickly realised that you can definitely do this wonderful place on a reasonable budget – and this blog post is out to prove that.
You probably won’t find the following places on Conde Nast, Forbes or GQ, but like us, you may well uncover them from simply strolling around the picturesque streets, ignoring anywhere that has a guy chasing you down the street in an attempt to lure you in, and making sure you always look at the menu prices before you commit to going in anywhere.
As previously proven by our Miami posts earlier in the year, we really do try and maintain a healthy(ish) diet and lifestyle when we’re travelling. It’s easy to get sucked into the “heck, the sun’s out” mentality and spend the whole day drinking beer and Googling “best pizza in,” but in most cases it’s more than possible to find a nutritious alternative and not waste weeks of effort at home and in the gym. We were delighted to stumble across Healthylicious on our first morning stroll, but it wasn’t until our final day that we ate there. The menu is complete with every nutritional value and accommodates for muscle building, weight loss and generally keeping to a well balanced diet.
Both choices of the protein omelette and stuffed avocado were amazing and left us feeling powered up, ready for the busy day ahead and were perfectly washed down by the zero-sugar Fredo Cappuccinos. These coffees are on every Mykonos menu, which perhaps comes as no surprise with the soaring temperatures and the need to cool down and simultaneously power up. They’ll always ask you if you’d like no sugar, medium or sweet as you order – I’d personally say it doesn’t need anything adding to it and go for the no sugar option.
We can’t decide between Healthylicious and Cosmo Cafe as the number one breakfast spot. Hidden away around the corner from Fabrika bus station is another gem offering healthy breakfasts from the crack of dawn (a big plus as most cafes don’t seem to open until 10am, at least at this time of year anyway). The Greeks seem to be big fans of omelettes and this one came filled with everything from tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, ham, sausage and plenty of cheese. With it being so cheap (perhaps €5-€8 each), we also ordered a fruit salad to share which really is enough to fill you on its own. We came here before our day out on the bikes with Yummy Pedals, so again, fuelled, ready for action and fortunately another big recommendation for quality and Greek authenticity.
The Best Gyros – Souvlaki Story
We take back everything we said! But we challenge you to go to Mykonos, or in fact any part of Greece and not indulge in a gyros or two. These wraps filled to the brim with lamb, beef, french fries and salad are the classic Greek fast food and we had to check out whether London’s interpretation of them does it any kind of justice… it definitely does not. Souvlaki Story has a few branches within the narrow streets of Mykonos town, but it was this restaurant as part of Fabrica food mall that was rather too conveniently just a few minutes walk from our apartment. We made it our first stop when we arrived mid afternoon and despite being easily able to find a cheaper version of these elsewhere (Saki’s Grill House is about half the price), this was definitely not only bigger, but better too and more than worth €8 or so.
The Best Dinner – To Maereio
It was third time lucky for us getting into To Maereio – the first two nights we were asked to wait outside for 45-60 minutes for a table to become free. We’re normally happy to wait for good food but on night one there was a football match imminent, on night two we were far to hangry to be waiting around, but on our third and final night, we quickly snapped up the one and only outdoor table, people watched the streams of tourists pass by and were joined by the incredibly well behaved Jennifer the cat (named by Jessica). The local tabby plomped herself down next to us and watched our every move, welcomed our undivided attention and was certainly not camera shy.
To Maereio is a cosy but bustling restaurant serving up local favourite dishes, not only enjoyed by tourists but the natives too. Owned by twin brothers (we thought the same guy just changed his shirt mid-way through service until the very end), it prides itself on closely guarded secrets and an intentionally vague menu so you never know exactly what you’re eating. However, once you’ve found this restaurant that even Google Maps finds difficult to navigate, you will be safe in the knowledge that you’ll be enjoying the best quality meat and vegetables that Mykonos has to offer.
A strong recommendation goes to the ‘Panful’ – pork tenderloin with feta cheese, onion, sun-dried tomato, green pepper and lemon juice. It’s a hearty and healthy dish packed with flavour and complimented outstandingly by the house white which we shared a carafe of. However, number one memory of this truly great restaurant is Sagnaki with mushrooms. It’s made of two fried cheeses, and then baked with peppers, tomatoes and mushrooms. The below picture probably says it all – dreamy. Cheesy dreams. The best kind of dreams.
We hope you found the above recommendations useful and it proves that you don’t need to go to Mykonos with heaps of cash to enjoy it. €65 at To Maereio was the most we spent on a meal and considering we had three courses and a carafe of wine, doesn’t make it too bad at all in our opinion.
We’d actually lean towards going against our usual advice of doing your research (other than this post, obvs) as all this will do is try and convince you that Mykonos is exclusive to the rich and famous. Don’t be surprised if you bump into celebs if you’re there, but it’s also full of hidden gems that have almost zero online presence, but are emblemed by authentic, quality flavours and ingredients that Greece is famous for. Spend your first day seeking out these kinds of places and make note of where they are and what they are near – you might never be so lucky to stumble across them again.
Have you been to Mykonos? If you have any other recommendations, whether they be a cheap eat or fine dining, let us know in the comments below!