Diva #1 is Greek, in Montreal that is associated with being obnoxious, overly patriotic, most often than not from Laval, and of a group of people that usually only associate with each other, often by calling one another malaka or re. For Diva #1, going to Greece is not about being forced to visit distant relatives, it’s an emotional trip. Going to Greece is almost like going home…
In the last few years Diva#1’s father and grandparents have left Montreal and moved back to Greece. As sad as that is, at least they moved to Naxos, the largest island in the Cyclades, and a pretty fabulous vacation spot! Naxos is known for its gorgeous beaches, fertile land, and deep history and culture. In Naxos, Diva #1 is from Apeiranthos, a mountainous village at the slope of Mount Fanari where you would not realize that you are in fact on an island. Apeiranthos is the cultural hub of Naxos, and tightly associated with Moutsouna, its port on the eastern coast of the island.
Moutsouna, and the entire south eastern coast of Naxos is truly the unspoiled side of Naxos. Only in the last few years have they fixed the once treacherous road to this part of the island. They recently started promoting tourism in this quieter area. This fisherman’s village is peaceful, even in August, the height of tourism in Greece. This is exactly what we love about Naxos, you can spend one day right in the hustle and bustle at one end of the island, with barely any room to lay out your towel, and the next day at an almost secluded beach.
You access Moutsouna beach by a road through Apeiranthos village, and past Moutsouna beach is Psili Ammos beach (translated to mean fine sand), and at thevery end, the more popular Panormos beach. Panermos beach is known for its warm water because it is isolated in a cove, and lack of wind, which is a rarity in the windy Cyclades. A car is necessary to access this part of the island, public transportation is at a minimum, but we assure you that this is the most beautiful part of Naxos is worth the expense of a car.
We love Naxos and we’ve visited this island enough times to consider ourselves experts of the area. With our love of Naxos comes a love of Ostria Inn. Located right in front of sandy Moutsouna beach, Ostria Inn provides you with a slice of paradise. Though we have never stayed at the inn, this is our favourite restaurant on Naxos island, and no trip is complete without multiple visits to this wonderful eatery. It is the perfect fusion of Greek fish tavern, coupled with classic Greek dishes, but with a wonderful modern flair.
With a beautiful view of the Aegean Sea, the modern inn has two gorgeous terraces where you can enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner. They have beach chairs and umbrellas right on the small beach, and an infinity pool behind the inn for those so inclined. A very modern resort, it’s not what you would expect in a traditional Greek village. A perfect day starts with a freddo cappuccino or himo (freshly squeezed orange juice), enjoyed while lying on Ostria Inn’s beach chairs until lunch, where we walk the 10 steps to their restaurant.
The fish is caught from Naxos and Koufounisi islands, the fertile lands of Naxos ensure that most of Ostria Inn’s ingredients are locally sourced, and their dishes include a few local specialties. Vegetables come from their very own garden, and the olive oil is produced locally, as the family who owns and runs Ostria Inn has their own olive trees which they harvest. This restaurant is the perfect depiction of Naxos, there is no better or more authentic place to dine on the island.
We told ourselves that we wouldn’t review restaurants in Greece, and simply enjoy our vacation but we had to tell you all about Ostria Inn. We started every meal with a fabulous little amuse bouche, and we ate there three times in three weeks. Greece is known for its grilled octopus, delving from the norm Ostria Inn provides two different octopus dishes. The octopus carpaccio being the most unique of the two, but we’re partial to their boiled octopus.
Octopus carpaccio is thinly sliced, razor thin actually, and at Ostria Inn it is a generous portion laid out on a plate with red peppercorns for a spicy little kick. A drizzle of olive oil, and fresh parsley add to this simple dish. The octopus tastes like the sea, and is very different from the traditional grilled octopus that you can enjoy at various fish taverns throughout Naxos. The fact that you can eat the octopus raw speaks for the freshness of the octopus.
Ostria Inn also serves pickled octopus, which was our favourite dish of the two! Traditionally the octopus is boiled in a vinegar sauce until it is somewhat pickled. What we loved about this dish was that it was not too vinegary, often pickled octopus has been soaked in the vinegar for too long and it dominates the taste of this delicate seafood. Ostria Inn boiled the octopus to perfection, with a few more red peppercorns, some Naxian seaweed-like greens and of course, olive oil. The octopus was very tasty and different enough from the octopus carpaccio that you should order both!
Greece is known for its thyme honey, as well as its feta cheese. We adored the feta cheese wrapped in phyllo dough and baked to perfection until the cheese is oozing out of the crispy phyllo. This baked feta cheese in phyllo dough was then topped with thyme honey and black sesame seeds for that a perfect sweet n’ salty flavour. This dish can be both an appetizer or dessert!
The Naxian beef carpaccio is another favourite of ours, thinly sliced red meat that is from free range Naxian cows was also full of flavour. You can see the perfect marble lines of fat in the picture. It was served with cheese few slices of Naxian village cheese. We enjoyed this appetizer with mussels in a creamy Naxian feta sauce. The mussels are huge in Greece and much more flavourful than the small mussels that we get in Montreal that simply take on the taste of the sauce. In Greece, the mussels have a unique taste all their own and the sauce simply compliments them. But this dish is all about the sauce, make sure that you order bread so that you don’t waste any of the leftover sauce!
Another one of our favourite appetizers is their tiropites. These cheese pies are traditionally made with feta and wrapped in phyllo or regular dough and then baked. At Ostria Inn the cheese pies are stuffed with a local potent cheese from Apeiranthos. We assure you that you will no longer be able to eat regular tiropites again, at least without dreaming of these! They even provided a light yogurt cheese sauce for dipping the tiropites in, adding to the decadence of the appetizer.
If Naxos is known for its fertile land, and its abundance of fruits and vegetables, it is most famous for its potatoes. There is nothing like French fries in Greece, and that is even more true in Naxos. The composition of the Naxian soil makes for very tasty potatoes that are known throughout Greece. They make for the best golden French fries, especially because they’re cooked in olive oil, and we assure you that no ketchup or mayo is needed to enjoy these fries.
On one of our visits we ordered the seafood linguine in a fresh tomato sauce. Clams, mussels, scallops and shrimp were tossed with linguine that was cooked perfectly al dente in a light tomato sauce with basil. There was plenty of seafood and the sauce did not overpower its taste, it was the perfect summer dish to enjoy in a village known for its seafood.
Our biggest surprise was the mushrooms risotto with truffle oil and parmesan flakes. Clearly Italian, we were curious and gave it a try. The first thing that we noticed was the large portion that arrived before us. The second thing that we noticed was the abundance of large chunky mushrooms and truffle oil in the dish. They did not skimp out on mushrooms or truffle oil and though we were ready to burst, we licked the plate clean. Easily the best mushroom risotto that we have ever had!
Of course, when in Greece, you order the fish! At Ostria Inn when you choose to order fish you’re taken to their fish fridge where you choose the fish based on the catch of the day. We opted for the barbounia (red mullet), a fish that is traditionally lightly floured and pan fried to perfection. Barbounia is a small fish, so you usually eat about three per person. Known for its many little bones, you have to work for this fish, but the taste is worth it.
On another visit, we also had the tsipoura, a traditionally Greek fish that is known as sea bream or dorade, depending on where you buy it. This whole fish isn’t very expensive, often grilled or oven baked. At Ostria Inn this grilled fresh is topped with plenty of fresh lemon juice for a refreshing flavour that paired well with the accompanied grilled vegetables.
And if you would like the perfect side dish to your meat or fish, you must order their vegetable mille feuille which will make any fussy child devour their veggies. Eggplant and zucchini is thinly cut and perfect layered in a mille feuille. Topped with a cream sauce that is made with more of our favourite local cheese from Apeiranthos, each bite was heavenly.
Have we gushed enough about our favourite restaurant on Naxos Island? When you finally go on that Greek island adventure that you have been putting off, go to Naxos, rent a car, and go to Moutsouna on the unspoiled side of Naxos, and eat at Ostria Inn. We promise that you’ll dine there more than once!
Our Rating: Always on Thursday
Tagged: Apeiranthos cheese, Apeiranthos Naxos, Beef Carpaccio, Cyclades, Fish, Greece, Greek Restaurant, Moutsouna, Moutsouna hotel, Moutsouna Paralia, Mushroom Risotto, Mussels, Naxos 843 02, Naxos Hotel, Naxos restaurant, Octopus, Ostria Inn, Ostria Inn Moutsouna, Ostria Inn Naxos, Vegetable Mille Feuille