The Maistrali hotel offers a hearty breakfast made with local products, while a variety of restaurants and tavernas both near and far serve the best of Zante's cuisine. From the hotel you can walk down to Amboula Beach where traditional seaside tavernas offer excellent salads, main dishes and seafood, appealing to both vegetarians and meat eaters alike.
The island of Zakynthos, after all, has been blessed with a variety of locally grown products and ingredients thanks to its superb climate. Of course all the Greek favorites can be served in the island's restaurants, from the garlic-yoghurt Tzatziki dip to the eggplant Moussaka. Yet those who want even more local fare might come across a variety of special dishes that Zakynthos is known for.
One of these is the delicious stew called Stifado made with either rabbit or beef, and another is the lamb stew called Kleftiko. Definitely worth trying is the local cheese called Ladotiri, which incorporates cold pressed olive oil in the recipe. You might also come across a rare yet delicious homemade dish called Skordostoupi, made from eggplant and plenty of garlic. The main 'national' dish of the island could be the delicious Sartsa, a stew of beef or lamb cooked with tomato, garlic, Ladotiri, oregano and olive oil.
Many recipes on the island use hearty amounts of olive oil, thanks to the olive's excellent quality here. Indeed, there's some really excellent olive oil throughout the island, including organic varieties such as that of the Organic Olive Oil Factory of Mr. Eleftherios Vourtsis in Kallipado.
Seafood lovers will revel in the choice of fresh Mediterranean favorites such as red mullet, fresh sardine, swordfish, sea bass, red sea bream, octopus, lobster and prawn. Always ask the restaurant what's the fresh catch of the day rather than insisting on order a specific type of fish.
On the sweeter side try the local Greek yoghurt topped with honey, and buy some of the delicious sesame bars (pasteli) or chewy nougat almond bars (mandolato). The island is also known for its sweet, nutritious currants and raisins that feature in many breads and biscuits. Buy yourself a bag or two of these to create your own superb creations back home.
If you're a wine enthusiast you must try the wines of the island. Made from local grapes, Zante's wine has an intriguing flavor thanks to the unique climatic conditions and soil characteristics. The Verdea white wine has become very popular all over Greece and should put a smile on your face, while the often organic red wine made with the Augustiatis variety of grapes is also a pleasure for the wine connoisseur. For more on wine visit the Traditional Wine Factory Museum of the Callinico Winery in Kallipado.
For good advice, ask the friendly staff and owners of the Maistrali to help you pick a local restaurant that appeals to your palate, or be adventurous and discover the secrets of Zakynthian cuisine by yourself. By all means take some olive oil, rich honey and mouthwatering sweets home with you.
For lunch or dinner, or something to grab we recommend the best spots to feed your appetite in Zakynthos Island!