Taverna Rizinia – Zourva, Crete

After our hike through the Sarakina gorge and some more walking uphill on the main road to Zourva, we reached the Taverna Rizinia to load up on energy (food!) and water. After the 2-hour+ walk any food and thirst quenching stuff would have done, but to give it away right at the start – we hit the Taverna jackpot with this one.

Three things that make Rizinia a true gem and one of our favourite places to eat:

1. Location and view:

Forget crowded tourist places close to the sea – sit atop a mountain and look at gorgeous valleys, villages and the sea from here. Pictures speak louder than words, so here they are:

2. Food:

Cretan home cooking – if there is something like “Greek Soul Food”, this is it! Simple dishes, nothing fancy and just flavour galore. Stuffed courgette flowers? Yes, please! Pork shoulder with bell peppers in a tomato and olive oil sauce? Bring it on! Lamb chops? Oh yeah – and in a huge format please? SURE! Let us top that of with some cake and home made ice cream on the house, add some Raki and there you have your food p**n.

3. Hospitality and fun factor:

What can be said about the owners Maria and Manolis? Friendly as can be, Maria speaks English and German…Manolis is another story, he speaks a few words of English, but has a very dry sense of humour and uses his few English words hilariously. Chaos ensues when Manolis tries to bring food to the tables (with only three tables occupied) because he tends to forget who ordered what dish. Disaster in a totally charming way.

Despite knowing that we just finished the hike uphill through the gorge, Maria decided that it was a good idea to give us 15 pounds (about 8 kgs) of oranges to carry home downhill. Probably she did not think it was a big deal to carry those, because she walked back and forth from Zourva to Meskla every day to go to school when she was a kid. BUT! She also gave me a carrying stick and a paper table cover to ease stick impact on my wimpy shoulders. She saved the day, but my shoulders (both!) still hurt after the one hour trek back to Meskla.

We will definitely share more interactions with Manolis and Maria.. and of course more samplings of their food with you in the future.