Greek and Mediterranean cuisine with flavors of Kimolos

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Cycladic Dining: Great Restaurants on Kimolos

Kimolos is petite; there’s no room for error. They’ve got just the one main town – Horio (not “Hora” like on other islands), and there’s no anonymity; everyone knows what everyone else is cooking, and reputation matters. In fact, restaurants sometimes go by two names – the official name, and the name everyone calls it, which is usually the name of the owner.

The people here are proud of their island, its products, and its traditions. Kimolos’s good reputation is a community priority, and each restaurant goes about preserving it in its own way. There’s something here for every mood; below are five places to dine, each offering a unique experience.

When you go to an island, especially if you’re from a big city, you may want a traditional experience. You’ll have it at Meltemi, but not like you’re expecting. Chef Augustos Galanos creates imaginative dishes, firmly grounded in prime indigenous ingredients and authentic tastes. He’s building on a tradition; he grew up in the restaurant. After culinary school and a spell working in Athens, he came back to take the family business in a new direction, ever deeply mindful of his culinary heritage.

Like his parents, he forages for his own wild herbs; bundles of them are drying near the kitchen. Dishes are built around traditional elements of Kimolos: local cheeses, meats, produce, and fresh seafood. The platings are creative yet unpretentious; the novel combinations feel so natural you wonder why we haven’t had them before. You’d be happy to pay much more at a fine table in Athens for dishes like these.

“I want to make modern, creative Kimolian cuisine. When people think of something “gourmet” they think of cream, they think of butter. But these are not Greek tastes. In Greece, we cook with olive oil, not butter. If I want something creamy, I use xyno,” he says. The dishes, glamorous though they are, exhibit a subtlety. Chef Galanos is 24; you could expect some exuberant excesses. But all we taste is harmony, technique, and a deep love of the authentic ingredients and flavors of the island. When I ask him what his own favorite dish is, there’s no hesitation. “Kokkinisto [a tomato meat stew] – my mother’s”.