Varoulko (Athens; tel. 210/522-8400)
In its new Athens location, with a menu that adds tasty meat dishes to its signature seafood, Varoulko continues to win plaudits. Everything here is so good that many Athenians believe chef/owner Lefteris Lazarou serves not only the finest seafood in Athens, but some of the best food in all of Greece.
Vlassis (Athens; tel. 210/646-3060)
This small restaurant with a loyal following (ranging from prominent ambassadors to struggling artists) serves traditional (paradisiako) Greek cooking at its very best. A tempting choice if you have only 1 night in Athens -- but be sure to make a reservation.
Fish Taverna Takis To Limeni (Limeni, Mani, Peloponnese; tel. 27330/51-327)
Visitors to Greece dream of finding the perfect open-air fish taverna perched by the sea serving fish that were swimming in the sea earlier the same day. Here it is -- with some of the fish still swimming in the underwater storage cages they're plopped into from the fishing boats. Everything here is fresh and delicious.
Selene (Santorini, Cyclades; tel. 22860/22-249)
The best restaurant on an island with lots of good places to eat, Selene is one of the finest restaurants in all Greece. The reason: Owner George Haziyannakis constantly experiments with local produce to turn out innovative versions of traditional dishes. Inside, the dining room is elegant, while the terrace has a wonderful view over the caldera.
Brillant Gourmet (Iraklion, Crete; tel. 2810/334-959)
Only opened in 2007, this restaurant immediately positioned itself as the most stylish restaurant on Crete, with food and wine to match its decor. Admittedly, it's a restaurant for special treats or occasions, but it's worth inventing one for yourself at least once during your trip to Greece.
Mavrikos (Lindos, Rhodes); tel. 22440/31-232)
Don't be fooled by its location at the crossroads of tourists and its moderate prices -- this 70-year-old family restaurant serves some of the most elegant and innovative dishes in all of Greece.
Petrino (Kos, Dodecanese; tel. 22420/27-251)
When royalty come to Kos, this is where they dine. Housed in an exquisitely restored, two-story, century-old stone (petrino) private residence, this is hands down the most elegant taverna in Kos, with cuisine to match. This is what Greek home cooking would be if your mother were part divine.
Venetian Well (Corfu, Ionian Islands; tel. 26610/44-761)
A bit severe in its setting at the edge of a small enclosed square in Corfu town, with no attempt at the picturesque, this restaurant gets by on its more esoteric, international, and delicate menu. It's for those seeking a break from the standard Greek scene.
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