If you’ve been to Greece (or even a good Greek restaurant), you know they know their food. And Chania restaurants on the island of Crete are no exception.
From juicy, ripe tomatoes adorned with blocks of creamy feta, to pillowy tzatziki sauce accompanied by crunchy bread, and tender lamb that melts in your mouth. Hungry yet?
Plus, the portion sizes are insane! And that’s coming from someone who is forced to frequent The Cheesecake Factory due to her husband’s addiction to the Godiva chocolate cheesecake.
Even better, they often give you free food. Like a snack to accompany your drink. Or an appetizer BEFORE your appetizer comes.
And let’s not forget the after-dinner liquor paired with a sweet treat. Are you listening, U.S. restaurants? Because you could take a page out of Greece’s book.
Best Chania Restaurants & Wine Bars
If you’re a foodie who also happens to be a wine lover, the Chania area of Crete is a must-visit. Not only are there some excellent wineries where you can experience Crete’s up-and-coming wine, but there are also some great restaurants and bars that cater to oenophiles.
Here are my recommendations for ones you should put on your travel itinerary.
BTW, don’t miss my post on the best Santorini wine restaurants if you’re planning on island hopping during your trip. And if you haven’t yet, make sure to grab my free Wine Tasting Planner. It has 20+ wine night theme ideas, including the exact ones I’ve used for my wine tastings. Plus, a timeline, food pairings, games, free printables, worksheets, and more. Get your copy here.
Manousakis Wine Dinner
In my post on Chania wineries, I mentioned Manousakis Winery has a reputation for being one of the best wineries on Crete. Well, this reputation is not just based on their wine, but also the delicious local dishes they make in their restaurant to pair with their Nostos label.
Their restaurant is open for lunch and dinner during the summer season (make sure to book on their website in advance). But for all you honeymooners and lovebirds, I recommend the Wine Dinner Under the Stars through Chania Wine Tours.
Anna Maria (or her husband Vasilis) picks you up right at your hotel and drives you there so you don’t have to worry about driving back after having unlimited (yes, unlimited!) wine with your dinner.
Along the way, you’ll learn all about the history of Crete wine and where the industry is today. Then you’ll get a VIP after-hours tour of the winery with insider stories about the Manousakis family.
The meal is served on their outdoor terrace, surrounded by blooming flowers, a canopy of grape vines, and twinkling lights. I mean, you can’t get much more romantic than this, people.
You’ll first get to try their white wines and choose one to pair with your appetizer courses. We tasted the 100% Roussanne (a rare find anywhere in the wine world) and the Muscat of Spinas.
Our apps were plentiful, starting with a fresh Cretan salad. This was followed by dolmades — savory vine leaves stuffed with rice and herbs and served with a healthy dollop of fluffy tzatziki. And then crispy herb, spinach, and cheese pies — called kaltsounia.
Before the main, you’ll taste several of Manousakis’ red wines. Ours included the single varietal Grenache, the Nostos Alexandra (a Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre blend), and the Nostos Blend (similar to Alexandra but with the addition of Roussane).
All of these went fantastically with the Giouvetsi we had — a beef and orzo pasta dish slow-cooked in tomato sauce. It was hard to choose my favorite wine!
The cherry on top of the meal was the mini baklava — flaky, nutty, and rich.
Along the way, you may start to wonder if there is a bottom to your glass as there always seems to be more wine no matter how many sips you take.
Oinóa Wine Restaurant
Our trip to Greece was a COVID-postponed honeymoon, so we chose to celebrate our one-year anniversary at the romantic Oinóa Wine Restaurant. It’s located at the edge of Chania’s old town next to the San Salvador fortress.
Oinóa is one of the best restaurants in Chania, with a 5 rating on TripAdvisor. Contact them early enough and you too can score the corner table on their second-floor roof deck with the best view of the sunset. Just be sure to email (wine&[email protected]) or call at least a few weeks in advance (or more in busy season).
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The menu includes dishes from throughout Crete and Greece. Highlights include foie gras with pickled beetroot and poached pear, beef carpaccio, lamb tenderloin, Black Angus ribeye, and seabass filet.
They have an extensive wine list and our server was very helpful with making recommendations based on what we planned to order.
Our complimentary starter was a soft smoked salmon cheese with crusty bread. This paired nicely with our celebratory glass of sparkling rosé. The creamy bubbles and crisp acidity also went well with our tuna tartare appetizer (and the glowing sunset).
For the main, I had the lamb tenderloin with au gratin potatoes and seasonal vegetables. This was unlike any lamb I’ve had before — so juicy and tender.
And it was made even better with the single varietal Mavroudi, a red wine organically produced by Anatolikos Vineyards in Northeast Greece.
If you go, make sure to save room for dessert. I was stuffed but managed to fit in a few bites (okay, more than a few) of the chocolate molten cake.
Kritamon Wine Restaurant
Like many tourist destinations, the Chania old town restaurants with the best views don’t necessarily have the best food. And they can be overpriced.
But a few streets back from the Venetian Harbor, you’ll find a hidden gem among the narrow cobblestoned streets.
Kritamon Wine Restaurant focuses on Cretan flavors with Mediterranean influences. The wine list is impressive, with a good selection of local and non-local options. And their secluded courtyard is a breath of fresh air from the busy surrounding streets.
I have to say, this was one of, if not my favorite meal of the trip.
Our starter was the seabass carpaccio, and it didn’t disappoint. It was bathed in a lemony sauce and topped with fresh green onions and zesty capers. I could’ve eaten the whole thing on my own.
For the main, I had never seen rooster on a menu before, so I decided to be adventurous and order the rooster in red wine sauce. I mean, you can’t go wrong with anything cooked in wine, right?
Well, let me tell you…
This. Is. The. Best. Chicken. I. Have. Ever. Had. Period.
It was fall-off-the-bone tender and the sauce was out of this world. If that was my last meal, I could die happy.
And what’s a red wine sauce without red wine? Since we weren’t able to fit in a visit to Karavitakis Winery, we enjoyed a bottle of their 3 Klimatas wine with our meal. It’s a blend of Sangiovese, Merlot, and Cabernet with notes of black cherry, blackcurrant, and vanilla.
I did make the mistake of “accidentally” dropping some of my food next to the resident kitty. I instantly gained a new best friend who didn’t leave my side until our plates were cleared. So, a word to the wise, if you decide to feed the cat, maybe wait until the end of your meal.
The Five Restaurant
Anna Maria from Chania Wine Tours turned us on to The Five Restaurant, a casual ocean-front eatery. It’s a great sunset spot. Or you can enjoy your dinner by candlelight while watching the gently rocking boats in the harbor.
The menu is meze style, meaning small(ish) plates to share — although let me remind you that no plates are small in Greece. We probably overordered but there were too many things that looked good.
Their sommelier-selected wine list has plenty of local and international options. They even have beers from Greek microbreweries if you’re into that.
It was here that I discovered my love for the salty, herbal condiment that is olive tapenade. The Five’s version is made with lavender and served with fresh bread.
Next, we had the ceviche and the grilled sardine bruschetta. A warning — I did not realize the ceviche was going to be spicy. But it was so good that I managed to pick around the peppers and ignore my burning mouth.
I’m not a big calamari fan but my husband, being dubbed the “Octopus Man,” of course ordered it. It was grilled and rolled, kind of like a sushi roll. And then you got fried bits with the tentacles.
Finally, I had to try the Fisherman’s Pasta since Anna Maria said it’s the meal she still dreams about for days after having it. The pappardelle pasta was loaded with shrimp, mussels, and sea urchin and mixed with saffron and a creamy cheese sauce. I’ll just say it lived up to its hype.
If you eat too much (like I did), you can stroll along the beach or walk the pier after your meal while you digest all of the deliciousness.
La Bodega Chania Wine Bar
When the heat and the crowds of Chania’s old town get to be too much, La Bodega is the best watering hole on the Venetian Harbor for any wine lover.
The menu has a great selection of Greek wines organized by flavor profile. Snag a waterfront table and order a glass for unbeatable views of the harbor (and pretty good people watching if you’re into that).
Our beverages came with a complimentary plate of sliced fresh fruit to snack on. Or if you want something more substantial, try the Cretan cheese tarts, crab croquettes, or a charcuterie and cheese board.
La Bodega is also a great option for dinner. Just be sure to make a reservation in advance or be prepared to wait.
This charming deli slash bakery slash wine shop is just off the main walkway surrounding Chania’s Venetian Harbor.
With so many options to choose from, you could spend your day at Pallas Philocaly. Have your coffee and one of their decadent pastries in the morning. Then pop back later for all your charcuterie and wine needs.
They have a treasure trove of wine in their cellar. Just ask about the sommelier-led wine tasting experience.
Or if you’re planning a picnic, this would be a great place to grab a spread of meats, cheeses, and wine.
Where to Stay in Chania, Crete
There are lots of great hotel options in downtown Chania within walking distance of these restaurants and bars. If you stay in the Old Town area, just be aware that you may need to take your bags on foot some distance as there are roads that don’t allow cars.
For hotel reservations, I like to use Booking.com. Just enter “Chania, Crete” and select your dates below to see available options.
Recommendations may be affiliate links on which I earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. This helps me share new wine destinations with you and I only recommend products and services that I love and think you’ll love too!
What’s your favorite wine bar or restaurant?
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