Explore the best restaurants in Hydra, Greece, the car-free island just two hours from Athens, with this guide to the island’s top places to eat and drink, from traditional taverns to fine-dining restaurants.
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Just a couple of hours by ferry from Athens, the Greek island of Hydra is a popular spot for a day trip or weekend escape. It’s known for its car-free streets, pretty old town, bohemian heritage and clear waters. Its popularity also means it has an unexpectedly good selection of places to eat and drink for a small island, with something for all tastes and budgets.
You can splash out on beautifully presented freshly caught fish on the water’s edge while you watch the sun set, or head into the backstreets for huge plates of tasty souvlaki and jugs of local wine at an inexpensive traditional Greek taverna.
Over our 12 days on the island we did our best to try out as many different spots as possible, eating and drinking our way around some of the best bars and restaurants in Hydra. And here’s the pick of our favourites – divided into categories for Greek and Mediterranean food, stunning views, out of the way locations and drinking spots.
15 great bars and restaurants in Hydra
For traditional Greek food: Xeri Elia Douskos
Bustling Xeri Elia – known as Douskos after the family who’ve run it for 200 years – is my top spot for traditional Greek food in Hydra (so good I went back three times). It was also a regular haunt of singer Leonard Cohen in the 1960s, who was famously pictured playing the guitar against one of the white painted trees outside the restaurant.
Douskos has a beautiful setting, with tables under a canopy of trees which covers the whole square and is hung with lights. It’s a popular place though so you might have to wait for a table at busy times, with the waiters shuttling between tables balancing trays of plates. And in summer there’s usually traditional Greek music evenings at weekends.
They specialise in simple, well-cooked Greek classics, like grilled meats, moussaka and fresh fish. Don’t miss the kleftiko – lamb and potatoes wrapped in paper and slow-cooked for hours until it falls apart. You need to get there early to bag one though as only a few are made each day. It’s good value with main courses around €8/€10 (and huge portions of kleftiko for €18) and carafes of wine straight from the barrel.
Other great traditional Greek restaurants in Hydra
Steki: This unpretentious family-run taverna is around five minutes’ walk from the port. The helpful owners are happy to talk people through the menu and give suggestions if you don’t know where to start. You’ll find authentic Greek dishes using fresh local ingredients on the menu, like veal stew, dolmades and stuffed tomatoes.
Psinesai: Psinesai is another traditional taverna, close to the port with tables along the street. Its speciality is grilled meat and fish cooked over charcoal, like souvlaki and grilled squid. And I loved their oven-baked mackerel. Local wine is available in 250ml, 500ml and litre jugs, and prices are good at €35 for two mains and a half-litre of wine.
For stunning views: Veranda Restaurant
On a hillside above the harbour, Veranda Restaurant looks out over Hydra’s rooftops, which glow orange as the sun sets. With a terrace decked with bougainvillia, fairly lights and that sunset view, it’s a romantic spot that’s popular with couples. But it’s not at all pretentious, with lovely staff who made it one of my favourite restaurants in Hydra.
We called in for sunset drinks one night and came back for dinner as it looked so good. The menu mixes Greek and Italian dishes, with grilled fish, seafood, pasta and risotto. One of the specialities is a shrimp pasta which came piled with juicy shrimp in tomato sauce.
You don’t pay too much of a premium for the location either. Prices are reasonable – sea bass was €20 and pasta dishes around €13, and they were happy for us to stay there chatting as long as we liked, and even threw in a free glass of wine.
Other Hydra restaurants with amazing locations
Sunset Restaurant: This restaurant on the ramparts which guarded the harbour has one of the best sunset locations around, with uninterrupted views of the sun sinking into the sea. It’s romantically lit with tables along the waterfront – grab one on the edge for the best views – and does sophisticated takes on Greek dishes like seafood aranchini, seabass ceviche and octopus carpaccio, with main courses costing around €20.
Omilos: Formerly known as Lagoudera and a haunt of everyone from the Beatles to the Kennedys, this upscale bistro is located in a former fuel depot near the entrance to the port. You can’t get much closer to the water, with waves crashing below the terrace, so it’s a good place for lunch so you can admire the view. Food is high-end Mediterranean, with small beautifully crafted portions, at a fairly pricey €25–30 per main course.
For Mediterranean dishes: Manna
After walking past Manna for a week and seeing its outdoor tables constantly full, we though we’d better see what the fuss was about and found tasty, well-presented Mediterranean dishes at decent prices. The restaurant is on the edge of a busy square surrounded by other restaurants and bars so there’s a buzzy atmosphere – and you’re right next to Amalour (see below) so don’t have far to go for after-dinner drinks.
You can see the chefs at work at the open kitchen, who create contemporary versions of traditional Greek taverna dishes, like our sea bass with celeriac puree and beef with mushroom sauce, both of which were beautifully plated but came in decent-sized portions so you don’t go hungry. There’s a good wine list of Greek wines too.
Prices are reasonable, with dinner for two coming in at €61, with main courses around €20 and a €21 bottle of red wine. And the chatty waiter threw in free shots of mastika.
Other recommended Mediterranean restaurants in Hydra
Il Casta: If you fancy a change from Greek food, Il Casta is an Italian-owned restaurant serving Neopolitan cuisine. It’s set down an alleyway inland from the port with a secluded private courtyard. They make their own pasta, with Italian classics like spaghetti with clams and pillowy stuffed ravioli on the menu, and wines imported from Italy.
Téchnē: Styling itself as a ‘restaurant and social’ this restaurant in a 1870s former boat factory is above Avlaki beach, a 10-minute walk from Hydra harbour. The terrace has great views out to sea where you can enjoy a cocktail (including the Cohen-inspired ‘Tribute to Leonard’). The menu changes with the seasons, with main courses like Iberico pork chops, lamb fricasse or tagliatelle with prawns and truffles at around €20–25.
Out of town: Kodylenia’s Tavern
Kodylenia’s is a popular waterside restaurant overlooking Kamini harbour, a 15-minute walk or short water taxi ride from Hydra harbour. There’s a shady terrace wrapped around the building where you can watch the boats coming and going below, with a stream of people calling in for food and drinks during the day, and a slightly more formal atmosphere in the evenings when it’s a good spot to watch the sun set over dinner.
Owner Dimitris has been running the restaurant for 25 years. Service can be a little bit hit and miss but the location and food more than make up for it. Kodylenia’s is best known for its seafood, with locally caught squid served lightly charred, shrimp cooked in a secret recipe tomato sauce and fish straight from the harbour.
They also do one of the best Greek salads I had on the island (and I tried a few) and a fisherman’s salad packed with seafood. Prices are reasonable with two main courses and a half-litre of local white wine at lunchtime costing around €30.
Other good restaurants outside Hydra town
Christina’s: Christina’s is a family-run taverna passed down through the generations, located in a whitewashed house in Kamini. It’s good value with Greek home cooking using vegetables grown in their own gardens. Think beetroot salads, stuffed peppers and fried fish. And look out for the friendly cats who gather around the terrace.
Four Seasons Hydra: You’ll find one of the island’s remotest restaurants at the Four Seasons Hydra* on Plakes beach. It’s a 45-minute walk from Hydra harbour or the resort runs a shuttle boat for €8 return. The restaurant has a gorgeous setting right on the edge of the beach surrounded by pine trees. It’s a stylish take on a traditional taverna with seafood and fish dishes. And there are sunbeds for hire if you fancy a post-lunch nap.
For drinks: Amalour
Hydra isn’t one of those Greek islands like Mykonos or Ios that’s known for its nightclubs. Instead people gather in its bars and cafés in the evenings, with DJs and dancing during the summer months and a more low-key nightlife off-season.
On the corner of a cobbled square surrounded by restaurants, the candlelit tables of Amalour are one of the most sought-after spots for a night out in Hydra. This laid-back bar starts the evening with a stream of people calling in for a pre-or post dinner drink, with Caribbean, Latin and jazz music playing and a range of tasty cocktails. And summer nights normally end with people packed onto its tiny indoor dancefloor.
Other fantastic bars in Hydra
Hydronetta Beach Bar: This bar above the Hydronetta swimming platform is a good place to spend the afternoon alternating between a drink and a dip, with tables along the cliff edge just below Sunset Restaurant. They do a good selection of cocktails and come sunset you get a fantastic view – though get there early to grab a front-row table.
Pirate Bar: Finally, Pirate Bar was our go-to spot to end the evening with a metaxa – and a cat or two. This bar on the corner of the harbour is open all day and is a great spot for people (and boat) watching. It’s been going since 1976 and is one of the island’s party hubs in summer but quieter off-season. It’s an amiable place where the staff will know your usual order after a couple of days, and has lots of lovely black cats to stroke.