On the road from Chora with direction to Kastraki Axiotissa taverna lies on the 18th km of Naxos – Alykos regional road.
The taverna has a sunny yard that is protected under the shadow of a series of densely foliaged trees. We are instantly embraced by a pleasant and funky ambiance, the effect of the refreshing colours used in the recent renovation of the taverna.
The tables around us are occupied by taverna devotees feasting on the goodies served while enjoying the much treasured relationship they have developed with Sofia and Giannis Vassilas. Besides, this has been the couple’s aspiration when back in 2000 they decided to build their dream at the vegetable garden that Giannis had gotten from his father. The couple’s wish was threefold: create a taverna which would serve elaborate local dishes, build trusting relationships with their customers and enjoy the quality that life away from the city’s intense rhythms has to offer. Giannis lived for a while in the Unites States and in Canada. It was there when at the age of 20, working next to passionate chefs, that he acquired his first gastronomic experiences.
Sofia and Giannis exhibit an untiring persistence on the use of local produce; this is what best characterizes their work. As a proof, the vegetables grown in their garden are mostly utilized in the dishes offered in the taverna.
The menu is long and impressive. The welcome drink, home-made lemonade with honey and verbena, is a cherished companion on the difficult, if I may say, journey to decide what to order and what not to and to make the right combinations as dictated by the palate. Once set, you are ready to embark on a journey of pure culinary delight.
From the starters, we singled out the barley rusks with local xynomyzithra (dakos salad), the cheese pie with figs in home-made phyllo, the roasted figs with xynomyzithra and kopanisti (a soft fermented cheese with a piquant taste) on toasted bread, the green fried tomatoes, the fried gumbo served with yoghurt sauce, the taboule with organic bulgur, spring onions, parsley, pine nuts, tomato and cucumber.
From the main courses, local meat – veal, goat, pork- is cooked in every possible way with the help of both traditional or slightly altered recipes – using herbs but mostly rosemary and throumbi (aromatic plant growing on the islands which resembles to oregano and thyme) which leave their stamp of the flavour of the dish.
Among the hits of the taverna is the goat baked on paper, as well as all the Greek style burgers served. The rosto cooked with goats raised on the village of Apeiranthos, which is served with thick-cut perfectly cooked potatoes from Naxos, known for their sweet taste, is just impeccable! Fish is also served but what you will eat depends on what local fishermen have caught!
Axiotissa has its own unique profile; it’s the ultimate gastronomic experience on the island of Naxos.