For some time now I’ve been wanting to add reviews on the blog of some of the great places we get to try around Rhodes and on our travels. Partly to share the places worth going back to, the stories behind the people who produce the food and help small local businesses. This then is the first restaurant review on the blog, I hope it inspires you to visit and enjoy the wonderful tastes of Greece.
We’ve been coming here for years now and so have many of our friends. I’ve always been surprised at how quiet it can be at this end of the island. The beach is never crowded and there’s always lots of space to sit in the taverna. In a way, it’s one of the reasons we love the place and one of the reasons we want to share it with you.
Another reason is that Anastasia and many other taverna owners on the island are struggling today. The continuing financial crisis alongside the rise of the all-inclusive hotel chains has really hit local businesses hard. The numbers of visitors to Greece and the island has risen in recent years, but the amount those visitors spend has gone down. While you here, with a healthy cuisine that’s been developed down the generations, you don’t need to hide out in your resort, go and see what the local tavernas have to offer.
Added to that earlier this year Anastasia’s husband was diagnosed with cancer, her daughter is in Athens supporting her husband, yet she is still there in the kitchen every day. The food is still cooked with love but she needs to keep working to make sure that her husband can get the care he needs. So this first review is also a plea to my readers. Go and enjoy wonderful food and help a local family who really need it right now.
Antonis is a hidden gem on the beach in Gennadi that has been serving up fresh local seafood for nearly 40 years. Open all year and every day except Christmas day, Antastasia Kallistou and her family love food and love the joy on people’s faces when they’ve given them something truly delicious to eat.
A simple structure on the beach with a large shaded terrace hides an artist and crafter. Each year Anastasia changes the decoration slightly, her mural on the end wall is a real work of love. All of it is done using recycled materials of mainly wood and shells collected from the beach. In the cooler months, on quieter days, you can usually catch her making something new.
Anastasia started out waiting tables while her mother cooked. Now she cooks helped by her son Georgios while her daughter Eugenia and Son Antonis serve the tables. Located right on the beach in southern Rhodes local fishermen bring their fresh catch straight to the taverna daily. Then Anastasia works her magic.
We’ve eaten at Antonis many times and never been disappointed with the food. The quality of the fish is excellent and it’s cooked in a sympathetic and simple way that leaves the fish as the star of the dish. From grilled sea-bass with simple herbs and oil to calamari and pligouri, it’s Greek home cooking at it’s best. Seasonal salads where the vegetables are fresh and tomatoes that taste as if they were picked ripe off the vine that morning.
Most meals here start with a basket of fresh bread and a salad the traditional Greek salad here was wonderful or you could try Politiki salad (Πολίτικη σαλάτα), a lightly pickled cabbage mix that complemented the fresh warm beetroot (παντζάρια) with garlic and olive oil.
We savoured small sardines or little fish fried simply in olive oil, garlic and oregano. Then there were the best Symi shrimps I’ve ever had slightly larger than I’ve seen in most places and full of flavour.
One of my favourite dishes at Antonis is the ink fish pasta, you know that this taverna cooks fresh and local because the dish isn’t always available. My luck was in recently when we were served ribbons of fresh pasta and strips of squid (καλαμάρι) all cooked in a black squid ink sauce. It was seasoned perfectly with a sprinkling of parmesan, a little chopped tomato and some fresh parsley.
Another wonderful dish Anastasia makes is muscles with pligouri (πλιγούρι) Greek bulgar, infused with the flavours of the sea each mouthful was a treat for our taste buds.
Then there is grilled fish. Choose your from the display of fish freshly caught that day and have it cooked the way you like, or trust Anastasia to add just the right herbs and vegetables to compliment it perfectly.
Local wine in a carafe, bottled beers and the normal soft drinks are more than enough to compliment a meal here. Later in the day an ouzo with some little fish watching beach life go by is a perfect combination.
The cost of a meal with a selection of seafood and drinks came out at €25 per person.
What you won’t get here is staff standing over you or rushing to move your chair. It’s not fine dining either.
You will get wooden tables and chairs next to the beach with a view of the sea. A simple white paper table cloth with a blue map of the island on it. Basic white plates and paper napkins.
Not forgetting the wonderful local olive oil and vinegar that are on every good Greek table.
Don’t expect your food to arrive too quickly this isn’t a fast food cafe. Eating in Greece should not be rushed, sit down with friends, have a drink and take your time.
Do expect a warm welcome from Anastasia and her family, come more than once and you’ll become a part of the family. There is a good menu with plenty of dishes to choose from and a few things for non-fish eaters. My advice is to ask what is best that day and you won’t be disappointed. At times there may be some confusion over language but that just adds to the joy of the place.
Crystal clear waters and colourful pebbles are the highlights of the beach at Gennadi where a gentle slope takes you into the water. If you’ve got sandcastle making in mind, further up the beach towards the taverna, you’ll also find dark almost black sand.
The taverna has a few umbrellas and sunbeds for hire along with benches and tables the family have made from pallets. You can rent one sunbed with an umbrella for €3 or two is €6 for the whole day (make sure you keep hold of your receipt in case the tax inspector comes around).
There’s nothing crowded about the beach here, with plenty of space between the beds, it almost felt like we had the beach to ourselves. It is busiest on Sundays when Greeks from Rhodes town head south to the beach for the day.
There was also plenty of room on the beach to just bring your own mat and towel.
Getting there: 61km south of Rhodes Town about an hours drive. Take the turning to the beach in the centre of Gennadi by the pharmacy, Antonis is at the end of that road on the right.
Contact: Antonis Fish Restaurant, Gennadi 85109, South Rhodes. Tel: +30 22440 45124 Mob: +30 6943 687566 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and add a review on TripAdvisor
Have you been to Antonis? Would you like to see more reviews of tavernas and restaurants on the blog? If you enjoyed this post and found it useful please comment and share. Thank you