Rhodes is the island of the sun, having over 300 days of sun annually.  The Mediterranean diet is in full force here, with the olive tree being cultivated since ancient times. There are citrus trees and vineyards, beautiful wildflowers everywhere, and an array of wild herbs and greens growing out of the fertile Rhodian soil. I fell in love with this Mediterranean island after visiting my sister there when she studied abroad. Rhodes is packed with tourists from April to September, which can make finding traditional foods a bit difficult. I realized this when I first walked around Rhodes town, the main city on the northernmost tip of the island. Most of the restaurants had huge signs in front with pictures of all the traditional Greek foods. There are promoters trying to sway you into their restaurants with offers and deals. These places are known for serving week-old overpriced Moussaka to tourists who didn’t know better. If any restaurant had these characteristics, I wasn’t going to eat there. 

Ladiko Bay Rhodes

Ladiko Bay, Rhodes

[gap height=”20″]Greek Hospitality with an Egyptian Twist

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Falafel George and Maria's

Falafel Platter

Luckily my sister had stayed on the island for an extended period of time and she had discovered some local amazing food to share with me. Because of her being vegan, she was always looking for places with awesome vegan options. The best by far was her favorite place in Rhodes town, George and Maria’s Art of Falafel. This extremely hospitable couple brings a not-so Greek recipe to Rhodes. They fry their bright green falafel in extra virgin olive oil! It gets really browned and crisp on the outside and has tons of fresh herbs in the filling. All of their food is delicious and I would order anything they recommended. 
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Lahmajun

Sultan's Plate

Sultan’s Beef

Rhodes

Horiatiki Salata

George lived in Egypt and learned about good falafel there. My sister and I always get the falafel pita for about 3 euros, which comes with three falafel, lettuce, tomato, onion, stewed beans, and tahini sauce. This tahini sauce is extremely addicting and you find yourself putting it on each new bite of the pita. My sister and her roommates nicknamed it crack sauce” because it was that addicting to them. The owner George told me he has been perfecting the falafel recipe for 20 years. This is the kind of care that goes into all of George and Maria’s food. They have homemade traditional Greek dishes daily, as well as local seafood that George catches himself. During the offseason, he’s a fisherman!  On the walls of the restaurant, there are pictures of him with his catches, all very impressive. I could see his pride as he showed me the pictures and offered to make me his octopus stew. 
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Art of Falafel’s Facebook Page

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Half-day Trip on the Island

One of my favorite things to do for a small trip on the island is to go into the mountains and go wine tasting in the village of Embona. It is a small village located on the side of the largest peak in Rhodes, at an altitude of about 700 meters. The drive up here has beautiful winding roads through forests, along cliff sides, and through grape vineyards. The smooth barren peak of Attavyros looms above you. The families of this village are dedicated to wine production. There are several areas set up outside where the wineries let you try all of their own products.
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Attavyros

Mt. Attavyros

Embona, Rhodes

Wine Tasting in Embona

You start with their homemade bread and homegrown olives. Dip the bread in their locally produced extra virgin olive oil. They have their own cheese and vegetables as well. While snacking on this you can try about 10 of their own production wines. From extremely sweet dessert wines to very dry wines you will be amazed at the variety of flavors these Rhodian wines present you. These families are very friendly and very proud of their products. They sell honey, herbs, wine, olive oil, souma (Rhodian aperitif like ouzo), olives, and many other homemade local Rhodian products. These are some of the best gifts you can get for your friends back home because they can taste traditional products of Greece that keep well without refrigeration. You should check beforehand how much wine is allowed to bring home on the plane with you. 
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More Info on Rhodian Wine Country

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Traditional Greek Food in Rhodes Town

 

If you’re looking for delicious traditional Greek food in Rhodes town with a beautiful setting and good prices, Mezes is the place. It’s right across from the main beach, and there are tables outside. At night there’s sometimes live music but the atmosphere is always nice. Lots of locals go here, as well as tourists. I recommend ordering lots of plates to share. There is an offer for 6 small plates and a 100 ml bottle of ouzo, souma, tsipouro, or raki for an extremely reasonable price. It includes 3 meat, or seafood plates, along with 3 other random meze plates based on what’s fresh. Their seafood is always fresh. For homemade specialties, I would order anything from the plates of the day. I love the soutzoukakia (sausage-shaped spiced meatballs), moussaka, and stifado. Their homemade foods taste like your Greek grandma would make.