Kos food: the 5 traditional dishes you must try


There are many ways to connect with a culture, none better than food. For most people out there, it remains the topic that brings them together, whatever the differences. And in Greece, that applies doubly so, with extended families and a food culture as robust as the marbles of the Parthenon. With each region having its own specialties, it’s easy to see why Greece is so culinarily lauded.

Enter Kos. The island of Hippocrates is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the country, for its history, beaches, and nightlife, but Kos food is just as good a reason to visit as any, especially if you are a foodie. It is also one more thing to woo you while you are here. The agricultural produce on the island is of exceptional quality and that is reflected in the tastiness of its fare.

The island, in antiquity, was called the ‘floating garden’, and many travelers up until the mid-19th century would recount the delicious Kos food they had encountered. So, if you’re considering a holiday to Kos and staying at KOIA All Suite Wellness Resort, you will be savouring the very best of the island’s produce in every meal. As part of your discovery regarding the most staple local Kos food dishes, read on so that you know what to look out for.

1. Tirokraso or Krasotiri

First off, let’s set you up with the appetizers, or ‘meze’ as they are called in Greek. They are small plates of fish, meat or vegetables that are shared between people. Any local taverna worth its salt should be able to procure tiroskraso or krasotiro. Literally meaning, wine-cheese, this is a local goat’s cheese variety called Posas, and what makes it stand out is that it is cured in local red wine, so if you’re partial to a tipple, you’ll likely want to try this one for sure. As far as Kos food goes, this one is one of the most traditional dishes you can taste. This cheese is used in traditional small pies as well, like the katimeria, served drizzled with honey.

2. Octopus Balls

Moving on to one of the most succulent specialties on the island, the traditional octopus balls are in essence a tried and tested recipe that has been repurposed. So, what you have here is the equivalent of a dumpling filled with octopus, in what is one of the tastiest local dishes. It’s fried and filled with herbs and spices, with the little mezes, or tapa style dish, served as an entrant, or an appetizer. You won’t find it everywhere, but if you do, make sure you order it on sight. Locally they are called chtapodokeftedes but if that is too Greek for you, you may order the plainer version of grilled octopus.

3. Pitaridia

Pitaridia is another dish that is endemic to the island. It is a plate that consists of hand-made pasta strands that are made from wheat and water, which is then kneaded into a doughy, noodle-type spaghetti and cooked in meat broth. It is usually served on its own with butter and cheese on top, with a moussaka-style filling of meat. For lovers of mac and cheese this is the ideal get-to-know-the-island dish, while if you’re into lasagna, it will be just as special.

4. Kanelada

When it comes to drinking with your meals, the Mediterranean countries are all about wine consumption, and that is fine. However, in Kos you’re well advised to seek out the traditional kanelada drink, which is a local soft drink made from cinnamon that goes great après dinner to aid digestion. It is the ideal summer drink, if cold and perfect in winter too, when it is warmed up. Sweet and healthy, it is the equivalent of iced tea, but ever so fragrant, you might be obsessed with it.

5. Maeria

Kos food is tasty and healthy, and after a great meal you will probably want to indulge your sweet tooth. And that is where the lovely maeria comes in. This vegan dessert is usually served up during Easter, as it is popular in Lent. It is made of citrus fruit leaves, ouzo, cinnamon, and walnuts and presented in a fluffy, transparent pudding that oscillates between crunchy on account of the walnuts, and a soft, velvet-like consistency that is an absolute delight.

Kos cuisine & more

At KOIA, we have based our hospitality around authenticity, and that encompasses bringing you the finest creations founded in the greatness of Kos raw materials. Our culinary identity is not strictly traditional, so you may not find all the aforementioned traditional dishes at out dining outlets. However, you will taste the goodness of local ingredients in everything we serve. When it comes to showcasing Kos food, our Hippocratic philosophy is applied to our menus, so many of the herbs and spices that the great healer used in antiquity are incorporated into the dishes we prepare for you. Curating and overseeing the menus is award-winning chef Giannis Parikos, with a strong emphasis on the seasonality of natural produce as well as their flavour compatibility and health index.

Aptly named Thyme, our του εξαιρετικού εστιατορίου μας στο νησί της Κω, is the best way for you to discover all these playful creations, while at Elixir, a concept cocktail bar in Kos, is where you’ll discover a whole new world of herbal indulgence.

So, if you’re looking for the best version of Kos food, prepare your taste buds for a culinary explosion, under the auspices of KOIA’s gastronomy. And if healthy is something that figures high on your agenda, rest assured that here we blend high nutritional value with incredible flavour.


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