The last time Mr K and I visited Agios Nikitas, three years ago on our honeymoon, the little cobbled street leading down to the beach was alive with the clatter of plates in tavernas, the strong smell of garlic in the air and a throng of tourists - mostly northern European. Today, a bright sunny October day, the shutters of the tavernas were closed. Apart from a couple of kittens and a few yia yia's in their widow's black, there was no one but Mr K and I....And, I have to say, it was blissful.
Agios Nikitas is a small fishing village, dotted with traditional houses. It is named after the white washed and aqua blue church, which sits right above the white pebbled beach. If you have ever been to Santorini, this is probably about as close as you get in the Ionian Islands. There is a cobbled pedestrian zone which runs right through the middle of the village. Apart from the odd scooter, there are no cars to worry about as you stroll down the beach. The beach itself is a stunning turquoise marvel. It is very sheltered, calm and very safe for swimming. Normally, I don't mind a bit of a buzz in a village and meeting other travelers. However, it felt like an absolute luxury to have this little village and the beach all to ourselves. The sun was shinning, the sea was very warm - a perfect day for swimming and snorkeling.
Thankfully, after a morning swiming - following all of the little fish in the clear, turquoise waters, not all the tavernas were closed. We were absolutley starving! There were two small tavernas open towards the end of the beach. Mr K, with his fluent grasp of the Greek language, was the first to spot the sign that said, "we catch all of our fish, in our own boat." We warmly greeted by a lovely lady, who was host, cook and everything in between. But my, what a cook!! It felt like we were in my mother in law's kitchen. Seated at a table, looking down to the sea, we were handed two thick menus. It was so quite in the village, we didn't want to put our host too a lot of trouble. So Mr K asked, "what is special today." I have some tuna. It was caught fresh today, said our host. "I will fix you some tuna, with macaronia (spaghetti), some sweet green peppers, a little tomato. It's very nice, you will like it." We obviously looked like two completely ravenous, bedraggled water rats, because she added - "some melitzana, I'll fix you some of those too, with a little tzatziki." Mr K also asked for some local village rose, to accompany our lunch. I couldn't have been happier.
|Tzatziki €2.50, 1/2 liter of rose wine €3.50|
The tzatziki was thick and creamy, with a tang of garlic and grated pieces cooling cucumber. The eggplants had been dipped into a tempura style batter and shallow fried. They were so crisp, that as you bit into the eggplant there was a big "crunch". Kind of like when you crack the top of a perfect creme brûlée. After the crunch of the batter, there was then the eggplant itself. So tender, it simply melted in your mouth.
Next was the pasta. It was every bit as good as our host described. There was a hint of garlic and slow cooked onions, red and green peppers. The tuna had a very fresh ocean taste and was juicy with no hint of dryness. Freshly grated tomatoes bought the sauce together, with a little local olive oil. It was absolutley delicious. The freshness of our fish was also confirmed, when during the meal, our host's son, wandered up from the beach with a large plastic tub - filed with the fish he had caught that morning.
|Tuna macaronia €7.00|
If you ever happen to find yourself in Lefkada, I would highly recommend a trip to Agois Nikitas and lunch at Taverna Nikitas. But just remember, don't worry about the menu - just ask for what is special today.