The cafés of Amorgos

In Greece cafés or kafeneia used to be just places where men could have a cup of coffee. Gradually, in the countryside and islands, especially, they became more like social clubs, where men would meet, solve the world’s problems and discuss politics, play cards and backgammon, and generally enjoy themselves. Women did not set foot in them. They were sometimes called ‘the country’s little parliaments’, but they were also a place where business ings could be held as well as spontaneous parties. Provincial coffeehouses, especially, continue to be the intermediary between the village and the outside world. While most of the island kafeneia have been modernized, transformed into more worldly cafés as a result of tourism and are no longer the exclusive preserve of men, the coffeehouses of Amorgos have retained the picturesque character of half a century ago along with their old functions. There is no village on the island that does not possess at least one coffeehouse that deserves a visit just to enjoy this particular ambience and have a thimbleful of Greek coffee or the local mezedes (little dishes) that accompany an ouzo or psimeni raki. Certain establishments stand out. In Katapola, it’s Prekas, the historic kafeneio on the port; In Hora, Parva’s and Fotodotis are both famous, and the latter has music evenings. In Kato Meria, Maki’s in Arkesini is run by the oldest proprietor on the island, while also worth a stop are Nikita’s in Kolofana, and in Pyrgos, the traditional kafeneio that also serves mezedes (little dishes). In Ano Meria, the best places are Horeftis in Tholaria, which is also a wine/grocery shop and Kali Kardia; the attractive Moschoudaki in Langada; and Steki in Asfondyliti, an almost deserted but beautiful little village.


GEORGE PITTAS | Greek Gastronomy Guide