Kythnos: gourmet, yet oh so simple dining under the bougainvillae tree at To Hartino Karavi
Sometimes even in the most traditional destinations of them all, I get this urge of wanting to try something more gourmet and upscale. Thank god this doesn’t come in contrast with all the Greek tradition when visiting To Hartino Karavi at the traditional mountainous settlement of Dryopida in Kythnos.
Set under a beautiful and old bougainvillea tree commanding the tiny whitewashed street at the storefront of the restaurant, To Hartino Karavi is an immediate win. The owners, reserved yet welcoming, greet you as if they knew you from a long time ago and the soft jazz playing can only give you good welcoming vibes.
Along we sit and make ourselves comfortable in the cute little tables against the white walls and ponder over the daily-changing menu that features all sorts of Greek delicacies! The influence the place has (but also at large Kythnos) from the Cretans is quite opulent. Marathopitta topped with soft cheese (fennel pie), dakos (the Cretan bruschetta) and honey-glazed and caramelised kotsi (pork shank) - the most delicious I must say of them all- are all perfect choices. We make an attempt for something more of a fine dining dish like beef carpaccio although it’s not as good. Their French fries are also quite interesting as they are handcut and somewhat oven-baked too. We also try the Osso Bucco, a rich-flavoured beef casserole that is topped with some pesto, and a delicious tenderloin stuffed with sundried tomatoes and haloumi cheese.
The service is quite hospitable and personal, with the lady owner making all sorts of personal confessions about her favourite dishes and other personal stories as the night goes by. We’re not in for a dessert as she genuinely points us to the nearest traditional pastry shop down the road that features all sorts of Kythnian desserts: pasteli, amygdalota and the likes. Next time though we’re here, we’re definitely trying some as To Hartino Karavi is really a perfect reason for making it all the way to quiet Dryopida at night.