Naxos: cosy hidden taverna gem at Matina & Stavros
Most of the times you'll ask for recommendations for Naxos, Apiranthos and Lefteris taverna is what you're gonna get. And while both are unique and beautiful, getting a bit deeper into what the island has to offer can be described in three words: Matina & Stavros in Koronos!
Hidden in the very heart of Koronos village, a mountainous small settlement that used to be famous for its emery mines, Matina & Stavros is a family-run taverna that feels like home. I still remember the first few steps down their path during a hot August afternoon, when we first landed into a medley of springs and fully-blossomed plants that make a unique scenery in the small piazza. Stavros keeping an eye on his son that now runs the place, sitting comfortably outside pondering over his thoughts and Matina lost indoors in her own little queendom, the kitchen!
We order a fresh Greek salad and quickly start nibbling as we're told by the waiter that most of the produce is theirs from a nearby garden. Rich in flavour and drizzled with good quality pure Greek olive oil, the Greek salad is quickly taking a whole new meaning especially with the smart addition of some andrakla greens - rich in omega 3 and other nutritients. Along to go with it, we're offered some local cheese -again of their own produce- each with a very distinct flavour, to accompany our beer and rose wine.
Daily, Matina runs a tight ship starting from 7-8am in the morning and prepares her specialties. Most of the times you'll find their succulent goat stew in divine tomato sauce served with rice, pasta or french fries (think, the latter!), as well as their farmed rooster in delicate wine sauce. And if that is not enough, Matina also makes delicious pies and during the evening you may get the occasional grilled dish if you're lucky.
Whatever you pick, Matina doesn't disappoint! Quite the contrary - once her morning shift is over around 4-5pm, she goes round the few tables in a very genuine manner and tries to feel the pulse of the patrons around. Some fairly young children are playing in the background and we ask whether it feels kind of lonely up here before we get her nobble response: