Beba is not news for Kimolos anymore – with a long-standing history of great food, numerous press mentions and an exuberant personality she is the body and soul of Sardis restaurant, probably the best on the island!
Following advice from a local on a late August afternoon, we cautiously park our car outside Sardis (having checked the seaside meze place 2 mins away) and decide to get a table by the terrace. The service is attentive and the dishes around look delicious but we’re kind of perplexed. Should we go for fish or meat? Very rare do you get both correct in one place and more often than not, restaurants that offer both do kind of an average job on both fronts – not Sardis!
Before we begin, Sardis (the son) takes me at the back of the kitchen to see the fish – fresh catch by the local fishermen! For starters we order a rich Kimolian salad with rusks, their homemade eggplant spread (very tasty indeed!), some ladenia (which was ok but nothing fancy) and their signature pittarakia with the local xino cheese… oh man! Soon after our grilled fish arrives and it is delicious!
The food is amazing so we want to learn more. Asking Sardis to solve the puzzle for us, he nods at the back and along comes his mother, Beba. A veloptious and warm-hearted woman in her early 50s, Beba is the soul of this place. She sits eager to share her story and we definitely want to listen! At the same time, a couple of girls sitting right beside us receive their order, the infamous goat stew from Polyaigos, and along come the raving reviews.
Beba, she tells us, was born in Piraeus where she resides with her family during wintertime. Come spring each year they all migrate to Kimolos for the season. Back in the early 90s, they first built some rooms-to-let close to the beach but guests back then didn’t have many options to dine at, so their stay was short. Beba, together with the support of Sardis (the dad) decided to launch a taverna in order to cater to their guests. She takes on cooking lessons, does her research and bit by bit she expands the menu. Fish and meat? Oh yeah!
Each and every raw ingredient comes from their own land in Kimolos, the goats’ meet comes from Polyaigos (the only restaurant the local shepherds cater to) and the taste comes from the love all of the family has for great food!
If you visit soon (and you must do so!), make sure to get a word from Beba is she’s around. She’s quite the character, having appeared in all of the major TV channels in Greece, and will tell you all about her life story. And because of her and some great bites you’ll want to come back to this unique place!
P.S. On a different day, we came back and ordered the goat stew… there are no words to describe its taste.