Rarely do you stumble upon restaurants that live up to their hype and restauranteurs that overshadow a great food offering. Benetos, on a quiet beachfront location moments away from Patmos’ port, can be a real treat for those in search for one of the best culinary treatments on the island. That is, if you have the nerve to insist for a reservation in one of the many dinner seatings they serve each night.
Market lights make the tapas bar the perfect setting for aperitivo
We first came across Benetos back in 2016, which was more than 20 years after it first launched, for a somewhat lukewarm dinner with another two friends. Food aside, booking a table was not very easy and what did indeed stay with me after the visit was the persistent manner in which they manned their operations, reaching almost a strict level I couldn’t really cope with at first. Little did we know, as three years later, we used the same persistent manner for getting a table for dinner, for 6 for that matter (!), on a busy Saturday night in August… and left this place with ecstatic reviews!
We bravely arrived at around 21:30 and took some space in the colored terrace of the recently launched tapas bar for an aperitivo whilst waiting for a table to free up. Their drinks menu, a well thought-through list of gins and some signature cocktails was a great entry to memorable night. Mrs Susan Whitebrook Matthaiou, wife to Benetos Matthaiou himself and proud co-owner, was conservatively optimistic she would get us a table and 45 mins in she had already delivered on that promise. We sat at a table on the upper porch, right under a tree, and that’s where an epic meal took off!
Benetos, we were later on told, revamped their whole offering (from staff to cuisine) a few years back, insisting on serving the best produce around, simple yet very robust dishes and a great wine list honestly priced.
Fitting all guests on a Saturday night requires some serious work by Susan, Benetos’ wife
The zucchini blossoms were lightly fried with a nicely done stuffing leaving a delicate mushroom aftertaste and the salmon rolls, delicately touched by just a spoonful of mayo, were freshly cut and rich in taste; but, above all, the best starter were the mini burgers. Pulled pork on thick-crust brioche buns with a hint of coleslaw – a match made in heaven!
For mains, we decided to not go for the lobster pasta or their infamous tomato risotto and opted for a sea urchin pasta instead – a must try at Benetos! Delicate in texture with just about the right amount of sauce vs pasta, the sea urchin portion was nicely complemented by a small amount of chopped tomatoes making the perfect combo with the linguini! Ugh.
And just when we thought this meal cannot get any better, we were offered a portion of oven-baked lamb, perfectly caramelized all around and served with a handful of homegrown vegetables like potatoes, carrots and zuchini sticks.
Sea urchin pasta
Oven-baked lamb with vegetables
The night went on and Susan got more engaged with our table, offering to share a few insights to their whole operation. A powerful woman and very sturdy at first, opened up like an onion sharing her thoughts on food around the globe and talked about the trips she often takes with her husband when they venture out around Europe to find great food.
More than 4 hours after we first landed in this great establishment, we indulged in some delicious desserts – lemon creme brule, chocolate brownie with ice cream and meringue with tiramisu… but, above all, an apple tart topped with a vanilla ice cream scoop topping the charts.
The chatting went on and we ended up exchanging numbers on top from foodie notes with Susan. The following day was our last night in Patmos and despite leaving on the night ferry we were indeed again back at Benetos, right before dusk, to indulge into yet another epic dinner.
Cheers to more of these epic food moments and thank you for a delightful treat!