Updated: Jul 4
From Starbucks to seaside sizzle, Greek yogurt is just the start
Greek breakfasts that rock...let's just get right to it, shall we? Starting with a city that demands a lot of energy and the carbohydrates to keep you going, Athens.
Correspondent Pam Price says: "Athens has no shortage of great breakfast options, but it's true you will find some of the best at leading hotels in the capital—including my personal favorite, the NEW, where I stayed after a trip to Santorini. I was impressed with both the caliber of the baked goods, the range of fresh offerings, and an uncommonly high level of service. It felt like eating in a fine restaurant, although the atmosphere is very relaxed. The dining space, called NEW TASTE, is a popular spot for Athenians for brunch on Sunday." Visit virtually here.
On to something exceptional in an offbeat island called Syros, where columnist Kostis tipped us off to a posh new eco-friendly and art-smart hotel called Aristide that's run by a published novelist from London. A highlight of any stay here are the Greek breakfasts, artfully executed by a chef whose pedigree includes the illustrious Hotel Grand Bretagne (where Price once spotted Jackie O at brekkie, but that's another story). I was so impressed with my breakfast at Aristide that I had to come back for a second one, and we are not talking typical hotel breakfast buffet here either.
The elegant menu flirts with decadence—consider the Champagne Breakfast for two that includes bottarga with a green salad (kritamo/armira) and lemon vinaigrette with fava, served with Tiganities and local butter with lemon zest and spring onion, plus avocado and zucchini salad with eggs of choice and Greek smoked trout, with cream of Syros and anthotiro cheese, as well as a seasonal fruit salad and glass or, why the hell not, a bottle of Joseph Perrier bubbly. True, you'll be looking at €100 or more for all this but for the most part menu options are included in your room price.
I enjoyed the Syros omelette with saganaki and also the Greek yogurt, prepared with perfectly diced fresh fruit in a nage of Syros thyme honey and served in a pink Portuguese Gerbera bowl. The "selection of Greek cheeses with bread and caper jam" sounds simple but is a real standout. Ok, so the bread was forgettable but did you know that Syros is the reigning champion of Greek island cheeses? The nutty and enigmatic San Michali, the fennel-seeded soft Syros cheese and others graced my plate alongside a flirtatious dollop of Syros caper jam, which was actually quite sweet.
That yogurt dish was a revelation, thanks in no small part to use of the freshest fruits and the locally-sourced honey. The diced fruits included strawberries, kiwis & plums.
Meanwhile, breakfast in Mykonos can be as simple as a run to the island's sole Starbucks. Sometimes all you need is a tall iced mocha latte and you're good to go.
The Starbucks is located on a hill just behind Chora, the main town of Mykonos. It's not simple to walk to from the port, but pretty easy with a car (parking, however, is another matter, and Mykonos is no stranger to traffic jams this time of year).
Guests at the Wild by Interni, an unusual hotel near the beach of Kalafati (which is just past the better-known Kalo Livadi where Lindsay Lohan's infamous beach club was located) are treated to a lavish breakfast buffet with views of a private beach.
The buffet zone features a solid range of Greek cakes, pastries, cheeses, cold cuts and fruits: I suggest pairing one of the local cheeses with the craft salami from Lefkada island. The croissants were fresh too. Just note that it's not like in the old days before the pandemic—the buffet is not a free-for-all where everyone rushes up to the counter and piles their plates high. New hygiene protocols, rigorously followed at this hotel, dictate that a staff member load up your plate for you. So, one at a time, he or she will ask you what you'd like to try, and then they place it on your plate. This creates extra work for the staff of course, but the process is smooth and in some ways better than how it was before. You can choose where you want to sit and sip your coffee and
orange juice (freshly-squeezed) while you graze on your buffet plate and perhaps await a specially prepared omelette, which might feature organic zucchini and a local cheese, or a scrumptious strapatsada, a traditional Greek scrambled egg dish featuring diced tomatoes and chunks of fresh feta cheese.
Another ingredient of this superlative breakfast is the privacy factor. With fewer than 40 rooms and suites and a small but private beach, the breakfast experience at the Wild is probably about as serene as they come in Mykonos, unless you're renting a private villa (say, from these guys.)
A few words about The Wild by Interni, which is truly an expression of the philosophy and eclectic taste of the Varveris family, owners of Moda Bagno and Interni [restaurant] and true lovers of Mykonos. "We wanted to preserve the emotions and the feelings the island exhales," Philip Varveris explains. "The Wild is an invitation to experience our Mykonos—wild at heart, mesmerising, unspoiled, beautiful."
The Wild is perched on a cliffside overlooking a cove once home to the most fearless fishermen of the island, known as the "Wild Ones." In harmony with the setting, the design features natural textures, local stoneworks and organic forms—and also, it should be noted, stairs. Lots of stairs.
Supposing you want a solid breakfast in Mykonos that's not part of the boutique hotel ecosystem. Well you're in luck, because there's The Liberty Breakfast Room Mykonos.
Now, this place is pricey—think €14 for an omelette, €16 for pancakes or €15 for a "burger in a hole", which involves brioche, Greek ham, Naxos gruyère, bacon, iceberg lettuce and a poached egg. But the location is nifty, in Chora with a sea view and just
up the street is the only Starbucks on the island that we know of (see above). Breakfast in Mykonos is without a doubt the most important meal of the day on the party island.