Naxos, the largest island in the Cyclades, is not only known for its beautiful landscapes and rich history but also for its exceptional cuisine. The island’s fertile soil and favorable climate contribute to the production of high-quality ingredients that form the backbone of its culinary tradition. Here’s a guide to the food Naxos is famous for, highlighting must-try dishes and local products that showcase the island’s gastronomic heritage.

Unique Ingredients and Local Products

Naxian Potatoes

Naxian potatoes are renowned across Greece for their exceptional flavor and quality. The island’s fertile volcanic soil and ideal growing conditions produce potatoes that are sweet, creamy, and perfect for various dishes. Whether fried, baked, or used in stews, Naxian potatoes are a staple in local cuisine.

Graviera Cheese

Graviera Naxou is a protected designation of origin (PDO) cheese made from sheep’s milk or a mixture of sheep’s and goat’s milk. This hard cheese has a nutty flavor with a slightly sweet aftertaste and is often enjoyed as a table cheese, grated over pasta, or melted in traditional dishes.

Arseniko Cheese

Another standout cheese from Naxos is Arseniko, a robust and slightly spicy cheese made from goat’s milk. Its bold flavor makes it an excellent addition to salads, pies, and cheese platters.

Citron Liqueur (Kitron)

Kitron, the famous liquor of Naxos, is made from the leaves of the citron tree. This aromatic liqueur comes in three varieties: green (sweet), yellow (dry), and clear (semi-sweet). Kitron is enjoyed as an aperitif, digestif, or mixed in cocktails.

Traditional Dishes to Try


Kleftiko is a traditional Greek dish of slow-cooked lamb, marinated in garlic, lemon, and herbs, then baked with vegetables in parchment paper. The name “kleftiko” means “stolen,” referring to the cooking method used by the Klephts, Greek rebels who cooked meat secretly to avoid detection.


Kalogeros is a hearty Naxian dish featuring tender beef or lamb, eggplant, and a rich tomato sauce, topped with melted local cheese. It’s a flavorful and satisfying dish that showcases the island’s high-quality meat and dairy products.


Patoudo is a festive dish traditionally prepared for Easter. It consists of lamb or goat stuffed with rice, herbs, and sometimes liver, then slow-roasted to perfection. The result is a succulent and aromatic dish that’s a true celebration of Naxian culinary traditions.


Gouna is a sun-dried, salted mackerel that is grilled and served with lemon and olive oil. This dish highlights the island’s fresh seafood and traditional preservation methods.

Naxian Salad

A fresh and vibrant Naxian salad typically includes local tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, olives, and capers, topped with crumbled Arseniko or Graviera cheese and dressed with olive oil and oregano. It’s a refreshing and flavorful way to enjoy the island’s produce.

Sweet Treats


Melachrino is a traditional Naxian dessert made with layers of filo pastry, walnuts, and a spiced honey syrup infused with cinnamon and cloves. It’s similar to baklava but with a distinct Naxian twist.


Xerotigana are delicate, spiral-shaped pastries made from thin dough, fried until crispy, and drizzled with honey and sprinkled with cinnamon and sesame seeds. These sweet treats are often enjoyed during festive occasions and celebrations.

Where to Experience Naxian Cuisine

Local Taverns and Restaurants

To experience authentic Naxian cuisine, visit local taverns and restaurants, particularly in villages like Halki, Apeiranthos, and Filoti. These establishments often use locally sourced ingredients and traditional recipes passed down through generations.

Food Markets

Exploring local food markets in Naxos Town (Chora) and other villages is a great way to discover the island’s fresh produce, cheeses, and other culinary delights. The markets offer an opportunity to interact with local vendors and learn more about the ingredients that define Naxian cuisine.

Cooking Classes

For a hands-on experience, consider taking a cooking class. Many local chefs and home cooks offer classes where you can learn to prepare traditional Naxian dishes using local ingredients. It’s a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the island’s culinary culture and take home some new cooking skills.

Naxos is a food lover’s paradise, offering a rich tapestry of flavors and ingredients that reflect the island’s fertile land and culinary heritage. From its famous potatoes and exceptional cheeses to traditional dishes and sweet treats, Naxos provides a gastronomic experience that is both authentic and unforgettable. Whether you’re dining at a local tavern, exploring a food market, or learning to cook Naxian recipes, the island’s cuisine promises to delight your taste buds and leave you with a deeper appreciation for its culinary traditions. Enjoy your culinary journey through Naxos

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