Aqua Blu Café

Lambi Beach, Kos Town 85300, Greece • 30 22420 22440 • http://www.aquabluhotel.gr

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Kos is sort of like Daytona Beach with a speckling of Greek ruins. Touristy crap for sale in virtually every store and beaches out the whazoo. But if you know where to look, just like almost anywhere, there are diamonds in the rough. The Aqua Blu Hotel is that diamond in Kos.

Set apart from the main town and away from the touristy chaos, this beacon of modernity and style is a breath of fresh air. And the food here is a taste of fresh air?

Unfortunately their fine dining optoion, Cuvee is closed for lunch, but their café is nothing to sneeze at, boasting a nice bounty of delicious options, starting with their drinks and an inventive twist on a Pimm’s Cup, made with fresh cucumbers and strawberries, taking an already refreshing summer drink and making it even more so.

The bread is served with a delicious olive oil and a flavorful red pepper hummus. And I wish I could go on and on, but unfortunately we weren’t starving, so we each only had an entrée. No apps or dessert. But from what I can tell from my abbreviated sampling, they are probably good as well.

We had the grilled chicken salad with feta. Basic, but good for what it’s supposed to be.

And the other dish was the tagliatelle with octopus, tomato and olive. Flavor-wise it was very good. Presention-wise, however, they committed a cardinal sin, chopping up the pasta into tiny little squares. In fact the entire dish was like this. It was like the pasta version of the restaurant Chop’t. Oh well, at least it tasted good.

3 teeth

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Elia

Apellou 27 | Old town, Κos, GR 85300, Ελλάδα • +30-2242022133 • elia-kos.gr
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If you’re visiting Kos as quick, novel day trip or you’re simply stuck there on an unfortunate layover between ferries to a more desirable Greek island, fret not. There is a truly great restaurant to be found amidst the touristy madness. Elia is located in Old Town along the exact same strip of shit stores where you can buy everything from Kiss T-Shirts and Yankees baseball caps (who knows why?) all the way to Spartan replicas, ouzo bottles sporting boners and hordes of infused olive oils (which make more sense).

But once you set foot inside Elia, you feel as if you are finally in Greece and not some isle of commercialism and greed. While the front is charming with it’s wood cabinetry and shelves loaded with jars and containers, I recommend you sit in the back, further escaping into the dappled garden light where you can cool off and enjoy some of the best Greek you’ve ever had.

It started off with a bountiful basket of bread, olives and tapenade. The pitas are piping hot, fresh from the over, so we horked those down pretty fast.

Upon several waiter recommendations we also had some of the best tzatziki I’ve ever had served along side some of the best baba ganoush I’ve ever had, made with red peppers and olives in addition to the eggplant.

Then came an olive and feta pie he recommended, which came in almost empañada like pastries. Again, it was very good.

The consistency kept coming with the lamb kapamas which was a shank stewed in a wonderfully sweet cinnamon sauce. It was so friggin’ good I forced the entire thing down even though I was already full by the time it hit the table (the portions are so generous you can easily get 4 servings out of any of those three starters).

So after such an impressive performance I just had to press on. We asked for his reco on dessert as well, and while he said “of course the baklava,” he also said, if you want to try something much more unique, try the ice cream with sweet vegetables and fruit. Sweet vegetables? With ice cream? Okay, he had me. I’m always a sucker for something new.

Once again, Elia soared. Creamy, cold vanilla surrounded by eggplant, tomatoes, olives and cherries. All of them preserved in such a way as to retain their original flavor, while also managing to deliver enough sweetness to coexist with the ice cream. So different. So good.

And best of all, the price was extremely reasonable. And I’m not just saying that because the waiter treated us to two glasses of a delicious dessert wine, sort of like a Greek port. I am, however, giving Elia five knives because they didn’t miss a single note. And because they turned being stranded in Kos into lemonade.

5 teeth