A Culinary Guide to the Island of Rhodes: Discover the Flavours of the Dodecanese

By Jenna Mehdi

In the first of our two-part series, we took readers on a whirlwind tour of the magical island of Rhodes. Now, we discover the island by means of its renowned - and mouth-watering - culinary scene. This is all you need to know about the fresh flavours, fine dining, local delicacies and sweet wines of Rhodes.

A Blend of Flavours
Rhodes is an island of tradition and taste, of rich international but also of delicious traditional local cuisine. A thriving destination enjoying visitors from all corners of the globe, Rhodian gastronomy is a mosaic of multicultural flavours through the ages, of local products and producers from across the island. The traditional Rhodian diet, from ancient times until modern day, is based on ingredients such as olive oil, olives, legumes, cereals, fish and seafood, honey and wine.

Certain flavours and aromas are distinctive in traditional, quality Rhodian dishes. Authentic Rhodian cuisine, with its unique flavours and fresh locally-sourced ingredients from Rhodian land and sea, meets the expertise of local chefs to make Rhodes a standout gastronomic destination.

Tradition Meets the Modern Day 
Tradition and modern trends in gastronomy are uniquely combined in this renowned Dodecanese island. Whether in restaurants with international and award-winning cuisine or in famous traditional taverns in the villages of the island, Rhodian flavors, local food and dishes with snacks, occupy a prominent place in the island’s culture and attractions. Visitors to Rhodes can enjoy a unique blend of traditional and international cuisine, in the form of exceptional and carefully curated dishes.                         

If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the traditional East Mediterranean dishes that make up Rhodes’ core culinary landscape, here are just a few must-try island dishes...

This delicious dish consists of large meatball-sized chickpea fritters found all over the island. This national dish of Rhodes is much larger and rounder than its smaller traditional Greek counterpart, and makes for a perfect beachside snack or part of a larger tapas of dishes.

Found in various iterations around the island, you’re probably already familiar with this traditional Greek dish of stuffed vine or grape leaves. Possibly one of the most iconic Greek dishes, the Rhodian version is often stuffed with tender minced meat, rice or lentils.

Rosette fish
If you’re a superyacht chef looking to serve fresh fish the Rhodian way during your Dodecanese charter, it is difficult to go wrong with marinated rosette fish. Sea bass and sea bream are island specialties, marinated in lemon, garlic and herbs for a delicious fresh taste.   

Other island delicacies include grilled aubergine with yoghurt and pine nuts, cuttlefish with rice,  karavoli (red snails marinated with onions), baked pumpkin, stuffed lamb, stuffed mediterranean vegetables and kefalotyri (special aromatic goat’s cheese). Seasonings are fresh, light and often served with plenty of green vegetables. 

Sweets & Desserts
The chefs and bakers of Rhodes are famous for their exceptional ability to master desserts, proffering an array of sweet dishes consisting of pastries, honey, sesame, almonds and other traditional Greek flavours served in imaginative and aesthetically pleasing ways. Local must-try delicacies include... 

This traditional Rhodian treat consists of sesame seeds rolled in aromatic honey, often served with almonds, orange and lemon peel, and various spices. High in nutritional value as well as packing a flavourful punch, melekouni is often served at Rhodian weddings and baptisms.    

This pouch-shaped pastry filled with almonds, walnuts and other various nuts and fillings packs all of the traditional elements of a Greek dessert; crunch, sweetness and an inability to stop at just one!

Yoghurt with honey and nuts
Though it may sound simple, this sweet treat is an island staple and the perfect, light snack to cure your sweet cravings and cool down in the island sun. Often made from goat or sheep’s milk, yoghurt is coupled with famous Rhodian honey; renowned for its delicious flavour, Rhodian honey is also known for its health properties and high level of antioxidants.

Other sweet island treats include rizogalo (rice pudding), loukoumathes (honey dumplings spiced with clove and cinnamon in a honey syrup), galaktoboureko (egg custard baked in filo) and katalfi (a traditional, shredded pastry filled with nuts and soaked in sugar or honey). 

Island Wines 
Of course, a culinary guide to Rhodes would not be complete without mention of the island’s abundant (and delicious) local wines. Thanks to the island’s unique climate and brilliant sun, Rhodian wine bears a distinctive flavour, unique in aroma and colour. 

Rare grape varieties such as athiri, amoriano, muscat and mandilaria are grown across the island, awarding Rhodian vineyards a number of international awards and distinctions. The special suma is produced only in the villages of the island, and is served to accompany the rich appetizers and first courses of a Rhodian meal. 

Top Dining Spots of Rhodes 
If all of the above has your mouth watering, you probably only have one question. Where are the top spots to dine out and indulge in local Rhodian cuisine? Simply put, visitors to Rhodes are spoilt for choice. Whether local or visitor, looking for rich Rhodian cuisine or a variety of dishes, there is a fantastic choice of places to dine out spread all around the island.

Head to the restaurants of the Old Town and the city of Rhodes if you’re looking for a traditional, rich menu of meat, fish and seafood. A more unique gastronomic experience of fish and seafood can be found by the restaurants and taverns in Stegna, Haraki, Lindos, Afandou, Kamiros Skala and Kiotari. Meanwhile, anyone looking for delicious dishes made from local meat can visit Apollo, Embona, Maritsa, Kalavarda, Psinthos and Koskinou.

A tour of the culinary scene of Rhodes offers visitors a chance to taste the authentic traditional island cuisine and the renowned wines, a unique gastronomic feast of flavours. But above all else, it is the warm Rhodian hospitality and adventurous experience that makes Rhodes’ culinary scene truly one-of-a-kind.

"Tradition and modern trends in gastronomy are uniquely combined in this place!"

Municipality of Rhodes


"Tradition and modern trends in gastronomy are uniquely combined in this place!"

Municipality of Rhodes
By Jenna Mehdi