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Ouzeri Barbarossa

Barbarossa is the best sort of simple Greek ouzeri/taverna, in the picturesque little port town of Naoussa, on the island of Paros in the Cyclades.

How do you know it’s any good? It’s easy: the locals come here. Unfortunately (or not, depending on your point of view) in order to discover this, you have to wait until midnight, when they start to think about maybe beginning perhaps to sit down to dinner. Such is the case at least at Barbarossa, where a little greater variety on the menu, flappingly fresh fish, good bread, and a decent wine list makes all the difference.

There are a few other signs to go by. Fresh-caught mackerel split open to dry in the sun for that evening’s dinner will end up tasting as smooth as butter, and you don’t see them often. A long line of octopus hanging to tenderize show that they expect to sell the lot, that same day. Prices a notch or two above the usual souvlaki level are a good sign. A menu with plenty of things you’ve never heard of before, mostly from the sea. Turn up as late as you possibly can (but book ahead), and be sure to order the horta – a bitter green salad that in my experience also seems to be the sine qua non of a decent Greek restaurant – the equivalent of home-baked bread elsewhere.

The restaurant spills out onto the wharf in the high season, and huddles around the kitchen in April and October. Ask for a table against the wall by the old harbour, for a most romantic of settings.  The small harbour is full of colourful boats, and is overlooked by the remains of a crumbling Venetian castle, hemmed in by the jumbled town of narrow streets and white-washed houses. Naoussa is a great place to base yourself for a few nights on Paros, and preferable to the main port town of Parikia, where the ferries come and go. If you’re flying into Athens and catching a ferry out that same day, you may well end up on Paros for the first evening of your trip. In that case, it’s worth the extra 30 minutes to get to Naoussa, so that you can wake up the next day in the sleepy town – probably at about noon, after eating at Barbarossa until 3:00 am. Just in time for lunch.
+2284051391, +6946335840
Open all the time (I think – phone ahead)

Fresh-caught mackerel split open to dry in the sun for that evening's dinner will end up tasting as smooth as butter, and you don't see them often.

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