When we heard that Melia Restaurant was opening up on Karidi beach we were quite excited, not just because one of Halkidiki’s most searched for and Googled beaches was finally getting a restaurant, but because of what kind of restaurant was moving in to Vourvourou.
Vourvourou attracts an upper class tourist and we have always been surprised at how few restaurants there are for the demand, but Melia Restaurant brings a whole new concept of dining to Vourvourou.
Karidi gets globally acclaimed chef!
Melia is the creation of Yannis Baxevanis, Greece’s most renowned celebrity chef who revolutionized Greek cuisine. Restaurants under his supervision have opened up around the world. It was with great excitement to see such a high profile and globally acclaimed chef bring his talents to Halkidiki.
In his menus, Mr. Baxevanis has managed to capture the flavours of the local flora which he incorporates into his recipes. His approach to cuisine has won him numerous awards and praise from around the world. He has been reviewed in newspapers such as the New York “Daily News,” Switzerland’s “24 Heures” and “Le Temps,” Dubai’s “Gulfnews” and “Le Monde” of France. He has been called the “Aroma Magician” due to his ability to combine age-old recipes with locally grown herbs and add his own modern twist to create his unique recipes.
So, of course we were excited to go to Melia Restaurant and see what entrees Mr. Baxevanis has managed to put together.
With its open air design, Melia restaurant does a fantastic job to combine primitive surroundings with sophistication. Situated in a pine forest, the restaurant puts you at one with the nature to compliment the natural approach to Yannis’ dishes.
What’s on the menu?
As a starter, why not try the fried halloumi cheese on a bed of homemade fig marmalade scented with fresh peppermint leaves. The Rucola salad on a strawberry base with fresh cheese and lemon sorbet and thyme will provide a stimulating flavour explosion for your taste buds.The extraordinary tuna tartar with local Holomontas Mountain herbs makes a delectable side dish.
The mains range from Rib-eye steaks grilled to perfection, to a variety of fresh fish oven baked with fresh local herbs. For lighter dishes, try the seafood risotto colourfully decorated with shrimp and mussels or the green salad with grilled chicken, hazelnuts and topped with a full flavoured fruit and citrus sauce. The lamb is a yummy main, tenderly roasted in a slow cooker and placed on a bed of risotto with cheese and herbs.
Melia has such a variety of dishes that all look pleasing to the eye and are rewarding to the palate.
Karidi beach is not a developed beach. Since there are no other restaurants or snack bars to order lunch from, Melia Restaurant has cleverly covered the need. Off the side of the restaurant is a take-away window where you can order all your Greek lunch favourites that also come with a clever variation. How about the spicy pepper gyros with melted cheese or maybe calamari gyros in a pita with mint? Even the pita bread is freshly prepared within view for the customers to see. After such divine sandwiches, wash it down with a refreshing minty mojito! If you don’t want to walk the 50 steps to the beach, sit down with the family on the shaded tables in front of the restaurant.
Dinner and entertainment
Twice a week Melia Restaurant comes alive with a band and live entertainment. Friday night is always Jazz Night and Wednesday nights will offer a variety of dinner music that will complete your whole dining experience.
Wrap it up!
We found Melia Restaurant to be slightly more expensive that other restaurants in Vourvourou, but quite reasonable for what you get. Main dishes vary from 8 euros for pastas, to 15-16 euros for a fish plate and about 20 euros for steak. Not bad for a restaurant that is classified as fine dining.
While being at Melia, we found out that Yannis Baxevanis does make a guest appearance once a month and he personally prepares the meals. Check with the restaurant or on their facebook page for details about when he will be appearing and do make a reservation so as not to miss out on this wonderful experience! If you are planning a special event such as a wedding, the team at Melia are also prepared to cater to such events.
Melia may not be a place that you can afford every night while on vacation, but we do recommend it if you’re looking to have that special meal. Considering the quality of the food, the location, the atmosphere and entertainment, we recommend Melia as offering good value to its guests.