Genesis Taverna, Gaios 490 82, Greece, +30 697 433 8194 - $$$
Nestled in Paxos' busiest town, Gaios, Genesis Taverna has become as much a part of the local tapestry as the fisherman anchoring their vessels just meters from its steps.
Looking over the harbour, Genesis presents well under the summer sun. Soft, white-washed chairs with plush cushions invite the thirsty traveler in under its cream-colored canvas umbrellas to relax. It’s this chic-meets-Greek modern and welcoming design that catches the eye while wandering down Gaios' main waterfront road.
As you ascend the steps to this open-air taverna and navigate the seating, tranquil mint-green elements evoke a strong sense of calm. Within mere minutes you begin to imagine yourself taking the better part of your siesta here. When the hostess, owner, and waiters greet you like old friends rather than customers, it confirms your suspicions: you’ve come to the right place for lunch.
The menu, recently reinvigorated by sous-vide advocate and Greek celebrity chef, Christos Ioannidis, celebrates local seafood by putting it front and centre. Expect incredibly succulent Shrimp Saganaki, white-wine drenched mussels, and tender sea bass served with liberal portions of risotto, the latter inspired by the Ionian’s shared cultural history with Venice. And the juicy nature of each bite is consistent thanks to his sous-vide cooking expertise.
The experience is further enhanced by Genesis' generous portions and offerings of popular meze (small shared plates). Each one complimenting the delectable notes of the salt-water fish based cuisine. The Kolokithokeftedes (courgette fritters) satiate the hungriest of diners while supplying addictive combinations of mint, parsley, and citrus in each bite. Here, you can taste the Ionian with every little melt-in-your-mouth morsel.
Sous-vide: a method of cooking through 'vacuum sealed' goods under rigorous temperature control may sound fancy, it's not - it's practical. According to Chris “Gourmet food is lovely, but it only goes so far. Sometimes, the best experience comes from sinking your teeth into the classic dishes."
We couldn’t agree more. And, when sous-vide meets traditional Greek seafood the results are worth writing home about.
You won’t find typical tourist fare here. Rather meals are made to order by a well regimented grill team, some of whom have been with the restaurant since its humble beginning decades ago. They intimately understand the nature of each dish, and how to prepare it quickly while preserving quality and freshness.
From the small shared plates to the mains, there's something to suit your taste. We recommend sharing a plate of fritters (cod, or courgette) to start, because they're delicious. That said, too many of these all to one’s self will have you stuffed in no time.
And, why cut yourself short sampling only one dish? Make room for a variety of seafood platters and savour each bite because the plate will be bare before you realise that you forgot to share it with your friends. It’s that good.
Genesis is special in that it works in a sustainable fashion, featuring different fish based on seasonality, meaning staff recommendations are particularly purposeful and spirited. Since the mains are market-fresh and relatively new-to-table, the team carefully cooks each based on the unique attributes per fish, subsequently preserving juiciness while enhancing the natural flavor of each. Quality of quantity is the mantra here.
And, regardless of the fish varietal, we can always appreciate how well wine pairs with seafood.
Don’t leave before asking about the Anti-Paxi varietal of anti-oxidant laden goodness. Produced from the fruit of Paxos’ smaller neighbour, Anti-Paxos, this wine is well known among locals for its zing. Basking in sun for most of the season, grapes from Anti-Paxos ripen quickly, lending their ample sugars to producing a higher-alcohol wine. The soils’ mineral rich composition rounds this out, resulting in a potent potable that begs you to ask for it by the carafe.
For foodies who want to be in the know: Executive Chef Chris updates the menu seasonally, having recently added a handful of new dishes just in time for this summer. Don’t hesitate to ask the team about them. We did, and each paired beautifully with the others, leaving us content but not over-full.
Travlr Blog gives Genesis Taverna 5 out of 5 cod fritters. On any fritters for that matter...