Two toddlers. 7 Nights of holiday meals. Yes, it was always going to be fun. Whilst in Zakynthos, we did economise by eating breakfast and lunch at the hotel, mostly consisting of chocolate Whetabix I brought over in my suitcase (sad, yes) and ham & cheese sandwiches for lunch. So for dinner we were going to have to check out what Alykanas, the small town on the north-west of Zakynthos where we were staying, had to offer.
Since having kids, we have sadly become a lot less adventurous whilst on holiday. My pre-child-self twice caught flights without having a hotel at the other end of the long flights. Now, even in the UK, I look for well-known chains for everything (unisex baby changing! Discount vouchers!) and, unsurprisingly, this reluctance to go off the beaten track has extended to my holidays as well. Oh well. So all of the restaurants we ate at were within 10 minutes’ walk of our hotel. We didn’t even venture left or right off the main road. “Ooh, there’s a sign to a restaurant that looks nice. Oh, you have to go down that slightly darker road with marginally less people on it? No, that’s just a little too much tonight.”
Our (mild-mannered) adventure:
Night 1 & 4: Elia – The kids behaved well the first night, assisted by some refuelling after their long journey with spaghetti bolongese. Generally successful and happy discovery that toilets in random far-flung restaurants were much better than the international airport. The second visit wasn’t quite as good with a Ninja breakdown, a Weasel totally ignoring the pizza she ordered and mummy very much needing a glass of wine. It was mostly chosen on night 1 because it was the closest to the hotel that took cards (bollocks to not having a cash machine at the airport), the second night because they were so friendly on the first. Sadly my langostines were a bit gritty and full of poo, which seemed sad since everything else was so perfect.
Night 2: La Carretta This place seemed a little dull and unfriendly after Elia and Weasel didn’t get much out of her sausage and chips. The Ninja inevitably enjoyed Weasel’s leftovers and bits of the side salad I ordered at every meal despite Husband’s protestations. We had a go on the ubiquitous ‘childrens’ play area’ and discovered that quantity of toys definitely outstripped quality (i.e. not falling apart when child goes near them). Here is Weasel on a trike that the whole front came off of. Seriously, 1 good, working slide would make the kids happier I reckon. We kind of just got ignored and seemed to be the only people who didn’t get any bread. Dear restaurants – you see a family with really young kids? You pile them high with bread as they walk through the damn door. Happy kids from the get-go mean you’re not ordering based on what will take less time to cook or if your child will go nuclear if you have a starter. Immediate bread, it will make you more money.
Night 3 & 7: The Chindian! More specifically the Taj Mahal and Golden Dragon, conveniently combining Indian and Chinese. The kids loved both nights, although the ‘mild’ curry was far spicier than anything I would call mild. It had Husband sweating (not difficult admittedly), so they mostly ate rice, poppadoms and prawn crackers. Singapore spicy noodles were a massive hit with both, and not at all spicy. And best of all, it has a trampoline!!! Every restaurant needs a trampoline. Although I will not be volunteering to clean it after, thank you very much.
Night 5: Apollo
Both kids behaved that night, something which is unheard of. We got the most extensive kids menu, Thompson the dog riding past on a horse carriage dressed as an ancient Greek, pasta and starter platters big enough to feed 20 kids and Weasel’s discovery of the joy of dipping pita bread into vanilla ice cream. And the most awesome thing ever? Some “anonymous benefactor” picked up our bill. We still don’t have a clue who or why, but it was pretty damn awesome.
Even some actual Greek dishes on the kids menu!
Night 6: Vagi’s
Why did we choose Vagi’s? Because it sounded a bit rude, that’s it. It gave us a snicker every time we walked past. I must admit, apart from that, it was pretty unmemorable, sorry! The kids loved the carbonara (you could order ‘kids’ dishes or small versions of any pasta, so we went for the latter) and I love that the baklavas came with steak knives. I once light-heartedly slagged off a friend for having homemade baklava that required a steak knife. No more, she was clearly a baklava making expert!
Poor, clueless Weasel had no idea why we kept snickering
So, that’s our exciting Greek culinary adventure! Things that were standard: your kid gets free ice cream but will have the shit scared out of them by the sparkler, toilets weren’t horrendous but baby changing not prevalent, the highchair will look like it’s been around since the dawn of time (take wipes for the tray at least, the rest will help build up their immunity I hope!) and the food will pretty much all be the same, good, just pretty much the same menu. And baklava will add 3 pounds to you, specifically to your belly, by the end of the week if you eat it nightly. Good times.