A notable taverna is ‘Bodikos’, which is located alongside the main road. It is mentioned because of their Pizza oven. "Amazing 'genuine' Italian Pizza, generous and excellent value for money", a renowned travel editor has written about Bodikos Restaurant. But you will also find traditional cretan cuisine on the menu of the family run business, as well as local wines and "Raki" of their own manufacture. They have a full menu of pizzas, which are all created to order. You can watch Bodikos-owner Georgios Spinthakis preparing the Pizza in front of the large stone oven or working at the grill, while his wife Charula and the other family members take care of their guests. Also on offer is fresh fish and typical vegetarian dishes of the Greek cuisine in the restaurant's cosy atmosphere and under the vine-entwined roof of the external terrace.
Other Tavernas to visit are 'The Meeting Place' situated in the Platia. Also Mikes situated in a back street close to the Platia.
Sadly, this year Eva & Nikos have not opened their Restaraunt. Nikos can be found in the Taverna on Kommos Beach during the afternoon / early evening where he produces some of his renowned dishes.
Sitting up on the cliff on the south side of the bay - as far as you can go is the 'Taverna Sunset'. From the main town square follow the narrow road down to the quay. There are bars and tavernas here, but just walk through and take the steps up the cliff on the left. Anoula, Manolis and their family are famed for their fresh fish. Their eating areas command views across the Bay of Messara or back to the beach of Matala. Highly recommended.
Just off the main town square where the road leads down to the quay there is a small kerbside taverna - Family Gianiss. Evniania and her mother prepare traditional Cretan dishes along with fish and meat off the grill. Really worth a visit.
Right on the town square is the Taverna Corali. Corali is a family-run restaurant and offers the true experience of delicious home-style cooked food and warm Greek hospitality. In Corali you can taste a full flavored selection of authentic Cretan traditional dishes served in a friendly relaxed atmosphere, with a variety of local wines. Among the typical Cretan dishes that served in Corali are snails (or cochlioi), meat 'ofto' (large chunks of lamb or goat roasted over coals), boiled goat, 'staka' (made of butter and flour), sfakia pie (lamb with mizithra cheese cooked in pastry sheet in the oven), kaltsounia (small pies with home made pastry, filled with unsalted white cheese and fried in olive oil.
The town has many beach-front tavernas, where you can take breakfast, lunch or evening dinner and look out over the Matala cove. They all serve their own traditional dishes, charge a little more for the view and it is worth trying at least one during your stay.
During the 60’s, Joni Mitchell visited Matala and she composed a song called ‘Carrie’, which is featured on one of her albums, in which the lyrics “beneath the Matala moon” and the ‘Mermaid Café’ feature. (The Café is still there, although under a different name now.)
One or two other places of note are: Taverna Eleni, on the beach-front. It is very small and operated by Eleni herself with the aid of her daughter Maria – the best sardines and kalimari around. For a quick snack, the small gyros bar on the beach side of the town square is second to none.
For dessert the bakery in the centre of town has an unbelievable array of cakes, patisserie, sweets ice creams and other goodies. They are open until 23.00 during the summer and have tables and chairs outside and in the square. They also serve a very good cup of coffee.
At the top of the hill on the right hand side as you descend into Matala, there is a Cretan Fish Taverna called the ‘Mystical View’. It lives up to it’s name admirably as the view offers the whole of Messara Bay from the top of the cliff, the southern coastline and both the Lefka Ori Mountains and the Psiloritis (White) mountains. (See the picture on the Commos page.) Again the sunsets can be awesome and it is a lovely setting for a special evening dinner. Be sure to get there early if you want to eat around sunset and in the busy end of the season it is wise to book.