The Revans taverna in Syros is just as it should be

The island of Syros, graced with sunshine for some 300 days per year, experiences brief winters and expansive summers.


The island of Syros, graced with sunshine for some 300 days per year, experiences brief winters and expansive summers. Yet, the island’s tourist seasonal window is narrow, prompting most businesses to temporarily shutter – some for an extended hiatus, others solely for the three winter months. Consequently, options for quality leisure activities dwindle among the island’s 30,000 permanent residents. However, this winter, solace was found in a charming taverna named Revans, nestled within the ancient market of Ermoupoli, the island’s main town, beside the local grocery markets, along the thoroughfare linking the port to Miaoulis Square.

Revans, owned by Alexandros Karakechagias, Michalis Golapis and Xanthippi Karagiorga, embodies a contemporary taverna as it should be. If more tavernas were to open nowadays, they should emulate its essence. Tastefully simple, devoid of elaborate decor and modest, yet beautifully integrated into the island market where it resides. The choice of location was deliberate; snug in the heart of Ermoupoli, adjacent to Kostas Prekas’ fine grocery store, diagonally across from a fish market, and a square away from two greengrocers and a bakery, advantages fully utilized in its kitchen.


Operating hours are tailored to cater primarily to the needs of the local market. It opens around 8 a.m., offering coffee and a simple Greek breakfast for early risers and commuters, only closing on Sundays in sync with the island’s store timetable. Throughout the day, besides EighteenScreen Micro Roastery coffee from Piraeus, it serves tsipouro and ouzo, boasting around 20 selections, and around 10 labels of bottled local, regional and Greek wines. Wine is served in tall glasses because tradition dictates it, irrespective of it being a taverna and not a fine-dining restaurant.

Accompanying the drinks are small plates of meze prepared by Yianna Lassithiotaki in their kitchen. The menu isn’t fixed; it depends on market availability, season, and the chef’s mood. Daily dishes are crafted based on what’s available at the market stalls, offering dishes like saucy meatballs, tangy eggplant, dakos, liver appetizer, crispy lamb, always accompanied by a legume, some cheeses and local cured meats. Their latest obsession is pies; sometimes they make pies with greens and cheese, and other times tomato or Mykonian onion pies. If you happen upon the warm galaktoboureko made by Michalis, you’ll consider yourself fortunate. 


This article originally appeared in Gastronomos, Kathimerini’s monthly food magazine.

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