Have you ever been to Greece? We haven’t. There, we said it. The fact that have never been to a country which actually is pretty close (3,5 hour flight) and so amazingly beautiful feels really weird. But all that is changing because we’re writing this from a bed in Zakynthos, one of the most appealing places of Greece: Nobelos.
And to be a little bit more specific. We are currently chilling on a private beach which belongs to a family own boutique hotel and restaurant. There are three brothers, a mother and the father that are responsible for a highly ecological mini resorts that has conquered our hearts. A, and before we forget, Steve who also works here is definitely part of succes of this magical place.
We arrive at 0700 in the morning and after we picked up our car from the airport we immediately make our way north. Away from the the busy and touristy Tsivili and Zakynthos Town (capital). Up north we were told to find a lot more serenity and quietness and come on, we are in our early thirties, we need this serenity to get our batteries charged.
It’s a small 45 minute drive from the airport before you reach Nobelos. The property is easily accessible (except the parking part because you need some skills to get this part done) and extreme beauty hits you in the face the moment you make your way down the ramp.
The good people from the resort offer us breakfast because we arrive so early. This will be our first (and definitely not our last) encounter with the Nobelos restaurant of which the property is famous for. The fact that it’s famous for the food is easily explained: they only have 4 rooms in the boutique hotel part which lies exactly next to the restaurant (and 4 rooms means very high occupancy during high season so booking ahead is something to think about).
Our breakfast is an English one. It’s well made but we might have wished for a more Greek experience. That having said, the fact that most of what’s on our plate is grown/made in our around the property makes it taste a lot better than we thought. The eggs is great and come straight from the chickens in the garden end the fresh bread combines with homemade strawberry jam might not sound really mind blowing, it’s the taste that will sweep you of your feet (#nosugar).
Because we need to wait for our room we make our way down to the beach. Let’s just relax a few hours. Enjoy the sun and the good looking sunbeds before we go all Zakynthos over the island. After a few hours Steve drops by to tell us that our room is ready so we grab our stuff and eagerly make our way over to the place we’ll be sleeping the coming 2 nights.
The room is amazing. It’s really old fashioned with stones on the inside (this will keep the place cold in summer and warm in winter). For those of you that are interested in modern design, place don’t visit, for the people that actually like the old Greek architecture and design, please do come over. Our room has 2 bedrooms, a small bathroom and a nice and big balcony. Perfect for a young couple with children I guess. There’s not a lot more room you’ll need because when you live or stay in Greece/Zakynthos, you practically live outside.
The pictures that accompany this article will give you a impression about the room, we could spend 300 words on it but that would only make bore you. Sometimes a photo does tell you more than words.
During our stay at Nobelos we decide to dine at the place the very first evening. Why? We don’t know. Maybe because of the fact we just can’t wait…
Our table is set and we arrive a bit early because we are coming from a broken night. Going to bed early is on our agenda tonight, but we’re not sure the restaurant will let us do so 😉 Steve again helps us out and starts our dinner with a good bottle of typical Zakyvnthian white wine. Normally we like our wines cold, especially when it’s hot outside, but this win needs to be between 10 and 12 degrees to experience the best. And we can’t argue, the wins very nice, a bit sour but we think that might go along perfectly with probably all of the fish that is coming (hunch feeling).
We speak a little with Steve about the food that is to come but he won’t say much. He wants us to be excited and curious. And we like it that way. The first courses are laid down. Shrimps in tomato sauce, fresh sardines, bruschetta with feta cheese and olives, sea weed salade grilled octopus with aubergine salsa. Oh man, this is real treat. We now understand why the internet talks so much about this Nobelos place. The freshness of these meals makes food so freakin’ tasty. We’ve eaten Sardines before, but these… drown in local olive oil, vinegar, citrus and sea salt is just mind blowing.
After all these small dishes the main course arrives. It’s served in a huge porcelain shell so we can imagine only one thing: there’s fish inside. And we are so true. It’s pasta with clams, mussels, shrimps and some other shell fish we’ve never seen before (but tastes awesome). The pasta is very rich and full of flavor. It’s just delicious. After the dinner comes dessert. It’s ice-cream which is homemade by the mother of the family owned Nobelos. And that’s when the story actually begins. Nobelos is not your ordinary boutique hotel or restaurant. It’s an organic one. Almost all of the ingredients that are used are made on the property. Salt? From the rocks at the private beach. See weed (starter course)? Same story? Herbs? All over you can find big pots that usually have flowers. Here they are full of basil, thyme, oregano, etc. Eggs? From the chickens… And we can go on and on and on. And if it’s not on the property? Then they will get it somewhere nearby, but almost never will the mainland interfere with what’s on the menu of Nobelos.
After 2 nights we come to the conclusion that Nobelos Boutique Hotel and Restaurant deserves a very good review. Of course there are a few flaws we can point out. We personally didn’t really like the bed linnen (we’re a sucker for 100% cotton) and the rooster that starts his repertoire at 04:30 in the AM is something you want to be warned about. But a side from that, it’s all good at this place. Your visiting Zakynthos? This is a must visit for dinner and if you’re able to afford a few nights to discover the rough and quiet north of this beautiful island, we recommend you stay at Nobelos, we promise you won’t regret it.
Price range hotel: € 100,- to 300,- a night
Price range restaurant: € 10,- to 20,- per course
More information: Website Nobelos
TripAdvisor hotel: link
TripAdvisor restaurant: link
This review has been made possible by Sunny Cars. They were so kind to give us a really cool rental car so we would be a lot more flexible when it comes to moving around the island. A rental car is a must on Zakynthos because this makes it possible to find and discover a lot of hidden gems the island has to offer. Renting a car at Sunny isn’t that expensive. Go check out their website and see for yourself.