"LET FOOD BE THY MEDICINE, AND MEDICINE THY FOOD." -Hippocrates
Istros is a Modern Greek Restaurant run by Spyros and Emma Karagiannis. It has been in the Karagianni family for 15 years and was passed down from father to son in 2017. Originally a traditional Greek restaurant, where most of the dishes were cooked by “Mama Istros”, we decided to put our own stamp on it and create Greek dishes with a twist.
Greek Classics with a twist
In its early days, Istros made a name for itself as a popular music venue amongst locals who came to eat and dance the night away listening to live island music. Given the importance of food, dance and music in our culture, we decided to carry on this tradition by hosting live music events twice weekly. Taking our time, enjoying good food and good company whilst listening to traditional music are at the centre of our culture and we want you to experience that too.
We love mummy’s cooking and mummy’s cooking will always be pivotal to our menu and to Greek cuisine in general. Traditional tastes and knowledge will always be incorporated into the food we make, but we try to add tastes from different cultures and modern cooking techniques to provide a new Greek eating experience. The majority of the traditional Greek dishes are made in advance, but we look for ways to adapt these cooking techniques to produce dishes that are either cooked or finished at the time you order them. Take our Moussaka for example, each one is prepped individually that afternoon and cooked and finished at the time you order it ensuring maximum satisfaction for your taste buds! And whilst some of our dishes might not seem Greek at all, there will always be an element of our culture or specific ingredient in it that will add that Greek or “Kotiko” (from Kos) touch.
Adapting Greek Cuisine
Changes in modern world eating habits have seen a rise in demand for sustainable cooking methods and for foods that meet specific dietary requirements. Whilst the Mediterranean and Greek diets are naturally more in tune with the new global demand for conscious eating and cooking, we believe that some elements need tweaking and that is what we’re constantly working on; adapting our dishes and ingredients to make sure we’re making each Greek dish we serve, the best it can possibly be. We do all this by making sure our menu is true to the cuisine of Kos and also true to the beliefs of the founding father of modern medicine; Hippocrates, who believed that good health started with goood food. Some of our dishes have even been inspired by the area in which we are located, the area in which the Karaginnis family was raised; Lambi. Lambi was once a bustling hub of tinned tomato factories, in fact, it was the most prosperous industry on the island at the time. Greek tomatoes are infamous world over for their juicy texture and tantalizing scent, and here on Kos, tomatoes were not just a staple part of the diet; producing sauces, salads and even desserts, they also provided income for a large majority of the island before the tourist boom began. As we’re located next to many of the now derelict tinned tomato factories, we try to pay homage to this part of our history by adapting some of the more traditional tomato dishes that have been made on Kos for centuries to produce unique and maybe even tastier ones.
Quality is, of course, of utmost importance to us so we source the freshest of local produce and spend months researching what will go onto our menu. As a small business ourselves, we do our best to support other small businesses in the country. Be it the farmer working with his family just down the road or a small brewery in the North of the country selling Greek craft beers; we are constantly in search of the tastiest and most sustainable products that we think our customers will love just as much as we do. We also believe that the “father of medicine”, Hippocrates, who was born on Kos and taught medicine here, was right in his belief that we are what we eat. So we try to use as many fresh “healing” herbs in our dishes as possible; herbs that are native to Kos and are grown in our garden. If you do pass by, make sure you take a walk around the garden to see which healing processes Hippocrates believed each local herb carried out.
Hippocrates' Herb Garden
During the periods we are closed, we still spend the majority of our time at the restaurant, searching for ways to improve the way we work, making it more comfortable for our staff and even cosier for you. In the restaurant you will find flowers planted by our son in the garden and fences built by our own hand using scrap wood and much, much more. We raid our friends’ garages in search of old furniture or what some might call “junk” and get to work upcycling it to bring it back to life; honouring the generations that have passed before us and creating a homely environment that gives you even more insight into the Greek culture.
As lovers of our natural world, we respect everything it gives us and so we do our best to protect it. As businesses can produce hefty carbon footprints, we’re constantly learning how to make better environmentally conscious operating choices. The majority of our drinks are served without a straw and when they are needed, we opt for recyclable alternatives (pandemic and safety measures permitting). So if your drink comes without one, please know we’re trying to cut down on waste, not cost. We use recyclable paper throughout the restaurant, we’re constantly replacing our appliances in favour of energy efficient alternatives, we use LED light bulbs and we recycle all our bottles and waste. We change our menus every year so instead of producing menus that are non-recyclable and end up sitting in a land fill site, we choose to create recyclable paper placemat alternatives. We recycle our oil and give our food waste to local farmers who provide us with free range eggs in return.
If you’ve got any suggestions on how we can even further reduce our carbon footprint then please let us know.
We want you to have more than just dinner when you visit Istros, we want it to be an experience. We want you to relax, take your time and savour every moment and every taste, so please feel comfortable enough to ask for us by name and let us know how we can make your evening everything you expected it to be and more.