Fabulous dining doesn’t always have to mean haute cuisine. We asked superyacht owners to share their secret culinary stop-offs – from four-table tavernas to rustic beachside shacks – that offer stellar food off the beaten track. As told to Lucia Ferigutti and Sophia Wilson...
Harry Vafias, owner of 56m Benetti AE Cap d’Antibes and 47m Feadship X Chios
Thalassaki Tinos, Greece
There are many brilliant tavernas dotted across the Greek islands but the tiny Thalassaki on the island of Tinos is a favourite. There are only four tables, but people fly in by helicopter from Athens just to eat there. It’s run by a couple – the wife, Antonia, is in charge of the kitchen. The food is incredible; lots of fresh fish, homemade cheeses and homegrown vegetables and herbs. It is in the bay of Ysternia to the north-west of the island and is literally on the sea. It’s so close to the water that when a big yacht passes by the wake washes over your feet (so make sure you’re wearing shoes that you don’t mind getting wet).
Sa Roqueta Palma, Mallorca, Spain
I first visited Sa Roqueta El Portixol six years ago, and the last time was the summer before the pandemic hit. The food is typically Spanish – rich and flavoured. They serve splendid traditional jamon and “jamon de Jabugo” (I’ll say nothing about it – just try it) with dry bread spread with tomato and garlic, pimiento de Padrón peppers and fresh lobster. I always order their special seafood paella. The decor is simple, with just a few tables, nothing fancy – it’s the food that’s the real draw here. The small port, surrounded by fishermen’s houses and colourful boats, is the ideal backdrop, particularly when you are sitting outside on a hot summer evening, enjoying the fresh breeze coming from the sea.
The Contented Sole New Harbor, Maine, US
Whenever the family and I are spending time on Johns Island near Boothbay there are a couple of restaurants that we love to take the boat over to, tie up, and eat some great seafood. The Contented Sole is a wonderful, quintessentially Maine restaurant located on the historic Pemaquid Harbor, just down the hill from Fort William Henry. Everyone there seems to know that they are sharing something special – and a little bit hard to go get – and of course it’s Maine so it’s extraordinarily relaxed. I always order the oysters. This region of Maine is one of the largest and best producers of oysters and they are unbelievably fresh.
Smitty’s Oyster House Gibson, Canada
If you are on a superyacht in British Columbia and want a fun and somewhat raucous time off the beaten track, then you must visit Smitty’s Oyster House in Gibson. It’s very casual and right on the ocean boardwalk. Needless to say, its specialty is fresh local oysters. It’s most fun to go with a large group and let the waiters choose. We try and bagsy their long table inside and they will bring a wild assortment of the freshest seafood and meat on a six-metre-long plank of wood. It’s the sharing platter to end all sharing platters.
Sophie Bonvin, owner of 42m Sanlorenzo Globas
Sa Foradada Mallorca, Spain
Set on a rock overlooking the sea, Sa Foradada commands one of the best views on the island – a scene from The Night Manager was filmed there. It’s definitively a lunch place and is famous for its glorious paella, which you should pair with Spanish white wine. My partner Barry [Houghton], who first introduced me to it 12 years ago, discovered it while cruising the area on his boat. I clearly remember the first time he took me there: we were cruising on Salperton and the whole area is just gorgeous. The water is a very special shade of blue and the surrounding rocks are magnificent. We make sure we go about ten times every summer.
Paul Goldstein, owner of 35m Pershing La Cima III
Konoba Dionis Sveti Klement, Croatia
I am betraying a secret but on a little island called Sveti Klement, opposite the town of Hvar, is the magnificent Konoba Dionis. To get there you need to tender to the bay in front of Vlaka, where there is a small jetty, and then follow a rocky path on shore for about 500 metres. The restaurant is very rustic; I think they’ve now put a roof over the kitchen but there didn’t used to be one. The owner is Pierino and you’ll normally find him in a very chilled mood (thankfully his wife does the cooking) and if you are wearing anything more than shorts and flip flops you are overdressed. There is a menu I have seen floating around, but I never asked for it (a friend of mine once did and I never spoke to him again) instead you just say, “Bring out what you’ve got.” I always start with their freshly made lemonade and then order some local wine. They serve this amazing cold melanzane parmigiana and then there’s always fresh fish as a main course. Whenever I visit for lunch, I always stay until dusk.
Steve Rigby, owner of 26m Extra Yachts Haze
Beach Restaurant Petit St Vincent, Grenadines
When we are in the Grenadines, I love jumping off the boat to visit the Beach Restaurant and Bar on the private island resort of Petit St Vincent. It’s a tiny island in a great part of the world, with amazing sailing and cruising, and the restaurant is exactly what you need in the Caribbean – hospitable, relaxed, feet in the sand and serving fresh fish. The lobster in the area is great, so that’s always the first thing I order off the menu, but there’s also freshly baked clay oven pizzas or Caribbean jerk chicken. Like all of the Grenadines it’s very relaxed, so there is no need to dress up – just sip rum and enjoy.
Osteria Botteghe Antiche Putignano, Italy
My favourite part of the Mediterranean for fine food is Puglia in south-east Italy. If you are there it is worth the trip inland to Osteria Botteghe Antiche, a simple tavern set on a beautiful square in the historic centre of Putignano. It serves excellent carne di’asino [donkey meat, a delicacy of Puglia], which you can eat as a fillet, grilled and stuffed with broad bean purée, as bresaola [cured meat] with sauce, or served with fresh orecchiette, a typical local pasta. You need to make sure you save room for dessert as the most delicious thing on the menu is the fried zeppole – an Italian pastry – served with cream. There is also a well-stocked wine list with many local and natural wine labels, so it’s perfect for a long lunch.
Reader’s pick: Jordana Reuben Yechiel
Sandy Island Anguilla
Just off Anguilla there’s a shack on a tiny island called Sandy Island – and when I say a tiny, I mean it’s smaller than a football pitch. They just have picnic tables with palm trees for shade, and it’s just perfect. Once you’re ashore suddenly all these other boats pull up out of nowhere. Someone puts music on, everyone has lobsters and margaritas, and you are left wondering, how did this happen? It’s definitely a local’s secret and you never know who you are going to bump into. It’s one of those urban myth islands – every captain rings another when the party is on. It almost seems a shame to blow its cover.
Editor’s pick: Sacha Bonsor
Omega 3 Sifnos, Greece
Omega 3 is the chicest shack you will ever visit, with wooden bar tables under a stylish pergola-cum-kitchen and extra tables spilling out onto the best beach on the island. The chef and co-founder, Giorgios Samoilis, trained as a molecular biologist and studied at Oxford University and Imperial College London, before travelling extensively around South America. When he returned to his native Sifnos, eight years ago, he launched Omega 3, which has become synonymous with raw and cooked fish dishes that are, unsurprisingly, heavily influenced by Giorgios’ scientific background and global adventures. Think ceviches, tiraditos (a Peruvian dish of raw fish), carpaccios and even tacos, all with a Greek twist. The crowd is low-key sophisticated, discreetly mixing locals with celebrities (Tom Hanks is a regular) and superyacht owners – among the many boats I have spotted at anchor there are Mary-Jean II, Nahlin and Blush. If you are also visiting by boat, sail right into the wide bay (it's deep enough for superyachts) and tender to shore.