I am a very curious person, but I also know that when I find something “perfect”, it is wise to stick to it. So, after my first meal at Tamam, I understood there was no other place to eat at in Chania, Crete.
Tamam is located one street up from the Venetian Harbour. I am posting a photo to make it easier for you to find Tamam. When facing Hotel Lucia (the blue building), take the street on your right. Walk fifteen meters and you can already see Tamam tables outside on the street on your left hand side. Should you like to eat inside (Tamam is located at a beautiful, old Turkish public bath, “hammam”), take the first street on the left, and wait for a waiter. Very easy!
Now, you have your table and you are reading the menu, which is quite long. You may recognize some dishes but you are also wondering which dishes are more Turkish influenced and which ones are typically Cretan… You look at what your neighbor is eating and you suddenly want to taste everything. No problem!
We like sampling many different things and ordering four or five mezzes worked well for us (portions are big). There are also daily dishes but they don’t seem to change every day.
Snails have special health benefit so our first lunch consisted of rosemary snails, aubergine croquettes, fried peppers with yogurt-garlic sauce and Cretan pies with local white cheese.
The same day, in the evening, we returned for dinner. My husband had a daily fish with vegetables and I had Turkish-influenced Hunkiar Begiendi Lamb (lamb in tomato and aubergine puree) which must be about the best dish ever cooked in this world!! No exaggeration here. An absolute must-taste dish!!
The next evening we hesitated and asked ourselves “can we really go back again, what will they think of us?” but objections remained silent. So, a new mezze tour!
Staka (warm creamy fondue-like local cheese), more snails (remember the health benefits?), Plevrotous mushrooms on the grill, baked giant beans, zucchini croquettes and Cretan pies with spinach and cheese. Ok, in case you are wondering, I have to specify that we had not eaten during the day and we were very hungry. And yes, we finished everything…
I tasted Nostos Pink rose wine sold by a glass and it was excellent.
During our other visits we ordered house wine (sold in carafes), both red and white, and really appreciated the fruity but natural and light taste. I noticed that often Cretan house wines were not very strong and it was pleasant to drink something that did not make your head turn after the first or the second glass (I think the wine has become too strong, often above 14%, and it did not use to be like this!). Bottles were a lot more expensive, about the same price than in Parisian bistros.
Our lunch and dinner bills varied from 30€ to 50€, wine included. Each time we were offered a free dessert and a small carafe of local raki. The service was friendly and attentive.
What an extraordinary restaurant, what happy memories! My mouth is watering as I am writing! Make Tamam your place to eat when in Chania.
TAMAM: Zambeliou 49, Chania.