The Snails House on Crete

Crete

The Snails House in Plouti near Phaistos in southern Crete serves the Cretan delicacy of snails, cooked in several different ways.

The Snails House in Plouti on Crete

'Snails are the friends of Cretans. We love them. We ate them during the war.' That's what we'd been told by our guide on our visit to the Lyrarakis Winery a few days earlier, where literally thousands of snails were clinging to bushes near their vines. Fortunately snails don't seem to like vines.

The Snails House in Plouti on Crete

Cretans like snails, though, probably even more than the French love their escargots. Besides - but be careful where you say it - the French actually import some of their snails from Greece. That French escargot in Paris might actually be a Greek koklias from Lake Pamvotis, where there's a healthy snail export business.

The Snails House in Plouti on Crete

The Cretans certainly cook snails in far more inventive ways than the French do, as we were about to discover when we sat down for an unusual lunch at To Steki tou Kokliou, or The House of Snails in Plouti. 

The Snails House in Plouti on Crete

As you can see from the many photos we took, The House of Snails is charmingly and quirkily decorated with lots of rustic touches. On one window shutter there were plants and herbs including lavender, rosemary and oregano, all growing from what looked like old jam jars. A gnarled olive tree branch was draped over a fireplace, and colourful copper jugs contrasted with faded old photos.

The Snails House in Plouti on Crete

We had plenty of time to look around as, due to our schedule, we'd arrived at noon just as the place was getting their lunch dishes ready, though the cooking smells from the absolutely tiny kitchen made us instantly hungry. I guess you don't need a lot of cooking space if you mainly cook snails.

The Snails House in Plouti on Crete

We were on a food-and-drink themed tour of Crete with our excellent guide Isi, from gocrete.net. Isi will organise tours on any theme that interests you, but if you choose a food and drink one you're in for a treat. Or rather, many treats. Isi arranged for us to tour vineyards and craft breweries, discover shops like the amazing herb shop in Kouses, meet someone who made petimezi and someone else who made rakomelo, and today he'd slipped in a lunch at this very specialist place.

The Snails House in Plouti on Crete

It's obviously not a place to come if you don't like snails, though you could still put a meal together from the side dishes they do, like fava beans and stuffed vine leaves. Today as our vegetable side dish we ordered stuffed cabbage leaves, and as they were prepared that morning like all the dishes, they were fresh and delicious. But what about the snails?

The Snails House in Plouti on Crete

'Today they do four kinds,' Isi explained, ' one is done in the frying pan, then put in the fire with vinegar and rosemary. It's called bourbouristous, from the noise the snails make in the fire: bour-bour-bour…. Another dish is just boiled snails. It's a kafeneon not a taverna or restaurant so the menu is small. For drink there is local wine, retsina, raki, different coffees of course. It would only cost you about €6-7 depending what you have.'

A plate of Snail Stifado at The Snails House in Plouti on CreteSnail Stifado

Today Isi recommends the two other snail dishes on the menu. The first is snail with onions, which doesn't sound very appetising but Isi explains there's more to it than onions, with tomatoes, herbs and spices added, making it more like a snail stifado. We've never had anything like that, so why not?

A plate of snails with wheat and cheese at The Snails House in Plouti on CreteSnails with Wheat and Cheese

Nor have we even heard of anything like the other option, which Isi describes as snails with dried wheat and cheese. What? When it comes it looks something like a snail pilaf, and tastes somewhere between a pilaf and a savoury risotto. It's incredibly tasty, as is the snail stifado, which is juicy and full of flavour.

A plate of dishes at The Snails House in Plouti on Crete

We highly recommend a visit to The Snails House in Plouti on Crete for a unique dining experience. And if you want a lesson in how to eat a snail, we got Isi to show us a few nights later:

We've put all these photos, and a few more, together in a video slideshow about The Snails House on our YouTube channel:

More Information

The Snails House is on the main road in the village of Plouti in southern Crete, about a 30-minute drive from Matala and Agia Galini, and 15 minutes from Phaistos. For opening times phone 02892 096352.

Google map showing the location of The Snails House in Plouti on Crete

You might like these other Crete pages...

  • Goules Taverna Crete

    The Goules Taverna in Goulediana, south of Rethymnon, has been called one of the best tavernas on Crete and Greece Travel Secrets recently visited them.

  • Eco-Tourism Accommodation on Crete

    The Dalabelos Estate offers luxury eco-tourism accommodation on Crete in the hills near Rethymnon with its own farm, vineyard and olive groves.

  • Margarites

    Margarites is known on Crete for its pottery, with ceramics shops and workshops lining the streets of this charming small town not far from Rethymnon.

  • Zacharioudakis Winery

    Greece Travel Secrets visits the Zacharioudakis Winery near Ancient Gortina in southern Crete, and does a vineyard tour arranged by our guide from Go Crete.

  • Touring the Lyrarakis Winery on Crete

    Greece Travel Secrets tours the Lyrarakis Winery on Crete and learns about Crete grape varieties such as plyto, dafni, vidiano, vilana, mandilari and kotsifali.

  • The Icon Painter

    Icon painting is a centuries-old tradition in Crete and the rest of Greece, and Greece Travel Secrets meets a modern-day icon painter in Elounda on Crete.

  • The Herb Man of Kouses

    Greece Travel Secrets visits the Cretan Botano herbs and spices shop near Matala in southern Crete in search of the herb man of Kouses.

  • The Cretan Diet

    Studies have shown the Cretan Diet as one of the healthiest in the world, involving lots of fresh fruit, vegetables, fresh fish, and moderate amounts of wine.

  • Stilianou Winery near Knossos

    The Stilianou Winery near Knossos on Crete uses only Cretan grape varieties, with every bottle numbered, and aims for quality rather than quantity.

  • Sir Arthur Evans, archaeologist at Knossos on Crete

    Sir Arthur Evans is the archaeologist famous for the excavations he made at the royal palace of Knossos on Crete.

  • Samaria Gorge

    The Samaria Gorge is one the longest gorges in Europe and doing the hike is one of the best and most popular things to do on Crete.

  • Rethymnon in Western Crete

    Rethymnon is the third-largest city in Crete and has a Venetian fortress, Archaeological Museum, Old Town area and Venetian harbour,

  • Phaistos Minoan Palace on Crete

    Greece Travel Secrets page on Phaistos or Faistos, the site of one of the finest Minoan palaces on Crete and is where the mysterious Phaistos Disc was found.

  • Paleohora and the South-West Coast

    The area east from Paleohora along the south-west coast of Crete includes resorts like Agia Galini, gorges like the Imbros Gorge and quieter towns like Sfakia.

  • Our Hire Car in Crete

    The travel tale Our Hire Car in Crete describes what it’s like when you go driving in Greece and get off the beaten track, resulting in kindnesses.

  • Matala Beach

    Matala Beach on Crete is a guest blog for Greece Travel Secrets from the We Love Crete website, inviting you to Awaken Your Inner Hippy in Matala, Crete.

  • Manousakis Wine Tasting

    We visit and tour the Manousakis Winery on Crete with a wine-tasting and a chance to buy their tsikoudia, sea salt, olive oil and other goodies.

  • Malia and its Minoan Palace on Crete

    Malia on the north coast of Crete is renowned for its nightlife and beaches but also has the Minoan Palace of Malia, one of Crete's many archaeological sites.

  • Maleme and the German War Cemetery on Crete

    Maleme near Chania is where the people who died during the battle of Crete are buried, in the German War Cemetery with the Commonwealth War Cemetery nearby.

  • Making Rakomelo on Crete

    Greece Travel Secrets visits Crete and learns about making rakomelo from Jorgos Kourmoulis in Agouseliana.

  • Lonely Planet Crete

    Lonely Planet Crete is an excellent and thorough guide of almost 300 pages to the largest of the Greek islands.

  • Knossos

    Visiting Knossos near Iraklion is one of the best things to do on Crete, and this page has a history of the site with visitor information.

  • Irakleio

    Crete's capital and largest city is Irakleio, also called Iraklion or Heraklion, a large and busy place with good restaurants, museums and historical buildings.

  • Arkadi Monastery

    Visiting the Arkadi Monastery near Rethymnon is one of the best things to do on Crete.

  • Airbnb near Chania

    This Airbnb in the quiet village of Malaxa, a 30-minute drive into the hills above Chania, is a peaceful retreat with a delightful and thoughtful artist owner, with wonderful views and amenities.

Latest Posts

  1. Greece Looking to Open to Travelers from the United States

    The United States is one of the markets that Greece is eyeing to form a travel arrangement that will open up tourism between the two countries this year.

    Read More

  2. Restaurants in Greece Expected to Re-open for Outdoor Service After Easter

    Restaurants and other food and beverage (F&B) establishments in Greece will most likely be allowed to re-open and serve customers initially outdoors after the Easter holiday, Greek Deputy Development…

    Read More

  3. Norwegian Cruise Line to Sail the Greek Islands in July

    Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. is planning to restart operations this summer with sailings to the Caribbean and the Greek islands.

    Read More

  4. Greeks and Tourists will Abide by Same Covid-19 Rules, Says Tourism Minister

    Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis on Monday clarified that any safety and health rules that apply to Greek citizens – such as mandatory mask wearing and social distancing – will also apply to tourists…

    Read More

  5. Celestyal Getting Ready to Offer Safe Cruise Experiences from May

    Celestyal Cruises is speeding up procedures for the restart of sailings on May 29, aiming to provide its guests with carefree holidays to the Greek islands and the Eastern Mediterranean.

    Read More

  6. Greece will Open for Tourism with ‘Five Lines of Defence’ Against Covid-19

    Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said Greece has set up five lines of defence against the coronavirus (Covid-19) in order to open for tourism safely this year.

    Read More

  7. Greece Unsure About Easing Lockdown Measures for Easter

    Greek Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister Akis Skertsos on Monday told SKAI radio that it is “too soon” to discuss if lockdown restrictions would be eased in Greece in time for the Easter holiday. T…

    Read More

  8. Piraeus Port Authority to Create New Park, Bike Lane

    The Piraeus Port Authority (PPA) has announced plans to undertake the construction of a new playground and a bicycle lane at the port of Piraeus.

    Read More

  9. Culture Ministry: Summer Operating Hours for Archaeological Sites, Museums

    The Ministry of Culture has announced the summer operating hours of archaeological sites and museums across Greece. According to a ministry announcement, the opening hours of archaeological sites, mon…

    Read More

  10. The Guardian Selects 10 Crowd-free Greek Islands and Coastlines

    The Guardian recently announced its selection of 10 crowd-free Greek islands and coastlines that can offer travelers “a taste of true Greek culture”. According to the British newspaper, with the end o…

    Read More