The Snails House on 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 CreteThe Snails House 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 CreteThe Snails House 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 CreteThe Snails House 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 CreteThe Snails House 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 CreteThe Snails House 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 CreteThe Snails House 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 CreteThe Snails House 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 CreteThe Snails House 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 CreteMeze at The Snails House 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(c) Google Maps

Where to Stay on Crete



Other Crete pages

  • Crete (Kriti) is the largest Greek island and its main attractions include the Minoan Palace of Knossos, the Samarian Gorge, Chania and Rethymnon.

    Crete

    Crete (Kriti) is the largest Greek island and its main attractions include the Minoan Palace of Knossos, the Samarian Gorge, Chania and Rethymnon.

  • Greece Travel Secrets’ potted guide to Eastern Crete and why you should consider it for a holiday, including seeing Agios Nikolaos, Sitia, Vai Beach and Zakros.

    Eastern Crete

    Greece Travel Secrets’ potted guide to Eastern Crete and why you should consider it for a holiday, including seeing Agios Nikolaos, Sitia, Vai Beach and Zakros.

  • Driving on Crete is the best way to see Greece’s biggest island and here is our driving advice and some information about Greek driving regulations.

    Driving on Crete

    Driving on Crete is the best way to see Greece’s biggest island and here is our driving advice and some information about Greek driving regulations.

  • These shopping tips for Crete include advice on buying souvenirs like ceramics, icons, jewellery, leather, weavings, wood carvings, and food and drink.

    Shopping Tips for Crete

    These shopping tips for Crete include advice on buying souvenirs like ceramics, icons, jewellery, leather, weavings, wood carvings, and food and drink.

  • How to see eastern Crete in five days, with its beaches, Minoan palaces, timeless villages, unique churches and mountain and coastal scenery.

    Eastern Crete in Five Days

    How to see eastern Crete in five days, with its beaches, Minoan palaces, timeless villages, unique churches and mountain and coastal scenery.

  • 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.

    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.

  • 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.

    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.

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

    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.

  • 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.

    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.

  • What was daily life as a Minoan like on Crete, living in palaces like the ones at Knossos, Malia, Phaistos, and Zakros, and what were their religious beliefs?

    Life as a Minoan

    What was daily life as a Minoan like on Crete, living in palaces like the ones at Knossos, Malia, Phaistos, and Zakros, and what were their religious beliefs?

  • Is someone from Crete a Greek or a Cretan? They are both, of course, but most will tell you that they are Cretan first and Greek second.

    Greek or Cretan?

    Is someone from Crete a Greek or a Cretan? They are both, of course, but most will tell you that they are Cretan first and Greek second.

  • Driving central Crete in three days gives you time to see the highlights including the Minoan palaces at Knossos and Phaistos, the beaches and the Diktean Cave.

    Central Crete in Three Days

    Driving central Crete in three days gives you time to see the highlights including the Minoan palaces at Knossos and Phaistos, the beaches and the Diktean Cave.

  • 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.

    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.

  • Agios Nikolaos is a pretty and popular town on the north coast of Crete and this page on Greece Travel Secrets covers its history, museums and beaches.

    Agios Nikolaos

    Agios Nikolaos is a pretty and popular town on the north coast of Crete and this page on Greece Travel Secrets covers its history, museums and beaches.

  • Elounda on Crete's north coast is a popular holiday town with a pretty harbour, from where you can take day trips by boat to see the island of Spinalonga.

    Elounda and Spinalonga, setting for The Island by Victoria Hislop

    Elounda on Crete's north coast is a popular holiday town with a pretty harbour, from where you can take day trips by boat to see the island of Spinalonga.

  • Cretan music is part of the island’s soul and visitors will hear live music wherever they go, with several distinctive Cretan musical instruments and songs.

    Cretan Music

    Cretan music is part of the island’s soul and visitors will hear live music wherever they go, with several distinctive Cretan musical instruments and songs.

  • Western Crete in five days allows time to visit Chania and Rethymnon, enjoy the beaches, hike the Samaria Gorge and see the monasteries at Arkadi and Preveli.

    Western Crete in Five Days

    Western Crete in five days allows time to visit Chania and Rethymnon, enjoy the beaches, hike the Samaria Gorge and see the monasteries at Arkadi and Preveli.

  • Crete’s wildlife and landscape are two of the island’s attractions, including gorges for hiking, rare raptors like the lammergeier, wildcats and ancient trees.

    Crete’s Wildlife and Landscape

    Crete’s wildlife and landscape are two of the island’s attractions, including gorges for hiking, rare raptors like the lammergeier, wildcats and ancient trees.

  • Western Crete has some wonderful golden sand beaches as well as mountain villages, monasteries, caves, and archaeological sites to discover.

    Western Crete Beaches and Villages

    Western Crete has some wonderful golden sand beaches as well as mountain villages, monasteries, caves, and archaeological sites to discover.

  • This drive along the west coast of Crete and inland from there will take a whole day and starts and ends in Kastélli Kissámou, west of Chania.

    West Coast of Crete Drive

    This drive along the west coast of Crete and inland from there will take a whole day and starts and ends in Kastélli Kissámou, west of Chania.

  • Greece Travel Secrets suggests where to stay in Eastern Crete with our favourite hotels in Zakros, Elounds, Sitia, Agios Nikolaos, Istron Bay, Myrtos, Neapolis.

    Where to Stay in Eastern Crete

    Greece Travel Secrets suggests where to stay in Eastern Crete with our favourite hotels in Zakros, Elounds, Sitia, Agios Nikolaos, Istron Bay, Myrtos, Neapolis.

  • Where to Stay in Western Crete

    Greece Travel Secrets recommends where to stay in western Crete, including both luxury and inexpensive hotels in Chania, Rethymnon, and Paleochora.

  • Greece Travel Secrets recommends where to stay in Central Crete including hotels in Matala, Ayia Galini, and Zaros.

    Where to Stay in Central Crete

    Greece Travel Secrets recommends where to stay in Central Crete including hotels in Matala, Ayia Galini, and Zaros.

  • Greece Travel Secrets recommends where to eat in Eastern Crete including restaurants and tavernas in Elounda, Agios Nikolaos, Sitia, and Kato Zakros.

    Where to Eat in Eastern Crete

    Greece Travel Secrets recommends where to eat in Eastern Crete including restaurants and tavernas in Elounda, Agios Nikolaos, Sitia, and Kato Zakros.

  • Greece Travel Secrets recommends where to eat in Western Crete with tavernas and restaurants in Chania, Rethymnon, and Paleochora.

    Where to Eat in Western Crete

    Greece Travel Secrets recommends where to eat in Western Crete with tavernas and restaurants in Chania, Rethymnon, and Paleochora.

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Latest Posts

  1. A Walk around Kolonáki

    This walk around the Kolonaki neighbourhood of Athens starts and ends in Syntagma Square and takes you to several museums, Kolonaki Square and Mount Lykabettos.

    Read More

  2. Changing of the Guard in Athens

    The Changing of the Guard in Athens takes place outside the Parliament building at the top of Syntagma Square and is a must-see for visitors.

    Read More

  3. Athens National Historical Museum

    The Athens National Historical Museum is in the former Greek Parliament building and houses an archive of historical artefacts and documents.

    Read More

  4. This “Secret Paradise” Island Boasts Great Food, According to Financial Times and The Sun

    Foreign press are raving about this Greek island, known mostly for its wild nature and hiking paths, but not (yet) for its incredible food.

    Read More

  5. Unspoilt Beauty: Epirus Lights the Path to a Sustainable Future

    In this wild and mountainous region of northwest Greece, pioneering individuals and communities combine traditional lifeways with sustainability.

    Read More

  6. The History of the Aegina Pistachio + 2 Recipes to Love

    The Protected Designation of Origin pistachios from the Saronic island of Aegina are arguably the best in the world.

    Read More

  7. Lakes Doxa and Stymphalia: A Peaceful Alternative to the Beach

    These two natural hideouts in the Corinthia mountains offer a quick escape from Athens and a great alternative to the crowded beaches of the islands.

    Read More

  8. Introducing Hania as a Cultural Destination

    The opening of the new Archaeological Museum as well as a plethora of artistic events throughout the city put Hania in the lead in terms of cultural summer destinations.

    Read More

  9. Athens War Museum

    The Athens War Museum is a fascinating look at Greek history through the lens of warfare from ancient battles to the Greek War of Independence and World War II.

    Read More

  10. Syntagma Square

    Syntagma Square or Constitution Square is the main square in Athens and has a metro station, the Greek Parliament building, hotels, cafes, and a post office.

    Read More