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Gavalianos Kafenes (“Monica’s Taverna”)

At village center

Gavalianos Kafenes (“Monica’s Taverna”)
Gavalianos Kafenes (“Monica’s Taverna),” Gavalochori. Anthony Radich, Foundation for Gavalochori
Gavalianos Kafenes (“Monica’s Taverna),” Gavalochori. Anthony Radich, Foundation for Gavalochori
Gavalianos Kafenes (“Monica’s Taverna),” Gavalochori. Anthony Radich, Foundation for Gavalochori
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At the edge of the main square in Gavalochori (tucked behind the war memorial) is the warm and inviting Gavalianos Kafenes. Most people in Gavalochori call it Monica’s Taverna because it is owned by Monica van den Bosch. 

Monica rents the 300-year-old building in which the taverna is housed from a local Gavalochori woman, who inherited it from her father. It was built originally to serve as a dowry for a daughter. It was intended to be a kafeneio—a combination coffee house and pub that serves drinks and snacks rather than full meals—and has always been one, even in the hands of the Turks. You can see the fireplace where coffee was prepared on the wall behind the bar (the fireplace was moved from its original location when the kitchen was added in 2003). At one time, the kafeneio also served as a barber shop, and you can see the barber’s old mirror on the wall to the left of the bar. The kafeneio went by many different names throughout its history; one of them was Patience (Υπομονή) and you can see a green sign with this name on the wall to the right of the bar. 

In the 1970s, drinks for the kafeneio were stored in a crate in a well at the edge of the property to keep them cold. The old man who was running the kafeneio at the time had to pull up the crate from the well with a rope, but he had a hard time doing this because of his age. To give him a hard time, kids would order one drink at a time so that he was required to keep pulling the drinks out of the well.

Monica and her husband Giorgos took over the taverna in 2002. They initially conceptualized the place as a kafeneio and served drinks and mezedes—small-plate foods—that were prepared by Giorgos’s mother, Maria Galanaki. But then they began to serve other dishes, turning it into a taverna. You might say they were victims of their success, and now the taverna serves a full menu.

Giorgos died in 2010, but Monica continues to run the taverna, and you will sometimes see some of their five children working there as well. 

Monica chooses the food she serves in the taverna according to a number of criteria. She tries to use local products that are fresh, of high quality, and in season. She uses olive oil, for example, from olives harvested in the area. Her menu features traditional Greek and Cretan dishes that are carefully prepared to give a home-cooked taste. Her mother-in-law’s recipes continue to be an inspiration for Monica. 

The clientele at Monica’s includes everyone. The locals usually come for coffee and beer. Expats who live in the area, tourists from the holiday rentals, and people from as far away as Chania and Rethymno are regulars.

When Monica is not running the taverna or the shop, she can often be found running something else—marathons! She began running marathons for fun some years ago and has since completed three marathons.

Monica’s taverna is open from late March until the end of November, although it is closed on some Mondays. Open hours in the winter vary from year to year, so it is best to call first to see if the taverna is open (+30 6974 16 2507).

At the edge of the main square in Gavalochori (tucked behind the war memorial) is the warm and inviting Gavalianos Kafenes. Most people in Gavalochori call it Monica’s Taverna because it is owned by Monica van den Bosch. 

Monica rents the 300-year-old building in which the taverna is housed from a local Gavalochori woman, who inherited it from her father. It was built originally to serve as a dowry for a daughter. It was intended to be a kafeneio—a combination coffee house and pub that serves drinks and snacks rather than full meals—and has always been one, even in the hands of the Turks. You can see the fireplace where coffee was prepared on the wall behind the bar (the fireplace was moved from its original location when the kitchen was added in 2003). At one time, the kafeneio also served as a barber shop, and you can see the barber’s old mirror on the wall to the left of the bar. The kafeneio went by many different names throughout its history; one of them was Patience (Υπομονή) and you can see a green sign with this name on the wall to the right of the bar. 

In the 1970s, drinks for the kafeneio were stored in a crate in a well at the edge of the property to keep them cold. The old man who was running the kafeneio at the time had to pull up the crate from the well with a rope, but he had a hard time doing this because of his age. To give him a hard time, kids would order one drink at a time so that he was required to keep pulling the drinks out of the well.

Monica and her husband Giorgos took over the taverna in 2002. They initially conceptualized the place as a kafeneio and served drinks and mezedes—small-plate foods—that were prepared by Giorgos’s mother, Maria Galanaki. But then they began to serve other dishes, turning it into a taverna. You might say they were victims of their success, and now the taverna serves a full menu.

Giorgos died in 2010, but Monica continues to run the taverna, and you will sometimes see some of their five children working there as well. 

Monica chooses the food she serves in the taverna according to a number of criteria. She tries to use local products that are fresh, of high quality, and in season. She uses olive oil, for example, from olives harvested in the area. Her menu features traditional Greek and Cretan dishes that are carefully prepared to give a home-cooked taste. Her mother-in-law’s recipes continue to be an inspiration for Monica. 

The clientele at Monica’s includes everyone. The locals usually come for coffee and beer. Expats who live in the area, tourists from the holiday rentals, and people from as far away as Chania and Rethymno are regulars.

When Monica is not running the taverna or the shop, she can often be found running something else—marathons! She began running marathons for fun some years ago and has since completed three marathons.

Monica’s taverna is open from late March until the end of November, although it is closed on some Mondays. Open hours in the winter vary from year to year, so it is best to call first to see if the taverna is open (+30 6974 16 2507).

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