Many dishes of Kythnos have been influenced by the islands agriculture that is particularly strong for such a small island that is also strangely rich for grazing. The effect of this is the prevalence of meat dishes on the island comprising mostly of local beef, lamb and goat. Meats are cooked according to the style of Mediterranean cuisine with either lemon, tomato or grilled. In some restaurants it is possible to find servings of local chickens and rabbits that can be seen even in the courtyards of houses.
Naturally Kythnos is a Cycladic island, so it makes sense that it has a wide selection of seafood with the most popular local specialty dish being stuffed squid. Regarding fish dishes, prices are determined by the type, rarity and how fresh the fish type is encountered in the whole of the Cyclades. A good tip is that the locals prefer the smaller fish because of their more intense flavor, an advantage to this is that the prices are low compared to the larger fish that are much more expensive.
In the seafood menu of most restaurants, you will usually find grilled sardines, fried smelt, fried anchovies, mackerels and fried squid and octopus on the grill. Larger or rarer species include bream, white seabream, sea bream, mullet, grouper and swordfish all of which are naturally more expensive. Small fresh rock dwelling fish you will only enjoy at a few taverns that make an extremely delicious fish soup.
Other local dishes of Kythnos are the traditional fried cheese croquettes - sfougato (a cheese from goat's milk), the traditional Easter Thermiotiki pie and Kolopi (spinach pie with lots of green onion). The island of Kythnos has a rich production of dairy products: feta cheese, a crumbled cheese variety (a kind of Ksynotyro) and the soft local cheese called kopanisti. It also has its own production of capers which is used abundantly in most salads, while beans and roasted chickpea dishes which are found in most restaurant menus of the island, are grown in all areas of the island.
Restaurants, taverns and ouzeri (establishments serving ouzo with meze) on Kythnos are not numerous. They are basically located in most tourist areas: Merichas, Loutra, Chora or Mesaria, Kanala and Dryopida and are mainly small family businesses, where each has its own cuisine thereby maintaining a little family secrecy among the Kythnian recipes.
It is also worth mentioning the traditional customs of the local cuisine on the evening of Holy Saturday where the locals “forgive” the Souls; the relatives attend church and offer each member of the congregation bread, roast meat and plenty of wine.