The Mykonos restaurant that combines tradition and innovation

Located in a former open-air cinema, Nōema is a stylish restaurant, bar and concept store in downtown Mykonos. Using centuries-old Cycladic traditions, the menu leans on ingredients that are dried, fermented, sun-dried and flame-grilled, while the shop spotlights local and independent designers.

Nōema is the Greek word for ‘meaning’ or ‘substance’ – how does this relate to what the restaurant is trying to accomplish? Everyone has a different idea of ​​what “meaning” is. Understanding the stories behind a meal as well as the cultural significance or purpose of an ingredient can help elevate and shape an evening. Nōema tells a story through the food, the staff and the real space.

Nōema is a hybrid space designed to inspire a strong sense of community and place. Who is the Noema community and how do you bring them together? The restaurant is located in the center of Mykonos town, which creates a hidden and close-knit atmosphere. The kitchen is full of young chefs, there is an ever-changing community of musicians, and people congregate in the space.

What are some of the signature dishes and why? Does the menu change throughout the season? The menu is constantly changing, depending on the season. When visiting Nōema, you should always try the fish of the day. Simplicity is the key to this dish. Heavily seasoned fish is often a sign that it’s not fresh, but freshly caught fish, served with local olive oil and lemon, is a great choice at Nōema.

How have you reinterpreted some classic Greek dishes to make them more contemporary and unique? Greece is so geographically diverse that there is no monolithic “Greek” cuisine. The culinary culture of the Cyclades is something we love to experience. These islands have a rich heritage around preserving, salting and pickling ingredients. The kitchen adopts these traditional techniques but also modifies them, incorporating unexpected ingredients, for example, to create something unexpected.

Let’s look at a tomato: a fresh July tomato is perfect for a Greek salad. But you can’t always say the same thing later in the season, so using these tried-and-true preservation techniques, the tomato turns into something completely different come October.

K-Studio is known for designing spaces that celebrate a place’s history and architectural traditions. How are these two ideas communicated in the design and aesthetic of Nōema? Today, simple whitewashed buildings are symbolic of Mykonos Town, but that wasn’t always the case. Whitewashing was actually introduced for hygienic reasons during a cholera epidemic in the 1930s, and then the aesthetic remained.

At Nōema, we’ve chosen a palette of muted charcoals – a nod to granite boulders – and creamy caramels – to echo the stone walls and golden beaches of Mykonos. The design teams we worked with, Lambs & Lions and K-Studio, ensured that nature and the local environment were the inspiration for the entire Nōema project.

The rich shade wood used throughout is also a nod to the past. The design team visited the Folklore Museum of Mykonos to learn about traditional methods of wood processing. This meant using petroleum as a varnish, then leaving the material in the sun to seal it. The resulting dark burnt patina gives interiors a sense of history and gravitas.

There is also a concept store as part of the offer. How do you find and source designers for this space? The store aims to showcase Greek and international craftsmanship through clothing, footwear, jewelry, cosmetics, design objects, books and magazines. Independent brands such as Garçon Sauvage, Le Kasha and Sophie Deloudi are present in the store. Nōema also has its own signature line, Prao, designed by Marios Schwab, inspired by the effortless elegance of local island life.

This season, The Store also offers a capsule collection signed Ancient Greek Sandals; effortless basics by Parthenis; swimsuits by Norma Kamali and Eres; LemLem’s kaftans; and Castañer sneakers.

How does a party go? How is the music organized? At Nōema, the kitchen team draw on their own experiences and backgrounds to create fresh and innovative dishes, and the musical program follows a similar formula. Hosted by DJ and producer Lannka, it encourages instrumentalists, sound artists, singers, fellow DJs and unexpected talent from around the world to perform and collaborate. Greece has been steeped in musical influences for centuries. Nōema is part of the continuity: a place where old instruments rub shoulders with emerging and unexpected mediums.