It’s taken me a while but I have finally finished my Santorini Restaurant Guide. I really needed another month on the island to experience most restaurants but this guide is a great start to all that Santorini has to offer, particularly Oia.
What we learned in Santorini:
1) The Greeks love food and as a result are amazing cooks. Santorini does not lack good restaurants.
2) Dining in Greece is an experience. Unlike the USA where meals take about 20 minutes to consume, the Greek experience extends from 2-3 hours including apps, dinner, dessert and coffee.
3) I LOVED how servers didn’t rush you during mealtime or look at you funny when you wanted to share a meal. It was such a refreshing experience from here where sometimes the server will drop the bill off as soon as you get your meal. #seriouspetpeeve
4) Greeks know how to make salads. Another pet peeve of mine: ordering a salad that costs $12 and getting about $2 worth of food between the iceberg lettuce, barely visible crumbles of cheese, green tomatoes and canned olives (all 3 of them). A will tell you I had a salad with every meal and that I wouldn’t stop gushing about how good they were.
5) Santorini food isn’t as expensive as one might perceive. Maybe it’s the increased value of the dollar vs the euro but we thought the food in Santorini was very reasonably priced. Most meals were equivalent, if not cheaper than, meals we would purchase in the US. Portions were more generous (have you seen the block of feta that comes in a salad?!), quality was better and everything tasted fresher.
6) Most restaurants on the islands will charge you for bread, even though they bring it out without you asking. I think this is a typical European tradition because it happened to us last year in Austria. Most of the time, you welcome the bread in all of its carb glory but it does come as a surprise when you get the bill (the charge is usually minimal – typically, 1-2 euros a person). However, it is something to be aware of.
If you’re headed there soon, you’ll want to read through this ultimate guide for planning out your time there! And now that I’m experiencing full Greece withdrawal, here’s my Santorini restaurant guide.
SANTORINI RESTAURANT GUIDE
Brewery: Santorini Brewing Company
Location: on the road to Kamari (ask the bus driver driving the bus from Oia to Kamari to drop you off at the brewery on his route to Kamari. You can catch the bus heading back to Oia for your return trip – bus stop is right across the street from the brewery)
Impressions: Quick in and out – tasting is done on your feet. Very different from USA breweries. More of a retail shop, you enter the front door, head straight for the person at the desk, ask to try their beers and after 5 minutes, you go off, purchased beer in hand. The lady at the desk was super friendly and took her time explaining the beers to us. We only liked and subsequently purchased the yellow donkey beer. The other two beers were extremely hoppy, though I’m sure plenty of people appreciate them. Tasting is free.
Recommendations: The brewery was a fun detour – I would not recommend planning a trip based on the brewery. Since we had a completely different itinerary which involved hiking and a mini stop at the brewery and winery, we weren’t disappointed, just surprised and amused.
Winery: Argyros Estate
Location: En route to Kamari, located about .25 -.5 mile from Santorini Brewing Company. Ask the bus driver going from Oia to Kamari to drop you of at the brewery then take the road right before the brewery towards Argyros. There are signs and you can ask the brewery for directions. Note that the winery is located in a very small town with few signs and tourists.
Impressions: Again, a completely different winery experience from the USA. I think appointments are recommended. We stopped by spontaneously and so we only had a few minutes with the guide before a tour group came in for their appointment. The guide was friendly, informative and we got to try some pretty fantastic wines. Tasting is free.
Recommendations: Make an appointment if you prefer a lengthier tasting. We were more than happy with our short 15 minute tasting which gave us enough time to sample 5 wines, one of which we purchased. The VinSanto is out of this world and if you have a chance to try it, do. It is a super sweet dessert wine that the Greeks consume after dinner. And a little goes a long way!
Sunset watching: Volkan
This is random but I had to include it. One of the nights we spent watching the sunset in its entirety from various points in Oia. We purchased a Volkan beer from a local shop, found a spot that we [ultimately] wanted to settle in and enjoyed a relaxing evening. I would definitely recommend doing this at least one night as a restaurant gives you a totally different experience and this one is spent solely watching the sunset sans any distractions.
Restaurants: Skala (Oia)
Location: Skala overlooks the caldera in Oia as do many other restaurants. You have to walk down a few steps via a side alley but if you’re looking for the sign, it’s easy to find. It’s in the main hub of town.
Impressions: We ate here our first night in Oia and we loved every minute. We arrived pretty late as most restaurants on the island are open super late so we didn’t actually have any views. The service was fine, the restaurant charming.
Recommendations: Everything we tried here was fantastic. Try the clay pot-baked moussaka (12 euros) and pligouri (8 euros), a bulgur salad with feta and olives.
*Unfortunately, this is the only restaurant I do not have photos for. I think we forgot our camera that evening. I blame it on jet lag.
Restaurant: Melenio (Oia)
Location: Melenio is located right in the center of Oia, in one of the busiest areas of the village. If you want to dine in, you will have to walk up the stairs to the top deck which overlooks the caldera. If you want to take out (desserts), you walk down to the “basement.”
Impressions: Melenio is amazing. We tried it several times – once as a dine in, for breakfast. And many many times for take out dessert in the evening. Dessert is almost half price if you take out, same with coffee.
Recommendations: If you have great views at your hotel/apartment, try take out dessert. A baklava, galaktoboureko, and cappuccino will run you just under 8 euros for take out. Definitely worth it in my book. Their desserts are all fantastic. Besides the baklava and galaktoboureko, I would recommend the lemon pie, creme puff cake and anything else they have. If you go for breakfast, try the spinach, cheese pie and Greek coffee. Oh and the helpings are incredibly generous so if you’re full, you may want to share a dessert!
Restaurant: Melitini (Oia)
Location: Melitini is located more on the outskirts of the center. It’s definitely still in the center but not where you would expect it. Keep an eye out for signs and ask locals if you can’t find it. It overlooks a small part of the caldera but has a super fun rooftop terrace.
Impressions: A cute tapas restaurant with a great rooftop terrace. The service was great, the food delicious.
Recommendations: I would recommend the ntakos plate (a salad dish) and the ouzo and mastik if you have never tried either. The smoked lamb was good but not my favorite. The chocolate mousse was delicious. Prices were reasonable as were portions.
*sunset views are best after you follow the path around to the right side of the bay
Location: On the outskirts of the center of town – overlooking the main road leading out of town.
Impressions: Small gyro shop, busy, great prices, delicious gyros. Super friendly owners.
Recommendations: A gyro here is 2.80 euros and is worth every penny. The sandwiches come wrapped with french fries, tomatoes, tzatziki sauce, and your meat. The best way to satisfy a craving, stave off hunger or get a snack throughout the day. We can’t recommend this place enough!
Restaurant: Skiza (Oia)
Restaurant: To Psaraki (Vlichada)
Restaurant: Rosa’s Tavern (Vourvoulos)
Restaurant: Lucky’s Souvlakis (Fira)
PIN FOR LATER…