The view from Aktaion.
On islands as well-travelled as Santorini, you might expect to sacrifice substance for style in local restaurants. Well, a lot of restaurants here are overpriced and rather ordinary But between the traditional tavernas and smart supper spots, travellers can find fresh seafood, family-run restaurants and modern Mediterranean dishes in the less known places. Many tables are angled just so to watch the sun set over the caldera, making every evening meal something quite special. Here are my top three addresses!
This is the best restaurant on the island – and the best proof of that is the fact it’s locals’ favourite. The most delicious recipes of the Santorinian and Cretan cuisine, the freshest ingredients from the kitchen garden, refreshing raki (the iconic grape-based pomace brandy of Crete) and unique wines, this place will please you with its laid-back atmosphere and high quality dining. Reminiscent of an island house porch, and an atmosphere full of the Aegean Sea’s colors and aromas, Metaxi Mas serves authentic and original dishes: fava (the famous yellow split pea dip) and white eggplant in the oven, beef fillet in Vinsanto sauce, and boneless pork chops in orange sauce with baked potatoes. Don’t forget to try their octopus, it’s amazing. Maybe the restaurant doesn’t face the sunset, but the food served here definitely does the work.
Exo Gonia, Santorini PC 84700
In a unique spot, the bay of Ammoudi, you will enjoy the warm hospitality and the delicacies of the Dimitris Taverna established in 1989. In this dreamy corner on the extreme, north part of Santorini, below the famous village of Oia, nestled in the imposing red rock, the tavern prepares fish and sea food dishes inspired by the mediterranean cuisine to accompany ouzo, beer or the famous Santorini wine. Dimitris and Joy, the couple that are the owners of the restaurant, decided ito open this taverna in a small, abandoned warehouse, where locals used to store the boats. More than twenty years later few things have changed. The love and passion for the fresh seafood, the Greek and Mediterranean cuisine remain the same and are shared with the visitors of Santorini.
Ammoudi (Oia), Santorini 84700
This 80-year-old taverna is a quaint spot to try traditional, reasonably priced dishes such as fava with capers, mackerel fritters and white-aubergine pie. Their loukoumades (fried feta cheese balls with tomato sauce) is heaven!
Firostefani, Santorini 84700
All photos by Edward Kanarecki.