Loakasti Delight - Oia, Santorini
Extraordinary day again. Went for a walk over the hills from Emirovigli to Oia. Maybe an hour or two, depending on stopping for photo's and allowing those in more of a rush to bundle past. I got to Oia at about 2ish. Lovely walk, perfect temperature and timed it well for a good feed. I'd been thinking of nothing else but roast chicken, lamb or pork the whole walk but knew that the chances of finding the right place to eat were slim, as I hadn't done any home work and the onrushing afternoon meant that there wouldn't be much time to judge atmosphere's and customer happiness. The air on the hillside amble had been thick with wild oregano and thyme and it only served to fuel my appetite. When I arrived in town, I committed the ultimate cardinal sin of the hungry traveller. I went to the first place I saw, one that was completely empty, and one where the owner was sitting down with his family eating quietly amongst themselves. It was Greece and it was Easter Sunday and it was almost certainly closed. So what, I thought - what's the worst that could happen if I stumbled in, or out, as there didn't really seem to be an inside on this day? The main dining area was set out on a paved courtyard. Bright blue painted wooden chairs set against the brilliant Cycladian stucco walls. The main reason I stopped there in the first place was because Kevin Keegan was spit roasting a whole sheep to the right of the main building and the smell of the smoke filled air was amazing and far too good to pass on. He must have been there for hours - I noticed at this point that there was a whole fillet gently spinning there too. I was salivating in to my sweaty T and must have looked very desperate indeed. I knew that this feast wasn't intended for me, or any other passing tourist. I knew that it was Easter and it was intended for his family. I was going to get given Thai Green Curry or some other random tourist favourite. He asked how many... they always do. Because of the amount of Germans on the island today, they must think I'm some sort of thoroughly organised advanced party. "One." I said, stoically. He sat me down, gave me a new paper table cloth which he pinned to the table, just in case I decided to nick it.... maybe because he had just realised that I wasn't German at all and was in fact British, again, I presume. After a few minutes he brought over the menu. Pointless really as I knew exactly what I wanted. It read;
Roast Oregano Potatoes
Fruit and Yoghurt.
10 minutes later, the lamb came down off the spit and I was treated to one of the most simple and beautiful meals I'd ever known. It was ubiquitous again, but how I found this place, in one of the most touristy towns on the planet, is still a mystery to me. It was utterly glorious. The salad was fresh, with dill, ripe tomatoes, mild sliced onions. lettuce and olive oil and the lamb was moist, tender and totally perfect. I asked for a beer, before the wine, as I was thirsty - which shook him a bit. No wonder as the wine turned out to be a whole carafe. It was good local stuff too. The wine in Greece is much improved and I am loathed to drink anything from any other wine region outside of Santorini's own. Eventually Kevin Keegan came closer to my table, and he could see that I was very contented indeed and grinning like an idiot. Turns out that he's a Spurs fan. Rather than letting that put me off, I told him how perfect the meal was and why I was in Santorini. More wine came out and he suggested that we call the carcass on his spit roast 'Van Persie' after a private football joke that I won't bore you with here. My life was complete. He offered me a cigarette. Forgetting that I don't smoke anymore, I took it and that too was good. They bought me a litre bottle of fizzy water, didn't charge me for the beer or extra wine and gave me one of the loveliest afternoons of my life. I staggered out into the afternoon sun and walked the streets of Oia til it was time to return to my hotel for a swim, happy.... as a sand boy. The restaurant wasn't very well rated on Trip Advisor at the time of writing this but now it's flying high. the restaurant's name was Loakasti.
1. Hillside walk from Aenaon Villas in Imerovigli to Oia - 1 to 2 hours depending on your haste. Fabulous views back across the Caldera and once at the chapel and over the hill, down to Oia itself.
2. Loakasti Restaurant and Hotel, Oia, Santorini. Traditional Greek Food and Hospitality.
3. Hotel of choice - Aenaon Villas - the best view, welcome and service on the island. Reviewed on the Blog