Santorini can be a minefield for those clambering off their boats or enjoying the evening away from their pools, but this guide will help you through the maze. Recommended by locals, and sampled by Old School Traveller..... and I'm hard to please as I love my food.
Domaine Sigalas has been around for well over 20 years but only recently has it become renowned for it's food. Although its wines have hit the top 100 lists in recent years, and I can highly recommend this too, the dining has come on leaps and bounds and can now be ranked as amongst the finest on the island and the region. Vibrant staffing and attention to detail also help complete the picture.
To spend an afternoon sampling the vast array of wines whist eating the most wonderful food from it's rich and varied degustation menu, must rank as a definite highlight during your stay. Traditional Greek dishes reinvented and brought to life with high levels of skill but without ruining the historic nature of the dishes are set along more modern dishes that readily utilise both local produce and flavours. The Fava is by far the best I've ever eaten and the baked cheese with strawberry jam is a simple, clever and ultimately delightful surprise. Set amongst the vines and with views down the hill to the sea, Sigalas is an absolute 'must do' here on Santorini.
Domaine Sigalas is a wonderful way to while away an afternoon, tasting the wines and grinning like an idiot because of both the food and the hospitality. Tours of the winery are also available.
Sigalas is currently OST's first choice for food and wine on Santorini.
Traditional Greek Taverna on the way in to Oia. I won't say too much about Loakasti as you can read about one of my experiences there on OST by clicking here , but suffice to say, that if you are looking for well priced, simply cooked Greek food in perfect Cycladic surroundings, then Loakasti is the place for you. Worth noting that rooms are also available.
Bustling traditional Greek Taverna in the central square of Imerovigli. You will need to book here as it's the most popular place in town, with queues down the street on some nights. The welcome is generous, and again, for Santorini it's very well priced. It's the kind of place where everyone feels a part of it, and the atmosphere is one on happiness and contentment. We've been known to eat here several times a week during our stays and have never left disappointed. The local wine by the carafe is also excellent and helps to keep the budget down if that is a concern. I think we've shared ours with other tables who have obviously finished theirs but want to stay longer... It's that kind of place.
The more contemporary, but no less convivial Avocado sits in Imerovigli on the Caldera side of the town and is equally as welcoming as Anogi, and is an ideal spot for lunch if you've decided to do the Caldera walk, or part thereof, from Fira to Oia. Beware, especially at lunchtime; the hosts are so generous with their Raki and Ouzo, you might not make it back down the hill. Kati, still swears that the chicken salad there was the best she's ever eaten.
Dimitri's Taverna, Ammoudi
Sitting right up against the Aegean at the foot of the cliffs up to Oia, is Dimitri's Taverna, and it's something of an institution. You get that that vibe as soon as you are welcomed. A table for two at the water's edge is highly sought after and it is very advisable to book, or even better, get your hotel to book as they can sometimes carry more weight. They are, after all, in it together, in the nicest possible way. Not surprisingly, Dimitri's is primarily a fish restaurant and you are invited to check out the day's catch and choose your fish from those on selection. I've eaten here on many occasions now and have always loved the vibe, the harbour location with the sound of the water lapping up aside the tables and the boats gently bobbing about in this secluded bay. In fact, Dimitri's is the perfect place to dine after a sunset sailing trip around the island. Simply disembark and walk the hundred yards or so to your table and your sea-legged appetite will be suitable dealt with. They will kindly organise a taxi for you back up the hill and your day couldn't have been easier or more enjoyable.
Excellent location and exceptional food in this very busy restaurant in Fira. Wonderful views out across the islands if you can snag one of the tables away from the more touristy throng downstairs. Again, advisable to get your hotel to do it for you. Half tradition Greek with some modern twists, Argo is both popular with locals and tourists alike, and the prices are excellent considering it's position and popularity.
The Red Bicycle, Oia
Modern Greek/Mediterranean and maybe a step up from many of the others in town, Red Bicycle never fails to deliver for that special occasion. It's a great place to eat on your second last night on the island. The second last night, if, like us, you tend to migrate back to your favourite place on your last night.... Unless of course, this turns out to be your favourite place then on your last night. But I digress. Greta views out across the island and to catch the Oia sunsets, The Red Bicycle offers a high end culinary experience and again, the welcome is typically Santorinian.
The 39 Steps bar downstairs, with its small array of tables outside, is also the perfect for an aperitif, and from which to watch the cruise shipper sunset hunting madness happen only feet away. You can't help but say to yourself, "rather I than you", under your Ouzo tainted breath.
Away from the numbers here, but it's a real favourite with the locals - Almost any taxi driver on the island when asked where to go, will say "Metaxi Mas. Views out towards Anafi Island from one of the terraces will afford you a great deal of contentment, as will the simplicity and freshness of the food. Their is a definite feel of Crete here and the menu fits that bill perfectly. The food is generous, fresh and lovingly prepared but do take something warm at both the beginning and the end of the season. We don't want your shivers to cloud your evening. The setting on a steep hillside in a converted cottage also provides a great change of pace to the usual Santorinian taverna too. Throw away the menu here and ask "What's good". "All of it" they'll say but they will lead you in the right direction.
Seaside by Notos, Perivolos Beach
Our favourite new place. Seaside is exactly that. A cool restaurant with a very lounge bar feel, sitting across the road from palm tree covered sun loungers on a volcanic sandy beach. The chef is very proud of his food and so he should be.
We spent the day here, between the beach and the restaurant and we couldn't stop eating. The dish of chicken schnitzel on ravioli in a rose sauce is one of the most unusual combinations I have ever enjoyed. I spoke to the chef about my doubts and he seemed surprised. Needless to say, I was wrong and he was right - I still dream of that dish to this day and have not managed to recreate it. The beetroot and feta salad was something quite special too. I highly recommended for a lunchtime snack or a long, drawn out evening meal involving aperitifs, cocktails, wine, heavy spirits and a nightcap... or two. Although a long way to go, Seaside is a rare treat. Book your taxi home in plenty of time though - You don't want to be here when it's closed. Also another word of warning; the sun-loungers in high season are blindingly expensive so either get your hotel to book and try to get you a discount, go out of season when they are either cheap or free or just cough up. With Champagne on ice, they're even more pricey but a great option for a special occasion.
Very much a Trip Advisor favourite. You can always tell, guests seem to spend more time on their phones looking for the next stop rather than actually enjoying themselves or contributing to the atmosphere but catch it on a good day and when the cruise ships are out of town and you are in for a treat. It's definitely for the tourists but let's face it, that's what most of us are. It's Greek traditional, and based on it's location and client base, what you see is what you get, but with the right crowd and the right wine, Floga offers you that typical Greek Island experience that's hard to turn your back on. If you can't get a table and are panicking, it's a great stop gap. Sit back and be part of it but be ready to dodge the selfie sticks if your timing's all out.
That's it. I hope it helps you. There is so much variety on the island that it really helps to have a pack pf restaurants at hand so you don't waste time searching and settling.