Santorini

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Five-star restaurants serving refined Mediterranean cuisine (including delicacies such as fresh lobster, sea bream, and lamb, prepared with olive oil and fragrant herbs) are concentrated in the caldera-view villages of Thira and Oia – though note that some are open for dinner only. You’ll find cheap and cheerful tavernas serving Greek specialties all over the island, but you can expect better value for money outside Thira and Oia.

Top Restaurants in Santorini

1800 Restaurant

In Oia, this sophisticated bar/restaurant occupies a beautifully restored 19th-century sea captain’s house furnished with period antiques and romantically lit with flickering candles. The owner/cook/architect is a member of the international Slow Food movement, which advocates the use of locally sourced seasonal products in the kitchen. The ever-changing menu features Mediterranean dishes with an emphasis on seafood and fruity palate-cleansing sorbets.

Oia 847 02, Santorini, +30 2286 071800, www.oia-1800.com
Tags: expensive | smart splurge

Katina

From Oia, 214 steps zigzag down to Ammoudi beach, where you’ll also find five informal waterfront seafood tavernas. Try friendly Katina, serving classics such as grilled octopus and calamari, as well as more expensive lobster, sea bass, and red mullet. You choose your own fish from the selection on display, and its priced by the kilo.

Ammoudi beach, below Oia, Santorini, 011-30-22860-71280
Tags: moderate | seafood | greek

Koukoumavlos

In Thira, with a terrace commanding unforgettable caldera views and a dining room complete with antique furniture, Koukoumavlos serves up Greek-cum-Mediterranean cuisine with a creative twist. The menu changes frequently, but you can expect delicacies such as Santorini fava (puree of yellow split peas) with smoked salmon mousse and roasted almonds; fresh papardelle with scampi and shrimp sautéed in ouzo and cream; and chocolate semifreddo perfumed with geranium in roasted quince sauce. To try a bit of everything, opt for the five-course set menu: Degustation of Greek Cuisine.

Overlooking the caldera, Santorini, 011-30-22860-23807, www.koukoumavlos.eu
Tags: expensive | smart splurge

Mario No. 1

For an informal seafood lunch by the beach, you can’t do better than Mario’s in Monolithos. Set on a shady terrace overlooking the sea, it serves Greek taverna fav3orites such as tzatziki, olives, fried zucchini, grilled octopus, and fresh fish on simple wooden tables topped with red-and-white checkered tablecloths. The owner is also a fisherman, so the fish, which is displayed on crushed ice, is guaranteed to be fresh. Popular with locals, it stays open throughout the year.

Agia Paraskevi beach, near Monolithos, on the road to Kamari, Santorini, 011-30-22860-32000
Tags: budget | seafood | great value | greek

Melina

Overlooking the sea in a small cove, this informal taverna has turquoise-colored wooden chairs, plaid tablecloths, and loosely hung fishing nets. Start with the house specialty, grilled-eggplant salad, to be followed by either grilled octopus or the fish platter for two (a selection of tiny fried fish). Be sure to try the house wine, a light dry white made from local assyrtiko grapes and served in half-liter tin jugs. Melina is popular with locals and stays open all year.

10-minute walk from Kokkini paralia (Red beach), Santorini, 011-30-22860-82764
Tags: moderate | greek

Metaxi Mas

Hidden away in the hills on the edge of Exo Gonia, between Kamari and Pyrgos, in an old stone house with a lovely terrace garden out front, this homely eatery is popular with locals. The menu changes frequently, but you can expect tasty Cycladic and Cretan dishes such as Santorini fava (puree of yellow split peas), feta cheese with honey and sesame, and king prawns in ouzo served with fennel and honey.

Between Kamari and Pyrgos, Santorini, 011-30-22860-31323, www.santorini-metaximas.gr
Tags: budget | trendy | greek

Nikolas

Go here for an authentic Greek taverna lunchtime experience. The menu, which includes homemade daily specials such as pasticcio (pasta baked in a mince and tomato sauce, topped with béchamel), gemistes (stuffed tomatoes and peppers), and arni me aginares (lamb with artichokes), is chalked on a board in Greek, but your waiter will tell you what they have in English. The original owner, Nikolas, sadly passed away, but the new owner, a Greek-Canadian, is trying to preserve the old-fashioned atmosphere.

Santorini, 011-30-22860-24550
Tags: budget | great value | greek

Roka

The owner/cook at this friendly, family-run eatery serves hearty traditional dishes such as domatokeftedes (tomato croquettes), sardelles (sardines), and garides saganaki (shrimps baked with feta), along with carafes of chilled house wine. In contrast to the more pricey restaurants overlooking the caldera, Roka has an open-air terrace affording views across the island to the east coast.

5-minute walk from Oia bus station, Santorini, 011-30-22860-71896
Tags: moderate | views | greek

Saltsa

One of the few restaurants in Thira that does not overlook the caldera (and is therefore quieter and less overpriced), Saltsa is both relaxed and sophisticated. The interior is “shabby-chic,” with an old tile floor, whitewashed tables, mismatched chairs, and a retractable roof. The menu features goodies such as green salad with grapes; goat cheese and honey vinaigrette; risotto with cuttlefish, fennel and leek; and grilled chicken breast with lemon and caper sauce. Expect flickering candles, funky lounge music, and discreet service.

Santorini\, 011-30-22860-28018, www.saltsa.gr
Tags: moderate | trendy

Selene

As you walk down the steps to Selene, a series of open-air terraces with wide caldera views opens up before you. The menu, which changes with the seasons, features creative Mediterranean cuisine, prepared with predominantly local products. One might begin with octopus carpaccio on white eggplant salad, to be followed by baked sea bass with caper leaves and tomato wrapped in a fava crepe, rounding it off with a selection of cheeses from the Cycladic islands. They even offer one-day Santorini-style cooking classes every Thursday (coffee and lecture at 10:30am, cooking demonstration at noon, group lunch at 2pm).

Overlooking the caldera, Santorini, 011-30-22860-22249, www.selene.gr
Tags: expensive | smart splurge | cooking class

Vanilia

Affording stunning sunset views over the caldera, Vanilia lies hidden away in a pretty courtyard garden draped with bougainvillea and honeysuckle and decorated with fairy lights. The menu includes delicious Greek taverna favorites with a twist, such as lamb stew with cinnamon and garlic served with grilled corn polenta, plus a limited selection of pasta and gnocchi dishes. It’s always busy, so reservations are recommended.

Firostefani (a 10-minute walk north of Thira), Santorini, 011-30-22860-25631, www.vanilia.gr
Tags: moderate

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