When you visit the Cycladic island of Santorini, the capital Fira, the picturesque village of Oia, or Imerovigli, Firostefani, you will think you just found paradise in the middle of the Greek archipelago. That’s how gorgeous this island is. The view from the caldera is just breathtaking. Sitting on your hotel balcony, watching the sunset will be a moment of pure zen travel, a moment of unmatched serenity! Believe me, it will be difficult to leave your room’s view to dine out. But once you taste Santorini’s delish food, you will find out another piece of the puzzle that makes Santorini, one of the world’s places to be competing for the 8th miracle of the world.
The food is so sophisticated! Although usually it is based on authentic local produce, it appeals to all nationalities. Due to the volcanic ash -which has enriched the Thiran soil- and because of the dry, humid climate, Santorini has the advantage to produce the most tasteful and famous agricultural products of Greece. So, during your visit on the island, be prepared to have an incredible culinary experience.
What more could you ask for? How about the perfect wine to pair everything with? You’ve got it. Santorini’s whites, Asyrtico and Nyxtreri, show racy acidity, pure briny, mineral flavors, as if they were the concentrated essence of millions of tiny seashells and have been winning even Chablis in blind tastings inNYC.
If you only have one night to dine out, you should spend it at Selene.
A highly awarded restaurant that will simply dazzle you. Be sure to reserve well in advance. This isHaute Cuisine at its best.
Since 2010 Selene moved from the capital town of Fira to the beautifully preserved, and quieter, village of Pyrgos, a short drive away. The owner, Yiorgos Hatziyannakis, a true local hero of the island’s food scene, said the move has brought Selene closer to the farms and vineyards he has championed since he opened the restaurant in 1986. Along with the restaurant he opened a new space on the ground floor: Selene meze & wine which operates as taverna and wine bar as well as a café and delicatessen.
Selene offers one day cooking classes for those who are interested in authentic Greek cooking and it’s a wonderful experience if you have the time for it. They also organize wedding dinners & parties at the unique Nomikos Conference Center.
Koukoumavlos in Fira is a Santorini food lover’s favorite known for creative Mediterranean dishes made with an artistic flair. Think crayfish in white chocolate sauce, with ginger, lime, anchovy caviar and green apple carpaccio. The very thought of a velvety terrine of lobster and monkfish I had there makes me salivate!
Housed in an original 18th century sea captain’s house, the interior of the restaurant offers a refined romantic setting, while the terrace offers stunning views of the cobalt blue caldera. It is the absolute gourmet restaurant, ruled by a gifted multi awarded chef, Nico Pouliasi, a revelatory wine list, well informed service and happy clientele all over.
Vinsanto’s talented executive chef Melina Chomata has designed an exclusive innovative, neo-Greek dinner menu based on the island’s unique products – from its small-scale farmed fruit, vegetables and legumes to the aromatic crisp white wines discreetly snapping up awards across the globe.
Vinsanto’s quietly elegant dining destination of choice is an unassuming epicurean’s dream hidden within the volcanic stone walls of a 400-year-old winery in Megalochori, that has a rooftop terrace to boot. Among the signature dishes to feature is tender octopus prepared with Assyrtiko wine accompanied by a salad dressed with almonds and a garlic and tahini sauce – a truly divine pairing of Mediterranean flavors.
Fresh lobster served with goat milk hand made pasta. Lamb cutlets served with santorini fava cream and finally tender cockerel with sour Greek trahana pasta, fresh herbs and Arseniko cheese from Naxos island. You will leave with a bliss feeling.
In 2011 the creators of Koukoumavlos and Nichteri joined their forces to create a New Greek Cuisine Gourmet restaurant overlooking the caldera. Relax with a wonderful glass of chilled Asyrtico wine, surrounded with innovative plates and seize the moment. You should try the pork with local grapes and an aged asyrtico wine sauce. I also liked the fried oil cheese from Lesvos island with a delicious fig sauce. End this tasty dinner with a greek cheesecake served with Santorini tomatoes in syrupy preserve.
Vasilis Zacharakis is a chef born and bred in Santorini. He started out as a restaurant owner but because he wanted to make sure only the best would be presented to the customer, he decided to become a chef himself. Nichteri is a cozy place on Kamari beach and is the best choice to have a relaxed lunch or an early dinner after a long day on the beach. His menu is designed around the freshest seasonal ingredients, bursting with “straight from the farm” freshness. He is crazy with local fava split pea – a Protected Designation of Origin Product considered as one of the oldest products in the island- and likes to “marry it” which means match it with all sorts of ingredients creating a magical meal. Do try the risotto with grape leaves and tartare of smoked eel. Staffers are extremely knowledgeable of every item of food. Wines from a creative list focused on Santorini’s best.
The awarded “1800” Restaurant in Oia is housed in a restored mansion built around 1845. It is a typical Santorinian captain’s house, reflecting the glory of a long gone era. Here you will relish creative traditional Greek dishes with Mediterranean inflections making even the most demanding palate yield to the temptation of the chef’s distinctive creations full of color, brilliance and imagination. Welcoming servers help create a friendly atmosphere. You will have a dinner well worth its high price.
With its unique location and its terrace view, Apiron literally makes you feel like Nobility. Here, you will have a dinner you will be storytelling your grandchildren about. Its décor, so perfectly matching the nature’s miracle in front of your eyes. Apiron, which in Greek means infinity, is in a niche position that attaches wings to your eyes and the food plays music for your tongue. Dining here will definitely be the highlight of your time in Santorini. You should try the smoked eggplant salad made with local white eggplants which have no seeds and taste sweeter. It is made right in front of your eyes with feta cheese plus a secret unrevealed ingredient. Delicious fresh crunchy green salad with Santorini’s famous cherry tomatoes and marinated octopus. I had the braised saddle of goat, whose origin was the near island of Tinos and was melting in my mouth. All pasta was made fresh in the traditional greek way. If you are a meat eater you can also try the beef filet with Vinsanto sauce, but if you are a pescatarian do try the Sea Bass Fricassée, one of my favorite tasty dishes.
I ended this sublime dinner with a glass of sweet wine Vinsanto Argyros – the 2010 Decanter awarded Santorini diamond- gazing at the caldera wondering whether it was all just a dream.