They say that you have to taste a culture to understand it. With a culture as famous, as expansive and as influential as those of the Greeks, I guess it would take lots of tasting to fully understand it LOL. Hmmm..Oh, well, I guess I’m just making an excuse to eat a lot while traveling – which is basically what Jill and I do every time we go to some place.
Kidding aside though, Me and My Wife make it a point to go local when it comes to dining every time we travel. It’s an addiction and passion I suppose, to indulge and to immerse ourselves in local cuisines: for us it’s one of the best ways to feel more connected to the place we’re at, to experience how locals dine, to enjoy and appreciate how locals appreciate their food from the simplest to the grandest. Having that in mind, SANTORINI was definitely not an exception! So if ever you’re wondering WHERE TO EAT IN SANTORINI and WHAT TO EAT IN SANTORINI – just read along as we go on a culinary journey to explore what Cycladic Food is all about!
Where to Eat: ATHINIOS PORT TAVERNAS
What to Eat/Drink: GREEK FRAPPE
Before there was Starbucks, Seattle’s Best, Tim Horton’s and all those gourmet coffee chains, there was the Greek Frappe. Most will be surprised that Frappe was actually invented by the Greeks and is one of the most defining aspects of Greek outdoor coffee culture! Enjoy the Frappe like we did in the numerous tavernas in the Athinios Port and of Santorini (the main port of the island) while watching people embark and disembark in the large ferries that are ever present in this busy port (link to our ferry journey to Santorini here).
Where to Eat in Fira: LUCKY’S SOUVLAKIS
What to Eat: SOUVLAKIS
Souvlaki is heaven – take my word for it! Especially pork souvlaki! Before Greece, I didn’t have any idea what souvlaki was. After Greece, authentic Greek souvlaki is what I crave for!
Souvlaki or souvlakia are small chunks of pork (I guess lamb and chicken are also available – but I’m a pork guy, so..), flavoured with lemon, herbs and olive oil, grilled on skewers.
It is usually served wrapped in pita bread with garnishes and sauces, usually Tzatziki sauce which is a traditional Greek yogurt sauce ,”mixed with cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and sometimes dill.”
And for us, the best souvlaki we’ve tried in the island was LUCKY’S SOUVLAKI, near the Fira bus station. I believe it was a family run restaurant, just as most tavernas in the island are. Service was quick, and menu boards make it easy for non-Greek diners to order and to know how much to pay. Basically, you order at the cashier and then they give you a slip which you give to the guys preparing your souvlaki to perfection!
And for a reasonable price of only 7 EUROS, and that is for both me and Jill already, we got to enjoy two pork souvlakis and 2 Cokes! Yum!!!
Where to Eat in Fira: NICK THE GRILL
What to Eat: LAMB GYROS, PORK GYROS
Gyro is the cousin of souvlaki, but instead of being served as chunks, much like shawarma, the meat is shaved crisp and thinly from a vertical rotiserie where it is being cooked.
Though Gyros is readily available in many food places in Santorini, or Fira to be exact, the most famous one I believe and based on our research in TripAdvisor was Nick the Grill which is pretty much alive during lunch and dinner times.
Conveniently located near the Fira bus station, along the same road where Lucky’s Souvlakis is, this is where Jill and I had a light but satisfying dinner after our long day in Oia (blogged here). The staff our very much cheerful and accomodating and the way you order it is just like in a fast food where you place your order, your order gets prepared and served to you in no time. Menu boards are also present to make it easier and the staff are pretty much good in English. And with the night busy and lively, with lots of diners eating, the mood in Nick the Grill is one of the best things I love about it aside from the food!
My Nick the Grill experience was defined by Lamb Gyros, served wrapped in pita bread together with cucumber, onion, tomato and my now favorite tzatziki sauce! Juicy and really tasty! This I enjoyed, together with my Wife, with the Nick the Grill fries, topped with a kind of cheese spread!
On the other hand, Jill ordered Pork Gyro which was nevertheless as delicious as my lamb gyro! Between souvlaki and gyro though, I would choose souvlaki, since I’m more into chunky meat but when it falls into flavors, both gyros and souvlaki would satisfy your Greek-craving palate!
Same as in Lucky’s Souvlakis, Nick the Grill won’t burn a hole in your pocket. For the two of us, we only spent 11.50 EUROS for a lamb gyro, a pork gyro, the fries and two Cokes!
Where to Eat in Fira: V LOUNGE CAFE AND COCKTAIL BAR
What to Eat/Drink: ANTIPASTO PLATE and Santorini Local TERRA NERA WINE
From cheap eats, you can also go a bit higher on the Santorini dining price range. V Lounge Cafe and Cocktail bar is the best place to relax, have some drinks and quality food while watching the surreal sunset in Fira. I’ve read in most reviews that it is expensive to dine here, but Jill and I found it reasonable as we only cashed out 36 EUROS for a generous Antipasti Plate (composed of Salami, Sun-Dried tomatoes, Mozarella & Capers Bruschetta, Melon with Prosciutto, Cherry Tomatoes, Local Green and Black Olives, a basket of bread and three dips including V Lounge’s House Special Dip) and a bottle of Local Terra Nera Wine. With a spectacular view, great quality food and service, V Lounge is a must try restaurant in Fira. For our full blog feature of this restaurant, click on this link.
Where to Eat in Fira: THEONI’S KITCHEN
What to Eat: TYROLOUKOMADES, APAKI, SEAFOOD PASTA, GRILLED GREEK SARDINES
Located at the edge of Fira from the Athinios port, this small restaurant is one of the best restaurants in Fira.
Just a couple of meters walk from the bus station, along the same road of Lucky’s Souvlakis and Nick the Grill, towards south, you’ll find this unassuming, humble, family-run taverna.
Jill and I decided to have our last lunch in Santorini here after our final half-day stroll around Fira (blogged here). Based on the reviews we read, the food was amazing, the staff were warm and accomodating and the price was budget-friendly! Wanting our final dining experience in Santorini (till the next time we go there) to be in a truly Greek taverna – we chose to eat at Theoni’s Kitchen last!
True to the reviews, Theoni’s Kitchen was everything you’d expect from a family-run taverna. Our server, who was brother to Theoni, was very warm and hospitable. He took our order with a smile. Doesn’t it always feel good to have a genuinely happy server? While waiting for our order, we were served with complimentary bread together with olives and cheese.
For our starters, we ordered Tyroloukomades, which are Fried Cheese Fritters in Orange Sauce. Sounds great, tastes even better! If salty creamy cheese drizzled with sweet citrus-y sauce won’t whet your appetite, I don’t know what will!
For my mains, I ordered the famous Pork Apaki, which is a traditional seasoned & cured lean pork meat smoked with olive wood with local herbs such as sage, marjoram and thyme! I’ve been craving for this dish since we arrived in Santorini and I was very glad I saved it for last. It was truly delicious with the smoky taste blending with the herbs in your palate! My mouth waters while I’m writing about it!
Jill on the other hand, had been craving for Theoni’s Kitchen’s Seafood Pasta as she has read positive reviews about it. Santorni being an island, is never short of freshly caught-seafood so it is no wonder when Jill had her first taste of it she was simply in seafood heaven! Just look at those mussels and shrimps!
Finally, one of the staples of Greek Islands and Greek food in general, Grilled Sardines! Crunchy and full of flavor, drizzled with lemon, it was a perfect and PLENTIFUL “side dish” to our mains!
Going local for me means even trying their local sodas – I couldn’t read Greek so let me just show you the pictures below:
To our surprise, our server and one of Theoni’s sisters I believe, gave us a plate of dessert on the house! It was like vanilla ice cream drizzled with chocolate syrup! A perfect finish to a perfect meal! Greek Island hospitality and food at its finest!
How much was our bill for all of these you may ask? Only 47 EUROS for everything!
Where to Eat in Oia: DIMITRI’S AT AMOUDI BAY
What to Eat/Drink: GRILLED GREEK OCTOPUS, SHRIMP SAGANAKI with FETA CHEESE, SPICY MUSSELS SAGANAKI, KEFTEDES, TZATZIKI, RED DONKEY BEER and YELLOW DONKEY BEER
If you want to truly experience dining beside the Aegean Sea with a spectacular view, Dimitri’s in Amoudi Bay Oia is the place to be. Located hundreds of feet beneath the town of Oia, in Amoudi Bay, the 20 minute stroll down is very much worth the food and the view!
With the waters of the Santorini caldera literally beneath your feet and the divine sparkly diamond-like waters of the Aegean deep blues in view, Dimitri’s at Amoudi Bay is truly a must try restaurant in Oia.
Dining at Dimitri’s was the most expensive we had in our Santorini Vacation but it was one of the most memorable. Owned a Greek and Canadian couple, the taverna is located at the farthest end of the tavernas that line up the Amoudi Bay.
Amoudi now, as it was in the past, is used by fishermen as their port. Everything served in Dimitri’s in Amoudi Bay are fresh catch of the day. We even saw fishermen delivering freshly-caught seafood fare to the taverna while we were there. Seafood can’t get fresher than this!
Service was so-so but it was expected since the reviews in TripAdvisor already mentioned that it was not Dimitri’s at Amoudi Bays strength but it was tolerable. Again the view would drown any nit-picks about service lol! After placing our order, a complimentary bread basket was served – a great welcome as Jill and I were famished, our last meal being our breakfast at our Fira Guesthouse (blogged here) and it was around 2PM already! This bread we enjoyed dipped in olive oil.
To quench our thirst, we ordered the locally-produced Santorini beers, Yellow Donkey Beer and Red Donkey Beer. The difference was that the other was stronger than the other one – I don’t remember which was ones specifically. Maybe the red was stronger? LOL.
Before I forget, we also enjoyed our bread with the Tzatziki dip served almost immediately with the bread 🙂
After a few minutes of enjoying our bread, our starter arrived which was the traditional tomato Keftedes (tomato fritters).
And then the food came flowing to our table. First was the much awaited Grilled Octopus, sliced in small pieces, seasoned with herbs, and drizzled with olive oil! Freshest of the fresh, this octopus is the bomb!
Then arrived Jill’s order of Shrimp Saganaki! We were joking that it was Japanese-sounding, but Saganaki is actually named after the two-handled frying pan upon which this dish was prepared! Creamy, thanks to the feta cheese, you should never pass up on this awesome seafood fare!
Then my much awaited Spicy Mussels Saganaki arrived as well! Yummy and spicy! It was perfect to sweat and fend of the warm Aegean noon!
So there you are my friends, our complete food trip in Santorini. I hope in one way or another our blog about Where to Eat in Santorini and What to Eat in Santorini would make your vacation in the island easier and more enjoyable! It was really fun for us and I pray that you’ll find it the same!
For our complete Santorini blogseries, just click on the links below:
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