This small yet attractive bar-restaurant is located right above the square in Oia where the regional buses stop. It has a pretty garden where bright bougainvilleas, colorful tiles and smiling waitstaff set the tone for a pleasant evening. Your waiter will probably recommend that you start with a cocktail. The Snappy Tea, with vodka, passion fruit, five spice and Tabasco, is the perfect match for the sea bass ceviche with coriander and lime, or the grilled squid with tarama (fish roe) paste, lettuce and ponzu – two menu standouts. Leave room for dessert.
Approx. €25-30/person, Oia
Tel. (+30) 22860.720.37
Leave your car in the small parking lot at the entrance of the village and walk the 80 short meters to the door of this spot. The dining area is on a rooftop and looks out over the village of Finikia, taking in the Aghia Matrona bell tower and the vineyards of Baxedes. This is a typical Greek taverna, serving salads of seasonal vegetables or greens, pulses (they slow-cook the chickpeas in an earthenware pot), roasted feta, grilled meat dishes and small fried fish. If the grilled thrapsalo, or flying squid, is on the menu, it’s definitely worth a try. The tomato-braised beef and the lamb cooked in a clay pot are also musts. They serve only bottled wine.
Approx. €18-20/person, Finikia
Tel. (+30) 22860.719.93
Friendly, relaxed and strategically placed near a popular intersection in Pyrgos, this is where locals come on their lunch breaks for a quick bite, or in the afternoon for a beer or raki to whet their pre-dinner appetite. It opens early for breakfast (which is worth trying if you are staying nearby) and goes on to serve hearty sandwiches and salads, and platters of cheeses and cold meats. Order the grilled talagani cheese (from the Peloponnese) served with very well-suited fig jam. You’ll also find anthotyro cheese, tomato and pesto mini-pies, and small rusks with a split-pea spread (fava), among other Santorinian tidbits. There aren’t a lot of options for wine by the glass, but it does serve the local Donkey beer, which is as bright and light as the food and the mood.
Approx. €18/person, Pyrgos Square
Tel. (+30) 22860.309.44
More and more visitors squeeze onto the veranda every year, enjoying meals alongside the locals, who aren’t about to give up one of their favorite tavernas. Tucked away behind a church on the main street of Exo Gonia, Metaxi Mas boasts a lovely view over Santorini’s interior and a menu that blends Mediterranean, Greek and Cretan classics. You’ll find Greek staples such as fava dip and dakos salad, made with rye rusks and tomatoes, as well as risotto and meat options. Reservations are essential.
Approx. €18/person, Exo Gonia
Tel. (+30) 22860.313.23
The garden of this all-day restaurant, which is ideal for breakfast or a cool afternoon break, stretches out over a large property filled with flower pots, climbing plants and a variety of trees, including a pair of 60-year-old palms. It is quite the jungle inside the town of Fira, and yet this is not even Pelican Kipos’ most impressive feature. For that, you have to go underground, where a network of caverns extends to a depth of ten meters. These spaces make up the restaurant’s legendary wine cellar, which contains over 600 selections from around the world, including, of course, notable wines from Santorini and the rest of Greece. There’s also a specially designed wine-tasting space, as well as an ageing room where local wines are matured in the bottle. Spirit enthusiasts will have a good time as well, with whiskies and other drinks from all over the world.
Approx. €30/person, Fira
Tel (+30) 22860.234.33
The owners of this eatery get their fish from local fishermen at the port of Vlychada and prepare traditional recipes such as red mullet with savoro sauce (garlic, vinegar and rosemary). You’ll also find a mixed steamed shellfish platter, and ceviche made from the day’s catch. The orzo with clams, langoustine and mussels is also very good. The wine is mainly white and rosé, and all Santorinian. If you like to concentrate on your food, we recommend a table in the quiet garden. If you prefer a view, choose the veranda, which overlooks the harbor.
Approx. €35/person, Vlychada
Tel. (+30) 22860.827.83
SELENE MEZE AND WINE
A new chef, full of energy and fresh ideas, has taken over this year, presenting dishes that are technically sophisticated and imaginative. The menu experiments with the concept of meze, while throwing in a few Mediterranean and Greek classics, too. The most-photographed dish here is the “stuffed vegetable risotto,” a rich, fragrant rice dish with a topping made from tomatoes, green and yellow peppers, and feta, too. Other highlights include the fava with squid ink and lemon, served with grilled squid, and the pancetta with a pork juice sauce served with sautéed leeks and celery. They make two types of bread here every day and serve 27 wines from different parts of Greece by the glass and 18 Santorini wines by the bottle. Coupled with great service, all this makes Selene’s more relaxed offshoot a haven of simple, delicious food.
Approx. €25-30/person • Pyrgos
Tel (+30) 22860.243.95
A glass of chilled wine and a few plates of modern meze are the right way to end a day at Vlychada Beach. In a courtyard directly across from the Santorini Arts Factory, SaltyBone serves cool quirky food with an international twist, such as the anchovy filets marinated with black garlic, the eel with angel’s hair pasta, the tuna tacos and other colorful creations. The wine list comprises around two dozen selections from different parts of the country, with an emphasis on whites.
Approx. €25/person, Vlychada
Tel. (+30) 694.848.277
The owner is a skilled fisherman, an excellent cook and a master of the grill, so it’s no surprise that fish (either grilled over charcoal or cooked in its own juices) dominates a menu that also includes a few appetizers and salads. Availability and prices depend on what’s been caught in the net. There are also plenty of well-priced options from local wineries.
From €25-30 to €50/person depending on the type of fish, Perivolos
Tel. (+30) 22860.828.18
If a crash course in authentic Greek cuisine is what you’re after, then this is where you should go. The pretty courtyard, decorated in relaxing terracotta tones, is quiet most hours of the day. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy a glass of wine and a good book in the afternoon hours. You’ll find local delicacies prepared according to traditional methods. Ideal meze dishes to accompany spirits and wine include salt-cured sardines, Santorinian fresh cheese and sun-dried tomatoes. In all their dishes, the young owners showcase seasonal local products. When it comes to wine, the focus is also on Santorini, and this is one of only a few places on the island where you can find all the wines produced here. Noteworthy vintages are preserved and matured in bottles in the cellar.
From €15-20/person , Oia
Tel (+30) 22860.720.46
The perfect places for ouzo and meze:
The food is meze, dishes that can be prepared in minutes in a frying pan or served as is. In years gone by, the dishes would depend on what the owner’s wife had prepared for her family, as she’d simply set aside a few portions for customers. The most common meze nowadays, however, are items like salted fish, pickled vegetables, vinegary sausages, mature cheeses, olives and perhaps a few small fried fish if the establishment happens to be on an island or close to the sea. Everything comes to the table in small servings on small dishes. Their strong flavors make them ideal partners for equally strong spirits like tsipouro and raki, or with anise-scented ouzo. Here are two eateries on Santorini that do the great meze tradition proud:
Ta Postalia tou Aigaiou
At Captain Michalis Damigos’ establishment, the décor is so profoundly maritime – all wooden rudders and knotted ropes – it’s surprising that Ta Postalia tou Aigaiou hasn’t sailed away yet. Michalis and his wife do the cooking, and the kitchen turns out very nice Greek meze dishes such as eggplant purée, a spicy Mykonian cheese dip, skipjack filets, and mini cheese pies. All are usually served with a small carafe of ouzo or tsipouro. They are particularly proud of their roasted liver and their buttery smoked mackerel. Groups meet up here, often on Saturdays, for sing-alongs, so you might get a show with your meal.
Approx. €15/person, Messaria
Tel. (+30) 22860.342.34
Two friends from Crete opened this eatery near the school in Messaria. In the summer, most everyone sits outside, in the shade of the eucalyptus trees. This relaxed setting is perfect for a simple meze menu that includes potato salad, cheese served with thyme, feta with olive oil and oregano, Cretan rye rusks, omelet with cured syglino and apaki pork loin. The drinks are raki, wine from the barrel, ouzo and four different beers, two of which are from the local brewery. If you enter from the side door, you’ll find a small retail area where the owners sell local products such as dried herbs, wine and rusks.
Approx. €12-15/person, Messaria
Tel. (+30) 22860.373.83