No matter how near or far you are from home, a recommendation for a good restaurant or bar is always nice to have. EATS is a collection of places that I’ve enjoyed during my travels.
It’s an unwritten rule that every visit to Santorini must include a sunset dinner in Oia at least once. I did a lot of research to find the “perfect” place, one with an unobstructed caldera view (obviously) that wasn’t overly pretentious or expensive, and found just that with Kastro near the western-most edge of the town. As with any sunset reservation in Santorini, you should book well in advance and the easiest way to do so is to email the restaurant directly (you can also ask your hotel for assistance). Restaurants will typically specify the reservation time that will allow you to get there and settled before the big show. When we arrived at Kastro we were excited to be seated at a table on the edge of the patio with a great vantage point, although it was still very warm and bright in the direct line of the sun (a small price to pay, but don’t forget your sunglasses).
Kastro offers a reasonable fixed-priced menu for 2 people with multi-course options including dessert. While tempting, it seemed like it might be too much food for us so we decided to order à la carte instead, starting with a carafe of house white wine and a plate of bread and olives. The service at Kastro was on point as the rest of our meal arrived relatively quickly so as not to interrupt the sun’s forthcoming performance – a Greek salad, eggplant rolls stuffed with feta and topped with tomatoes (which was by far one of the best dishes of our entire trip) and grilled shrimp with steamed broccoli. Just as the final sliver of sun dipped below the horizon, applause erupted from the massive crowd that had gathered on every available wall, step or ledge surrounding the restaurant. We ended our meal with iced espresso and a slice of baklava to share, which was served warm and significantly larger than we expected. You can only have one first, and this one will go down in the books for sure.
Kastro, Oia, +30 22860 71045, kastro-oia.gr
For our second night in Santorini, we decided to have dinner in Imerovigli where we were staying. The benefit to seeing a sunset here is that the town is the highest point on the caldera and Oia will be part of your view in the distance. We asked our hotel to help us make a reservation for Blue Note the day before, and were surprised that the restaurant wasn’t overly crowded. As we climbed the stairs from the street to Blue Note, I fell in in love with its breezy location overlooking a church, perfect for taking photos.
The menu was presented to us on an iPad, from which we ordered our now-routine house white wine and a traditional fava dip that was recommended by our waitress. This yellow split pea dip has a hummus-like consistency and is a specialty in Santorini. We also ordered a Greek salad (another well-established routine during this trip) and a beef dish seasoned with sweet spices and served with steamed rice. The staff at Blue Note were very welcoming and the service wasn’t rushed per se, but it did feel a little faster than we have grown accustom to in Europe. Again, this is likely intentional to ensure that your food is delivered before the sun begins to set. With open windows on all 4 sides of the seating area, we had a beautiful view of that evening’s sunset surrounded by cascading white buildings on the caldera and sailboats dotting the water in the distance. It was quite the ethereal scene with less commotion than Oia the night before.
Blue Note, Imerovigli, +30 22860 23771, bluenote.gr
Dionysos in Atlantis
Since our dinner in Imerovigli wrapped up a little early, we decided to walk to Fira that night for dessert. It’s about 25 minutes on the footpath between the 2 towns, with many restaurants to choose from once you reach Fira. Dionysos in Atlantis drew us in immediately thanks to the big red and yellow donkey signs out front. After spending a few days in Santorini we knew this meant that the restaurant served local beer from the Santorini Brewing Company, which is only available on the island. My husband ordered the Red Donkey brew and I opted for an iced espresso. Our waiter was extremely friendly and bragged that the restaurant’s baklava was the best in town, so naturally we had to try it for ourselves (it was pretty good). We enjoyed the open-air patio and casual, laid back vibe at Dionysos in Atlantis, which made it feel like a place you could hang out with friends for hours.
Dionysos in Atlantis, Fira, +30 22860 23845, no website
For our last night in Santorini we decided to take in the sunset from our hotel patio and made a reservation at a nearby restaurant for dinner afterwards. We had multiple recommendations for Avocado, both from friends as well as our hotel’s manager. Plus, it was conveniently located between the top row of hotels and main road in Imerovigli, just steps from where we were staying. Avocado’s interior was cheery and inviting, primarily white with bright-colored accents and patio seating that opened up onto the street. We specifically asked to sit at a table towards the middle so that we weren’t directly next to the parked cars and ATVs. The owner was very nice and accommodating in our table request, but our waitress seemed to disappear since we only saw her once when she came to collect the iPad with our order. Our starter never came either, but we did receive our Greek salad and pork gyros. We also tried Santorini Brewing Company’s Crazy Donkey IPA (the first and only Indian Pale Ale produced in Greece), which came in a large 750 ml bottle. As cute as Avocado was, the overall experience left us wanting more, but you never know when these types of things are isolated occurrences. One thing that I did appreciate was that the owner took the time to visit each and every table to thank his customers for coming in, a nice personal touch.
Avocado, Imerovigli, +30 22860 36183, avocadosantorini.gr
Meat Corner Grill
Changing gears slightly, one of the things we were excited to try in Greece was the street food, and my favorite experience in Santorini was at the Meat Corner Grill. Literally located in a corner storefront in the heart of Fira, this was the perfect place to stop for a quick gyro or souvlaki in between shopping and sightseeing. We decided to split a gyro, which was absolutely delicious – with pork, lettuce, tomato and fries folded up inside a warm pita – and arguably the best one of our entire trip. Considering its touristy location, the Meat Corner was well-priced and even offered free Wi-Fi for customers (this seemed to be the norm at most places in Santorini – look for the password on the menu or ask your waiter). The guys behind the counter were really fun too, which made for an all-around great experience.
Meat Corner Grill, Fira, +30 22860 28931, no website
The day we arrived in Santorini the temperature was 102 degrees Fahrenheit (about 38 degrees Celsius), and after walking the mostly-unshaded stretch between Imerovigli and Fira we were in need of something to cool off. Thankfully we stumbled upon Selatrevo, a self-serve authentic Greek frozen yogurt shop that seemed to appear like an oasis in the desert. Similar to the U.S. concept, you fill your cup with your choice of frozen yogurt and toppings ranging from fresh fruit and nuts to chocolate and sauces, and then pay by weight at the register. This refreshing treat was exactly what we needed. I later learned that name Selatrevo comes from the Greek phrase “se latrevo” meaning “I adore you”, which couldn’t be more fitting.
Selatrevo, Fira, +30 22860 21811, selatrevo.gr