Santorini, known since ancient times as Thira, is one of the most famous places in the world. It is a group of islands consisting of Thirassia, Aspronisi, Palea, and Nea Kameni in the southernmost part of Greece. The everlasting white beauty of Santorini, as well as its rich volcanic landscape, rugged cliffs, and wild nature, combined with history and traditions, attract millions of visitors every year, making it the top tourist destination in the country. The most amazing sight in the island city is the architecture of the villages built right on the edge of the caldera, capturing your heart with sugar-cube houses, paved streets, wonderful churches, and a breathtaking panorama of the Aegean Sea.
Santorini is known not only for its stunning sunsets and picturesque views but also for its exceptional culinary scene. Thanks to the diverse range of locally sourced ingredients, the region offers a unique blend of traditional Greek cuisine with a contemporary touch. The island is renowned for its fresh seafood, locally grown vegetables, and distinct white eggplants. So let us explore the top restaurants to visit when vacationing in the whitewashed paradise of Santorini with the vibrant touch of pink bougainvillea plants.
On islands where the catch is most often fresh, the octopus is roasted on charcoal, seasoned with fresh lemon and served with Greek aniseed vodka. Friends and families usually like to enjoy this special summer dish on the beach on hot days.
Psatha is a modern restaurant and cocktail bar celebrating an irresistible fusion of Mediterranean and Greek cuisine. The arched walls of the venue seamlessly merge the inside space and the outside sitting area, so guests can take in the Aegean Sea vistas while basking in the elegant ambiance. It possesses a welcoming seaside vibe, complete with white tables, wooden chairs, hanging diffused lighting, and a thatched roof. The interiors are lavishly designed using elements of bamboo, ocean rocks, and polished steel.
The kitchen invites you to savor a thoughtfully curated menu highlighting the freshest ingredients combined with herbs, spices, and exotic island produce. Diners can relish scrumptious dishes like grilled octopus with fava beans, pesto linguine with lobster tail, two mushroom risotto, roasted salmon filet with pea purée, and grilled sea bream with butter-glazed baby vegetables. Psatha also features an exclusive cocktail bar serving fruity smoothies and refreshing drinks like paloma – a citrusy mix of tequila, Cointreau, and grapefruit soda; creamy piña colada, and peachy bellini.
This dish comes from Northern Italy whose climate is ideal for growing rice (riso means 'rice'). The key ingredient is semi-rounded short-grain rice cooked with meat, fish or vegetable broth. Try risotto with parmesan cheese and white wine. Add saffron for flavour and yellow colour.
Opened in 1973, Aris is one of the oldest restaurants in Santorini that serves traditional and international cuisines elevated by local wine pairings. It features a lovely veranda hanging over the caldera cliff, providing endless views of the volcano under the stars and the seaside landscape. The establishment has an indoor dining room made up of minimalistic modern furniture, whitewashed walls, and several hanging landscape pictures which are a treat to look at. But like for every restaurant in Santorini, it is the shaded outdoor terrace that draws thousands of visitors to Aris. The veranda consists of different sections with gray and white wooden furniture, situated by the swimming pool of the Loucas Hotel in Fira.
The menu is designed by Chef Nikos Magganas, who has become a local legend thanks to his approach to cooking with respect and care for his customers’ desires. Some of the specialty items you can sample at Aris are grilled salmon and braised potatoes, seafood risotto, lamb shank with shrimp croquettes, and Sfakiani pie. You can accompany all your dishes with a glass of raki from their impressive wine list.
Baklava is a star of rich sweet pastry. Delicate pieces of dough are filled with honey and nuts. It is very nutritious. The dessert first appeared in the Ottoman Empire and was presented to the elite infantry units every 15th of the month of Ramadan.
Fistikies is a vibrant restaurant in the heart of Santorini. It is situated near Kamari Beach, where pistachio trees (fistikies in Greek) have been traditionally cultivated for over a century and continue today. The quaint dining spot has a colorful and lively atmosphere with one of the best outdoor seating areas in the city. The interiors are tastefully composed of polished wooden furniture, beautiful pebbled flooring, and hanging paper lantern lights. The alfresco terrace includes cushy sofas, wicker lighting, and lots of natural greenery.
The menu consists of Greek and Mediterranean delicacies with a strong focus on seafood. Indulge your taste buds in specialty dishes like souvlaki, moussaka, sautéed chicken bites, orzo pasta with shrimp, crispy sea bass filet with steamed vegetables, fried codfish with potato-beetroot purée, and quinoa salad with grilled shrimp. Do not miss out on their decadent desserts: baklava and Greek custard pie. For an intimate and flavorful gastronomic experience, Fistikies is a must-visit restaurant in Santorini.
Sea bass is distinguished by mildly sweet flavor and meaty consistency. There's a variety of ways to prepare sea bass, namely to grill, roast, steam, poach, and fry it.
Situated in a courtyard directly across from the Santorini Arts Factory, Salty Bone is a simple, small, and inviting restaurant with an unmatched understanding of what seafood should taste like. The decor resembles a vintage veranda of a beautiful house: wooden lawn chairs, hanging miniature lantern lights, and rustic pebbled walls surrounded by trees.
The kitchen is run under the leadership of Chef Vassilis Akrivos, who combines traditional and ancient Greek recipes with new culinary ideas and techniques to create inspiring dishes. You can enjoy unique seafood delicacies, such as smoked eel with caviar, anchovy filets marinated with black garlic, eel with angel’s hair pasta, salted cod roe with onion, sea bass ceviche, and grilled truffle shrimp. The wine list comprises around two dozen labels from different parts of the country, with an emphasis on whites.
It's delicious and satisfying meat cutlets, where the main secret of their preparation is well-ground minced meat. The shape, size, products used and the method of heat treatment can be different. For example, they are prepared from different types of meat, all sorts of vegetables, cereals, with herbs, spices, etc. Some housewives cook them deep-fried, others fry in a pan, some stew, and some bake in the oven, on the grill or in coals.
If you are a fan of succulent meats, the Lefkes restaurant in the scenic village of Finikia is the place to add to your checklist. In olden times, Finikia was the hometown of the farmers who worked on the volcanic-rich soil and the surrounding vineyards. Lefkes honors its locale by offering visitors authentic Mediterranean dishes created with fresh organic ingredients from nearby areas. The space is charming and serene in its ambiance, surrounded by a great deal of colorful decorative plants and flowers. The outdoor seating is rustic and homely, with simple wicker chairs, flooring full of rocks, and bamboo furnishings.
Patrons of the restaurant can get a taste of local hospitality by savoring signature dishes that combine time-honored Greek recipes. Start your meal with delicate appetizers like beef mousse meatballs and eggplant potatoes. Continue onto fresh salads made of watermelon and arugula, or cherry tomatoes with mint and feta cheese, topped with pine nuts. For the main course, relish entrées like lamb spaghetti, beef steak with potatoes, and truffled mushroom risotto. Finish your lavish dinner with their milk pudding served with a syrupy crust sheet filled with vanilla ice cream.
Santorini is undoubtedly one of the most celebrated Greek islands. The glistening golden beaches, white villas, and buzzing bars make it easy to fall in love with this heavenly place. And a host of cafés lining its cobblestone streets and a variety of taverns serving traditional food make Santorini a joyful destination for globetrotting foodies.