Santorini is a volcanic island in the Cyclades group of the Greek islands located between Ios and Anafi islands. It is famous for dramatic views, stunning sunsets, as well as some unique foods and wines (see below) The main town of Thira (also called Fira) is built on a cliff. There are great beaches such as the beach of Perissa, which may be the best beach in Santorini, and the black pebble beach of Kamari. Santorini is considered to have some of the best food and wines of all the Greek Islands.
More than 2000 food business exist on Santorini within an area of about 60 square miles. Cuisine's range from cheap gyros takeaway to gourmet style restaurants.
What foods are unique to Santorini cuisine?
The Fava Bean --The Fava Beans (yellow shelled lentils) is one of the most traditional products of Santorini. It is a kind of pea with a yellow color, and it is cultivated exclusively in Santorini and Anafi, a small island next to Santorini. Archaeological excavations have revealed grains of fava from the ancient site of Akrotiri, on the southern side of Santorini, which shows that this product has been cultivated on the island for about 3,500 years.
Chloro Cheese -- Chloro is a fresh mild goat cheese made by Santorinian ladies; hard to find in taverns or restaurants, cheese
The Cherry Tomato : a.k.a. Santorini tomatina --The cherry tomatoes are one of the most popular local food products. The anhydrous soil adds sweetness to their flavor.
The White Eggplant To friends of the white eggplant, she is known as the 'apple of love', The color is bright in Greek eggplant salad puree call Melitzanosalata.
Tomatokeftes --Tomatokeftedes also called tomato rissoles is a traditional dish of Santorini made with fresh mint, parsley and paprika, tomatoes and onions. It is a very popular appetizer on Santorini and its preparation is similar to the preparation of meatballs.
Feta Cheese --This white cheese is made from sheep's milk or a combination of sheep and goat's milk.
Wild Santorini Capers -- Capers grow on Greek islands uncultivated. They are picked from September to June when humidity and rains allow the plant to produce tender buds and fruit. Since these capers grow wild capers they taste better than cultivated ones.
Local Meats -- The local lamb, quail, rabbit, and beef are all of excellent quality.
After the devastating volcanic explosion, around1650 BC, the island was covered with volcanic ash, lava and pumice stone. This catastrophe created the foundation for perfect soil conditions which now help produce the very distinctive wines of Santorini.
The rich, volcanic, minerally and soil along with the brutal growing conditions on Santorini has actually made for vineyards that produce some superb wines. Santorini’s finest wine- is a dry white wine that is simply called Santorini. Santorini Assyrtiko wines are not for everyone’s palates. While some tasters might find them to be too dry, too high in acidity, or too assertive, they are considered by many wine experts to be excellent wines with some similarities to French Chablis. The wines contain a lot of power and structure similar to a red wine and thus can benefit from some bottle age. Perhaps the single most amazing aspect of Santorini viticulture, has to do with the age of the vines with many that are between 200 and 500 years old.
Santorini has two applellations: one for dry whites( Asyrtiko, Athiri and Aïdani Aspro) and one for sweet whites (Asyrtiko and Aïdani). Vinsanto (sweet white wine) is the most traditional wine of Santorini.
According to Ed McCarthy of the winereviewonline.com there are four Santori producers that he considers excellent...
.."Four Santorini producers stand out to me for the excellence of their wines, Gaia, Domaine Sigalas, Hatzidakis, and Argyros. You can’t go wrong with the Santorini wines of all four producers. The two producers that receive the most critical acclaim, and justifiably so, are Domaine Sigalas and Gaia (pronounced YAY –ah). ... "
About Gaia -- Gaia Wines was founded in 1994 by winemaker/oenologist Yiannis Paraskevopoulos and his agronomist partner. Paraskevopoulos is perhaps Greece’s most respected winemaker. After his university studies in Greece, he spent five years studying in Bordeaux, and earned a Ph.D. He returned to Greece and became the country’s most renowned consulting oenologist.
About Sigalis -- No winemaker has done more to preserve Santorini’s vineyards than Paris Sigalas, who founded his winery in 1991--this is about the time that Greek wines began their revival. Sigalas is also the only Santorini producer who saves his older vintages, and so a vertical tasting of his wines is always a possibility on a visit to the winery. Sigalas has also done vertical tastings of his Santorini in the U.S. If you drink this wine you will see how letting it breathe a bit opens the wine in a similar manner to red wines. Sigalas Santorini wine is 100% Assyrtiko and has the ability to age over several years.
Besides a tasting room the Sigalas winery also has a nice outdoor garden area where one can match the wine to excellent small dishes. Shown to the left was the best fava bean salad we had on the island (shown with caper leaves).
About Argyros --Making wine under its own label since 1903 by Georgios Argyros, in a 5 acres vineyard located in Episkopi Gonia Thiras (Santorini). Georgios Argyros made his wines according to the traditional Santorinian way, the winery has become famous for its Vinsanto, which is regarded as one of the best on the island. The winery takes great pride in its history of Vinsanto production, and has the most strict aging regime on the island, releasing their wine only after 20 years of barrel aging. Many awards have been given for Assyrtiko Argyros . The soil is volcanic and the vines are formed in the traditional crown. Estate Argyros owns one of the oldest vineyards on the island, as parts of it are more than 150 years old
About Hatzidakis --Hadzidakis came to the island in 1991, and like many winemakers on the island, was employed for a time at Boutari. His wife's family owned vineyards, which had been neglected since 1956. Hadzidakis eventually decided to start his own winery with his wife's vineyard holdings (a valuable commodity on the island). Remarkably, Hadzidakis decided that his operation would be fully organic from day one, at least for those vineyards that he controls. He is also notably the only winemaker on the island to use native yeast fermentation's for all his wines. Hatzidakis also makes the rare red Santorini 'Mavrotragano' wine.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BEST RESTAURANTS IN SANTORINI?
Koukoumavlos-- Fira 84700, Greece --+30.22860.23807
Chef Nikos Pouliasis was born in Corfu and has lived and worked in Santorini for over 25 years. He creates exciting, highly original dishes while showcasing fresh, local ingredients in unique and creative ways. ---foie-gras matched with koufeto, a local almond candy, sea bass matched with nerantzi, a local bitter orange, or potato soup matched with kumquat --- Toques d’Or (Golden Hat or Chrysos Skoufos) for 10 consecutive years (2002-2011).-- Koukoumavlos Website -- 4 stars tripadvisor
Selene - Pyrgos--Santorini, Greece, 84700, P.O. 87 Phone: +30 22860 22249 Fax: +30 22860 24395 e-mail: email@example.com
Formerly located in Fira, this upmarket restaurant moved to Pyrgos village in 2010.--Selene uses local produce to highlight what owner George Haziyannakis calls the "creative nature of Greek cuisine." The appetizers, often including a delicious sea urchin salad on artichokes and fluffy fava balls with caper sauce, are deservedly famous. Frommers consider Selene their favorite restaurant on Santorini Island. Selene Meze & Wine and now Selene Restaurant are open for 2012 with new tasteful menus---Selene Website -- Selene Menu -- Note: Pyrgos village is located in the center of the island and it is around 10min from Fira.
Naoussa Restaurant --Lagoudera`, Fira, Santorini, P.C. 84700 , Greece +30 22860 24869
Naoussa is in the heart of Fira and has many great Greek traditional dishes.This Tavern is a highly ranked restaurant in Tripadvisor. `Naoussa` Restaurant has a lot of fish, local meat and a local housewine of Santorini. There is also great view, reasonable prices and family environment --Website and Menu --
Nikolas Tavern -- Erythrou Stavrou, Fira, Santorini
Good, local, no-frills tavern at reasonable prices--This is a family owned restaurant. Try the stuffed vegetable dishes. Perhaps their best dishes are some of the spreads. Try the eggplant and fava bean purees.
Tripadvisor Reviews --
Ambrosia And Nectar -Oia -- Village Center on the Sunset Path | Caldera View, Oia 84702, Greece
Seating with only 14 tables on the terrace and 8 tables inside means reservations are a must during high season.Some of the popular items on the Ambrosia menu include fava beans, oven lamb, chicken and figs and other dishes. They make an excellent moussaka, which is made with the Santorini white eggplant. There wine list has a nice selection of local Santorini wines. Website and Menu -- --Tripadvisor (41/2 out of 5) --
Ambrosia - Oia, 84702, Greece -- phone 22860 71413
This restaurant is owned by the same people as Ambrosia and Nectar but has a different location and menu. It has some lovely outdoor seating, but just a few tables so reservations are imperative, and specify that you want a table outside on the top terrace with a view. The view is one of the best of any restaurant in Santorini.. Website and Menu -- --Tripadvisor (4 out of 5) --
1800 Restaurant -- Oia (Ia), 84702, Santorini Cyclades Islands, Greece Tel. +30 22860 71485 or +30 22860 71800 Fax: +30 22860 72317
Oia is located high up on a cliff on the northern tip of Santorini and provides gorgeous views of the Caldera and the Aegean Sea. The restaurant is located in a luxury mansion that was built around 1845 and is interwoven with the history of Oia. In 1986, the architect-renovator Ioannis Zaggelidis restored the mansion and converted it into a new, Greek restaurant in Oia, Santorini Greece, which he named “1800”.-- Website and Menu -- Read reviews on TripAdvisor --
Roka Oia, Oia, Greece +302286071-896
Roka is not located on the main strip in Oia, but it is worth searching out. Some of the specialties include a variety of meze (Greek starters), salads, risottos and onion pies, fried cheese, thin-sliced eggplant with feta and tomato sauce, snails with tomatoes, mussel . Website and Menu -- Reviews on Tripadvisor --
Papagalos -Oia -Phone: 0030 22860 71469
Papagalos Restaurant focuses on using organic ingredients and fresh local produce to create varied menus based on the New Greek cuisine.Tripadvisor 4/5 --
Amoudi Bay (left photo) is located just below Oia. It has just a few seafood restaurants.
You can walk down to Amoudi Bay but don't try walking back up since there are around 12,000 steps. If you can't get a cab back up you can always use the donkeys (shown to right)
Taverna Katina is closer to the parking area while Dimitris is at the far end and therefore has the best sunset view.
Dimitris -- Amoudi Bay, Greece
Need to walk down steps in Oia to get to Amoudi Bay for this fish restaurant. ..."Joy Kerluke of Vancouver, British Columbia, who, while visiting Santorini in 1987, met Santorini-born Dimitris Hamalidis, a barman in a night club, stayed to date him, then stayed to stay two years later. With Dimitris and with Santorini. Joy and Dimitris opened the restaurant in 1989, in a location that defines "destination restaurant" -- and are still there today, happily running what is arguably the island's best..." See full Huffington Post Review(5/2012)
Taverna Katina -- Ammoudi Port, Oia 84702, Greece
Freshest calamari and octopus -Located down the Oia steps.-You can go into the kitchen and pick out your own fish. If you are two people and they have a large 1 kilo fish go for it. It will take a longer to cook but is worth it. Price of fish is 50 euros/kilo here. Taverna Katina is highly rated on Tripadvisor.
Almira Restaurant -- Kamari Beach, Kamari, Greece
Almira Restaurant is located on the waterfront of Kamari Beach close to the Boathouse Hotel. The restaurant is involved in a lot of catering events and is good for large groups. Tripadvisor 4 1/2
Santorini Wines: Reviews and Impressions
Wine From the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini
Wines from Santorini
Paris Sigalas -- Greek Wine Maker
Santorini makes annual sail into Manhattan
Best of Santorini -