Wondering where to eat in Santorini Greece? We ate our way through the Greek island paradise in our search of the best restaurants in Santorini. Check out our picks for the best Santorini restaurants including souvlaki shops and dessert spots. Many have epic views!
Santorini was impossible for us to resist.
There’s good reason that the island’s blue church domes grace every Greek travel brochure and poster. Its geography, molded by an epic volcanic event several thousand years ago, makes the crescent-shaped island wholly unique in the Greek archipelago.
Santorini is beautiful – one of the world’s most touristed destinations. Thousands of visitors literally fill the island’s cobblestone lanes every day during the summer and into the shoulder seasons. These tourists include summer vacationers and honeymooners as well as boatloads of cruising daytrippers who swarm the caldera docks every day – often numbering up to 8,000 people.
Tourists crush Santorini’s lanes in search of the perfect island souvenir. We’re not exaggerating about the crowds. Many streets in caldera towns like Thira (also known as Fira) and Oia bulged with people during our October visit.
Instagrammers were literally climbing atop private properties to snap selfies featuring the island’s iconic blue-domed churches. Yes, we took selfies with the famous structures. No, we did not trespass on private property to do so.
As for us, we spent much of our time dining at Fira restaurants near our hotel and Oia restaurants near some of the island’s most popular viewing spots. We rented a car so that we could could dine at hidden gems located away from the tourist throngs. As a bonus, having a car enabled us to visit the best Santorini wineries scattered around the island.
In a way Santorini is like an A-list movie star struggling to escape the gaze of paparazzi. But like a radiant Greek goddess, this island cannot be ignored. White chalk stucco walled residences with arched roofs pile high upon rugged cliffs that look upon a vast, timeless seascape.
In one of nature’s most fortuitous coincidences, the monumental caldera acts as a solar amphitheater. If the weather breaks right, there’s no grander sunset on Earth. And, despite the crowds, it’s still possible to hide in narrow alleys that provide a respite of peace from the overabundance of t-shirt shops and pottery stores.
It would be a mistake to only visit Santorini’s western end. Outside the steep caldera, vineyard dotted mountains slope gently toward scenic beachscapes with views of the neighboring island of Anafi.
Southeastern mountain, Taygetus, rises above Santorini. Villages like Pyrgos provide more expansive views of the sea and island. Even Santorini’s airport lounge (open to the public) offers beautiful views of the seascape to the east. There’s little of this island that isn’t a visual gem.
Why We Visited Santorini
The food in Santorini wasn’t our primary motivation for visiting Greece’s iconic island.
The popular Greek destination originally hit our collective radar back in 1982 when we saw the racy movie Summer Lovers for the first time. Beyond the film, it’s almost impossible to escape Santorini’s iconography. From travel agencies to American Greek restaurants and diners, Santorini images are everywhere.
With readers clamoring for Santorini recommendations and our desire to experience this island’s beauty for ourselves, it was finally time for us to visit, explore and, of course, eat our way around Santorini.
Santorini Food Guide | Where To Eat In Santorini
Santorini has a variety of eateries to satisfy its 15 thousand residents as well as approximately two million annual visitors. Let’s face it, people need to eat when they’re not busy gawking at gorgeous vistas during the day and watching the sun kiss the sea each evening.
Call to check restaurant closing dates if you travel to Santorini in the off-season. Some restaurants close as early as mid-October and reopen in the spring.
In our quest to experience the best places to eat in Santorini, we dined at restaurants in hectic Fira and Oia as well as in quieter areas like Exo Gonias and Pyrgos. We also chowed down on souvlaki and sipped glasses of wine.
We identified top Santorini restaurants from both research and recommendations from trusted sources. Once in Santorini, we followed our noses to discover local gems serving Greek food favorites.
Read on to find our favorite places to eat in Santorini.
The Best Santorini Restaurants
The best restaurants in Santorini celebrate the island’s local resources while adding creative twists to classic Greek dishes. Some offer epic views of the caldera while others operate in more intimate spaces.
Honeymooners and luxury food travelers will want to indulge in at least one special meal in Santorini. Award-winning Selene fits this bill by offering an upscale gastronomic dining experience filled with fresh ingredients and creative gastronomy. Recognized as one of the best restaurants in Greece, Selene offers a nightly a la carte menu during the tourist season, closing from mid-October until spring.
Opened by Yiorgos Hatziyannakis in 1986, Selene has continued its commitment to serving local products over three decades. Guests can dine at one of twelve tables in the Pyrgos restaurant’s surprisingly informal dining room or on its more expansive outdoor terrace. Note, dining on the terrace wasn’t an option during our shoulder season dinner.
Our meal started with an amuse bouche of ‘raviolis’ constructed with beetroot and celery shells and continued with the restaurant’s signature Santorian Tomato Can – a fun, tri-colored rainbow melange of multi-colored mini tomatoes, tomato sorbet, compressed watermelon and feta cheese water gingerly placed inside an edible tomato can.
The “can” was unique but we preferred the deep flavors and delicate pasta of Selene’s modern, cannelloni-like Pasticcio. Stuffed with pork and beef cheeks and served with sour, creamy bechamel, parmesan foam, smoked carrot purée and tomato confit, this deceptively simple starter, incorrectly described as deconstructed by our server, was a cohesive culinary winner.
Selene’s main dishes stretch the envelope in terms of both execution and pricing. Accordingly, we opted to share one Piglet Prasoselino that had been slow-cooked for 12 hours and was plated with celery foam, smoked roasted leek, mini brioche hot dog and sweet red pepper ketchup.
Selene’s desserts are extravagant. Accordingly, we shared the restaurant’s take on a chocolate bar served over soft butter with olive oil and a side of cinnamon ice cream. It was a sweet ending to a satisfying meal filled with great food and excellent relaxed, friendly service.
Although we fully recommend Selene, we would be remiss if we didn’t comment on the cost of our meal. The tally for two starters, one main course, one dessert, a bottle of water, an espresso and two glasses of wine exceeded 140€. Consider this to be your Santorini splurge with costs that are in line with European Michelin starred restaurants.
Our only complaint would be the restaurant’s lack of a comprehensive tasting menu (which, in our view, would eliminate surprises on the final bill) and a definitive list of wines sold by the glass. The restaurant does offer glasses on selected bottles at 20% of the total bottle charge, but it was a bit of a hassle to begin tabulating percentages as we selected our wines.
Overall, we recommend Selene for a modern, quiet, splurge-worthy dining experience away from the tourist throng.
Make a reservation at Selene Meze & Wine if Selene isn’t in your budget or wheelhouse. The ‘downstairs’ taverna serves a simpler, less expensive menu featuring Greek classics like grilled octopus and moussaka.
Selene is located at Pyrgos Kallistis 847 01, Greece.
You know you’re in Greece when you dine at Metaxi Mas. The 20-year-old local institution has an ageless charm that feels like it’s been open decades longer.
Set in the shadow of Mount Taygetus, the popular Santorini restaurant fills with tourists and locals every day and serves honest dishes like plump, spicy pork sautéed with feta and ginormous lamb shanks accompanied with local tomatoes and white eggplant. Cats and dogs mill about the restaurant’s classic al fresco Hellenic patio while servers pour wine from clay pitchers.
Expect to eat dishes from Crete as well as typical Santorini specialties. In addition to serving items like Dako salad loaded with fresh tomatoes, feta, oregano and Cretan olive oil served atop a large Cretan barley rusk, the restaurant welcomes guests with shots of Cretan raki and little nibbles.
Portions are large and prices are reasonable. We were too full for dessert but somehow devoured the complimentary cheesecake topped with raspberry sauce after it magically appeared at our table. Consider yourself warned.
Though it’s away from the typical tourist areas, Metaxi Mas is far from a hidden gem. Diners fill the Exo Gonia restaurant on a daily basis, making reservations an absolute must. We booked our dinner on the advice of trusted Greek friend and travel expert Chrysoula Manika of Travel Passionate.
Park in Agios Charalambos’s ample church parking lot when you dine at Metaxi Mas. The restaurant is just a short walk down the hill.
Metaxi Mas is located at Exo Gonia, Έξω Γωνία, Santorini 847 00, Greece.
Dimitris Ammoudi Taverna
Located below Oia on the northern edge of Santorini, hiking down to Dimitris Ammoudi Taverna is worth it for the spectacular views. We don’t say this lightly after a near catastrophe occurred during our trek down a steep trail’s 200+ uneven steps, many littered with donkey poop.
Don’t get us wrong, we loved the views from Oia to Ammoudi Bay, but our 70d DSLR camera nearly met a premature end after Daryl slipped on the trail’s slippery path. The camera literally bounced down ten or so steps, spilling parts along the way.
Somehow, after recovering the camera’s battery door, battery and function wheel (with a little help from some helpful locals), the camera miraculously functioned without a hitch. Seriously, buy a Canon if you’re in the market for a camera. We’re now Canon customers for life.
But back to Dimitris Ammoudi. Joy Kerluke moved to Santorini in 1985 and opened the popular taverna with partner Dimitris Hamalidis. Specialties include all manner of fresh Santorini seafood as well as comforting starters like tomato fritters, saganaki and dako salad.
Kerluke is a hospitable owner whose presence is felt all over the dining room as she touches tables and talks to guests. She even arranged our transport back up the mountain to Oia.
But, to us, dining at Dimitris Ammoudi Taverna, is all about the harbor view that the restaurant shares with three other lagoon-based tavernas. Our table was mere inches from the sea, facing epic red cliffs and providing an unobstructed yolk-like view of the sun tucking behind nearby Thirasia Island.
Be sure to plan your meal to coincide with sunset, preferably arriving before dark and securing a front-row view of the Aegean’s nightly show. When reserving our table, we requested a table with a view and you should do the same.
You’ll want to toast the magical moment with sparkling water or wine. Better yet, order a bottle of Donkey Beer from Santorini Brewing Company (see below) to complete the ultimate Santorini sunset experience.
Request that the restaurant arrange a shuttle to transport you back to Oia after your dinner. We shared a van with three other couples. The 10€ fee was money very well spent.
Dimitris Ammoudi Taverna is located at 1, Oia, Ormos Ammoudiou 847 02, Greece.
Dining at To Psaraki provided us with a quandary. Though Daryl wanted to order a whole fish from the seafood restaurant’s fresh bounty, Mindi was committed to ordering a selection of mezze dishes instead.
In retrospect, there was no bad choice, though Daryl still feels regret about acquiescing to Mindi for a change.
But seriously, can you blame Mindi for wanting to sample seafood dishes like sea bass ceviche, homemade white cod roe tarama, grilled octopus and paprika-flavored bonita as well as white aubergine baked with tomato and feta cheese??? A carafe of house wine plus a bread basket served with an intense tomato spread completed our midday meal.
Dining at To Psaraki made us happy. Open since 2009 and located by the Athinios Harbor on the south side of the island in Vlychada, the restaurant is an affordable, must-visit for food travelers in Santorini.
Request a table overlooking the harbor when you reserve your table at To Psaraki.
To Psaraki is located at Vlichada Marina, Vlichada 847 00, Greece.
Located a bit away from the central Fira tourist fray, Kokkalo’s large windows overlook Santorini’s eastern terrain. Beyond its epic views, this Santorini restaurant manages to be both chic and comfortable. But, at the end of the day, dining at Kokkalo is all about the food.
We enjoyed a smorgasbord of local favorites during our lunch – crispy red tomato fritters, velvety fava topped with grilled octopus, grilled sausage stuffed with feta and tangy tzatziki dip. We added a Cretan dako salad for good measure, though we agree to disagree about the inclusion of xinomitzythra cheese instead of feta.
Daryl would have preferred feta in this dish though xinomitzythra is more traditional. Mindi loved it just the way it was prepared.
Though it’s not on many lists of where to eat in Santorini, we’re proud to include Kokkalo in our Santorini guide. This restaurant impressed us with its fresh, local ingredients and flavorful combinations. We flat-out adored the feta-stuffed sausage. Plus, we’re suckers for Greek restaurants that welcome us with raki.
Schedule a cooking class at Kokkalo and learn how to prepare Santorini dishes like fava, tomato fritters and mussels saganaki. Don’t worry, you’ll get to eat the food too.
Kokkalo is located at 25is Martiou 25, Thira 847 00, Greece.
Volkan On The Rocks
We bumped into Volkan on the Rocks on our very first day while touring Fira and returned three more times to enjoy the island’s best craft coffee, elevated brunch food and extraordinary caldera views. It quickly became our morning happy place due to its crafted specialty coffee made with taf beans from Athens.
Operated by Thessaloniki’s Ergon Foods, Volkan on the Rocks is a great spot to share a quiet drink or eat tasty food before, during or after a day of touring Fira. In addition to taf coffee, the well-positioned bar serves Volkan Beer, local wine and crafted cocktails.
The Best Santorini Souvlaki Shops
If you visit Greece and don’t eat souvlaki during your trip, did you really visit Greece? We think not.
Greek souvlaki is the country’s ultimate fast food and is bargain-priced to boot. Throughout the country, souvlaki stands serve grilled meat on skewers, in pitas and on platters. Though typically involving proteins like chicken, pork and lamb, vegetarians can find meat-free souvlaki with a little extra effort.
If you’re wondering if Santorini is expensive, the answer is yes. However, souvlaki is value priced in Santorini as it is in larger cities like Athens and Thessaloniki.
After eating all the souvlaki in Athens, we were curious to check out the best souvlaki in Santorini. We satisfied our mission at the following two spots:
If you only have time for one souvlaki meal in Santorini, eat it at Pitogyros. This popular cafe cooks its meat to order on a charcoal grill and serves it on a serene outdoor terrace on the edge of touristic Oia.
Diners go inside Pitogyros to put their name on the list or order takeaway, and we were no exception to this rule. Seated fifteen minutes later, we ordered two pita wraps, one with grilled pork and the other with spicy sausage. Both were excellent, rivaling souvlaki we’d previously eaten in Athens.
Plus, priced at 4€ each at the time of our visit, these gyros may be the best cheap eats in Santorini. You can walk away for under 10€ even if you order a Yellow Donkey beer to wash down the tasty Greek sandwich.
Vegetarians can order souvlakis featuring tzatziki, Greek salad or grilled halloumi cheese.
Pitogyros is located at Oia 847 02, Greece.
We felt lucky when we nabbed two stools at Lucky’s Souvlakis in Fira. The busy souvlaki stand takes Santorini cheap eats to the extreme by selling gyros priced at 2.60€ at the time of our visit. After ordering our gyro, we added a Mythos beer for just 2.50€ more.
Our well-positioned stools placed us in front of spinning spits of meat and gave us ready access to chat with the stand’s colorful crew. Although it wasn’t the best souvlaki we’ve ever eaten, it was a fun break as well as a pleasant respite from the strong Mediterranean sun.
The Best Santorini Desserts
In our opinion, Greek bakers make some of the best desserts in the world. If you’ve ever eaten baklava at a Greek diner, then you know what we mean.
We rarely skipped desserts when we dined at Santorini restaurants. However, we sometimes made a special effort to secure dessert when we needed a sweet break during the day. These are favorite dessert spots in Santorini:
An institution in Fira since 1912, Sborwnos Bakery serves sweet and savory baked goods all day every day. The bakery also serves coffee, orange juice, sandwiches and ice cream.
During our multiple morning visits, we sampled Greek treats like the twisted spinach & cheese pie pictured above and this kataifi stuffed with almonds and coated with syrup. Although most customers take their treats away to enjoy later, we scarfed ours down at the bakery’s limited outdoor seating.
Don’t shop at Sborwnos Bakery when you’re starving. If you do, you’ll want to buy … everything.
Sborwnos Bakery is located at 25is Martiou, Thira 847 00, Greece.
The Family Bakery
We initially spotted The Family Bakery during our Santorini wine tour. Once we realized that the Megalochori bakery was literally a two-minute drive from Venetsanos Winery, a visit was inevitable a few days later.
With a strip mall exterior more resembling a New Jersey convenience store than a European bakery, the Family Bakery has a wide selection of desserts and is open 24/7. This bakery possesses a truly local feel and sells a range of cooked food suitable for a quick meal on the go.
We shared a decadent trigona during our visit. With its honey-coated shell, sweet cream and pistachio bits, this pastry may have been the best dessert we ate in Santorini.
Buy a wedding cake at The Family Bakery if you’re planning an island wedding. Otherwise, just buy a pastry.
The Family Bakery is located at Επαρχ. Οδ. Φηρων – Ορμου Περισσης, Μεγαλοχωρι, Σαντορινη 847 00, Greece.
Touring Oia can be exhausting between the hills and the sun, not to mention the crowds. Accordingly, stopping at Lolita’s Gelato is mandatory for ‘mental health’ purposes.
Apostolis Tsolakos opened the popular gelateria in 2013 after studying the art of gelato in Bologna. He and his staff add ultra-fresh ingredients to every batch of gelato and sorbet.
Overwhelmed by the flavor choices, we chose three – Cuban lover, baklava and mastic. The combination was divine.
If you only indulge at one gelato in Santorini, do it at Lolita’s.
Lolita’s Gelato is located at Oia 847 02, Greece.
Santorini Restaurant FAQs
Fresh Seafood, Tomatokeftedes (tomato fritters), Cretan Dako Salad andFava
Santorini restaurants range from cheap eats to fine dining. While the best Santorini restaurants skew expensive, the city has numerous souvlaki shops and other less expensive dining options.
No. Tipping is optional in Greece.
Anthony Bourdain never filmed an episode of The Layover, No Reservations or Parts Unknown in Santorini.
People typically eat dinner between 7pm and 9pm in Santorini.
Yes. Reservations are necessary at better restaurants in Santorini. However, you can always eat souvlaki or other cheap eats meal without one.
Santorini does not currently have any Michelin-starred restaurants.
Things To Do In Santorini
Santorini is a destination that demands exploration beyond its epic caldera. We’re already recommended that you take a wine tour. Here are some other ideas for how you can explore the island’s natural and culinary treasures:
Santorini Food Tour Video
Watch our YouTube video and see what we really thought about the Greek food and wine in Santorini.
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About The Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on their website 2foodtrippers. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers a unique taste of the world.
Original Publication Date: October 15, 2019
Republish Date: June 18, 2023