Fondly referred to by revelers as the “Jewel of the Aegean Sea”, Santorini offers romance, culture, and a culinary experience unlike any other.
Its culinary prestige can be attributed to one of the world’s most significant volcanic eruptions that occurred on the island 3,600 years ago.
The volcanic soil has made this island incredibly fertile and able to produce rare crops that can only be found here including some of the world’s sweetest tomatoes, savory pistachios, and the coveted fava beans.
Greek cuisine starts with simple, locally grown ingredients informed by tradition and culture to create culinary delights that are sure to enchant foodies from around the world. Let’s take a look at some of the dishes you have to try during your time in Santorini.
As we mentioned earlier, Santorini is home to a sweet tomato variety that isn’t found anywhere else in the world, so it’s no surprise many of the signature dishes showcase this fruit.
The island’s tomato fritters locally known as domatokeftedes consist of diced tomatoes, onions, mint, and flour mixed up into little fritters that are then fried and served as a popular appetizer island-wide.
If you’re on the hunt for authentic domatokeftedes, check out Roza’s. This beautiful family-owned taverna is tucked away on the streets of Vourvoulos. Many tourists who dine here stumble across it by accident and later report it was the best meal they had on the island.
Fresh Fish & Seafood
This Cycladic island is well-known for its abundance of fresh fish and seafood provided by the surrounding Aegean Sea. Throughout the island, you’ll find upscale restaurants serving up delectable grilled octopus, calamari, mussels, and squid.
And if you’re feeling adventurous and really want to dive into the culture of Santorini, look for the family-owned tavernas that are still run in the traditional Greek way - the father out catching the fish, the son running the restaurant, and the Greek mother cooking up a feast in the kitchen.
You won’t find a menu at these tavernas because it all depends on what ends up being the catch of the day!
A fantastic place to enjoy freshly caught seafood in Santorini is Ammoudi Fish Tavern. Here you’ll experience fine dining alongside a breathtaking sunset at this restaurant on Ammoudi Bay, a small fishing port just 300 steps below the iconic town of Oia.
Santorini Chloro Cheese is a traditional recipe passed down through the generations that can be difficult to find in restaurants and pretty much impossible to find in a commercial store. But if you can get your hands on it, you’re in for a treat!
This cheese is made from goat milk and has a soft, creamy texture with a rich flavor, similar to feta. It’s often eaten as a table cheese or grated over salads and other rich dishes.
Although it can be difficult to come by, it’s rumored there are a few restaurants on the island where you can find it including Roza’s in Vourvoulos and Red Bicycle in Oia.
The fava beans of Santorini are sweeter than their non-Cycladic island counterparts thanks to the fertile volcanic soil. In Santorini, you’ll find these beans used for a variety of dishes including this beloved fava bean porridge.
This dish is usually covered in butter, chopped onions, capers, and spices like sweet paprika. Some liken it to creamy, buttery mashed potatoes!
Ntomatini is an eclectic beachside restaurant serving up your favorite Greek dishes including an incredible fava bean puree with glazed red onions and crispy
You’ll find this savory Greek spinach pie offered at restaurants all over the island. The recipe is simple, consisting of spinach leaves, cheese, and delicious flaky phyllo dough, but this combination of ingredients packs a flavorful punch!
A popular way to enjoy the sunset in Santorini is to head to one of the island’s cafes overlooking the ocean and order up a plate of Spanakopita to enjoy with your loved ones. One of our favorites is Mes Amis Cafe in Oia which offers incredible evening views from the terrace.
Also a product of the dry volcanic soil of Santorini, this variant of the common eggplant is completely white, sweet in taste, and is widely used by top chefs because it doesn’t soak up oil like the common purple version.
The white eggplant is used in a variety of dishes across the island including Greek stuffed eggplants (Melitzanes Papoutsakia), Greek eggplant casserole (Moussaka), and Greek eggplant dip (Melitzanosalata). Check out Argo Restaurant in Fira for some unforgettable Moussaka!
This famous Greek dessert consists of phyllo dough, crushed pistachios, butter, and sugar. The small ingredient list may make it seem like this is a simple dessert, but make no mistake, the skill it takes to master this recipe is commendable.
And while this dessert can be found throughout Greece, you won’t want to miss the chance to try the Santorini version made with sweet Santorini pistachios that grow in the incredibly fertile soil on the island. These pistachios are beloved by locals and tourists alike and are often described as “unforgettable”. Melenio is famous for its Baklava and its incredible view from the terrace!
Vinsanto is regarded as “the wine of Santorini” and it’s the most traditional wine the island produces. The volcanic soil and the traditional growing methods of long-time winemakers work in unison to cultivate the Assyrtiko grapes that turn into this naturally sweet dessert wine.
For a traditional Vinsanto, the grapes are harvested late in the season and are sun-dried for 2 weeks. The wine is then aged for at least 2 years in oak barrels. The result is a dessert wine, amber in color, with notes of cinnamon, cloves, honey, and lemon flower.
There are 11 wineries on the island, each with their own version of Vinsanto Wine so be sure to put wine tasting on your list!
Santorini is an island paradise fit for the foodies of the world offering incredibly simple, yet decadent food and drink. With restaurants spotting the cliffs above the sea, lining the small Cycladic island streets, and tucked away amongst the historical architecture, you’ll enjoy some of the world’s most unique dishes, courtesy of the island’s rich volcanic soil and the ingenuity of the locals who have mastered their culinary craft.
If you’re hungry for Santorini tomato fritters, we invite you to contact us today so we can help you expertly plan your Cycladic island foodie vacation.
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