If it feels like everyone has been going to Santorini lately, you might be right — tourism has more than doubled to the island between 2010 and 2018 from 15 million people to 32 million visitors. People from around the world come to see Santorini’s beautiful whitewashed homes, blue-domed churches, and winding footpaths. They also come to enjoy the amazing cuisine the island has to offer, everything from street food to casual seaside fish restaurants to fine dining. I recently visited the island and truly indulged — my pants might no longer fit properly but it was worth it. Here are my five Santorini restaurants in Oia, one of them is brand new and its own reason to visit Santorini in 2020.
Opson is a fine dining restaurant at the brand new Andronis Arcadia where you won’t just be served a delicious dinner but also get a side of Greek history and culture. Once you’re seated your server will hand you an aromatic bouquet of lavender, oregano, laurel, and an olive branch to prime your nose and mouth for the array of flavors and scents that are about to hit your palate. We selected the Gods Tasting Menu (when in Rome, err, Greece, right?) which started out with an ancient Greek breakfast where you could dip two types of bread into wine. Since coffee wasn’t a thing in ancient Greece this is how the Greeks would perk up for the day and you should definitely start this 11-course meal on a high note. Other notable dishes at Opson include The Sunset of Santorini which features marinated egg yolk sitting on a bed of sweet peas surrounded by a sauce with morel mushrooms. This colorful dish will bring a smile to your face. The Golden Red Mullet course features something you’ve probably never seen before — a fish-bone fried into a chip, which looks cool and tastes surprisingly good! Since this place just opened in July, it will be even better in 2020 as the foliage built into the structure of the restaurant will grow around the structures and bloom. This restaurant is equally good for couples and groups of friends.
2. Andronis Luxury Suites Breakfast
Santorini is famous for abundant breakfasts, ones where you soak up the Mediterranean air outside overlooking the island’s strikingly white landscape. One of the best Santorini restaurants to get a luxurious al fresco breakfast is at Andronis Luxury Suites, a favorite among honeymooners. You can choose to have breakfast in your suite or head to the restaurant. I chose to head to the restaurant because the views are spectacular and you can eat while looking at the ocean and famous Santorini coastline. Pick from an array of juices, coffees, and teas, then try their black truffle eggs served over greens which were a favorite. As you can see from the photo at the top of the article, I was super happy about my selection.
Your meals don’t all need to be fancy or expensive in Santorini, come to Pitogyros for a quick and easy bite that’ll cost you less than 5 €. You can’t go wrong with their pork souvlaki which is served with tzatziki tomato, onions, and fries. Or go for the very shareable mixed grill which comes on a platter. If you’re more of a sandwich person there’s also a juicy ribeye option and plenty of salads and sides if you don’t want to eat meat.
Lauda is the perfect blowout meal for a couple or family in the center of Santorini. Come here for an ultra-luxe dining experience where you can enjoy everything from foie gras to caviar to lobster if you have their eight-course Discovery tasting menu. At 185 € per person, it’s a splurge (even for Santorini restaurants) but one you’ll remember for a long time. My favorite dish at Lauda was the yellowtail served with caldera seaweed and cactus, all of which came together for a great sour, salty, and cooling bite. As an uni lover, there’s also a great sea urchin dish on the menu which is flavored with coffee on the menu, an unexpectedly great combination.
5. Red Bicycle
Not too fancy but also not too casual, Red Bicycle is a restaurant institution in Oia and has been around for 15 years. The restaurant is located in a 19th-century mansion and offers stunning sunset views and overlooks the volcano caldera. Enjoy Greek dishes like dolmades, grilled calamari, seabass, and eggplant salad while the Santorini breeze blows through your hair. Among Santorini restaurants, it’s beloved by locals and tourists.