Oia Town Can Stimulate Every Appetite
A Must Do, Go down to Amoundi Bay below Oia and have lunch at one of the fish tavernas down there: Ammoudi Fish Tavern . I found this to be so relaxing sitting right next to the sea and watching the fishing boats bringing in the catch of the day (Early Morning) which is then freshly cooked either on a bbq grill or in the kitchen, try Marides, (fried shiners: eat the whole thing, like french fries.)
Now the Amoundi Beach I talk about is to the Left at the bottom of the Mule path steps. Go past the tavernas, up and over a ledge on a gravel path. Continue to the Rock bluffs and pick one ledge to spread towels on the edge of the Caldera.
The Inky Blue sea goes down some hundreds of feet right here. Dive in and swim to the left side of the little island ( 40 yards) and find the steps to climb up to the White Greek Chapel on this little island. Wait for a CruiseLiner to pass and when the wake surge arrives jump into the sea. Nudist may find a spot here also. There is a long utility road down to the Amoundi port and some parking on the side of the road to save the knees on the 300 steps! Mule drivers can get you up the steps to the Oia cliffs above. Find the Oia Cathedral in the middle of the village. Sit down and drink it in.
Oia also has some great eating for dinner (Thalami Taverna) . I also have discovered local Oia tavernas off the beaten path: There are two on the Finikia area down to the right to the plains below Oia: Anemomilos Restaurant, 30 22860 71410, at the bottom of the road down to the sea. Outdoor eating and the smell to the sea is to die for. Another one is just before the entrance to Oia on the Main road, on the Right, called My Santorini. The Owner, Mihalis, sings and plays Bouzouki. See below. Look for my photo, as a guitar playing musician with Mihalis, among the hundred photos hanging from the grape arbors.
Kamari Beach area has lots of tavernas and Pizza places along the “boardwalk”. All are at different price points, you must shop first. Sit on the boardwalk of a restaurant and people watch in the late afternoon. At midday, the black sand beach is best used by the farthest end of the stretch. Get the two chaises and umbrella at water’s edge and park for a bit to swim and sun. Perissa Beach on the other side of the mountain is very enjoyable and may be reach by ferry boat from Kamari for a few hours. The Caiique ( ky-eeek-cay) Boats travel back and forth.
As for other restaurants/tavernas I have to say that as I stayed in Imerovigli, I just tended to eat there on a night or two. There is a taverna of great food and a value, family run, with my blessing: Taverna Imerovigli, along the cliff before Firostefani, is a good Greek taverna with decent food if you ever wander into Imerovigli on foot on a night. As for Thera Town, there are dozens of places to eat. There are some pricey restaurants in Thira on the cliff edge, some not that great. Some good ones are not on the cliff but on the street by the museum up the stairs from the street level “Stani” and Roof Garden and Dionysus is in the same area. As many cultures, Greeks will dine in the evening fairly late. A sit down dinner in a popular spot might begin at 11:00 PM. After din-din may end at 4:00 AM. Santorini is just a bit more laid back and some areas close by 11:00 PM.
Clubs will keep going while guests partake. Greek coffee helps!
Imerovigli Traditional Tavern, Imerovigli
Owned and run by Maria Tsagari and her husband Dionisis, this is one of my favorite places to eat on Santorini. Perched on the cliff above the caldera, the restaurant has a matchless view and good to people watch as they walk the cliff. The service is warm and personal. Try to sit on the outside space: bring a sweater. Try a Greek or Seafood Salad; Spaghetti with Mussels and Pine Nuts; Try the fried squid app. I eat the Chicken Filet Stuffed with Spinach and Cheese or Stuffed Lamb in Vine Leaves; House Barrel White Wine; stay a while and you may get a special cordial on the house!
Imerovigli, Tel: 22860 24190
ANOGI RESTAURANT, Progressive tavern
Imerovigli, 84700 Santorini Tel: 22860 21285
The two owners and fantastic chef have come together to convert a past sleepy area in Imerovigli village into a hopping dynamic place.
Eat in the garden tavern space under the stars. Have a Raki toast by carafe. Dig in to Lamb in Parchment or the other casseroles. Dip breads into fine olive paste and oil. The wine will satisfy here. Make the call and get the reservation early in the week. Walk-ins will eat at 10:30PM! The chef is real good, oh, I said that! Note: this is not a cliff view. It is a busy little village with much foot traffic. The staff will make you feel special.
Taverna Roza, Vourvoulos, 22860 24378, far below Imerovigli
The ten tables may give a hint. This family run village taverna is potentially overlooked by the passing tour busses. The kitchen is open to the guests.
The menu could be traditional or very seasonal. All is made to order. Eat on the covered porch. Flowering trees surround the spot. Grilled sardines or skate wings can be followed by plates of lamb chops. An Ouzo “mini” wets the appetite for more. Go for more. Tour the mini kitchen and you’ll find it. Very affordable here.
Santorinimou: Traditional Taverna & Live Music, Oia Tel: 22860 71730
Aka: My Santorini: In season go to the simple but idyllic roadside taverna-in-a-garden, on the right as you drive into Oia. The food and barrel wine here are plentiful and reasonably priced but, after 10, it’s Mihalis Hionas, singing and playing his own compositions on guitar and bouzouki, which charm utterly. Ask for the songs “Santorinimou,” and “Eleni and Frank,” pick up a CD, and give Mihalis a hug from Ron & Sharon. If you’re lucky enough to hear some of his stories, you’ll feel you’ve caught a glimpse of the real Santorini.
What not to consider on Santorini: Many go to the live volcano tour in the Caldera by the boat at the bottom of the Thera cliffs. Note, this is a full half day trip and can be grueling as well and quite smelly (sulfur) and packed with hundreds on the several tours at the same time. Oia does have an evening sunset cruise by sail and that might be most enjoyable. Your call.
What else: Avoid the high noon roaming of the town of Thera when the several Cruise Liners are in port. It is a madhouse. Also avoid the switchback steps to the Thera Port when the tourists are on the Mules rising from the ships on those steps. Lastly, the Winery Dinner theaters might entertain many groups, but it is kind of contrived, certainly the food served is not to standard. Stick with the keepers.