One of my favorite ways of experiencing a different culture is through cuisine. I debated whether or not to add this post because the pictures are not as dreamy as my other posts, but I decided to add it because it would be an incomplete picture of my trip without it. And, in researching some of the food before we left, I thought the information was limited, but I found that it really was not. Food diversity in Santorini is not great, but the few different dishes unique to the region are done to perfection. As a traveler, here are my favorite foods to try in Santorini.
Just a note about the photos: I love taking photos when I travel, but in general, I don’t style or spend a lot of time taking photos of food out of respect for my table mates, other guests, and the cook. These are all just quick snaps. I value good conversation, manners, and being present above food photos. I find that when a person pauses to take the perfect food photo, everyone else feels like they have to wait for you to enjoy their food, and food is usually best enjoyed while it’s fresh. Nonetheless, I hope this post is helpful for other travelers!
Santorini is proudly known for their tomatoes, specifically very sweet cherry tomatoes that flourish in the volcanic soil. Unfortunately, it was not tomato season yet when we visited so we missed out on the famed Santorini salad, but we still enjoyed crispy tomato balls. Tomato balls are veggie fritters made with tomatoes, seasonal veggies, and fresh herbs. My favorite restaurant, Anogi, served up perfectly fluffy, and savory tomato balls with a sauce similar to a balsamic glaze and minty yogurt sauce.
I love how this appetizer is so multidimensional. The crispy ouster texture is juxtaposed by a softer inner texture, a necessity of any fritter in my opinion. The flavors are a little sweet, a little savory, with a tiny bit of sour from the yogurt and balsamic glaze, with a nice refreshing finish from the mint. Because this dish is so balanced, it’s easy to keep popping them, and they definitely leaving you wanting more.
Fried Saganaki /Fried Cheese
On paper, I think this dish is the most decadent. A slight salty, medium density cheese wrapped and fried in phyllo dough drizzled with honey or smeared fig jam, this appetizer is a sweet and salty treat. Though I like hard cheese, I have a mild distaste for melted cheese, so while we ordered this a couple times and I really enjoyed it, I couldn’t only eat about a quarter or third of the serving. This is definitely a great dish for all those melted cheese lovers! You can get this dish at most restaurants. They served this dish with honey and sesame seeds at Anogi, and this example below is with fig puree from Mezzo, which has fabulous views.
More to my speed, fried anchovies and sardines were my favorite order. Lightly battered, with just a tiny dash of salt and squeeze of fresh lemon, anchovies and sardines are so satisfying. As someone who tries to eat as low carb as possible (within reason), I love these little fish as a satisfying replacement for fries!
Most of the websites I read about foods to try in Santorini listed Santorini Fava and described it was as an assuming dish that kind of sneaks up on you. I would definitely agree. Santorini fava is pureed fava beans with extra virgin olive oil, garlic, lemon, fresh chopped red onions and cappers served with pita or bread. Eaten like hummus, I really liked this appetizer. The big set back for me was all the bread and pita you need to enjoy this dish. I think it would be great with crudités for a low carb option.
White Fish Roe Salad
I mentioned previously that many times “salad” on a menu refers to a salad like egg salad, although there often isn’t any mayonnaise in the dish. On our second trip to Anogi, the white fish roe salad caught my eye and though I didn’t know what to expect when I ordered it, I was instantly addicted. More like a dip that’s the consistency of hummus, the flavor is smokey, briny, and a little bit sweet in the way the ocean tastes sweet in uni. Every bit just as good as the last until the bowl was scrapped clean, I really wish we had this in the states!
The pita at Aegeon was the best! Soft, pillowy, and crispy on the outside, the pita is exactly what you’d want in any fresh bread. We ordered a couple orders to enjoy with tzatziki and smoked eggplant.
Slow roasted meats are always the best! In Santorini, lamb was pretty common on the menu and often braised for the most succulent presentation. Kebabs are also common options for street food. I’m not a fan of too much honey mustard on my meat, so souvlaki only happened once for me. The lamb shank below was expertly prepared at Mezzo Restaurant. The gyro was from Why Not!
I love fresh seafood of all varieties. There really was no bad seafood on the island, but there definitely was amazing seafood in Ammoudi Bay. The Ammoudi Fish Tavern has al fresco dining on the water with fresh catches on the menu. I literally picked our sea bass out for grilling. The fried sardines (pictured above) were nice and crispy while still moist on the the inside. They tasted perfectly fresh! The uni salad below was another thing we ordered without knowing what to expect. We love fresh uni, so we were excited to get a bowl of uni in a light vinaigrette. Grilled octopus is a common appetizer on the menus all over the island. As long as it’s grilled properly, there’s no messing up with tender dish. I usually prefer my mussels cooking in wine, butter, and garlic, but these tomato based mussels were a nice change. The pictured octopus and mussels below are from Cesare Ristorante in Fira.
Delighted Images by Desiree Nguyen is an internationally awarded boutique, full-service photography studio specializing in destination pre-wedding and wedding photography based in San Francisco, California. Desiree is a destination wedding photographer for jetset couples. Delighted Images specializes in producing custom photo shoots to best tell your love story. To save your date for a tailored experience, please contact me!