After touching down on the Greek island of Santorini, you’ll be hungry, so it’s off to the nearest taverna for you. Wondering which delicacies to try? Fear not. From fava (the island’s famous split-pea purée) to, ahem, ntomatokeftedes (tomato fritters, to you and me), we’ve hunted down the best local foods to try on the volcano-moulded, crescent-shaped Cycladic island. Oh, and after you’ve mastered the local pronunciation, don’t forget to order a glass (or two) of assyrtiko wine, a local variety.
The best fava on the island is served at Feggera in Megalochori and Selene in Fira. Both restaurants offer cooking classes as well, so – who knows – you might even end up making your own delicious fava dish.
The island is home to a specific variety of tomato called, you guessed it, “Santorini tomatoes”, which are the size of cherries. Sweet and with an intense red colour, they form the centrepiece of ntomatokeftedes (tomato fritters). The vegetarian appetiser is fried in a thick batter using hot olive oil with peppers and onions, mint, and other aromatic herbs.
The Cave of Nikolas in Akrotiri serves the most succulent ntomatokeftedes in Santorini; this family-owned restaurant is supplied daily with fresh produce taken straight from the family’s veg garden, which makes owner and cook Margarita’s ntomatokeftedes special. Try the classic version with plum tomatoes, fava, fresh and dry onion, feta cheese and basil, or order the fish version with cod – ideal for pescatarians.
Don’t miss your chance to try it at Krinaki tavern in Finikia, Oia, paired with feta cheese and sautéed red Florina peppers, or in the form of melitzanosalata, a traditional Greek, smoked eggplant salad.
A traditional sweet you can find around Eastertime, melitinia is a delicious sweet cheese pie made with fresh mizithra cheese, sugar and mastiha (mastic) powder. While talented home-bakers have mastered these little treats over the past decades, traditional bakeries on the island bake them as well.
The most flavourful, though, have to be Martha’s melitinia. Pass by her workshop in Megalochori and have a bite (before you order a box to go).
It’s also often used to accompany fine wine, so sample it as part of a wine tasting at one of Santorini’s best wineries. Vassaltis in Vourvoulos, Oia, and Sigalas in Baxedes, Oia, are your go-tos. Try apochti with a glass of Vassaltis’ red Vassanos wine – you can’t go wrong.
Made in limited quantities, chlorotyri is a local cheese that you can only find on the island. Slightly sour yet creamy, this white cheese is made from goat’s milk. Use it as a spread on bread or mix it in a Santorini salad, a local variant of the Greek salad, which also includes local cherry tomatoes.
Roza’s in Vourvoulos, Oia serves some of the tastiest chlorotyri in Santorini, while Red Bicycle in Oia is where you will find it in a refreshing ntakos salad with cherry tomatoes, samphire and green olive oil.
Capers date back to antiquity, and in Santorini, the plants are found virtually everywhere. The unopened edible flower buds are picked and then sun-dried until they harden and turn slightly yellow. They are then rehydrated before use and are usually added to sauces or to spice up several dishes, including fava or even salads.
To Psaraki (meaning ‘little fish’ in Greek) in Vlychada is where you can treat yourself to all kinds of island fish, paired with capers – the cuttlefish and octopus are both excellent.
Additional reporting by Konstantina Pyrnokoki
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.