Santorini has long been considered the most beautiful Greek island– and easily the one with the most cosmopolitan appeal. As a result, Santorini’s best restaurants are those that bring together both outstanding culinary prowess and incredible views.
Long, leisurely meals are a whole vibe in Santorini. Having a sunset dinner is a quintessential experience on the island, which is especially lovely on a warm summer night. Like Maui, Santorini is known for its epic sunsets. Thus, having a sunset dinner in Santorini is a bucket list life experience.
Sipping wine over shrimp and mezze during golden hour is absolutely fabulous. Or, dine on warm grape leaves and decadent lobster pasta after dark. The experiences are myriad and the wine flows freely to those who want it. And don’t even get us started on the baklava, feta cheese, and calamari!
Below, we spotlight the best restaurants in Santorini with a particular focus on those with wonderful views. Bookmark this page for easy reference during your trip, as good restaurants on Santorini are sometimes hard to come by.
Santorini, moreover, isn’t really known for its dining scene– at least it hasn’t been, historically. It’s more about the view and the experience than the food– but if you know where to go, I promise you can have the best of both worlds. That’s where this convenient restaurant guide comes into play. Use it.
Scroll down to read more about the best restaurants in Santorini, Greece (in no particular order). They’re all special in their own ways. Enjoy the view!
Ombra Restaurant (For Lovely Sunsets, Mojito Prawns + Perfect Local Dip Appetizer)
One of the best ways to experience the sunset in Santorini is to have a sunset meal at a restaurant like Ombra at Esperas Santorini, which serves some of the best prawns in the Aegean. In my opinion, it is the single best place to have a romantic sunset date on the island, as it is super small and intimate. The food, meanwhile, is super bespoke and insanely fresh.
As a result, the restaurant has a perfect 5-star rating. People go crazy over this place– and rightly so.
Ombra offers a wide variety of classic Mediterranean cuisine, with stellar appetizers like the mezze dip trio of tzatziki, melitzanosalata (traditional smoked eggplant dip), and beet yogurt dip served with perfectly-cooked homemade pita chips and olives (above shown). It’s fabulous.
Nevertheless, the real star is the FABULOUS wild-caught sweet and sour prawn appetizer. (Above shown, being pierced with a fork.) They serve these local prawns dressed in the most exceptional mojito sauce with Santorinian herbs, two twists of lime, and fleur de sel. The salt is really key.
This shrimp + mezze dip combo is my single favorite thing to eat on the island; both items will have you licking the plate!
Because their menu pays homage to the unique ingredients of Greece, you can expect a number of classic Greek dishes here. Ombra has excellent gyros and souvlaki, either with meat or vegetarian options made with mushrooms. (I particularly enjoy the mushroom gyros with avocado cream and baked cherry tomatoes. Santorini is super famous for its cherry tomatoes, and this dish honors their flavors beautifully.)
Ultimately, be sure to order a fish dish. All seafood served at Esperas Santorini is caught within hours of serving. Preparations are always simple– consisting of little more than lemon, spices, and fresh herbs. When the catch of the day is this fresh, that’s all you need!
Be advised, however, that because this restaurant is so intimate, you’ll want to make a reservation in advance. They only have a few small tables on their picture-perfect terrace overlooking the caldera.
Be sure to stay until sunset if you want to see a real show. (This happens around 8:30 to 9 PM during peak tourism season from June-August, but check the weather just to be sure.) Words cannot capture how lovely it is to watch the pinky-orange egg yolk sun melt into the dazzling ocean.
Sunset Taverna in Ammoudi Bay (Get The Lobster Pasta!)
Sunset Taverna is known for its famous, decadent lobster pasta. Other than that, expect a wide variety of fresh, locally-caught seafood from tables set right on the beautiful waterfront of Ammoudi Bay.
But seriously: if you don’t at least try the lobster pasta here, you’re doing it wrong! They don’t call it “the most famous lobster spaghetti in the Cyclades” for nothing. It’s a can’t-miss food experience on the island. For the last 30 years, everyone from A-list celebrities to New York Times food critics have dined here to sample the top-secret recipe.
This I can tell you: the secret rests in the perfect balance of basil and garlic in the broth, as well as the fresh pasta and the charming orange slice on top. (The garnish makes all the difference.)
The seafood, of course, is as fresh as it gets. The fisherman’s caiques arrive early to the restaurant’s perch on the edge of Oia’s old port every morning; you might even see them if you hike down to the waterfront before breakfast.
We also love the refreshing appetizers like the tomato balls (an authentic local recipe), the passionfruit-marinated ceviche-style sea bass, and the Fisherman’s salad (e.g. mixed greens, marinated mussels, shrimp, and squid in a bright citrus vinaigrette).
I also recommend the tyrokafteri (a spicy Greek cheese spread made with barrel-aged feta and red pepper flakes) and hot apps like the lush eggplant loukoumades (dumplings). They’re a perfect, rich complement to the fresh fish you should definitely order for your entree. (It’s all good, just go with whatever speaks to you.)
Oenophiles also enjoy Sunset’s impressive wine and cocktail list, which features the finest local labels. Ask your server for the best pairing with your dish; fine Greek dining is all about bespoke wine pairings. If in doubt, remember this: white wine goes with seafood, and red wine goes with meat.
They also have classic Greek spirits like ouzo and tsipouro, but those are not for the faint of heart. You have been warned!
Ultimately, the food here (and its no-frills presentation) embody the true spirit of Santorini. It’s a romantic trope to contemplate as you gaze out over tiny fishing boats bobbing in the waves.
Red Bicycle in Oia (Upscale Foodie Haven)
Located in a 19th-century mansion on a cliffside in Oia, Red Bicycle is an upscale haven that is a must for food lovers staying nearby. It’s one of the fancier restaurants in Santorini, ideal for dinner, a romantic lunch, or a luxurious late-night meal.
Their elevated take on European classics– like stuffed oxtail with bulgar wheat and egg-lemon truffle– make it one of the fancier restaurants on the island. The food is also globally-inspired, which is great for people who are sick of Greek food and want to try more exotic flavors. (Believe it or not, yes, some travelers do get sick of all the traditional Greek food in Santorini. This is quite possible, especially if you are used to variety and are staying on the island for more than a few days.)
Ultimately, Red Bicycle draws on a wealth of culinary traditions from around the Mediterranean basin. They call it “innovative yet honest food”. The menu includes everything from Santorini fava dip with capers and caramelized onions (the local answer to hummus, which I strongly recommend ordering), to grilled lavraki (prized Mediterranean sea bass) dressed in local olive oil. It’s all wonderful.
I also love the exceptional wine list, which focuses on local Santorini wines. The collection is curated with a great deal of specificity and thoughtfulness. Ask the sommelier for suggestions to get the most out of your tasting.
While the rooftop seating can be a little snug, the fresh sea breeze and expansive views are worth the proximity to your neighbor. I also love the colorful pillows on the cushion-backed bench seats. They add that little extra dose of charm that makes this place not only comfortable, but stylish, as well.
Taverna Katina in Ammoudi Port (For Super Fresh Fish)
Another great place to experience fresh-as-possible fish in Ammoudi Port is Taverna Katina, a super casual, locally beloved vintage fish house that’s instantly recognizable for its iconic orange chairs. When we say the restaurant is right on the water, we mean it! (See above.)
Sit at one of the iconic orange chairs just feet from the lapping waves, and you’ll understand why a sunset dinner at Tavern Katina is such a lovely local experience. This place is not fancy– not even close– but the food has a friendly, pretense-free freshness that keeps regulars coming back. The portions are also huge and the prices are good for a top waterfront restaurant in Santorini.
Overall, the flavors here are very basic– the owners prefer to let the seafood do the talking. Meals typically consist of minimally-broiled fish with hand-cut fried potatoes. Vegetables and sauces are few and far between. Thus, you can expect simple preparations and reliably normcore plating– but the fresh ingredients really sing. Everything on the menu, moreover, is decidedly old school.
As a result, longtime local residents dine here often. (As opposed to some of the area’s more upscale restaurants, which tend to attract only tourists.)
If you’re feeling energized, walk down the stairs from Oia Castle to get to Taverna Katina on foot. It’s a beautiful descent, but just know that you’ll have to hike back up the steep stairway after dinner. (No cabs can reach you on the water’s edge.)
And if they’ve just sent the mules up, you might have to dodge donkey droppings the whole way– but this is part of the charm, I promise.
Melenio Cafe in Oia (For the Best-Ever Baklava & Flaky Melitinia!)
While Melenio Cafe & Patisserie isn’t technically a restaurant, it is an ideal cafe for sampling one of the most iconic things you need to eat in Greece: baklava.
As we wrote in our Insider’s Guide to Santorini, this tiny little bakery off of Nikolaou Nomikou is known for its stellar ombre baklava, made with rich layers of phyllo, chopped local pistachios, and honey that invariably pools on the plate.
Good baklava, moreover, should ooze honey. You know it’s authentic if it’s still wet when they serve it! Here, you can enjoy it with a perfect coffee and gorgeous caldera view.
Melitinia, meanwhile, is the traditional sweet cheese tart of Santorini. It looks like a mini pie filled with farmers’ cheese and flaky, golden, braided crust around the edges. So rich and yummy!
While melitinia is lesser-known than baklava off of the island, it’s definitely worth trying, and Melenio’s version is equally excellent. Otherwise, you can find it at select bakeries, restaurants, and hotel brunch services around Santorini.
Most nice hotels in Oia, for example, will serve melitinia as part of a beautiful Greek breakfast service, so be sure to look out for it if you’re staying at a hotel where breakfast is included.
Other than that, this is a great place for lighter fare in Santorini, which is often hard to come by. They have great salads, fruit plates, and omelets, which makes it an ideal lunch and brunch spot. But really, the baked goods are the real draw. Knowing what to order where is key, and here you can’t go wrong with the homemade baklava.
Blue Note Restaurant in Imerovigli (For Decadent Moussaka)
The Blue Note Restaurant in Imerovigli is a quiet, charming little eatery known for its rustic and hearty moussaka. In my opinion, it’s the best moussaka on the island! What it lacks in presentation, it more than makes up for in flavor.
Winding one’s way through serpentine stairwells in search of a good restaurant is a Santorini rite of passage. This restaurant captures that spirit perfectly. The entrance is a bit confusing, but everyone finds it eventually. 🙂
Here, from your cozy perch above the ocean, you can enjoy excellent lamb dishes and warm, stuffed grape leaves. (Aka dolmades, a staple that you must absolutely try on the island.) Plus, there’s a lovely ocean breeze both day and night.
Ultimately, the decor at Blue Note isn’t fancy, but the view is. The dining room overlooks unobstructed views of the volcano, the port, and a wide expanse of boat-filled Aegean waters.
It’s a rather peaceful spot– much quieter than any other dining options in Oia or Fira. But then again, that’s also part of Imerovigli’s charm. This corner of the island doesn’t have as much of the glitz as others, but the unfettered pace of life and service here feels like the pinnacle of relaxation. Move slowly and enjoy it!
I prefer going to Blue Note for a long, leisurely, sunset dinner. But lunch is also good, if a bit sunny. When available, be sure to order the crispy fried feta cheese with sesame seeds and honey. You can’t really find this combo outside of Greece, and it’s fabulous!
Ellis in Fira (For Expansive Caldera Views)
Fira is not typically known as having the best restaurants in Santorini, but Ellis is easily one of the best restaurants in Santorini for a dazzling view. The restaurant’s open-air terraces overlook Santorini’s largest caldera. It’s a great spot to enjoy classic Greek cuisine with an expanse of ocean as far as the eye can see. (See above!)
Ellis aims to incorporate as many local products onto their menu as possible– from the olive oil to the wine, and of course, the seafood. Like most of the best restaurants in Santorini, it’s a great place to try fresh-baked calamari, minimalist greek salads, lamb shanks, and flaky melitinia.
I love Ellis’ abundant seafood spaghetti and architectural dakos salad– a formed combination of cherry tomatoes, barely, soft feta cheese, and kalamata olives with oil oil. These are likely the most “upscale” items on the menu, as their execution is really impressive.
I also strongly recommend saving room for the decadent Greek yogurt cake with honeycomb and lavender. It’s a lovely local dessert worth savoring.
During peak busy season (e.g. June + July), also be sure to ask to sit on the upper terrace. There are two dining levels at Ellis and you won’t want to sit inside, I’m sure. This way, you’ll have the best view possible– and a nice breeze, any time of year.
Alkyona Sunset in Oia (For Warm Grape Leaves + Excellent Calamari)
Alkyona Sunset doesn’t have direct views from the dining room, but it is walkable to some of the most beautiful lookout points on Oia’s main drag. More importantly, this old school Santorini restaurant serves decadent warm grapes and delicious, super fresh calamari that’s so flavorful it doesn’t even need sauce (which is saying something!).
The food, moreover, is really wonderfully seasoned– right down to the hand-cut french fries and extra garlic-y tzatziki, which is quite possibly the best on the island. Even the veal cutlets and fried meatballs pack a punch.
For dessert, be sure to order a piece of their homemade baklava, which is extra syrup-y. (It sells out quickly.) In the past, I’ve even gone so far as to order it before dinner, just to make sure they save a piece for my table.
While the restaurant itself isn’t much to look at, there’s a lot of subtle charm. There may be a random cat wandering around the veranda near your table. This is very Greece— as is the back room where diners go to pay their bills, which will likely be full of older men watching soccer and smoking cigarettes (indoors!) amidst piles of old receipts and vintage liquor bottles.
^ I include these details only to point out that Santorini’s Old World charm still persists in these stereotypes. The island has gotten very trendy over the years, which has led to lots of over-tourism and crowding– but family-owned restaurants like these are still the beating heart of the island. Eating at places like this ensures that it will stay that way. 🙂
Related: An Insider’s Guide to Santorini. (<— This gorgeous, bespoke travel guide spotlights where to stay, and what to see, do, buy, and explore on the so-called “supermodel” of the Greek Islands. Bookmark it along with this page for easy reference during your trip!)