By Kelly DiNardo
A Chef’s City is an occasional travel feature in which our fortuitous writers hit up chefs for recommendations.
We called it poop highway.
It was the steep, stone walk between the old town of Oia and Ammoudi Port. The descent and then climb back up was arduous and too demanding for many so at the bottom was a donkey taxi. In between the street was littered with the animals’ waste.
We had made the trek daily — to swim and snorkel off the rocks, to catch the catamaran that would sail us around Santorini — and I wasn’t sure I could stomach it again. But there were three or four restaurants at the bottom, beyond the donkeys, and we heard the fish at Taverna Katina was the best in town.
My boyfriend and I had met friends from Chicago and London in Santorini and the six of us fell into a great rhythm at the many restaurants we visited. We ordered plates of tzatziki, saginaki — fried cheese — and Greek salad and bottles of local wine to share and then each of us would order an entree — spaghetti with lobster, grilled red snapper, moussaka. I kept promising myself I would branch out, but couldn’t resist the grilled squid. So, by the time we tromped down to Taverna Katina, I had sampled enough tzatziki and grilled squid to know if it lived up to the hype.
As soon as we settled into the bright orange chairs our waiter invited us in to look at the fish counter and choose the exact piece we wanted. There, he pointed out red snapper, sea bass, octopus and whole shrimp. Everyone chose their fish and we placed our usual order of tzatziki, Greek salad and grilled squid for me.
The tzatziki was thick, rich and creamy with just the right amount of garlic and dill. The fish was light and the briny, slightly sweet, squid had hints of smoky char from the grill. It was perfect and absolutely worth running the donkey gauntlet.
Other recommendations in Oia, Santorini
- 1800. ”They are certified by slow food and the food is slightly more modern and a little pricey.”
- Petros. A fish tavern with amazing sunset views in the old town.
- Thalami. Local Greek food in old town, overlooking the water.