There's nothing I love more than eating while traveling—well, eating in general. I look forward to discovering new flavors, local hot spots, and even meeting the owners, cooks, and servers. In some ways, I feel I'd been waiting my whole life to eat in Greece because I am Greek, and I love a heartwarming meal.
After lots of research, talking to the locals, and wandering around once I was there, I found some of the freshest mouthwatering Mediterranean dishes all on a budget.
A key to Greek cuisine is not falling into the tourist trap. YES, there are absolutely expensive places to indulge, but most Greeks do not overspend on food the way we do in the United States.
Favorite Places to Eat in Santorini on a Budget
There are places that live up to all of your food dreams. Nikos Place is one of those places. In fact, it's what food dreams are made of. For two souvlaki, a glass of wine, and a beer, you're out the door for under 10 euro.
The tzatziki is so fresh, and the pita is crisp and delicious. Needless to say, I ate there almost daily. The owner is from the same town in Greece as my family, so I may be a bit biased.
Note: if you don't eat meat, you can order a vegetarian souvlaki, and unlike the way you may be accustomed to ordering in the United States, souvlaki is what you want to order if you're looking for what we traditionally term a gyro. It comes with french fries inside. I suggest keeping it that way!
Confessions of a true coffee snob: I judge many trips by the availability of good coffee. Meteor Cafe has the most amazing coffees and lattes hands down in Oia.
I went to Meteor EVERY DAY! This girl has got to have her coffee. The gorgeous, sweeping views from the cafe are a bonus. The owner is so sweet too and welcomes you as though you've known him your whole life. We so much enjoyed chatting with him. Like Scott, the owner isn't Greek, but he's "Greek by marriage" as he says because his wife is Greek. Scott can relate. We promised we'd visit him the next time we come back.
Recommended by George, the owner of our AirBnb, the simplicity of the pesto pasta cannot even be replicated because the freshness of the pasta was of another world.
Off the beaten path a bit, Roka is down a little alley way surrounded by peach walls and purple flowers. Their fish is caught daily, so they have a limited amount of availability on their menu. But the freshness is perfection.
A hop, skip, and a jump from Meteor Cafe, you'll find Lotza, a small restaurant sitting on the cliffside, drenching dinner guests in lavender sunset hues as they enjoy their food.
This restaurant was my favorite place on the island for affordable and delicious shrimp saganaki, a traditional shrimp meal served in a skillet with tomatoes, olives, feta cheese, and dill over rice. It was also the closest restaurant to our Airbnb, so we went a couple of times. One night, our neighbors on the island, a father-daughter duo from Connecticut—small world, right?—invited us over for wine after seeing me snapping photos outside. We sat on their patio, drinking wine, and overlooking the cliffside. Then, we walked over to Lotza for a great, affordable dinner all together, a bunch of traveling strangers. As tradition may have it, we also took a couple shots of Ouzo together.
Bonus: If you have the budget, Sphynx is a splurge-worthy dinner. Their wine selection is by far one of the best we encountered. The ambiance is really lovely and relaxing, but not nearly as authentic feeling as Roka. It's one of those romantic dinners that puts a smile one my face when I think about it. Their dessert options are equally as fantastic, the literal icing on the cake.
Regardless of where you stay on the island, street food in Santorini will get you out the door for about 2-4 euros.
Another affordable option is heading to Amoudi Bay and finding a spot to hunker down for a picnic. Or, if you're like me, the benefit of renting an AirBnb, instead of a hotel, is the ability to cook. I'm not ashamed to say that I ate spaghetti a couple of nights, and I ate eggs just about every morning, washed down with a cup of coffee from Meteor Cafe.