Responding to a tip from the locals, Jon and I took a bus to Akrotiri. Melina’s Taverna was on the water, the first taverna on the beach. In Greece, if someone has a taverna, it’s not long before a 2nd, a 3rd, a 4th and so on open up and before you know it there is a string of taverna’s all competing for the limited customers. But in a country who’s main industry is tourism it kind of makes sense.
Melina’s is the first taverna. The tables were covered in brilliant lime green table cloths and the chairs were painted in the same fresh colour. It was beautiful against the white building and the stunningly blue sea. The owner, Niko opened this little taverna almost 16 years ago and named it after his first daughter.
Melina’s boasts a very traditional menu and claims his food comes from the island, the fish is fresh daily (from the waters your sitting by) and any frozen fish is noted with an * so his customers don’t get confused. Wow, claims of food origins and pride in local food exists in the smallest, most remote place in the world.
Jon and I ordered the catch of the day which was Santorini Balls (more like pancakes made with very ripe and delicious red and yellow tomatoes grown on the island). They were amazing! Next came a fava dish. It was more like a hummus made with fava beans grown in Niko’s fathers garden. Drizzled with a bit of lemon, it was full of luscious flavour.
Next came a dish Niko claims is his signature dish. It’s called egglpant salad but I find the Greeks use the word salad where we would use the word dip, sauce or salsa. The eggplant dish was like an eggplant salsa with garlic, vinegar and onions. It was charred on the barbecue so it had smoky flavours to add to its dimension. This is the most amazing way to eat eggplant I’ve ever tasted – wow!
Next came the entire red snapper on a platter. Niko had carved it up and removed most of the bones. This is what I live for – fresh fish! It was clean, light and delicious – we at the whole thing!
If you’re ever in Santorini, this little taverna that has been written up by Bon Appetite Magazine is worth the bus ride from any place on the island. If you don’t know it’s there, you’ll miss the best Greek meal on the island!
If I have time, I’ll share my next day of delicious fun on the island with you……. if not, know I’m having a better time than if I were blogging……