What a hidden gem we found today – Theofanis Taverna in Aratokiri, Santorini.
After a swim at Red Beach we stop in Aratokiri for lunch. We’d passed a taverna on the way there with ‘Fresh Fish’ painted in dodgy giant blue lettering on the walls and a few people dining outside. The smoke from the tiny grill house at the entrance smells good.
We pull up a blue chair at the plastic and paper covered tables printed with a map of Santorini. I can hear an old woman yelling at a young boy from inside – he’s on his mobile phone but she wants him to wait tables.
An old man delivers us menus and I ask what the fresh fish is. He gestures me inside to the little homestyle kitchen to have a look. Two fat old ladies are preparing the meals (the old man is on the grill outside). I pick one of the fishes – no idea what it is, but it looks like it has a but of meat on it – from the fresh batch laying under a damp cloth in a silver tray.
Our beers (another shandy) and our stuffed vine leaves arrive – these are soft, delicious and a little bit warm. My travel buddy asks why we can’t find them like this at home.
I don’t know if I’ve been banging on about how fabulous the tomatoes are here.?! They look, smell and taste so red. Fat and juicy, a little bit sweet and full of flavour – I’ve been eating them at every meal. It’s sad our tomatoes at home are so watery and anemic compared to these.
Of course we share a Greek salad and my travel buddy has ordered the stuffed squid. The squid is stuffed with a tomato rice, mince and dill. It has nice flavors, but the rice is still a bit nutty and the squid brown and rubbery (keep forgetting to check the disclaimer somewhere on the menu that all shrimp & squid are frozen). The chips that come with it are the highlight – the potatoes are so sweet.
My fish is lovely – the nicest I’ve had this trip. So moist and tender with crispy frilled skin, all it needs is a squeeze of lemon.
The restaurant fills up a little and the young boy waits more tables, practising his English and translating into Greek for the old man.
I think we might try and come back here tomorrow.
Score: 8 Plates (out of 10)
Theofanis Taverna – Aratokiri (you can’t miss the big blue letters on your way in to the town), Santorini, Greece