As a coeliac, I’m always googling destinations to see what gluten free foods, restaurants or dishes might be available for me to eat once I’m there. I can then plan my visit accordingly, and avoid getting hangry and/or eating endless fruit salads. I didn’t find much around on the internet before I left on my recent trip to Santorini, so I hope this helps a fellow coeliac with their gluten free Santorini research.
My gluten free food recommendations for Santorini
This was an authentic taverna in a stunning location right on the waterfront near Akrotiri. If you take a trip to look at the ancient ruins of Akrotiri, which I highly recommend, then I suggest you come here to eat afterwards. You can’t really tell what kind of a place it is from the road, but you descend a flight of stairs to find an adorable terrace set on sea level with a view to kill.
If the tide is in, the waves are practically lapping at your feet. It’s awesome! Anyway, the staff here were super friendly, and understood my needs easily. They had a good value range of salads and grilled meats and fish, and I had the souvlaki (first picture) with a greek salad which was absolutely delicious. The whole thing made me very happy.
Salad with a view, anyone?
This was a drive by restaurant choice which never happens to me. This time it paid off! We found a beautifully situated restaurant, perched on the side of a hill surrounded by gardens, with really friendly staff who could cater for me, a relaxed dining atmosphere, and a partial sunset view to boot. They had some delicious white wine (sorry, can’t remember the name…) and I had some beautifully cooked lamb with veggies.
It was delicious, everything went smoothly, and it was just one of those thoroughly pleasant dining experiences. Not too bad value, either. I’d really recommend checking this place out. They were also pretty kid-friendly and there’s plentiful parking.
Alright so we’ve already graduated onto non-restaurants, but hear me out. We had come to Perissa when we had a bit of time before catching our flight, and I was craving some pudding (what’s new). We figured my best bet was to find somewhere that would just sell me some ice cream, so we thought this place looked like a good shot. Imagine my surprise when I enquired about the flour containing status of some of the more enigmatically named menu items, and was asked whether I’d like something gluten free? I nearly fell off my chair. I was then served a delicious gluten free chocolate fondant with vanilla ice cream.
Just beautiful, and so unexpected. If you need a good dessert that’s not just ice cream, run, don’t walk.
The obligatory Rachel ‘Two Ice Creams’ pose. Just look how happy I am about ice cream! This is the chocolate (mine) and the pomegranate (S’s). Both delicious.
Speaking of ice cream, if you are even slightly fond of ice cream then I recommend you head here. They’ve got some excellent flavours – pomegranate? Rosewater and peppercorn? Chocolate sorbet? And they’re all delicious. There’s a nice outdoor area you can eat in, or you can carry your purchase around the streets as you explore. It’s handily located by the bus station, which isn’t the prettiest but when the ice cream tastes that good who cares?!
My gluten free food recommendations with caveats
This is where we ate for my birthday dinner and the real selling point here is the view. It’s outstanding.
Sidenote: this is me proudly rocking my Mum’s genuine vintage necklace from the Swinging Sixties. Thank you Mummy!
The restaurant is small and friendly with great service; they read my gluten free restaurant card carefully and I felt quite confident they knew what they were taking about. They told me a few dishes were safe, I chose the risotto because a) I love risotto and b) it was one of the better value options, because this restaurant is on the more expensive side. Unfortunately, the risotto arrived with what looked suspiciously like breadsticks in them. They could have been rice based, and I could have pointed this out to the waiter, but then he’d have had to take my meal away and cook it again and S would have had to wait whilst his went cold (he feels bad eating without me, which is sweet) and I was hungry. At this point, I had such Gluten Free Questioning Fatigue* that I just pulled them out and ate around the risotto that had been in contact with them as much as possible. I know that’s not what I should have done, but fellow coeliacs, do you just sometimes metaphorically throw your hands up and just do your best?
The pudding was divine (see my birthday post for details), but given the breadstick incident I can only give this a cautious recommend. If you do want to go, booking is essential.
This place was recommended to me by our AirBnB host, and has a beautiful outlook over the caldera and Fira itself. One of the waiters was quite friendly, but kept disappearing, and his replacement was not so much. As usual, I presented my gluten free restaurant card and he went to talk to the chef. When he came back, he said all they could do for me was the seafood platter. Which, of course, was the most expensive dish on the menu at €80 per head. This recommendation didn’t make sense to me, because the seafood platter was seafood, and bread – his recommendation was I have a bit of salad instead. It also included wine, which I rarely drink – he didn’t know that, of course. So that wasn’t going to work out for me (also €80 each for what was supposed to be a casual supper??). Then I asked if perhaps the grilled pork might be safe, with some fried potatoes? Oh, yes, that would be ok was the answer.
Clearly he’d been trying to upsell to us, which I thought was naughty. That’s never happened to me before as a direct consequence of being gluten free, so I was quite surprised. Has that happened to anyone else?
This photo makes me laugh for so many reasons. We’d only just arrived and my gosh I look like I need a holiday. Secondly, that’s the waiter in the background and even in this picture he’s studiously looking the wrong way! Thirdly, I think I captured the only moment when the girls behind us weren’t Instagramming their meals.
The food was decent, although the service took a distinct turn for the uninterested (we waited to pay for aaaaages and practically had to walk out before they’d take our money) and the upsell left me a bit put off. So I wouldn’t particularly recommend this place to a friend.
It did have a nice view though, and whilst we were sitting eating, heaps of people came in wanting to sit in the two tables they have directly overlooking the view. Of course, they were booked. Key takeaway here – if you want a table with a view anywhere in Fira or Oia, book ahead.
We didn’t eat here, but they advertise that they have gluten free options which are basically gluten free fusilli with any of their pasta sauces, and some fish dishes (which are very expensive). It was fancy and we just wanted a quick meal so we skipped it, but if I were craving gluten free pasta I’d have definitely gone here. They were very friendly, so I’ve got no reason to think it’s not a thoroughly pleasant dining experience.
My gluten free food fails
I had read on another blog that this place was great for gluten free, and might even have a gluten free pizza on the menu. Nope. When I arrived and asked, they weren’t even really sure what gluten free was and said they could probably just do me some fish. That’s fine, and to be honest was the standard restaurant response, but not the gluten free epiphany I’d been hoping for. Nice view of the black sand beach, though. We just went paddling instead!
My final thoughts on finding gluten free food in Santorini
Basically, it’s not that easy to eat gluten free in Santorini. Even with the research I’d done beforehand, I struggled. If you like eating a lot of fish and you don’t mind paying for it, you’ll probably be fine. However, if like me you’re on somewhat of a budget and don’t want fish for every meal, this is what I’d recommend:
> Bring your own food with you – I brought part baked bread rolls, Ilumi ready meals, and chocolate. Just so I had the essentials covered 🙂
> There aren’t really any supermarkets on the island (funnily enough, as it’s so tiny) so be prepared to hunt around mini-markets for all your food needs. If you bring a car you might succeed in getting to the Carrefour in Thira or the Lidl just outside town, but do check opening times as they’re not as lengthy as you might have thought
> Stay in a place with a decent kitchen (unlike our AirBnB) and be prepared to cook the majority of meals for yourself
> Bring multiple copies of your gluten free restaurant cards, and use them
> Be prepared to fight the Gluten Free Questioning Fatigue! Don’t succumb to it like I did.
Have you been to Santorini, or anywhere else in Greece for that matter? Did you find any gluten free restaurants or have any tips you can pass along?
*I find that when I’ve been on coeliac high alert for a few days, asking about every food item, trying to communicate my needs in a foreign language, constantly feeling like an annoyance at best or a diva at worst (thanks, ‘lifestyle’ gluten free people) and having to do about an hour of research before we can pick a place to eat, I just get totally over it. I’m christening it Gluten Free Questioning Fatigue – catchy, I know. Anyone else get it, or is it just me?
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