I arrived in Santorini at 11am and I was ready to eat after waiting in Athens airport for 6 hours for my connecting flight from London. I quickly learned that the restaurants in Santorini do not open until noon or 1pm for meals, so my only options were cafes which served coffee or light snacks. I went to several before deciding to go to the cafe closest to my hotel, Splash. Not only did it have a beautiful view (as do ALL the restaurants along the beach), but I loved the decor.

I did not want breakfast, so I ordered the appetizer plate, which turned out to be cheeses, meats, olives, and tomatoes for about $10 US. It was a very hearty plate and I could only manage to eat a few bites of the rich offerings. This was the plate that introduced me to the famous Santorini tomatoes, grown in the local volcanic soil, which burst with flavor unlike any I have ever had.

With my eyes drinking in the view of the beach and my stomach craving something lighter, I headed down the side street to Lolo’s which starts serving food at 1pm (I went by at noon and they were only serving coffee at that early hour). Their garden patio was very pretty and offered plenty of shade.

I quickly learned that water is an essential part of life at this beach and ordered the sparkling water, along with a glass of the local white wine (about $5 US). I don’t know if it was the early service or the heat, but my wine arrived warm and when I asked for ice (yes it was THAT warm I needed ice to drink it), they charged me .8 Euro to fulfill my request.

I ordered the seafood salad (about $12 US), hoping for a taste of the local seafood and something lighter than the appetizer I had just eaten down the street. It was lighter fare than Splash, but the imitation crab in the salad was a sad disappointment; it would have been just as mediocre a salad without the addition, and I would not have been as critical if it had not been the first thing I saw in my salad.

The wonderful local tomatoes, fresh romaine, and bits of fish did help make this a passable salad, but so far my meals in Santorini were not spectacular. I learned later in the evening that there was wonderful food here; I just had to wait until the good places opened to find delicious fresh food awaiting me both on Kamari Beach and along the Caldera.