Living and travelling gluten free in the UK, Australia & around the world!

Santorini – naturally gluten free

We visited this lovely Greek Island in June and the sun was glorious – perfect blue skies and amazing blue sea surrounded by volcanic rock (the beaches have black sand!)

Santorini Oia landscape

 

I have to admit I was worried about eating gluten free in Santorini as my usual pre-travel search came up with ZERO restaurants (this is a first after many years of travel).  However, there was no need to be worried as so much of the food is ‘au naturel’ and freshly prepared – you just have to take the usual precautions and take your translation card with you for backup.    See ‘Top Tips’ at the bottom of the page.

My experience was that all the restaurants in Oia, Fira and Kamari had menus in English and all the staff spoke English, but I still used a Greek translation card to ensure gluten free was properly understood.

I have prepared a Santorni Gluten Free Guide (see bottom of post) which outlines many of the foods to aim for and the main ones to avoid.  My best tip is to take lots of crackers to use with dip, or just to have something while everyone else is having bread.

Santorini - Delfini breakfast_optOia

We stayed at Delfini Villas in a cave suite that had a fantastic balcony with a Caldera view and a spa!  Each morning breakfast was brought to our outside table (once we had opened our door to show we were ready).  It was usually chopped fresh fruit in Greek yoghurt, with either an egg or a plate of feta and tomato and cucumber.  Once or twice in a week we had whole fruit (eg figs) without the yoghurt.  For the non coeliacs, there was also a basket of bread & mini croissants, and frequently slices of cake too.  I took my own bread with me (Kelkin Sourdough) and as we had a kitchenette I could toast it up in a fry pan and have some butter on it, just to add some bulk if I was still hungry.

On our first night we ate at King Neptune.

Santorini - King Neptune_opt

This restaurant has a lovely upstairs area with a great view of the sunset between the church and other buildings in the square.  The waiter carefully checked my translation card and double checked my order (which he thought would be OK) with the chef, but found there was some flour in the sauce.  I changed my order and had an amazing lamb kleftiko – the meat is baked in baking paper (so no flour needed) and it literally fell off the bone and was delicious.  For starters I had chilli feta “salad”, which was feta creamed and mixed with chilli.  It was absolutely delicious with some crackers (BYO).  I think this was the best meal I had while in Santorini.  Unfortunately I was so busy talking to my friend that I hadn’t seen for a year (and it was her 40th birthday celebration) that I forgot to take pictures.

Santorini - Kletfiko_opt(1)

I later had kleftiko again (at Nocturna) and although it was nice, it wasn’t the same standard as at King Neptune.

 

 

 

 

Santorini - gelati 1_optGelato!

You can’t beat a refreshing lemon sorbet on a hot summer day and we went nearly every day (not so good for the waist!) to Lolita’s Gelato.  This is very near the Oia bus station.Santorini - gelato marry_opt

I had lovely lemon sorbet (ice, sugar and fresh lemon).   My friends tried pretty much all the other varieties and all had good reviews.

Side note:  if you are a single female and fancy living on a Greek Island, the owner is looking for a wife!

Ammoudi bay

There is a little port and some restaurants in Ammoudi bay (nearly 300 steps below Oia).  We walked both up and down, but you can get a donkey if you don’t want to walk.  If you are walking, the donkeys walk on the left hand side, so make sure you are on the other side, as my husband got squashed against the wall by the donkeys going past (now known as “the attack of the killer donkeys”) – he got a huge graze on his arm and was very lucky not to have his feet trampled!

Santorini - Ammoudi Port2_optWe ate at Dimitris Taverna. The lady who served us was American (or Canadian) so it was very easy to discuss how things were prepared (although I forgot to ask what sort of stock was used in the rice for the dolmades, but ate them without incident!)  In the pictures below you will see the dolmades, garlic dip, salad and giant beans (butter beans).  Take your own crackers for the dips as they are a great starter or combine with something else for a light lunch.

Dolmades, salad & garlic dip

Dolmades, salad & garlic dip

 

 

 

Fava beans

Fava beans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kamari

We hired a car and drove to the other side of the island to look at the Ancient Thera ruins at the top of a very windy road with hair pin bends – you need to be a brave driver!

At the bottom of the hill is Kamari beach and it is lined with restaurants.  Taverna Irini was the first one we came across and the staff were a little too pushy for our liking in getting us to eat there, but the food was good.Santorini - Kamari - Eggplant beef_opt

I had the special of the day which was eggplant topped with beef and cheese with some salad and potatoes.  The potatoes tasted boiled but with an oil & herb seasoning.


S
upermarkets with gluten free items!   Santorini - Fira supermarket 4_opt

A supermarket in the main area of Fira (not far from bus station) has a little section of gluten free goodies!  There was a variety of pastas, biscuits and bread.  It is called Kapayano∑.

Santorini - Fira supermarket 2_opt

 

 

 

 

 

 

Santorini - Oia supermarket 2_optSantorini - Oia supermarket_opt

 

I also found GF pasta (one type only) in amongst the normal pastas in the Proton supermarket in Oia (near the bus station and next to Lolita’s gelato).

 

 

Top Tips

  • take a Greek translation card
  • take plenty of crackers to have with dip and as a bread substitute
  • all the menus were in English and all waiters spoke English so there are few communication problems
  • avoid anything fried, stews and moussaka

See my guide to Santorini here

Note:  I have not used addresses as they were never on business cards – just listed as “Oia” or “Kamari”  (not sure how the postal system works though!)

 

For more gluten free travelling options, please check the following links:

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About the Author

About the Author: Caroline was diagnosed with Coeliac disease in 2006 and likes to share her gluten free finds around the UK, Australia and the rest of the world! See more on her in the 'About' page. .

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