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“Come down to Melina’s Tavern and I’ll buy you a bottle of wine, and we’ll laugh and drink to nothing…” (with apologies to Joni Mitchell).

14 Aug

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Having recently returned from the Greek island of Santorini, surely the most dazzling jewel of the Aegean, I’ve been thinking what thoughts I could share for future travellers (perhaps such as yourself). Firstly, however, I feel I need to mention a place I spent quite a few happy moments at and that is Melina’s Tavern, which is situated down on Akrotiri Beach, not far from the ancient ruins of Akrotiri itself (which lends its name to the modern village, about one and a half kilometres away, reached by a winding, dusty, grape vine framed road).

After the entrance to Ancient Akrotiri, keep walking towards the sea and when you reach the end of the road, before the shingle beach, turn right and Melina’s Tavern is the first one you reach. A whitewashed, bright and inviting veranda with equal room inside, Melina’s Tavern is more a restaurant than anything, although you are welcome to stop by just for drinks (especially as they serve Yellow Donkey, which as my friend said, was a “game changer”). I had to mention Melina’s in particular, because of all the restaurants on my trip (even those in Fira or Oia) it was the one I felt most at home at. Plus, and this is a considerable point, the food was excellent. My friend tucked into all manner of sea food, caught fresh or supplied locally, including crab and fish. Being a vegetarian of many years, I still wasn’t disappointed, and I can honestly say even a simple lunch time meal such as spaghetti and sauce was done so well that my own attempts since have left me a bit saddened! The local delicacy tomato balls are also offered here, and I readily recommend them as a tasty starter.

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Another selling point of Melina’s is the shore view and the sound of the waves leisurely hitting the shingle. It’s a lovely, therapeutic sound and the view of the headland is beautiful (and the fact that Melina’s is not on the much admired Chaldea side doesn’t take anything away from the appreciation of the view; it’s a great spot). You even get used to the quay end boat men advertising their trips: “Red Beach, White beach, Black Beach…” Beaches around here are accurately named by colour, it keeps things simple! There is also a bold and prominent recreation of the fisherman mural design on the wall, taken from the original found in the nearby ancient town (buried by a volcanic eruption in the 2nd Millennium BCE).

Above and beyond this, I have to say a restaurant like Melina’s thrives or fails by its service and that was wonderful. A friendlier and more professional group of people you could not find. As we visited more, the staff would stop for a chat and delight us with local stories and also took a sincere interest in us and where we were from. We actually met Melina herself, who had lived in Australia for some time, and was very complimentary about our various band t-shirts. A lovely compliment from someone I think knew what she was talking about!

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Finding out that Melina’s father had built the whole restaurant from scratch in the 1980s, even digging out the ‘cave’ at one side (which now serves as an art gallery), gave me even greater appreciation for the place. A family business, like many in Santorini, Melina’s offers a winning combination of great food, drink, service and views. When you leave the only thing that will touch you with as much warmth as the sea breeze will be their hospitality.

http://melinastavernsantorini.gr/index.php/en/

Melina’s Taverna opens from 11:30am daily, and is available for weddings and other events. Please click the link above for further details, reservations and a full menu.

Video from Youtube channel: Adam Cam Pro

Blog title inspired by Joni Mitchell’s ‘Carey’, which is a great song, although it relates to Matala in Crete. Close enough! There’ll be no smashing of glasses in Melina’s though! 😉

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