Restaurants we like: Μελενιο in Oía, Santorini in Greece
For some people, the adage ‘it’s not what you do, it’s who you’re with’ rings true. Whilst in general I whole heartedly agree, when it comes to cafés I much prefer the saying ‘it’s not who you’re with, it’s the view you have’. I could quite happily while away the day sitting alone in a café as long as I have something good to look at (and I don’t mean an attractive waiter). I’m sure I can’t be the only person who has this outlook and for that reason I thought I would share my favourite location to sit back and enjoy the view.
The café in question - Μελενιο or Melenio – can be found in Oía, possibly the most famous and undoubtedly the most picturesque village on the Greek island of Santorini. Nestled on the crest of an imposing cliff, it’s unsurprising that the panorama is something to behold. With layer upon layer of bright white houses and blue-domed churches tumbling down the cliffside before eventually plunging into the oceanic abyss you truly feel as though you’re on the threshold of some sort of utopian creation (or Narnia). Whilst you’ll never be short of something to gaze at on the island itself, if you cast your eye across the Aegean sea you can observe a spectacular vista of some of the volcanic islands, which used to be joined to the mainland of Santorini before the huge Minoan eruption a few thousand years ago. This scene proves particularly dazzling on a hot, balmy day when a warm haze descends on the volcanic cluster. Said eruption was one of the largest volcanic events ever recorded on Earth and its destruction of a settlement at Akrotiri on the island is suspected to have been the inspiration behind the story of Atlantis. But fear not – there haven’t been any eruptions here for a good 60 years.
Μελενιο has both an upstairs and a downstairs terrace so you can adjust your view depending on where you sit. The views from downstairs proved so beautiful that a young couple were having their wedding pictures taken there on my last visit!
Although you can take in these sights from several other buildings along the cliff, there is a reason why I favour this particular place: the food. Patisserie Μελενιο can provide a treat not only for the eyes but also for the mouth, boasting the best desserts in Santorini. I found that whether you’re in the mood for a special slice of cake or for a savoury pastry, you will not be disappointed. Even if you’re not in the mood to eat (you crazy person) then I can vouch that they make a delicious frappé to which you can even add ice cream – perfection.
So, next time you’re nearby, don’t walk past the unassuming exterior of Μελενιο but instead pop in and feast your eyes on good food and even better views!