In the tiny port of Ammoudi, at the base of the caldera of Santorini, way below Oia, sits Dimitri’s Taverna.
As stunning as the view is from on high, from the rim of the cliff, where hundreds of tourists gather each evening to watch the sun go down, it can be just as dramatic and electrically charged to be next to the waves with the feeling that the imposing red rock and the town built along it are suspended right over your head.
Ammoudi, which used to be a hamlet with fishermen’s boat houses and a place where caiques were drawn up in winter, has become since the explosive growth of Oia, a place where ‘tavernakia’ have clustered, offering fish, sea food and especially that sunset view.
Dimitri’s Taverna at Ammoudi was one of the first of these tavernas to open on the shore, when in 1989 Dimitris, a local, and Canadian Joy, who had come to the island for a summer holiday – both barely into their twenties when love joined them – turned a little fisherman’s hut into a café bar and then a taverna.
Although their place is located at the end of the beach and you have to pass in front of all the others in order to get to it, its tables are always filled with customers, faithful regulars and newcomers, enjoying their delicious meals next to the sea. The atmosphere is always relaxed and friendly, because on the one hand the décor is that of a old fashioned fish taverna – with sand-colored walls hung with objects that conjure up a life at sea – oars, figureheads, lamps – and on the other because Dimitris and Joy’s warm hospitality encourages gaiety in the customers themselves.
Along with the spectacle of the rhythmic dance of the traditional fishing boats rocking on the waves, at Dimitri’s Taverna you are sure to find the freshest of fish, members of the bream family and swordfish, which are masterfully grilled before your eyes at the water’s edge, but don’t let that stop you from ordering their sublime tomato keftedes (fritters), seafood salad and that all-time favorite, spaghetti with lobster.