Most of the photos you see in the Santorini postcards and on the Internet are taken in and around the town of Oia. Built on the cliff-side at the northern tip of Santorini, each afternoon thousands of tourists fill the streets of this town to catch a glimpse of the best sunsets on the island. Not being one for the crowds, we decided to make a reservation at one of the best restaurants on the island known as 'Restaurant Lauda'. This restaurant forms part of the Andronis Collection Hotel suites and offers lunches and dinners to guests but also to the public.
Like everywhere else in Santorini, you should not wear high heels, I counted 77 stairs on the way down to the restaurant; but what awaited us will be remembered long after the stairs are forgotten. The restaurant is completely open-air, nestled around the hotel pool and bar with uninterrupted panoramic views of the caldera of the volcano which created the island of Santorini. Our 7pm booking was perfect timing to avoid the crowds and witness the most picturesque sunset you can imagine from the comfort of our table, with professional and friendly waitstaff you would expect of a restaurant of this caliber serving us easily the best (and biggest) cocktails we had tried on our travels thus far.
With two talented musicians setting the mood with light jazz and acoustic covers of English classics this venue is absolutely faultless and a must-see in Oia. We would have been happy with the cocktails and music alone but the kitchen also wanted to bedazzle us. Our bread basket to begin with was filled with a varied assortment including homemade 'carbon black' and sundried tomato breads served with 'olive oil butter' and goats cheese with pistachio. The amuse-bouchée excited the palate with a tomato marshmallow and fresh tuna ceviche getting us ready for our entree of hand-made crab ravioli in a light bisque. My favourite of the night though was my main, cod fillet with silky potato mousselin, truffle and a vibrant green lime sauce and Gianni's was the 24hr cooked lamb with baby vegetables and a sage sauce. Unfortunately we couldn't find room to put away dessert, and here I was complaining about stairs when I need them the most!
Restaurant Lauda is a gastronomic delight on the island if fine-dining, romance and exclusivity is on your agenda; not to mention a great way to have a VIP seat for the Oia sunset!