Firostefani, Santorini, Firostefani, 847 00, Greece

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Aktaion is a simple family-run taverna in the village of Firostefani that has been on the same spot since 1922. The same family of Lefteris Roussos have run the place since the outset, which each succeeding generation taking over. There are seven outside tables as well as two little dining rooms inside. From outside you can glimpse the Mediterranean, and if you walk just a few paces from the taverna you will be greeted with a stunning view looking down from the cliff tops over the water. It was recommended to me by a local winemaker who can remember eating here decades ago with his father, and still frequents the place. The menu here offers traditional dishes. There was a small wine list, which omitted vintages but had bottles such as Vassaltis Nassitis at €26 compared to its retail price of €14, and Hatzidakis Santorini Assyrtiko at €38 for a bottle that will set you back €26 in a shop.

We started with deep fried vegetable balls, slightly reminiscent of the Indian dish pakora. These had a filling of tomatoes, aubergines and fava beans, and were well seasoned and cleanly fried. This was a simple but most enjoyable dish, served with yoghurt and a sesame paste dip (13/20). One dish that seemed surprising to see was a local pasta; we always think of pasta as Italian, but its origins are much disputed. The legend that it was brought back to Italy by Marco Polo from China sits uneasily with evidence that the Romans had a pasta called laganum, which probably came from Greece (Naples was a Greek province in ancient times). The truth is lost in the mists of time, but there are plenty of Greek pasta dishes. This particular one, after all that buildup, was just a touch softer than I would have have liked it, but was certainly pleasant and came with tomatoes that had plenty of flavour, lots of garlic and good capers (comfortably 12/20). I also enjoyed moussaka served in a clay pot, which was cooked to order (taking twenty minutes). It was interesting to try such a familiar dish and I thought that it worked well. The aubergine in particular had good flavour, the bechamel was well made and the dish was comforting and enjoyable (13/20).

Our waiter was very helpful and friendly, and moved from table to table switching languages as necessary. Our bill, with just soft drinks, came to €43 between two, so £19 a head. If you shared a modest bottle of wine and had dessert then a typical cost per person might be around £35. Overall I enjoyed Aktaion, which felt very authentic and seemed to me to be an honest, good value place on an island notorious for tourist traps.


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