Before traveling to Santorini, I had seen many pictures of Ammoudi Bay and knew I wanted to visit. Our lovely concierge, Tenia, was kind enough to book us a beautiful table at the Sunset Taverna Ammoudi, which might just have the best sunset view in Santorini!
Ammoudi is settled below the western tip of Oia, 300 stairs down at sea level. You’d think that walking down 300 stairs isn’t that bad, but these steps are wide, and made of cobblestones, and you also have to dodge donkey poo on the way down. It’s a long walk, but Ammoudi can be reached by taxi or personal vehicle, as there is some parking. The walk is tough, but it's worth the view.
When we finally reached the restaurant, we informed them of our reservation and were promptly seated at one of the best tables in house, right up against the water. I felt so terrible, as we obstructed the view of a couple behind us, but that was inevitable with the way the restaurant was set up.
We were shown the catch of the day and decided to make a selection. The fish is priced out by kg, similar to how it’s done at the grocery store - most are around 65 Euro per kg, which sounds like a lot but isn’t too bad. It was about 50 Euro for 8 of the fish which was accompanied by a side of vegetables. That still seems like a lot, but it’s about 25 euro per person for our main course when you break it down, which sounds much more reasonable. We ordered fried zucchini to start, along with a bottle of Santorini wine (22 euro - not bad!), fried fish, and steamed vegetables. A lot of fried food, I know. I’m not big on eating whole animals (just started eating meat off the bone a few years ago), so it took a little bit for me to get past the mental block of snapping fishes’ heads and tails off. Once I got over it however, I thoroughly enjoyed the food! So much, in fact, that we went back a second time.
The second time we went back (mainly for the tender, yet crispy fried zucchini if we’re being honest), was a different experience. The food was as good as the first time (if not better!), but the water was much rougher that night and the restaurant was nearly empty. We selected a seat near the heat lamp, instead of sitting right up against the water, which turned out to be quite possibly the best decision we made all trip.
As the sun set, the water grew more violent. Eventually the restaurant staff pulled down a clear plastic wall, which shielded us from the water. Even with the wall, some of the people at the tables near the water were still getting sprayed with a little water. Everyone's feet were getting wet as the water slid underneath the barrier. We watched in amazement as the waves grew rougher and the splashing grew higher. Across the small bay, the water splashed over 10 feet, and drenched restaurants, parked cars and motorbikes, and even pedestrians! We nervously watched a catamaran full of tourists who had just finished a sunset tour attempt to dock and eventually leave to dock on another point of the island where the water was more calm.
Our amazement turned to worry as our time to leave came. The bay is set up against a steep cliff, with only about 5 feet of walking space at its widest point and 2 feet at its most narrow. The entire walking path was now drenched due to the incessant crashing of the waves, so we had to time our movements just right so that we didn’t get hit by a wave and at the same time didn’t run so fast that we would slip in the water. It was dark at this point, and slipping into the rough waters would certainly result in disaster and quite possibly drowning, even for the strongest of swimmers. Nervously, we headed back to the lot on higher ground where our ATV was parked. We scurried quickly yet carefully across the bay, stopping at times to seek higher ground and avoid waves, and eventually managed to make it back to safety.