Here in the Belmont-San Carlos area, there is a plethora of pizza, burger, and the ever-growing number of sandwich places. Sometimes it’s hard to find anything that isn’t American, but when you do happen to stumble upon one, it’s typically a great find.
This was the case with Santorini, a Mediterranean restaurant located at 753 Laurel St., San Carlos. Santorini is a quaint place that’s easy to miss or pass by during the day.
However, it’s a different story at night. You’d be lucky if you can even get a table. During rush hour, it’s loud and lively with the sound of people conversing and lamb sizzling on the grill. It’s something you have to experience. While it is a small restaurant with not a lot of room or tables, it’s only a problem if you come in with a large group or during rush hour.
The service was surprisingly quick. Since it is a busy restaurant, the waiters don’t interact much or create small talk, but they are very polite and respectful. The food was on my plate in about ten minutes — faster than most restaurants. Nothing was cold, and everything was hot. Be warned: heat is liberally used with the soup, so watch your tongue.
Onto the food, I tried two items: the “Kefte” plate (minced beef and lamb kabob with rice, greek salad, and tzatziki) and the “Spicy lamb wrap” (with lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, tzatziki).
Both come with soup with a choice of Greek salad or chips. While I didn’t try the salad, the chips are a must-have: they’re crispy and crunchy while not being overly salted like some brand name chips. They also had a drizzle of lemon, and it shocked me at how much better they tasted with it.
The soup was somewhat of a mystery. I knew two distinct things: it was really good, and it was really hot. It felt like summer all over again: warm, creamy, and hearty with bits of potatoes. It’s quite rare to come across a soup as delicious as this one.
The entrées themselves were phenomenal. I can confidently say that the lamb here is some of the best I’d ever had. The spicy lamb wrap was mildly spicy, with the lamb cut in small, savory, and extremely tender pieces. The crunchier lettuce and onions added a nice contrast to the tender lamb and soft pita. The tzatziki sauce helped with the spiciness, adding a lighter and more mild flavor.
The “Kefte” plate was essentially a sampler plate with loads of food. The rice was infused with saffron and bursting with flavors. The lamb was not spicy, so I was able to eat it in large quantities without the fear of needing to order another drink.
The entrées’ sizes were definitely worth their prices, with both being $11. Most of the entrées at Santorini are around $13 or $14, with only a few being over $20. There’s no need to worry about your wallet going empty.
Lastly, their dessert deserves a mention. Santorini serves just one item: baklava. They come in orders of four for $5. The pastry is warm, made of layers of filo, and dusted with powdered sugar. They were top-notch — a light dessert with just the right amount of sweetness. They are small, so after your large lunch or dinner, you will likely have room for these pillows of flavor.
Overall, Santorini is a restaurant that serves food full of flavor. The food is fairly-priced and well-worth every dollar spent. Just be wary that during rush hour, it’ll be packed and harder to get a table. It’s a great choice for a small group of friends or a quick lunch.