Ornos restaurant

Last night we went to dinner at Estiatorio Ornos. This is a new Greek Isle inspired Michael Mina Restaurant in San Francisco (There is one in Miami too). I am of Greek ancestry and am very picky about Greek food. Greek Island food is rustic by nature and it’s beauty can be overshadowed if it’s too refined. Ornos successfully found the balance between rustic and refined and we thoroughly enjoyed our meal. There was a tasting menu which we contemplated for about $115 PP but decided to get a variety of starters instead. Here is what we ate:

TARAMOSALATA bottarga, lemon, olive oil- I grew up eating Tarama (when I was a child my mom would send me to school with Tarama on wonder bread sadwiches). It’s one of my favorite foods on the planet. This tarama was made with bottarga (usually made with canned carp roe). It was excellent-creamy and well balanced and delicious. It came with excellent house made pita bread.

SEA URCHIN lemon, chives, aleppo pepper- Excellent. I am inspired to try and recreate this combination at home.

SCALLOP CRUDO brokaw passion fruit, olive oil, lava salt- Scallop was very fresh. Not the hugest passionfruit fan but the combination was successful.

KALAMARAKIA crispy monterey calamari, spicy tomato sauce- I LOVE good fried squid but they almost always are disappointing, usually just very crunchy and flavorless. These were spot on. They had just the right amount of soft chew to counterbalance the crispiness and the calamari themselves tasted very fresh and delicious. They came with two sauces for dipping. I wasn’t wild about the tomato sauce but liked the tarragon tarter sauce.

GRILLED OCTOPUS santorini capers, gigante beans, red onion - Very satisfying and well done.

VEAL SWEETBREADS ‘GLYKADIA’ whipped ‘spanakopita’- Excellent

‘SPANAKOPITA’ spinach, crispy phyllo, goat cheese- A salad that was a deconstructed spanakopita (ubiquitous greek spinach phyllo pie). Layers of fresh spinach, goat cheese and buttery phyllo pastry with a red wine vinaigrette. I was skeptical but it was surprisingly successful. The flavors of the first bite did evoke spanakopita in my mouth. The phillo pastry pieces were almost like croutons. The acidity of the vinaigrette elevated the butteryness of the phyllo.

STEAMED WILD GREENS amaranth, spinach, chard side dish. Good, but perhaps the least successful dish of evening. Needed a bit more seasoning and/or acidity.

We felt like the amount of food we ordered was perfect for two people and the food came out too about $150 total which was not inexpensive but considering the high quality of the meal was perfect.


Lovely meal. No dessert and raki/tsipouro/tsikoudia for afters?

I hope you got some nice Greek olives and (Cretan) olive oil alongside.

Santorini capers are not uniform (wild and hand picked) and quite a bit more salty than all other capers in brine. I got a small jar for over 5 euros and that was on Santorini, pretty much the only place you can find them. Couldn’t find any in Crete so glad I got a jar before leaving Santorini.

On Santorini the most typical octopus dish is usually served with “fava”, an expensive ingredient that’s only found on the island. Giant beans are a good alternative.

The top meze/side dish on Santorini.


We were very tempted by dessert but were pretty full by that point.

Fava is a delicious dip made with yellow split peas. I think of it like Greek hummus. I have a couple of different recipes to make it, I can post them. It’s easy to make and has a very satisfying bitter/smoky flavor.

The meal looks and sounds fabulous!

I wish you would post your fava recipes! I had it in Montréal nearly three years ago and have never forgotten how wonderful it was. Would love to be able to make it myself!

I haven’t made fava in a while but will make up a batch soon. I have a couple of different recipes, this is my favorite one. I forget where I got it from, I got it ages ago.


  • 1 pound fava (about 1/2 kilogram). These are not broad beans but yellow split peas.
  • 2 whole onions chopped
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • Lemon
  • Parsley


1. Rinse the fava.

2. Boil the beans together with the onions and 6-7 cups of water for about 1 ½ hour.

3. Pass it through a food mill or puree sieve.

4. Put the puree in the pot again and warm up, add some salt, pepper and about ¼ cup of olive oil. Let it come to a boil for a few minutes.

5. Serve with some chopped raw onion, parsley and lemon.


Thank you!