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Everything you need to know about Greece’s seafood

Greece ● 07 December 2018
 

Reading time: 4 minutes


Seafood in Greece

Read in this article everything you need to know about the exciting gastronomy in Greece. Key role in the Greek cuisine and its local dishes plays seafood. We gathered here all the sea species and the fishes that are eaten in many recipes and constitute a part of the culinary experience you can have on the Greek islands as well as in mainland Greece. Welcome in the foodies’ paradise!

The first thing you may think when eating in a traditional Greek tavern is that it serves weird plates you are afraid to taste. However, leaving Greece without having eaten some of its signatures foods is one of the biggest mistakes you will do! With sea all around, it is expected that the Greek cuisine used since the antiquity its ingredients to create unique recipes. They are delicious, and if you learn everything you need about them, their Greek name, how they are cooked, and which taste you should expect, one thing is for sure: you will look forward to trying them and broadening your culinary horizons!

Fresh fish

Fish is cooked in the Greek cuisine either grilled, when it is a big fish, or fried, when the fish is small. Some very small fishes are not cooked but rather marinated, being the Greek version of sushi! The big fishes, which are grilled, are served with a delicious sauce of olive oil mixed with lemon (ladolemono), which gives them an exquisite taste. Another technique to cook the fish is gouna. Fishes are sun-dried until they lose their water and humidity, and then, they are grilled. The prolonged exposure in the sun gives the flesh of the fish an incomparable taste and a unique texture.

Small-size fishes

The Greek sea has a large amount of small fishes that are cooked either fried or marinated.

Mediterranean sand smelt (=atherina) lives in the surface waters, and there is no chance you haven’t noticed it while swimming. It is fried and served with lemon.

Atherina

Picarel (=marida) is a little bigger than atherina. It is also fried and served with lemon. The most are eaten whole without having to remove their head and bones. 

Anchovy (=gavros) is a salty slender fish, which is eaten fried, but its taste is better if you eat it marinated (gavros marinatos). 

Gavros

Sardine (=sardela) is the most popular appetizer in low-budget traditional Greek taverns. It is prepared in a multitude of ways in the Greek cuisine, such as fried, raw with salt, grilled with fresh tomato or baked. 


Medium-size fishes

Red mullet (=barbouni) is the most popular medium-size fish in Greece, and it is considered as a delicacy, being one of the most expensive fishes. If it is small, it is fried, but bigger red mullets are grilled, drizzled with lemon. 

Barbouni

Striped red mullet (=koutsomoura) is the sister of red mullet and has the exact same taste. it is found mainly in the Saronic Gulf, and it is considered a rare and thus expensive fish. It can be fried, but -as it is bigger than the red mullet- it is often grilled.

Grey mullet (=kefalos) is not as delicious as red mullet, but it is also cheaper. It is grilled, but in many places all over Greece, it is baked in the oven with vegetables.

Mackerel (=kolios) is a very common -and thus cheap- fish, which can be eaten in various ways, such as grilled, fried, baked with tomato or salted. 


Sea bream (tsipoura) is one of the favourite fishes in Greece. It is served grilled with lemon juice.

Tsipoura

 

Big-size fishes

Haddock (=bakaliaros) is one of the most common fishes in Greece. It is usually fried, accompanied by a garlic dip (bakaliaros skordalia), or baked in the oven with potatoes. You can also eat it as a traditional soup.

For fish soup, is also used the red porgy (=fagri), but as it is a delicious fish, we recommend you to eat it grilled with lemon and olive oil sauce.

Sea bass (=lavraki) is also an excellent choice to eat it in a seaside traditional tavern, grilled accompanied by ladolemono and oregano.

In the exact way, are also served sfirida and sargos, large white fishes which have the same English name (white sea bream) as they belong to the same species with tiny differences, like red mullet and striped red mullet.

Sargos

Tuna (=tonos) is usually served smoked as a meze from the island of Alonissos, but you may also find it in gourmet restaurants served as ceviche.

Monkfish (=peskandritsa) is a very large fish with big mouth and sharp teeth. Although it is very ugly, it is one of the most delicious fishes in the Mediterranean. It is cooked in the oven as an extraordinary meze in elegant restaurants, or as a soup.

Skaros (parrotfish) is the opposite to peskandritsa as it is a happy, beautiful, multicoloured fish, which is served as a whole grilled with lemon.
Skaros

Swordfish (=xifias) is a very large fish, and thus it is sliced and served as a steak, but you may also find it skewered with peppers and onions (xifias souvlaki).
Trout (=pestrofa) is the last fish we want to talk you about. It is a fish, which lives in freshwater and not in the sea, and thus you can eat it in destinations with lakes, such as in Thessaly and Epirus (definitely not on the islands). It is baked with potatoes or smoked, served as an appetizer.
Sea urchin (=achinos)

The Greek name is achinos, and it is a true miracle for the lovers of the gourmet cuisine. Achinos lives on the rocky seabed of the shallow waters in Greece, and it is a sign that the sea waters are extremely clear. It is a small black animal with thorns that can harm you if you step onto it when swimming in the shallow waters as it is stuck on the rocks. What is eaten is the inside of the sea urchin, which is usually served in a shot glass making you feel like drinking the sea and its waves. Specifically, with a drizzle of lemon, it is eaten raw and reminds of oyster’s taste.


Octopus (=chtapodi)

A common dish in the Greek cuisine, especially on the Greek islands, is octopus. It is cooked grilled or boiled in wine and vinegar. Another popular recipe is pasta with short macaroni, octopus and tomato sauce. Chtapodokeftedes (octopus fritters) are made of minced octopus’ meat and delicious herbs, an alternative version of tomato fritters, which can be found on some islands, such as Rhodes.

Chtapodi


Ray (=salachi)

Salachi is a type of seafood, which belongs to the wider family of sharks, but it is of course not dangerous. It is served fried, but you can also eat it in a green salad.  Salachi is the main ingredient of a dish prepared mainly in Paros, salatouri. Salatouri is a gourmet dish with deep aroma and taste. It is actually a warm salad with ray, accompanied by oven-roasted, slowly cooked chickpeas that give the salad sweet taste.


Cuttlefish (=soupia)

Another popular seafood is soupia, a common relative of octopus and squid. Soupia is not grilled, as octopus, but stewed with wine, tomato, spinach and onions. It is served with pasta or risotto, which take a blue-black colour as soupia has ink, which is used for its delicious sauce.


Squid (=kalamari/ thrapsalo)

Squid is eaten grilled or fried served with lemon. The gourmet version of the squid is stuffed with rice, onions and nuts. Thrapsalo is a bigger species, close relative to kalamari, which is also cooked grilled or stuffed with feta cheese and tomato.

Kalamari


Oysters (=stridia)

A dish, which is considered to be very aphrodisiac, is the oysters and generally the shellfishes. They are served with their shell, and their inside is boiled in wine or a sauce with garlic and lemon. They are an amazing kickshaw with a taste literally coming from the sea.

There are many dishes with various oysters. Smooth clams (=gyalisteres) are eaten raw with lemon. Cockles (=kidonia) are eaten not only raw but also alive! Mussels (mydia) are the most common oysters, which are cooked and are not eaten raw. They are stewed in wine and garlic, but a signature Greek dish is also mydopilafo, which is risotto with mussels and herbs.

Oysters


Crab (=kavouri)

Crabs are ideal mezedes and are eaten grilled or boiled. Very popular is also kavourosalata, which is salad with crabs, carrots and mayonnaise. Delicious appetizer is also the fillet of crab, whose taste is something between shrimp and lobster, but a little bit cheaper. If you swim in the shallow waters near the rocks, you can see many small crabs walking on them!


Shrimp (=garida)

Very tasteful are also the shrimps. They are grilled, but you can eat them in a special dish with tomato sauce and feta cheese (garides saganaki), which combines various ingredients to create something unique. In many restaurants, you can also eat garidomakaronada, pasta with prawns in tomato sauce. On the island of Symi, there is a variety of shrimps (garidaki symiako), which is considerably smaller than the other shrimps, which are fished in Greece or imported. This small shrimp is always fried and has an exquisite taste.

Garida


Crayfish (=karavida)

Crayfish looks exactly like a shrimp, but much bigger even than a prawn. Karavides are grilled, drizzled with lemon, but the most common recipe with crayfish is pasta (karavidomakaronada), exactly like garidomakaronada. Crayfish is more expensive than shrimps, and they are usually served in luxury restaurants. Karavides are also eaten as an appetizer or salad, fried with mayonnaise.

Lobster (=astakos)

Another very expensive seafood is lobster. It is eaten grilled, but exactly like the crayfish, astakos is usually served with pasta (astakomakaronada) in a unique dish. Astakomakaronada is considered one of the most elegant pasta dishes in Greece, while lobster's fillet is one of the most expensive seafood dishes you can eat in Greece.

Fish roe (=taramas)

Taramas consists of the eggs of various fishes, such as bakaliaros. These eggs are cooked to create a white or red paste, which is then mixed with olive oil, lemon and onions to create taramosalata, a creamy dip ideal as a side dish for ouzo and tsipouro.

Taramosalata


Greek bottarga (=avgotaracho)

Avgotaraho from Mesologgi is one of the most eclectic deli Greek products. The Greek caviar is made from the eggs of the flathead grey mullet, and it is certified with a PDO status. This highly-prized meze is eaten raw accompanied by champagne, ouzo or tsipouro, but it is also served with pasta in a dish with extra strong taste.

Where to Stay

Villa in Kalamata, Greece Villa Teo
Villa Teo
Mikri Mantineia, 24100 Kalamata, Greece

Villa Teo is located in the popular resort of Mikri Mantineia, approximately a 15-minute drive away from the center of Kalamata. The nearest beach and restaurants are just a 4-minute walk away. Kalamata International Airport is a 20-minute drive away.

Hotel in Pelion, Greece Hotel Zagora
Hotel Zagora
Zagora, 37001 Pelion, Greece

Hotel Zagora is located in the beautiful, traditional village of Zagora in Pelion. Pelion Ski Centre is 20 km away. The seaside village of Agios Ioannis is 16 km away.

Pansion in Chalkidiki, Greece Pension Irini
Pension Irini
Ouranoupoli, 63075 Chalkidiki, Greece

The family-run Pension Irini is located 200 m from the beach and 10 minutes walk from the center of the historic town and a gateway to Mount Athos, Ouranoupoli. The port in Ouranoupoli is at 1 km. Thessaloniki Airport Makedonia is 116 km away and the lively center of the city is at 130 km.


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