Greek Seafood – The Way Nature Intended
Hopefully you have had or will have the chance to enjoy fresh seafood in Greece. Greek seafood dishes are famous for their simplicity, yet full flavor. Enjoy with a little ouzo-it is a truly unforgettable experience, one of many you’ll have in this wonderful country.
Fresh from the Sea to Your Table
While overfishing has become a problem in Greece just as it has in many parts of the world, fresh seafood is still available there. Many restaurants will state whether your fish is fresh or frozen (kat), and if you’re only spending a holiday in Greece you must spend the little extra and go for fresh.
There are many different types of fresh seafood found around Greece. Being that much of Greece is surrounded by coastline, searching out seaside tavernas that serve traditional seafood dishes is not a problem.
Smaller fish such as mackerel (kolios), sardines (sardeles) and anchovies (gavros) can be eaten whole fried, grilled or even in sushi form after being marinated or crusted in salt.
Other tasty seafare includes squid (kalamari), octopus, sword fish (xifia), sea bream (sargos), sea bass (lavraki), cod, red snapper, tuna, lobster and shellfish.
Traditional Greek Seafood Dishes
While you should definitely try a variety of Greek fare whether you’re in the country or visiting a lovely Greek restaurant somewhere else in the world, there are a number of common dishes that tie back to Greece itself.
While waiting for your dinner, order mezethes to get started. Some traditional appetizers include grilled or fried kalamari, taramosalata-a fish roe salad-, fried anchovies or smelt and baked sardines with garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and oregano. Lakerda is another popular appetizer. This member of the tuna family is marinated in lemon and olive oil, usually for a few days before being served, and plated in half inch steaks. Most seafood dishes are served dressed with olive oil and lemon or vinegar.
If you’re in a traditional Greek taverna you may have the honor of choosing the fish you would like to have cooked for you and your guests. This is part of the memorable experience of dining out Greek.
Another popular fish dish is psarosoupa, or fish soup. This tasty egg and lemon broth soup is commonly served with potatoes, carrots and onions in the broth and the fish on the side, though you can get it in the soup. It’s not only healthy but tastes delicious.
If you have a hankering for shellfish, then you’ll be happy to find mussels and clams on menus around Greece, whether in Lesvos or Athens. They’re often steamed or cooked in saganaki with feta and tomato sauce. Shrimp are often done this way as well.
Fish dishes are often light in flavor, and are part of that famed Mediterranean diet consisting mostly of seafood and vegetables, though meats such as lamb are also common. Grilled fish is often served with fresh vegetables and rice, with olive oil, lemon and herbs like oregano and parsley.
If you’re lucky and feel like splurging test the lobster. While the lobster around Greece may not be as good as that found in the Atlantic it’s always a treat. Lobster in Greece is most commonly steamed.
Enjoy any of these fine Greek seafood dishes with ouzo or a glass of Greek wine and enjoy the tastes brought fresh from the sea. You can really enjoy the flavors when they’re not covered in rich sauces or buried in condiments. A little olive oil and lemon is all you need to enjoy something this good.
Popular Dishes From Greek Cuisine
Greek cuisine has some of the most flavorful, delicious, and unique dishes in the world. Greek cuisine is diverse and varied, but is characterized by the use of certain ingredients such as olive oil, olives, certain cheeses, vegetables, herbs, fish, wine, poultry, rabbit, lamb, and pork. Of those ingredients, olive oil is the one most frequently used in traditional Greek dishes. Filo pastry is often a common ingredient as well. If you’re looking for some delicious Greek dishes to try, here are a few classic dishes that you should definitely sample.
If you’re looking for a tasty appetizer to start with, try a traditional Greek salad. In Greece the traditional salad is called a village or country salad. It most often contains various types of lettuce with large pieces of tomato, fresh sliced cucumber, red onion, flavorful kalamata olives, and feta cheese. It may be dressed with olive oil or balsamic vinaigrette. One of the most famous dishes in the world is the Greek souvlaki. Souvlaki is a quickly-prepared food consisting of pieces of meat, often sliced from a large piece of rotisserie meat. The meat may be pork, beef, or lamb. Traditionally lamb is used.
The dish may include grilled vegetables such as tomatoes, onion, and cucumber as well. The dish is then dressed with a sauce called tzatziki, which is a mixture of yogurt, cucumber, onion, garlic, salt, olive oil, and sometimes dill. Souvlaki can be served on a skewer or in a pita sandwich known as a gyro. Most Greek restaurants serve these dishes on their menu at all times.
Like Greek Food?
The Mediterranean Sea is one of the most romanticized regions of the world, touching upon several different countries with widely different peoples, cultures, and cuisines. Greece is just one of the countries blessed by the bounties of the sea along with ancient ruins, majestic islands, and some of the best food in the world. Food and wine are among the most beloved aspects of Greek culture whether you are of Greek heritage or not. The influence of Greek cuisine can be witnessed the world over as you are bound to find an excellent Greek restaurant in just about every major city.
Some of the major ingredients of Greek food are equally ubiquitous: olive oil, lamb, potatoes, and seafood all feature prominently in Greek dishes. The fresh and bold flavours of Greek meals can be attributed to the variety of spices, meats, and vegetables you are likely to find. Though undoubtedly rooted in the indigenous plants and animals of Greece, the cuisine is also strongly rooted in health practices. For example, especially in ancient times, many Greek people believed that certain foods cured various illnesses. A popular soup made from chicken broth, lemon juice, eggs, and rice known as Avgolemono is thought to accelerate healing from colds or even to prevent illness. Yet for most of us, the attraction to Greek cuisine can simply be attributed to taste.
Popular desserts in Greece include Baklava and Loukoumades. Baklava is a Greek favourite that incorporates the popular Greek phyllo dough, nuts, cinnamon, and honey. Similarly, Loukoumades are basically Greek donuts made of deep fried dough that has been soaked in honey and cinnamon and often sprinkled with sesame seeds. However, when it comes to Greek food, the popularity of their desserts is easily surpassed by savoury dishes such as Moussaka, Souvlaki, or Dolmades.
Moussaka is somewhat like a Greek shepherd’s pie. This casserole contains eggplant, potatoes, red wine, onions, and beef or lamb to create a hearty meal well suited for a dinner during the cooler fall and winter seasons. Souvlaki, possibly the most popular Greek dish, is essentially a skewer of chicken, lamb, or beef seasoned carefully with spices such as oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper. Dolmades, on the other hand, feature vegetables such as onion, zucchini, eggplant, or tomato with our without meat. Generally, these stuffed vegetable dishes may be filled with rice, onion, parsley, herbs, and spices as well as raisins, currants, nuts, or pulses.
Any attempt to describe the entirety of Greek cuisine would be far too exhaustive to be contained within a few paragraphs. Greek food is diverse and flavoursome and benefits from the passionate nature the Greek have about their food. Greek food combines hearty vegetables, delicate spices, and various meets to create a delicious cuisine that is often imitated but never replicated.
Greece – The Wonders of Greek Food
Anyone who has ever been to Greece will smile knowingly whenever the topic of Greek food is brought up. There is nothing like Greek food anywhere else in the world. Full of fresh vegetables, unencumbered by spices that hide the flavor of the ingredients, and filled with beef and lamb dishes that will tempt any palate, there is something in Greek cuisine that will tempt anyone.
The best way to get a feel for Greek food is by understanding the food that makes up most of its dishes. Olives are huge in Greece. There are so many varieties of olives, that the Greek like to say that saying you don’t like olives is like saying you don’t like candy: if you don’t like one kind, there are plenty more to try from. From black olives to green, Kalamata to Peloponessos, there is something for everyone. Of course, when you think of olives, you have to think of olive oil, and this is an important part of Greek cooking as well. In fact, olive oil is used to cook almost all foods, and is used as salad dressing or garnish on other dishes as well.
Bread Is A Big Deal At Greek Meals As Are Fruits And Vegetables
Wonderful Greek bread is usually served at every meal, and is dipped in olive oil or the sauce of whatever you had for dinner. Local bakeries serve fresh, hot breads of all kinds and flavors.
Fruits and vegetables are always served fresh; the Greeks take great pride in their fruit and vegetables. Tomatoes are served with a great many dishes. It can often come stuffed with meat or rice and onions, or sometimes is just served plain with olive oil. Sometimes, they are even mixed with flour and egg, deep fried and called “tomato-keftedes.” Green peppers are another popular ingredient. They too can be stuffed with either rice or beef, or grilled and eaten plain.
Potatoes are another popular ingredient in Greece. They are found in stews, and are often made roasted with olive oil, onion, garlic, lemon, salt, pepper, and oregano. Potatoes deep fried in olive oil are often served as a side dish. The Greeks make liberal use of garlic and onion in their food. Fresh fruit, including figs, is a common dessert.
Greeks are big meat eaters. Lamb, beef, pork, chicken, and even goat and rabbit are all consumed regularly. Meat is often made with garlic, onions and potatoes.
Lamb Is Perhaps The Most Popular Meat Choice in Greece
Roast lamb is the meal of choice for Easter. Roast lamb and potatoes are a popular Sunday evening meal, and grilled lamb chops are popular anytime. Being on the Mediterranean Sea, it only follows that seafood is popular as well. Calamari, sardines and smelt are some of the more inexpensive fish eaten. Lobster is perhaps the most expensive. Before you eat fish in a Greek restaurant, you will often be encouraged to go back into the kitchen to inspect the fish and make sure it is fresh. It is there that you can decide what you want to eat. Octopus, mussels, shrimp and cod are other common Greek seafood choices.
For dessert, baklava, which is made from a special kind of dough called phyllo, is the most popular. It is made with nuts, honey, and sugar, and is a layered pastry.
Greek food offers something for everyone. It is also a very healthy cuisine, mostly because of the liberal amounts of olive oil in it. People in Greece, who eat a traditional Greek diet, have been known to live on average quite a bit longer than inhabitants of other countries. Greek food is tasty and good for your health and you won’t find a better combination than that.
Greek Food – A Review of Irodion, Breda
There is a Greek restaurant at the top of our street, which is perhaps why we had not noticed Irodion before, since it involves a bit more walking. Walking to the restaurant is no problem but it can be a slower walk home if you are full of delicious Greek food!
This restaurant is close the Grote Markt (large market) in Breda. We ventured in and it seemed to be quite busy, which is usually a good sign with restaurants. We were each given a glass of ouzo to begin with and we enjoyed that while we checked the menu. The menus are in Dutch so unless you are very familiar with Greek food names you will need to take a native along with you (like I did!)
You can order wine by the glass. The red Imiglykos is delicious and the Retsina is pretty good too. Some Retsinas taste overwhelmingly of pine and not much else but this one was well-balanced.
Looking around us we decided against ordering starter recipes because the main meals seemed to be rather large. I tend to order moussaka when I go to Greek restaurants, purely because I enjoy it and because a lot of the other options seem to be big plates of meat and I do not like to eat too much meat at one time.
The Main Meals
I fancied a change so I opted for the stifado with Greek potatoes on the side. My partner chose the Rhodoschotel which is lamb chops and Gyros meat underneath. Stifado is a typical Greek stew which can be made with any kind of meat, poultry or seafood but this one was made with veal. Stifado recipes usually feature plenty of pearl onions. The flavor was very good.
The veal was so tender it fell to pieces (which is always great!) The sauce contained cinnamon, garlic, red wine, tomatoes and more. It was perhaps slightly too sweet (too much sugar added to it perhaps) but that was my only complaint. The Greek potatoes were little round potato balls with oil and herbs on. They tasted thawed so I would order fries next time.
The food came quickly. It was hot and well presented and the portions were generous. We found the service in Irodion very professional and friendly.
We both enjoyed our main meals very much. We had a look at the dessert menu but everything was served with vanilla ice cream (something I find so boring!) and there was nothing that looked especially inspiring, so we decided to go elsewhere for dessert.
Although you can make Greek dishes like this Greek salad recipe easily, it is still nice to eat out and have someone else make the dishes for you.
On the whole, Irodio
Greek Wines – The Nectar of the Gods
Have you ever wondered where the reference to wines being the “nectars of the Gods” comes from? It comes to us from the myths of ancient Greece of course where wine was revered as part of many ancient religious festivals known as Bacchanals and where it was a wonder potion that was also known to restore virility, bestow mortality and revive the dead.
Perhaps this ancient culture had a clue as to how healthy red wine really is for you and that is why their citizens revered it so much. In fact the reason that many Westerners seek out eating in a Greek restaurant such as the beautifully rustic Niko’s Greek Taverna in White Plains, New York is to sample the healthy wines which also have the well-known side effect of making you feel quite euphoric, robust and nicely settled as well.
Greece in general boasts an extensive roster of popular wines that features classic wines from Nemea, Pelopponese and other famous regions in the southern part of the country. These wonderful wines feature grapes grown in salty seaside air on mountain slopes. The best Greek wines are made of different Greek grape varieties such as mavrodaphne, moschofilero, agiorgitiko, assyrtiko, moscato and xinomavro and you can sample them in restaurants like Niko’s where the management goes to the trouble of collecting the very best Greek Wines possible.
Dionysus – The Greek God of Wine.
They say that whenever you drink red wine you are getting in touch with the spirit of the Greek God Dionysus. He is the ancient Greek God of the grape harvest and the ruler of madness, ecstasy, festivals, celebrations, eating well and the theater. Aside from grapes and a big goblet of wine he was also strongly associated with Satyrs – the mythological half man, half goat creatures that were known for being overly romantic.
Once you get over the drama, the romance and the exaggerations in the Greek myths you realize that in the end, drinking red wine is about what it always has been – celebrating and having a good time with your loved ones!
The Famous Wines of Greece
If Dionysus had favorite wines back then they would have probably been wines that come from the Pelopponese region that has a history of wine cultivation that goes back as far as 7,000 years. The wines made here come from seaside vineyards that climb the slopes of nearby mountains. Two amazing ancient grape varieties, known as the Agiorgitiko and the Moschofilero come from this area.
Argolida is a region in the northeastern part of the Pelopponese that is also known for excellent wine made from Agiorgitiko grapes. The Meden Agan, which was invented in 1979, is now one of the most famous contemporary wines in foodie history.
In Mantinia which is at a higher elevation than Nemea there is a deep-soiled plateaus at 600 meters above sea level that produces fine wines made from at least 85% Moschofilero grapes. One of the most famous of these nectars is a wine named Cambas.
More contemporary wines come from the region of Nemea which is in the southern part of the country. It is famous for the Agiorgitiko grape which is grown in a mountainous zone. Nemea is one of the oldest cities in ancient Greece and a place where many bacchanals were held in honor of the Greek God Dionysus.
There are many more regions in Greece that historically supplied a nectar to humans that was also fit for Godly consumption.
By the way olive oil was also considered to be one of the nectars of the Greek Gods. No wonder red wine just seems to go down so well with so many of the great tapenades, salads, breads and spreads that are associated with traditional Greek cuisine.