“No good fish goes anywhere without a porpoise.”
Recently my family was lucky enough to travel to Greece and explore the wonderful Islands, history, and more importantly partake in some delectable eating adventures throughout Mykonos, Santorini, Ornos, and Athens. Being that Greece is surrounded by water, I made it my ultimate goal during the trip to try as many types of fish as possible before we had to leave. During the trip I indulged in the devouring of Gavros (small bait-like fish), Grouper, Sea Bream, Scorpion Fish, and two different varieties of Sardines. In this fish inspired article, I will list the fish from best to worst, give a description of each one, and reveal to you which restaurant each sea-delicacy was eaten at.
1. Grilled Sea Bream (on a boat in Mykonos in the middle of the Aegean Sea!). After a long day swimming and exploring the glassy, clear, blue Aegean Sea, we were ready for some sustenance in the form of food. As the abundant salt dried and crisped our hair and the sun roasted our necks and back, we received our glorious fish. Deep beneath the grilling plate gracefully emerged two crunchy-skinned, tender-bellied Sea Bream. The Sea Bream was crisp and salty (like the sea) on the outside and was balanced perfectly with the tender, buttery, “melt-in-your-mouth” meat of the fish. A winner on all fronts!
2. Gavros (served to us at Apaggio Restaurant in Ornos). Let me start by saying that if you ever see the word Gavros on the menu of a restaurant that you are at, don’t think, just order them. Don’t look at any other options, just get Gavros. They are a delicacy that should be seldom turned down for any reason. Gavros are a small bait-like fish, about the size of a cigar which are simply thrown into boiling olive oil and fried to a crispy, oily perfection.
The Gavros are served in a steaming, salty heap and can be eaten as if they were popcorn. A true delight when you can get your hands on them! Unfortunately there was one “bad” Gavros, which I proceeded to spit out onto my moms plate after I bit into it. The “bad” Gavros was a dark brown on the inside, and did not taste like the other fish on the plate.
3. Grouper served two ways (from Dimitris Ammoudi Taverna in Santorini). The grouper was wonderful. The staff at Dimitris graciously welcomed us into their fish-filled kitchen to pick out what fish we wanted to dine on that night.
We decided on the Grouper and were urged to try both cooking styles of the fish. They cut in the fish into equal halves and decided to grill one half and steam the other half amongst an abundance of garlic and other flavorful spices. The grilled half was relatively tasteless and plain, but the garlicky steamed half was off the charts. The soft, supple, tender meat was delicately infused with the perfect hint of garlic and spices and served warm.
4. Sardines (from Sea Side by Notos). Although a fish served around the world, surrounded by the hot black sand beaches of Perivolas, Santorini the Sardines just seemed to taste better. The small and utterly delicate fish seemed to be grilled after being rubbed with a specially picked out variety of spices and then served succulent and moist. The fish didn’t contain a ton of meat, but was extremely flavorful and fell off the bone very easily.
5. Scorpion Fish (from Remezzo Restaurant in Mykonos). Said to be only located off the coast of Greece, Scorpion Fish is served at many restaurants and is the mascot fish for a number of places in Mykonos Town. The Scorpion Fish was presented in an extremely beautiful way, but unfortunately I am unable to say the same about the taste of the fish. The fish was slightly tough, tasteless, and slightly cold. It was not soft and buttery, but hard, brittle, and gelatinous. The living Scorpion Fish is truthfully a frightening sight and unfortunately, so was the cooked fish.
6. Sardines (from Apaggio Restaurant in Ornos). Unfortunately, these Sardines were awful. The Sardines were mashed, then fried. The appearance of the mashed Sardines reminded my mother of squished mice. As a result of the squished demeanor of the Sardines, the bones and scales were all crushed into the actual meat, resulting in a night of choking on bones and scratchy throats. The Sardines themselves had no flavor what-so-ever, and were charred beyond belief. A low point in my fish adventure…
Overall, it proved very interesting and delicious to scout out Greece to discover its many wonderful fish selections, and I hope you stay tuned for a number of other Greek Food Reviews! I would like to add that in addition to eating fish, my brothers, my father and I also had fish pedicures! The fish ate the dead skin off of our feet and left them soft and supple (now your know why I left this to tell you last! It was gross!