Kefalonia - Greece

Posting here as nearest to Greece I can find, boards wise.
have week in Kefalonia coming up. straying about 10/15 mins from Fiskardo in the north. Never visited the island previously.
All any ideas welcome. Am expecting wonderful seafood, but squid and octopus particular favourites of mine.
Thanks in advance.


I will just say, specify calamarakia freska (fresh), so you don’t end up with frozen Asian calamari, which is often the calamari offered because it’s cheaper for everyone.

I haven’t been to Kefalonia yet. My cousin’s wife is from Kefalonia. I have enjoyed her Kakavia, which is a simple fish stew, sometimes including potato, which you should see on menus.

Mandolato, an almond nougat, is a specialty from a neighbouring island, and should be found in Kefalonia.

I look forward to hearing about your meals! Nice time to visit :slight_smile:

My suggestion for a “Rest of Europe” forum never found favour.

Believe it or not, the correct forum for Greece is “Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Rest of World”.

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@willowan here is the most recent comprehensive post re Greece, with some information that works throughout Greece.

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Thank you - what a brilliant thread to whet the appetite !
Will octopus tend to be fresh - or is there frozen danger there too ?
Finally - how about totani ? I’ve never had it outside of the south of Italy. The totani with fresh pasta I had in a small cafe off the beaten track in Positano remains one of my best meals ever :slight_smile:

Wouldn’t hurt to ask for oxtapodi freska. I don’t know if restaurants might use frozen these days. I use frozen octopus that’s caught, cooked and frozen in Spain, and it’s quite a good product, that can be grilled. I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a good frozen octopus and fresh octopus.

I’m not sure how much you’ve travelled in Greece previously. Look for psarotavernas, that specialize in seafood. They often are located near the shoreline or marina.

I’ll take a quick look at Kefalonia
to see which ones pop up.

Isnt it the case that frozen items must be specified on the menus in Greece, as in Italy?
We didnt run into problems with frozen stuff when we were there but I think I did see menu specifications.

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In my limited experience,it was not clear when calamari had been frozen, unless I asked.

The go-to, in my experience, if you order fried calamari without specifying, would be frozen.

Fresh calamari cost a few Euros more.

Greece operates quite differently than Italy, in some ways.

I would expect Michelin Starred restaurants to let their clients know. I would expect calamari at regular taverna likely be imported, if not specified.

I would also ask about the shrimp. There are local shrimp, but they cost more and might have seasons.

The Mediterranean is a fairly sterile sea at this point, with many much less local fish and seafood available than in the past.
I think squid is one thing that is frequently sourced from Asia, tho my fish store here says actually a lot of our New England Squid winds up getting sent to asia for repackaging and sale globally. Sad its so industrial isnt it? Personally I prefer to order fish I know is local that I cant get here in NYC when I travel. things like the variou redfish types which are delicious in Greece but not good here, moscardini in italy, etc. Fried squid and “mixed seafood” are always going to be problematic IMO . When we were in greece we ate at very good places, but certainly not Michelin grade and, except in Athens, English language skills to have discussions with service staff could not be assumed.

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I speak a bit of Greek and I can read Greek. My experiences were in Athens, Piraeus, Santorini, Crete, Mykonos, Rhodes, Pyrgos, Thessaloniki and Lesvos.

It certainly is possible to get local squid, octopus and shrimp in Lesvos, Rhodes and Santorini. I can’t say I tried to specify while in the bigger cities.

Speaking a little Greek helps, of course.

Greeks love red mullet, and it’s expensive. The price is usually set out by weight, as one often sees in Italy. I don’t like red mullet enough to pay a premium for it. I usually stick to shellfish, or fin fish one can find in NYC or anywhere in the Mediterranean, like sardeles, marides, sea bream and sea bass.
There is a lemon-cured fish I like, that is found in the Aegean.

It also helps just to learn to recognize words in the Greek alphabet, even if you don’t know the language. Psarotaverna, for example, is ψαροταβέρνα
ψ = ps
ρ = r
β = v (not b)
ν = n

Or, calamari: καλαμάρι
λ = l
μ = m

A point-and-click translation program like Google Translate or Google Lens is very useful, of course.

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yes! rhings have advanced since I was in greece!