The cuisine of Monemvasia, Vatika and Zarakas is distinguished by the simplicity in which the dishes are prepared in order to highlight the natural goodness of the ingredients.

Locals have become used to the freshest products and avoid heavy sauces that mask the natural aromas of vegetables, meat and seafood.

So the recipes are simple, easy to follow, healthy and above all, delicious!

In the righthand column are just some of the recipes Laconians have been using for centuries.

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Sea bream fillet sauted

Monemvasia is famous for its excellent olive oil, fresh fish from the Gulf of Laconia and the Myrtoon Sea, not to mention its wonderful orchards and vegetable gardens.

Here is a recipe from the prize-winning KINSTERNA HOTEL & SPA and its Chef de Cuisine Giorgos Hapsas, inspired by the natural produce of Laconia.

Sea bream fillet, sauted and marinated in lemon pepper and olive oil, on a bed of wild greens from Mt. Parnon, poached local vegetables with a butter cream and lime sauce.


  • 250 g sea bream fillet
  • Lemon pepper
  • 300 g wild greens in season
  • 50 g carrots
  • 50 g broccoli
  • 50 g zucchini
  • 50 g finocchio

For the sauce

  • 100 g white wine
  • 30 g tarragon
  • 30 g peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 100 g fresh cream
  • 100 g butter
  • 30 g lime juice


Start with the sauce. Put the wine, tarragon, pepper and bay leaf into a saucepan over a high heat until the liquid has been reduced by two thirds. Remove the remaining third from the heat and add the cream. Return to the stove and the minute it comes to the boil again, remove and add pieces of the butter while it is still cold, gradually, stirring constantly. When all the butter has been absorbed, add the lime juice. Leave aside.

Place the fish fillet in a baking dish and sprinkle liberally with olive oil, season with the lemon pepper and a little salt and set aside to marinate.

Chop the vegetables into small pieces according to preference and cook for 5-7 minutes in boiling water. Then boil the greens. Remove from the heat and keep lukewarm.

Heat a little oil in a frying pan and sear the fish well on both sides.
Then return the fish to the baking dish and place in the oven at 180 C for seven minutes.


To assemble, place the greens in the centre of a large serving dish, encircled by the vegetables. Place the fish fillet on top and cover well with the sauce.
If desired, add a little freshly grated pepper.

Onion tart with goat and olives

Tarts are not Greek dishes, but this one is made with typical Greek ingredients, using goat milk butter and olive oil to make a brise pastry.

The use of these two ingredients together has long been a habit in this region. One can say that the food is cooked in olive oil and flavoured with small amounts of goat milk butter, a healthy and tasty combination of both resources, since more olive oil than butter is used.


You will need:

pastry ingredients :
250g all-purpose flour
70g olive oil
50g water or milk
1 egg
20g goat milk butter
1 teaspoon salt

filling ingredients :
250g Vatika onions (sliced and fried)
100g touloumotyri cheese
250g fresh goat’s cheese
3 eggs
100g milk
120g olives (stones removed)
fresh oregano



Place the flour in a deep bown, make a well in the centre and add the olive oil and goat butter.  Using your fingers, mix well, add the remaining ingredients and knead lightly until a dough is formed.  (Don’t over-knead as we don’t want it to be too elastic.) Wrap the dough in clingwrap and refrigerate for half an hour.
Then place the dough between two sheets of greaseproof paper and roll out a thin pastry. Place it in a tart tin, cover with a yellow (not green) baking paper and cover with uncooked rice. Bake at 170C for 15 minutes, then remove the paper and the rice.

Spread the filling over the pastry and bake for another 30 minutes until golden. You can skip pre-baking the pastry but the tart won’t be as crisp.
The tart can also be made in a round, 24-26cm pie dish.