Greek Cuisine. Greek food in Rhodes Island

The island of Rhodes can satisfy every gourmet because it produces various products of excellent qualities and the local cuisine is a real delight for the senses.  The dishes of the Rhodian gastronomy have got definite and savory tastes. Most of the typical traditional Greek food of Rhodes has its roots in the ancient “Dorian Rhodes” and reflects the old traditions in most of its offerings. “Athenaeus Nafkratios” (sophist and rhetorician who lived at the end of the 2nd to early 3rd century AD) in his book “Deipnosofistai” tells us that the Rhodians especially loved the fish soup and praised those who “ate fish and not meat”.Later in the medieval and modern times, people turned more to agriculture and livestock. The traditional dishes based mostly on fresh vegetables, olive oil, and local herbs and spices, the aroma of oregano, thyme, spearmint or rosemary will inebriate you.

Traditional Greek Meals and Menus in Rhodes

Traditional Rhodian Menus have three sections:

  1. The appetizers or starters “mezethes”.

  2. The main course (sometimes with a side dish, this is usually vegetables or even soup) and

  3. The Desserts.

The Rhodian meals may last one or two hours or even longer. Rhodians often go out for a long Sunday lunch with their families and restaurants will be lively. It’s a good chance to experience Greek Rhodian culture.

Ordering in a Restaurant

When you order your meal, it would be easier if you order by section of the menu. First your appetizers, then the Main Course and the drinks. Dessert is ordered at the end of the meal.

If you wish to order Fresh Fish “Fresko Psari”, then you ask to see the fish, and the waiter will take you to the place where the “catch of the day” is displayed, usually in the kitchen, or somewhere near the front of the restaurant. There you can inquire about what kind of fish is displayed, how much it costs per kilo (2, 20 pounds) and you order the quantity you want to eat. The waiters will give you the price information and the cooking details. The Rhodian waiters are very experienced, patient and more than eager to make your lunch a real pleasure (even during the high season when the island is packed with tourists).

If you order a Steak “Brizola” usually pork and beef, the waiter will ask you how you like your steak cooked. Rare “Me to ema” (only for the beef steak) outside is cooked, but the inside is still partially raw, Medium “Misopsimeni” (for pork and beef steaks) outside is cooked more thoroughly and the inside is cooked, but still slightly red, and Well done “Kalopsimeni” (for pork and beef steaks) outside is charred and the inside is completely cooked through.

Vegetarians. There are sometimes one or two vegetarian offerings, although if they are not on the menu you can usually ask for a vegetarian dish.

Local wines are part of the authentic Rhodian food experience. Most Rhodians drink wine, beer, or ouzo (a 40-proof clear alcoholic beverage that is flavored with anise) with their meal. There may be a house wine that can be ordered by the quarter, half, or full liter and will not cost much…. The wines of Rhodes are famous for their great taste and quality since ancient times because the wineries and distilleries of the island produce delicious wines from the island’s vineyards which are beneficing from the fertility of the soil and the constant sun.

The Rhodian Traditional Cuisine Today!

Appetizers - Starters - “Mezethes” (singular Mezes)

Just some of the “Mezethes” (small plates of tasty morsels) you will find in Rhodes. Sometimes you can order a variety of “Mezethes” dishes. This is usually fun and can be more food than you’d expect for the price!

  • Giaprakia - Stuffed Vines Leaves (or Cabbage Leaves) with Rice and Meat
  • Meliasti - Feta Cheese wrapped in Filo (Phyllo) and topped with Honey and Sesame
  • Avranies - Wild Asparagus, Onion, Lemon juice, Salt, Pepper
  • Karavoli Giachnisti - Snails in Sauce, Olive Oil, chopped Onions, chopped Tomatoes, Cumin
  • Fasolakia Barbunia - Green Beans Barbunia, Onions, Parsley, Tomatoes, red Peppers, Olive oil
  • Feta sti Shara - Grilled Feta Cheese topped with slices of Tomatoes, Mild Pepper, Oregano, and Olive Oil, wrapped in foil
  • Melitzana Psiti - Roasted Eggplant (sometimes with Garlic, Yogurt and Nuts)
  • Pitaroudia - Croquettes made of Chickpeas, or can be made also with Wild Mushrooms and Cumin
  • Pitaroudia me Kremythia - Croquettes with Onions, Tomatoes, Mint, flour
  • Gemista - Tomatoes and Peppers stuffed with a mixture of Minced Meat and Rice
  • Salata Epochis - Seasonal Salad using the season’s freshest ingredients
  • Skorthopsomo - Bread, Garlic and Olive Oil
  • Patates Tiganites - Homemade ‘hand cut’ Potatoes Chips
  • Salamogia - Myzithra Cheese, (unsalted soft cheese made from ewes’ milk) in Brine with Peppercorns
  • Soupiorizo - Risotto with Squid
  • Horta - Boiled Greens. Very healthy, with Lemon (or Vinegar) and Olive Oil
  • Garidaki Simiako - Little fried Shrimp (from Simi Island ) can be eaten whole
  • Marides - Small deep-fried Fish that can be eaten whole, heads bones and all
  • Rega - Smoked Herring in olive oil
  • Bacaliaros Skordalia - Cod in Garlic Sauce
  • Garides me Feta - Shrimp with Feta Cheese
  • Chtapodi Xithato - Marinated Octopus on a Tradition Greek Style
  • Mydia me Tomata Kai Skordo - Mussels with Tomato and Garlic

In Fish Restaurants...

Fish and seafood such as Sea bed, Tuna, Sea bream, Mullet, Bass, Halibut, Swordfish, Anchovies, Grouper, Sardines, Cod, Shrimp (Prawns), Octopus, Squid, Lobsters, and Mussels are consumed with great relish.

  • Rouzetia me Skorthalia Fried red small Fishes, with Garlic Sauce (only in Rhodes)
  • Psari Ahnisto Steamed fresh Fish with Oregano, Lemon juice, and Olive Oil (usually Grouper)
  • Psari sti Shara Fresh Fish on the Grill, with Lemon juice, and Oil (Sea bed, Sea bream, Swordfish)
  • Barbounia Red Mullet. Delicious grilled or fried
  • Psarosoupa Fish Soup. Potatoes, Lemon and Egg base
  • Kakavia A special type of Fish Soup with Fish Filet
  • Makaronatha me Thalasina Seafood with Pasta hearty with Shrimp, Mussels, Squid, and Octopus
  • Astako-makaronatha Lobster Pasta with Tomato, Wine, Onion, Olive Oil, and Cinnamon
  • Gemisti Supia Stuffed Squid with Feta Cheese / Vegetable, and baked in a Spicy Tomato Sauce

In Tavernas...

Lamb is often braised and stewed in casseroles with assorted vegetables and skewered and broiled while other meats such as Pork, Beef, Goat and Game are marinated, grilled, or baked.

  • Kouneli Stifatho Rabbit Stew, Wine, Onion, Garlic, Vinegar, Celery, Clove, Parsley, Basil, Olive Oil
  • Kapamas Goat baked in the oven with Beans or Chickpeas
  • Rifaki Backbone of Lamb or Goat stuffed with Rice and roasted all night long in a terracotta pot
  • Lacani or Chontros Meat and Wheat, Goat Meat or Lamb, Wheat, Tomatoes
  • Sikoti Kokino Red Liver, Goat or Lamb or Beef, Onions, Tomatoes, Oil, Garlic, Cumin, Bay leaves
  • Paithakia lamb chops (usually grilled)
  • Souvlaki Kotopoulo Small pieces of Chicken Meat (sometimes with Vegetables) grilled on a skewer. It served on a dinner plate, often with fried Potatoes or Pilaf
  • Souvlaki Chirino Small pieces of Pork Meat grilled on a skewer

Greek Traditional Desserts from Rhodes Island

The Rhodians use milk, egg, honey, local spices and fruits as ingredients for making desserts…

  • Yoghurt with Honey and nuts Yoghurt made from Goat or Sheep milk. Rhodian honey is famous over Greece for its good quality, aroma and outstanding taste; it’s also the highest in antioxidants according to a 2002 University of Thessalonica study
  • Xerotigana Archangelou Pancakes from Archangelos Village, Olive Oil, Orange juice, Lemon juice Soda Water, and Syrup
  • Talagoutes Pancakes with Honey, Walnuts, Sesame and Cinnamon
  • Baklava Ice-cream sweet pastry made of layers of filo (phyllo) dough filled with chopped Nuts and sweetened with Syrup or Honey and topped with traditional Ice-Cream slices
  • Moschopougina A sweet made of a thin dough stuffed with bread-crumbs, spices and nuts
  • Melekouni a local sweet like Nut Brittle which is made for weddings and baptisms
  • KataÏfi It is a traditional pastry that looks like it is wrapped in shredded wheat, made with Nuts on the inside and soaked in a Sugar or Honey
  • Loukoumathes Honey dumplings spiced with Clove and Cinnamon in a Honey Syrup and can be sprinkled lightly with powdered Sugar
  • Galaktobouriko Egg custard baked in filo (phyllo)
  • Sometimes there may be a choice of Seasonal Fruit, often whole fruit served in a bowl for you to select what you want

Getting the Bill

The waiter will almost never bring the bill until you ask for it. You may be the last people in the restaurant but the bill still doesn’t come. When you are ready for the bill, simply ask for “Logariasmo”. Restaurants accept credit cards 

Tipping in restaurants is customary and on average is around 15% above the bill, in some establishments it is already added but not in all.

Mediterranean Diet

International studies have recognized the value of the Greek cuisine. Launched in the early 60’s by the World Health Organization, the Seven Countries Study set out to examine the eating patterns of people from seven different countries: Greece, Italy, Serbia, Holland, Finland, the USA and Japan. This long-running study which lasted for 30 years showed that people living in the Mediterranean countries, Greece in particular, had lower mortality rates compared to the rest of the participating countries. The “secretes” to Health and Longevity were documented as the combination of a simple diet and regular physical activity, dubbed as the Mediterranean Diet.

Mediterranean diet Pyramid

  1. All plant foods (fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, legumes, seeds, olives and olive oil, herbs and spices) are placed in a single group at the base of the Pyramid, indicating that they should be the basis of most meals.

  2. The frequency of consuming fish and shellfish is increased to at least two times per week, indicating their multiple contributions to brain and reproductive organ health.

  3. Poultry, Eggs, cheese, yogurt, moderate portions daily to weekly, and

  4. Meats and Sweets less often.

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