When it comes to food in Monemvasia, there are two main attractions – first of all the traditional regional recipes and secondly the excellent products from Laconia’s farms and the surrounding seas.
Throughout the municipality are restaurants and taverns offering typical Peloponnesian dishes of a high standard and at reasonable prices. Don’t miss the saitia (cheese and herb pies), goges (homemade pasta), and other dishes based on the delicious vegetables and excellent olive oil from the fields of Laconia, meat from local livestock breeders and fresh seafood from the Myrtoon Sea and Gulf of Laconia.
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.
Try one of the most delicious recipes, Laconians have been using for centuries:
Monemvasia Saitia (Small pies filled with greens and cheese)
750 g pastry flour
2 tbsp. olive oil
300 g lukewarm water
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp salt
500 g goat’s cheese
1 kg spinach
1 bunch kafkalithres (or other wild greens)
Half a bunch of dill
150 g olive oil
Mix the flour with water, salt, oil and lemon juice, kneading until you have a soft, pliable dough. Cover with a clean towel and leave for about half an hour. Divide the dough into 3 pieces and roll out into thin sheets about 70 cm x 70 cm. Cut each sheet cross-wise to make four equal squares.
Mix the greens with the cheese and the olive oil. Place 1/12th of the mixture on each of the 12 squares and fold to enclose the mixture. The dough should be thin enough so that the filling is visible. To avoid breaking up the pies when it comes to frying them, place each square on a plate before adding the filling, then turn the plate over to flip the pie into the pan.
The saitia must be cooked immediately, ideally on a very hot metal plate to make the dough crisp and the filling soft. Otherwise use an oiled non-stick frying pan over a moderate heat, frying the saitia for 4-6 minutes on each side until golden.