The Mediterranean coast is decked with plenty of beautiful cities, attracting millions of tourists every year. Besides the beautiful coastal landscape and laid-back ambience, Mediterranean cities also offer a different type of cuisine from most European cities. Rich and flavourful, they have more threads in common across the borders than they do within their own countries. The coast is life perhaps? Here’s a sampling of the kind of delicious Mediterranean food that awaits along the coast, that could plot a great route for foodies to travel in Europe – stomach first.
A Tour of the Best Mediterranean Food Along the Summertastic Coast
Mediterranean Food in Marseille, France: Bouillabaisse and Aioli Provencal Complet
Marseille’s charm lies largely in its Old Port, which has been in operation for over two millennia. Beyond the marvellous Calanques and majestic basilica perched on top of the hill, your trip to Marseille won’t be completed without having bouillabaisse. Bouillabaisse is fish stew and is a popular local delicacy.
Bouillabaisse fish stew. (CC BY 2.0 / Blue moon in her eyes)
The poor fishermen used the unsold parts of their catch to make bouillabaisse. But, today, this dish is made of fresh fishes which are directly bought from fishermen in Marseille. The traditional rendition of bouillabaisse consists of five types of local fish that produce rich broth.
Aioli provencal complet. (CC BY-SA 4.0 / Marianne Casamance)
Another fish dish that you must try is the aioli provencal complet, which consists of steamed cod (and/or other types of seafood), served with steamed vegetables and aioli. Marseille aioli is not exactly garlic mayonnaise — it’s a mixture of eggs, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil.
When in Marseille, consider staying at Best Western Hotel du Mucem. With an affordable price, Best Western Hotel du Mucem offers great access to public transport and major tourist attractions.
Where to Stay
Where to Stay during your Trip
Mediterranean Food in Naples, Italy
When someone mentions Naples, pizza is probably the first thing that crosses your mind. Neapolitan cuisine is essentially a balance of “cheap” ingredients and seafood. You might have known the classic must-haves in Naples, Italy: Margherita (tomato, mozzarella and basil) or Marinara (tomato, oregano, and garlic). These are all staples of a Mediterranean diet but have you heard of pizza fritta?
Pizza Fritta. (CC 0 / Carlo Raso)
Pizza fritta (deep-fried pizza) is essentially a fried pizza dough with the classic pizza ingredients (tomato sauce, mozzarella, and basil) either as the fillings or as the usual toppings. It is a famous Neapolitan street food as most street vendors have no access to a pizza oven.
During Christmas, Naples locals are having struffoli — honey-drizzled deep-fried balls topped with colourful sprinkles. Each marble-sized ball is sticky yet crunchy, making it a well-loved dish among children.
Struffoli (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 / Michael Bester)
The hotels lining the coastline of Naples are usually on the pricey side. Holiday Inn Napoli offers a reasonably priced room with an amazing coastal view. Pro-tip: choose a room on the top floors that overlook the Vesuvius and the Bay of Naples.
What to Eat in Barcelona, Spain
The Catalans will argue that Barcelona is not exactly Spain. It is no surprise then that Barcelona cuisine stands out from the rest of Spain.
The quintessential dish of Barcelona? Paella. Paella is one of Spaniard’s comfort food, a mix of rice and seafood. Back in the old days, the servants created this dish by using leftovers from feasts and banquets. Head to where the locals go for a solid plate of authentic paella with fresh seafood.
Paella. (CC 0 / Gilda Martini)
For those with a sweet tooth, mató is a must-try Catalan dessert. Mató cheese comprises of goat or sheep milk without using salt. This delightful treat served with honey and walnuts will please your taste buds.
Mató. (CC BY 3.0 / Tamorlan)
Stay at the Gates Diagonal Barcelona that boasts modern chic interior with spacious rooms. This budget-friendly hotel is a short walking distance from a metro station and the iconic La Sagrada Familia.
Where to Stay
Where to Stay during your Trip
Must-Try Food in Athens, Greece
Athens in Greece is a lovely getaway for history buffs and foodies alike. Before embarking on your temple hopping, kickstart your day with koulouri, a sesame-covered bread.
Unlike bagels, koulouri is not boiled, and it is best eaten immediately as it will harden just a few hours after being ready.
Koulouri. (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 / Nate Gray (cphotoj))
The next Athens street food on the list is tomatokeftedes, which is flavorful tomato balls, fried to perfection. They taste best with yoghurt (tzatziki) sauce. The locals and travellers usually eat them as appetizers. Tomatokeftedes don’t use meat, so vegetarians will definitely enjoy this (but take note: some tomatokeftedes use cheese for the filling).
Tomatokeftedes. (CC BY 2.0 / Klearchos Kapoutsis)
Central Athens Hotel is strategically located in the centre of Athens with The Acropolis only 1 km away — you should request a room overlooking The Acropolis. Alternatively, hop on to the rooftop bar to enjoy the sunset view of the Acropolis over the horizon. What an unforgettable experience!
Mediterranean Food in Valletta, Malta
Valletta may be Europe’s smallest capital city, but it has plenty to offer, including its cuisine.
It takes an adventurous foodie to try Malta’s national dish, stuffat tal-fenek, a rabbit stew slow-cooked in tomato sauce and vegetable.
Rabbit stew. (CC BY-SA 4.0 / Varaine)
Locals normally have it with fries, rice, and wine. An interesting fact about the origin of the dish: it is a symbol of resistance against the restriction on hunting imposed by the Knights of St John. When the ban was lifted in the 18th century, the popularity of the dish soared as the population of rabbits in the city did.
A perfect tea-time snack in Valletta is pastizzi, a savoury pastry filled with either ricotta cheese or mushy peas. Almost any busy streets across the city sell pastizzi so you can have it anytime you want. Pro-tip: enjoy them while they are warm!
Pastizzi. (CC BY-SA 4.0 / Christian Tan)
Relive a piece of history by staying at the Castille Hotel. You’ll get to enjoy the great view of Valletta as the building is located at the highest point of the town.