Lavraki is a European sea bass, indigenous to the shores of Greece.
In France, they are called Loup or Bar, the Spanish call them Robalo, and in Italy they are known as Spigola or, more commonly, as Bronzino.
Lavraki is as prized for its elusiveness as it is for its distinct flavor, and is a favorite of spear fishers and coastal fishermen alike. By its very nature, it is a delicacy.
Along with the ways of reading the seas and the lore of navigating by the stars, Greek fishermen have been divining the mysteries of the lavraki since the ancient town of Pavlopetri stood on dry land. This knowledge has been passed down among the coastal fishers, father to son, for more generations than any of them can recall.
Lavraki is not the only fish the fisherman pulls up on his lines. It is not even the most rare of his catches. But no other fish is so close to his heart as the wily lavraki. The first time he sailed out of port on the morning tide, the first time he joined his father at the boat’s rail, it was a lavraki he remembers pulling off the line. And that night, when his father set his catch on the table, fresh from the oven, no fish was ever more delectable, sumptuous, unique or rarefied in its qualities.
For more than three decades, Costas Spiliadis has kept close ties to the coastal fishermen whose specialty it has been to find and harvest lavraki. On the one hand, this helps keep a long tradition of small fishing boats thriving on the Ionian and Aegean seas. On the other, it ensures that Milos is able to deliver this fresh delicacy to its diners.
The Milos kitchens can prepare Lavraki in a number of ways. Among these, none accents the particular taste of the fish more enticingly than the baked in salt method.
In Greece, Lavraki is a near mythical fish, ever elusive. When Greek journalists stumble upon a great story—snag that rare exclusive scoop—they call it a Lavraki.