Anytime you can see fisherman coming to a restaurant to eat the fish, you know you have found the real deal. Run by the Kounelas family since before anyone can remember, this quaint fish restaurant is a hidden treasure of Mykonos. With outdoor seating in a postcard-perfect courtyard and garden, shaded by an ancient fig tree, diners can enjoy the freshest fish in Mykonos at the most reasonable prices.
Finding Kounelas is half the fun. Tucked away in the most labyrinthine part of the old town of Mykonos, it is almost a guarantee that you will make new friends asking for directions. Once you do find it, watch the action on the immense grill, open to the street for viewing. Served daily by the fishermen who haul their catch up to Kounelas, and then stick around when they get hungry because no one else in Mykonos cooks fresh fish as they do at Kounelas, the difference freshness makes will astonish you.
Choosing the fish you want to sample is a matter of careful selection. The array of fresh caught fish are laid out for the diner at Kounelas and all are delicious. The most popular choices are the sea bass (lavraki) and the sea bream (sargos) , large plump fish with flavourful flaky white flesh. Swordfish (xifias) and mackerel (kolios) are also excellent when grilled, having fewer bones and meatier texture. Once you have made your selection, a simple matter of pointing and nodding, the fish are grilled to perfection, drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper.
While you’re waiting for your fish to cook, enjoy a glass or two of the homemade house white wine, a crisp and refreshing complement to the fish appetizers. Grilled sardines (sardeles) are an excellent starter, anchovies (gavros) and smelt (merides) are also an excellent choice to begin the meal. All three are slightly smaller than the other, so it will really depend on how hungry you are. It may be important to note that sardines are served with the heads cut off, smelts and sardines with the heads on. Grilled octopus (calamari) tenderized and served with a squeeze of lemon and a tzatziki (yogurt-garlic-cucumber) dipping sauce is a treat that can’t be passed up. A meal of hand-picked fresh fish, accompanied by bread, salad and wine, enjoyed in a shady courtyard and served by friendly staff, this is the Kounelas experience that has made visitors to Mykonos sigh with contentment time after time.