Some of the links might be affiliate links and, at no extra cost to you, we earn a small commission. See our disclaimer for more info.
Greek cuisine is one of the most popular and well-loved cuisines in the world. It’s known for its use of fresh, healthy ingredients, bold flavors, and traditional recipes that have been passed down for generations. If you’re a food lover, then you need to try traditional Greek food.
Here, we will explore the best traditional Greek foods to try in Greece, including traditional dishes, fast food, and street vendors. I’m both a Greek and I love good food, so hopefully this Greek food guide will be useful!
Want to discover the delicious traditional food of Greece? From mouthwatering moussaka to savory spanakopita, you’re in for a treat!
In a Nutshell
- Don’t leave Greece without trying:
- Best food tours in Greece
- In a Nutshell
- Best Traditional Greek Foods to Try in Greece
- 1. Saganaki
- 2. Dolmadakia
- 3. Kolokythokeftedes (Zucchini Balls)
- 4. Bougiourdi
- 5. Keftedes (Meatballs)
- 6. Tomatokeftedes (Tomato Meat Balls)
- 7. Fava
- Pites (Pies)
- 8. Spanakopita (Spinach Pie)
- 9. Tyropita (Cheese Pie)
- 10. Kotopita (Chicken Pie)
- 11. Bougatsa (Cream Pie)
- Aloifes (Dips)
- 12. Tzatziki
- 13. Tyrokafteri (Spicy Feta Dip)
- 14. Melitzanosalata (Eggplant Dip)
- 15. Taramosalata (FIsh Roe Dip)
- Main Dishes
- Meat Dishes
- 19. Moussaka
- 20. Pastitsio (Greek Lasagna)
- 21. Soutzoukakia (Smyrna Meatballs)
- 22. Kokoras krasatos (Greek Coq au Vin)
- 23. Souvlaki (Meat Skewers)
- 24. Gyros
- 25. Lamb Kleftiko
- 26. Giouvetsi
- 27. Paidakia (Lamb Chops)
- 28. Stifado
- 29. Makaronia me kima
- 30. Pastourmadopita
- Seafood Dishes
- Vegetarian Dishes
- 37. Beans: Fasolada, Gigantes, Mayromatika, Fasolakia
- 38. Imam Bayildi
- 39. Lachanodolmades (Stuffed Cabbage Rolls)
- 40. Chickpeas
- 41. Briam
- Easter Dishes
- Local Dishes
- 50. Baklava
- 51. Loukoumades
- 52. Galaktoboureko
- 53. Ravani
- 54. Samali
- 55. Amygdalota (Greek Almond Cookies)
- 56. Halvas
- 57. Kataifi
- 58. Giaourti me Meli
- 59. Pasteli
- 60. Spoon Sweets
- 61. Ellinikos kafes (Greek Coffee)
- 62. Frappe (iced coffee)
- 63. Freddo
- 64. Greek Wine
- 65. Retsina
- Essential Ingredients in Greek Cuisine
- Greek Tavernas
- A Rich and Diverse Cuisine
- Pin It Now,
Read It Later
Best Traditional Greek Foods to Try in Greece
Greek cuisine is a melting pot of flavors, textures, and aromas that captivates the senses. The Mediterranean climate and fertile soil have made local Greek food a vibrant celebration of fresh ingredients, bold spices, and robust flavors. Appetizers are some of the most popular Greek foods that are loved all over the world.
One of the best things about Greek appetizers is their versatility. Whether you’re having a meze platter with friends or starting a big feast, there is always an appetizer that can suit your taste. Some of the most famous Greek appetizers include spanakopita, dolmades, tzatziki, saganaki, and fava.
Saganaki is a popular Greek appetizer that is made with a variety of cheeses, including feta, kefalotyri, and halloumi. It’s named after the small frying pan (saganaki) that it’s traditionally cooked in. The dish is thought to have originated in the Middle East and was brought to Greece by Ottoman Empire influences.
Greeks typically eat saganaki as a meze or appetizer, and it’s often served with lemon juice, tomato sauce, or honey and sesame seeds. The distinct way it’s prepared involves frying the cheese in a hot saganaki until it’s golden brown and crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside. The dish is usually served hot and shared among friends or family.
For a traditional experience, head to a local Greek taverna like Scholarcheio in Plaka when visiting Athens, where you can find numerous restaurants serving saganaki. Traditional food markets like the Varvakios Agora in Athens offer a glimpse into the local food culture where you can find authentic ingredients to make saganaki at home.
Read also: Best Time to Visit Greece
Dolmadakia, or stuffed grape leaves, are a beloved dish in Greek cuisine. Originating from Asia Minor, the alternative name “yalantzi” of dolmadakia is derived from there. Greek refugees of the coast of Asia Minor brought the dish to Greece.
Greeks typically eat dolmadakia as a mezze, a small dish meant for sharing before the main course. The main ingredient is grape leaves, which are stuffed with a mixture of rice, onions, herbs, and sometimes ground meat. The dish is then cooked in a pot with lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil, making it a flavorful and healthy option.
In modern times, dolmadakia have become a popular dish in Greek restaurants worldwide, and they are listed as one of the traditional dishes of Greek cuisine.
The dish is prepared by soaking the grape leaves in cold water and then filling them with the mixture. They are then rolled up into small parcels and arranged in a pot. Once cooked, dolmadakia are typically served cold with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of fresh herbs.
Read also: Ranking the Best Greek Islands for Beaches
3. Kolokythokeftedes (Zucchini Balls)
Kolokythokeftedes or zucchini balls, are a popular vegetarian appetizer in Greece. These delicious balls are made from grated zucchini mixed with feta cheese, fresh herbs, and breadcrumbs, then deep-fried until golden brown. They are typically served as a meze (small plate) with a squeeze of lemon juice and a dollop of creamy tzatziki sauce on top.
Kolokythokeftedes are a beloved dish all across Greece and can be found in nearly every taverna and restaurant. It is particularly popular during the summer months when zucchinis are in season and at their freshest.
Kolokythokeftedes are a testament to the abundance of fresh vegetables in Greek cuisine and the creative use of these ingredients. They are also a great example of how Greek cuisine has evolved over time, incorporating new ingredients and techniques while staying true to its roots.
For the traditional way to try kolokythokeftedes, head to a local taverna or mezedopoleio (tapas-style eatery similar to other mediterranean cuisines) where they are typically served as part of a meze platter alongside other Greek appetizers.
Bougiourdi is a traditional Greek appetizer that is known for its fiery flavor. This simple yet delicious dish is made with a blend of feta cheese, tomato sauce, and spices, which are baked together in the oven until they become gooey and bubbly.
The word Bougiourdi originally meant the written order of an Ottoman Empire official. Today it means an official document, usually with unpleasant financial content. The dish Bougiourdi is a spicy Greek meze, named precisely because it is quite hot.
Today, it has become a popular choice on Greek menus, particularly in the summertime when fresh tomatoes and peppers are abundant.
In Greece, Bougiourdi is often served as a meze or appetizer, accompanied by bread or pita for dipping. The dish is meant to be shared among friends or family, making it a perfect addition to any social gathering.
If you want to try Bougiourdi in a traditional way, head to a local Greek taverna or meze restaurant, where you can enjoy it as part of a larger selection of appetizers.
5. Keftedes (Meatballs)
Keftedes, or Greek meatballs, are a classic dish that can be found in almost every Greek household and restaurant. Greeks traditionally use ground beef, lamb or a mixture of the two to make their meatballs. The meat is mixed with onion, breadcrumbs, and an array of herbs and spices, including parsley, mint, and oregano.
The origin of the word kefte can be traced back to Persia, where the verb “kuftan” means “to pound” or “to grind,” hence the term refers to pounded or ground meat. The Turkish word for meatballs, “köfte,” is believed to have been borrowed from the Persian “kufteh.”
This dish has since spread throughout the Mediterranean and has become an essential part of Greek cuisine.
Keftedes are often served as a meze, or small dish, with tzatziki, a yogurt and cucumber dip, or with tomato sauce. They can also be eaten as a main course with a side of Greek salad and potatoes.
Keftedes can be found all over Greece, and each region has its own unique variation.
6. Tomatokeftedes (Tomato Meat Balls)
Tomatokeftedes are a beloved Greek appetizer made of tomatoes, onions, herbs, and feta cheese, formed into small balls and fried to perfection.
The origin of tomatokeftedes is somewhat unknown, but they are said to have originated in Santorini, a beautiful island in the Cyclades. Tomatoes were introduced to Greece in the 17th century, and since then, they are a favorite among locals and tourists alike.
Tomatokeftedes are typically served as a meze or appetizer, accompanied by tzatziki or other dips. They are often shared among a group of friends or family, making them a social food.
To try traditional tomatokeftedes, you can visit Santorini, where they are said to have originated. Many restaurants on the island offer them on their menu, but to experience them at their best, head to a local taverna. A great place to try them is the village of Oia, known for its beautiful sunset views and traditional Greek food.
Fava is a traditional dish from the Greek island of Santorini, made from yellow fava beans, onions, garlic, and olive oil. This simple yet flavorful dish is often served as a dip or a side dish and is a staple of Greek cuisine.
The plant “Lathyrus Clymenum L.” is cultivated solely on the island of Santorini and has been used to produce Santorini Fava for over 3,500 years, earning it “Protected Designation of Origin” (PDO) status.
To prepare fava, the yellow split peas are cooked in water until they become soft and then mixed with sautéed onions and garlic. The mixture is then blended until it becomes creamy, and olive oil is added to give it a smooth texture. It is usually served topped with chopped onions, capers, and drizzled with olive oil.
Fava is a popular dish in Greece, and it is often served as part of a meze platter or as a side dish with fish or meat. It is a staple of Santorini cuisine and a must-try when visiting the island.
Pies are a beloved staple of Greek cuisine, with a variety of savory and sweet options available.
In Greece, pies are commonly served as street food, with vendors selling handheld pies filled with spinach, feta cheese, and other savory ingredients. We also order mini pies in tavernas as an appetizers, usually mini cheese pies.
Pies can also be found in traditional Greek bakeries, where they are sold by the slice or as whole pies for families and larger gatherings.
Overall, pies are a beloved and versatile dish in Greek cuisine, enjoyed as a comfort food and a symbol of hospitality and community.
8. Spanakopita (Spinach Pie)
Spanakopita is a classic Greek dish that has been enjoyed for generations. It is a savory pastry made with spinach, feta cheese, onions, and herbs, all wrapped in phyllo dough. The dish has its origins in Greece, but it is now enjoyed all over the world.
The dish is typically prepared by mixing the spinach, feta cheese, onions, and herbs together, and then layering the mixture between sheets of phyllo dough. The pastry is then baked until golden brown and crispy on the outside, with a warm and delicious filling on the inside.
Spanakopita is commonly eaten as a snack or light meal throughout the day. If you’re looking to try this classic Greek dish, you can find spanakopita at most bakeries, where it is made fresh daily.
9. Tyropita (Cheese Pie)
Tyropita is a traditional Greek pastry that is loved by locals and visitors alike. The dish is made of phyllo pastry filled with a savory cheese mixture, typically made with feta cheese and eggs. It’s often served as a snack or a light meal, and can be found at bakeries and cafes all over Greece.
If you want to try a tyropita, head to a Greek bakery or a local pastry shop. Greeks also eat tyropitakia, ie mini cheese pies, as appetizers.
10. Kotopita (Chicken Pie)
Kotopita, also known as Greek chicken pie, is a delicious and hearty dish. This savory pie consists of layers of phyllo dough, filled with a mixture of chicken, feta cheese, vegetables, and herbs.
To prepare kotopita, the filling is first cooked on the stovetop and then layered with the phyllo dough in a baking dish. Once baked, the pie is cut and served warm. If you’re looking to try kotopita, head over to a bakey.
11. Bougatsa (Cream Pie)
Bougatsa is a delicious and popular Greek pastry that is typically eaten for breakfast or as a snack. It is made from layers of phyllo dough filled with a creamy custard and dusted with powdered sugar and cinnamon. Bougatsa can be also savory in Northern Greece and the city of Thessaloniki, stuffed with meat or spinach.
Bougatsa is typically served warm and can be enjoyed any time of day. It is often eaten with a cup of Greek coffee or tea, making for a satisfying and indulgent treat.
To make bougatsa, the phyllo dough is first prepared by hand or machine, and then layered with a creamy custard made from semolina, milk, and eggs. The pastry is then baked until golden brown and crispy.
For the traditional way to try bougatsa, head to a local bakery or pastry shop in Greece, particularly in Thessaloniki. One of the most famous places to try bougatsa is the legendary Bougatsa Giannis, a family-run bakery in Thessaloniki that has been serving up its famous bougatsa to long queues.
Tzatziki is a staple of Greek cuisine and a must-try when visiting Greece. This refreshing and healthy dip is made with yogurt, cucumber, garlic, and olive oil and is typically served as a meze (appetizer) or a side dish to grilled meat or fish.
The origin of tzatziki can be traced back to the Ottoman Empire. Over time, the dish evolved in different regions, with variations including dips, salads, and sauces made with tahini, yogurt, and cucumbers. The word “tzatziki” comes from the Turkish word “cacık” and likely has roots in several other Western Asian languages.
Preparing tzatziki involves straining the yogurt overnight to remove any excess liquid and then mixing it with grated cucumber, minced garlic, salt, and olive oil. The result is a creamy, tangy, and garlicky dip that is perfect for dipping pita bread or vegetables.
In Greece, tzatziki is often served with a souvlaki (grilled meat skewers) and gyros (shaved meat wrapped in pita bread). It’s also a popular dip for warm pita bread.
Top tip: Dip your french fries in tzatziki 🙂
If you want to try tzatziki, head to a taverna (a Greek-style restaurant) or a mezedopoleio (a small eatery specializing in meze).
In conclusion, tzatziki is a delicious and healthy dip that is an integral part of Greek cuisine and culture. This traditional appetizer is a must-try when visiting Greece, and you can find it in most restaurants and tavernas throughout the country. So go ahead and indulge in this creamy and garlicky delight!
Join our Facebook community
World Wild Schooling * Traveling to Greece with kids
13. Tyrokafteri (Spicy Feta Dip)
Tyrokafteri is a delicious spicy dip that is popular in Greece and a must-try when visiting the country. This dip is made with feta cheese, roasted red peppers, chili peppers, and olive oil, and it has a tangy and spicy flavor that pairs perfectly with crusty bread or vegetables.
The dish has spread throughout Greece and has become a popular meze (appetizer) in many restaurants and tavernas.
The distinct way of preparing tyrokafteri involves blending feta cheese, roasted red peppers, chili peppers, garlic, and olive oil in a food processor until smooth. The result is a creamy and spicy dip that is perfect for sharing with friends and family.
In Greece, tyrokafteri is typically served as part of a meze platter. It’s a favorite among those who love spicy food.
14. Melitzanosalata (Eggplant Dip)
Melitzanosalata is a delicious and healthy dip that is popular in Greece. This dip is made with roasted eggplant, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil, and it has a smoky and tangy flavor that pairs perfectly with pita bread or vegetables.
The distinct way of preparing melitzanosalata involves roasting the eggplant until it’s charred on the outside and tender on the inside. The roasted eggplant is then combined with garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil in a food processor until it’s smooth and creamy.
In Greece, melitzanosalata is typically served as a dip in restaurants for bread and pita.
15. Taramosalata (FIsh Roe Dip)
Taramosalata is a classic Greek dip that is made with fish roe, bread crumbs, olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic. This creamy and savory dip is a popular meze (appetizer) in Greece.
The distinct way of preparing taramosalata involves soaking bread crumbs in water to soften them, and then mixing them with fish roe, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil in a food processor until smooth and creamy.
White taramosalata is considered to be of superior quality compared to the pink one.
In Greece, taramosalata is typically served as part of a meze platter, and it’s often enjoyed with fresh bread.
16. Horiatiki (Greek Salad)
Greek salad, or horiatiki, is a beloved dish in Greece, and it’s easy to understand why. This simple but flavorful salad is a refreshing combination. Juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumber, tangy red onion, green peppers, salty feta cheese, and briny Kalamata olives. All drizzled with a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with dried oregano.
When it comes to eating a traditional Greek salad, the Greeks have a particular way of doing things. First of all, it’s typically served as a salad to be shared among a group of people. It’s often served with crusty bread on the side, which is perfect for soaking up the delicious olive oil and tomato juice that collects at the bottom of the plate.
Greek salad is also typically enjoyed as a light lunch or dinner during the summer months, when the weather is hot and appetites are smaller.
If you want to try Greek salad in a traditional setting, head to a local taverna, where you can enjoy a plate of horiatiki along with meze dishes and a glass of ouzo or retsina. Another option is to visit a local food market like Varvakeio market in Athens, where you can get the fresh ingredients and make the salad.
So, when in Greece, make sure to try it and savor its refreshing flavors.
Join our Facebook community
World Wild Schooling * Traveling to Greece with kids
Ntakos, also known as koukouvagia (owl in Greek), is a traditional Cretan dish that has been enjoyed by Greeks for generations. This dish is essentially a salad that’s served on a large, crunchy rusk made of barley or wheat bread that has been dried in the sun. The rusk is then topped with diced tomatoes, crumbled feta cheese, sliced onions, and drizzled with olive oil and vinegar.
Ntakos was created as a way to use up leftover bread, which was often dried and stored for later use. Today, ntakos remains an important part of Cretan cuisine and is a popular dish throughout Greece.
When it comes to eating ntakos, the traditional way is to share a large plate of it with friends or family. The rusk is typically soaked in water for a few minutes before being topped with the salad ingredients, which helps to soften it up and make it easier to eat. Ntakos is often served as a salad.
If you want to try ntakos in a traditional setting, the island of Crete is the best place to go. You can find it in most Cretan tavernas and restaurants, and it’s often served with other local specialties.
Horta, or wild greens, is a traditional Greek dish that’s been enjoyed for thousands of years. It’s essentially a collection of different edible wild plants and herbs that are boiled or sautéed and served with lemon and olive oil.
The history of this simple dish dates back to the ancient Greeks, where wild greens were a staple food for the poor. These plants were easy to find and were packed with nutrients, making them an important part of the Greek diet. Today, horta remains an important part of Greek food culture, and it’s often served as a side dish or as a main course.
When it comes to eating horta, the Greeks typically prepare it as a simple but delicious dish. The greens are usually boiled and then seasoned with lemon juice and salt. Horta is often served as a salad or as a side dish with fish and seafood, and it’s typically eaten with bread and feta cheese.
You can find horta in most Greek tavernas and restaurants. You can also buy horta at any local food market. Greek giagiades (grandmas) still go out to gather horta!
Moussaka is a classic Greek dish that has become famous around the world. It’s a baked casserole dish that’s made with layers of eggplant, spiced meat, and a creamy béchamel sauce. The dish is often finished off with a sprinkle of cheese on top and is typically served hot.
Moussaka is a dish that has many local and regional variations. The Greek version, created in the 1920s by Nikolaos Tselementes, is the most popular in Europe and the Americas.
In Egypt, the dish is called messa’aa, and the main ingredient is fried eggplant. In Turkey, it consists of thinly sliced and fried eggplant served in a tomato-based meat sauce, while in Saudi Arabia it is eaten hot, but in other Arab countries, it is often eaten cold. The word moussaka is borrowed from Ottoman Turkish, which in turn borrowed it from Arabic muṣaqqa‘a.
When it comes to eating moussaka, the Greeks typically serve it as a main course for lunch or dinner. It is often accompanied by a Greek salad or other meze dishes.
If you want to try moussaka, visit a local Greek restaurant, where you can enjoy a piping hot plate of moussaka along with a glass of red wine. Another option is to take a cooking class to learn how to prepare it yourself.
PS: I have to add, I make a mean moussaka based on a traditional Greek recipe – let me know if you want the recipe!
Join our Facebook community
World Wild Schooling * Traveling to Greece with kids
20. Pastitsio (Greek Lasagna)
Pastitsio is a Greek dish that takes its name from the Italian pasticcio, which refers to baked savory pies that can be made with meat, fish, or pasta. The dish consists of layers of pasta and a spiced meat sauce, topped with a thick layer of béchamel sauce and grated cheese.
Pastitsio is typically servd as a main course for lunch or dinner. The dish is often accompanied by a Greek salad or other meze dishes. If you want to try pastitsio, you can find it in most Greek tavernas and restaurants.
21. Soutzoukakia (Smyrna Meatballs)
Soutzoukakia is a traditional Greek dish that’s popular throughout the country. It’s essentially a type of meatball that’s made with ground beef or lamb, spices, and breadcrumbs, and then simmered in a rich tomato-based sauce. The dish is often flavored with cumin and cinnamon, which gives it a distinct taste.
Soutzoukakia, also known as Smyrna meatballs or İzmir köfte, is a Greek and Turkish dish that was brought to Greece by refugees from Asia Minor. The Greek name for soutzoukakia means spicy little sausages from Smyrna, and the dish is typically served with rice. You can find it in most Greek tavernas and restaurants.
22. Kokoras krasatos (Greek Coq au Vin)
Kokoras krasatos, also known as rooster cooked in wine, is the Greek equivalent of coq au vin. The dish is typically made by slow-cooking rooster meat in a red wine sauce, along with a variety of herbs and spices.
When it comes to eating kokoras krasatos, the Greeks typically serve it with pasta as a main dish. You can find it in several Greek tavernas and restaurants. One great place to try it is in the Peloponnese region of Greece, where the dish is a local specialty.
This is definitely one of my favorite Greek meals!
23. Souvlaki (Meat Skewers)
Souvlaki is a staple of Greek cuisine, consisting of small pieces of meat skewered and grilled to perfection. Its history dates back to the Bronze Age, when the practice of cooking food on spits or skewers began in Greece.
Excavations in Santorini uncovered stone cooking supports with indentations for holding skewers and holes for supplying coals with air. Souvlaki was already popular in Santorini around 2000 BC, highlighting its enduring presence in Greek cuisine. Today, souvlaki is enjoyed all over the country and is often served at outdoor barbecues and family gatherings.
The meat used in souvlaki can vary, but it’s usually pork, chicken, or lamb that’s been marinated in a mixture of lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and herbs. Once it’s been threaded onto the skewer, it’s cooked over an open flame until the outside is crispy and charred, and the inside is tender and juicy.
Souvlaki is typically served with bread and a slice of lemon or wrapped in pita bread with tomatoes, onions, and a dollop of tzatziki sauce. It’s a popular Greek street food and you can eat it at a local taverna or at a souvlatzidiko (place where they cook souvlaki and gyro) where it’s prepared fresh and served hot.
Gyros is a popular Greek dish that consists of meat, typically pork or chicken, that’s been roasted on a vertical spit and sliced into thin pieces. It’s often served wrapped in a pita bread with tomatoes, onions, and a generous dollop of tzatziki sauce.
The origins of gyros can be traced back to the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century, where a similar dish called doner kebab was created in Bursa. In Greece, gyros was introduced in Athens after World War II by immigrants from Anatolia and the Middle East and is typically made with pork and served with tzatziki sauce.
Greeks typically eat gyros as a handheld street food, with locals often grabbing one on the go for a quick and satisfying lunch. It’s also a popular option for late-night eats after a night out with friends. For an authentic experience, head to a local taverna or souvlatzidiko (place where they cook souvlaki and gyro) where it’s prepared fresh and served hot.
25. Lamb Kleftiko
Lamb Kleftiko is a traditional Greek dish that is a delicious alternative to Sunday roast. It boasts a fascinating history dating back to the Klephts, a group of robbers who opposed Ottoman reign in Greece from the 14th to 19th centuries. These thieves would roast stolen sheep over coals in an underground pit or covered hole to avoid being caught.
Today Kleftiko is a slow-cooked lamb dish that’s marinated in herbs and spices and then baked in a sealed clay oven until it’s tender and falling off the bone. Kleftiko is typically served with potatoes, which are cooked alongside the lamb in the sealed clay oven, along with a side of vegetables or a Greek salad. Kleftiko can be found in many tavernas, and for an authentic experience head to a local family-run taverna where it’s cooked in a traditional clay oven.
Giouvetsi is a popular Greek dish that’s made with tender meat, usually beef or lamb, and orzo pasta that’s been cooked in a tomato-based sauce. There are different ways to make giouvetsi: with chicken, lamb, or beef and served with either orzo (kritharaki) or small square noodles (chylopites), it’s seasoned with allspice and sometimes cinnamon, cloves, or bay leaves. It’s a hearty and comforting meal that’s perfect for a chilly evening or a family gathering.
Giouvetsi is typically served in a large clay pot that’s been baked in the oven, with the tender meat and pasta cooked together in a rich tomato-based sauce. It’s often garnished with grated cheese or fresh parsley.
27. Paidakia (Lamb Chops)
Paidakia, also known as grilled lamb chops, are a beloved and iconic dish in Greek cuisine. They’re made by marinating and grilling tender lamb chops, and are often served with lemon wedges, tzatziki sauce, and a side of french fries and Greek salad.
You order paidakia at local tavernas by the kilo or by portion and many Greeks eat them with the hands. In conclusion, paidakia are a delicious and iconic dish in Greece that’s perfect for meat lovers.
You’ll find some of the best lamb chops in a tiny village in Lefkada, called Charadiatika. Pavlos is a traditional tavern that is well-known among locals for his excellent meats and mezedes.
Stifado is a hearty and comforting stew. It’s made with chunks of rabbit that are simmered in a rich tomato sauce with onions, garlic, and spices, such as cinnamon and bay leaves. While stifado can be made with various types of meat, the rabbit version is a classic. This flavorful dish is often served with crusty bread for dipping.
With its roots in ancient Greek, the word stifado stems from the word tyfos, meaning steam. From there, the Venetian stufado was born, and it eventually made its way to Greece during the 13th century Venetian occupation.
To make stifado, the meat is first browned in a pot, then onions and garlic are added and cooked until they’re soft and fragrant. The tomato sauce and spices are then added, and the dish is simmered for several hours until the meat is tender and the flavors have melded together.
29. Makaronia me kima
Makaronia me kima is a classic Greek comfort food that can be found in households and restaurants throughout Greece. It is a simple yet delicious dish that consists of spaghetti pasta cooked al dente and topped with a meaty tomato sauce, typically made with ground beef or pork.
The origins of this dish can be traced back to the early 20th century when the Greeks were influenced by Italian cuisine. It quickly became a popular dish in Greece and is now considered a staple of Greek cuisine.
Pastourmadopita, also known as pastirma pie, is a savory pie that is a popular dish in Greek cuisine. The pie is named after pastirma, which is a highly seasoned, air-dried beef that is often used as a filling in the dish.
The history of pastourmadopita is not well-documented, but it is believed to have originated in the Anatolian region of Turkey, which was once part of the Ottoman Empire. The dish likely made its way to Greece during the period of Ottoman rule.
To prepare pastourmadopita, the pastirma is first sautéed with onions and peppers, and then mixed with feta cheese and eggs. The mixture is then placed in a phyllo pastry crust and baked until golden brown. The result is a delicious, savory pie with a crispy crust and a flavorful filling.
Pastourmadopita is typically served as a main course or as part of a meze platter, and is often accompanied by a simple salad or other vegetable dishes.
Kalamarakia, or fried squid, is a beloved Greek seafood dish that can be found in almost any seaside taverna or restaurant. The dish is made with fresh squid that is cleaned, cut into rings or strips, and then coated in a light batter of flour before being fried to crispy perfection.
The origins of this dish can be traced back to ancient Greece, where squid was commonly consumed and prepared in a variety of ways. In modern times, it has become a staple in Greek cuisine and is often served as an appetizer or main course.
Kalamarakia is typically served with a wedge of lemon and french fries. It pairs well with a crisp white wine or an ice-cold beer, making it the perfect dish to enjoy while taking in the stunning sea views.
For a traditional sardine experience, we recommend visiting a taverna near the coast that specializes in seafood. One such place is Thodoros kai Eleni near the Temple of Poseidon in Sounion, which is known for their delicious seafood.
Join our Facebook community
World Wild Schooling * Traveling to Greece with kids
Octopus is another popular seafood in Greek cuisine, typically grilled or boiled and served as a main dish or appetizer. It has a long history in Greek culture, dating back to ancient times when it was considered a delicacy and served at banquets and feasts.
The distinct preparation of octopus involves tenderizing the meat by repeatedly beating it against a hard surface, then grilling it over an open flame or boiling it until it is tender. It is often served with a drizzle of olive oil, lemon, and herbs such as oregano or parsley.
Octopus is a cultural symbol of Greek cuisine and often features in traditional dishes such as octopus stifado, a stew made with red wine, onions, and spices. It is also commonly served at seaside tavernas and restaurants throughout Greece, particularly in the Aegean islands where fresh seafood is abundant.
For a traditional experience, we recommend visiting a seaside taverna or restaurant on one of the Greek islands where you can enjoy freshly caught octopus grilled over an open flame or boiled.
Sardines are a beloved staple in Greek cuisine, especially during the summer months when they are in season. They are small, oily fish that are typically grilled or fried whole, and served with a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt.
Sardines have been a part of Greek cuisine for centuries, with evidence of their consumption dating back to ancient times. Today, they remain an important part of the Mediterranean diet and are recognized for their health benefits, being a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and other essential nutrients.
Sardeles Pastes is a traditional Greek appetizer that consists of salted sardines served and eaten raw. The sardines are prepared in the morning by cutting off their heads, leaving the skin and tail intact, removing the skin, and then layering them in salt to cure. They are typically served with oil and lemon in the evening.
It is a popular dish in Greece, particularly during the summer months, and is often enjoyed as a meze alongside other traditional Greek dishes. Sardines are often served with a Greek salad, and accompanied by a glass of ouzo.
Sardine fastivals are held annually in various places throughout Greece, grilling numerous sardines accompanied by music, dancing, and lots of drinking.
34. Fresh Fish
Fresh fish is a staple of Greek cuisine, and it’s easy to see why. With a coastline that spans over 13,500 km, Greece is known for its abundant seafood, including various types of fish such as sea bream, red mullet, and swordfish, to name just a few.
The Greeks have been fishing for thousands of years, and the tradition of eating fresh fish straight from the sea is deeply ingrained in the culture.
In many Greek coastal towns and villages, you can find small local tavernas serving up the catch of the day, grilled simply with olive oil, lemon, and herbs. In other places, you can find more elaborate dishes, such as fish soups, stews, and baked fish.
Garidomakaronada consists of shrimp cooked in tomato sauce and served over a bed of spaghetti. It is a simple yet delicious meal that is typically enjoyed in the summer months when fresh seafood is abundant. Garidomakaronada is often served as a main course for lunch or dinner.
To prepare the dish, shrimp, garlic and onion are first sautéed. Then, fresh tomatoes and white wine are added to the pan and cooked until they form a thick sauce and shrimps are added back. Finally, the cooked spaghetti is added to the pan and mixed with the sauce before being served.
Garidomakaronada is a traditional Greek dish that is commonly found in seafood restaurants throughout Greece, especially in the coastal regions. The dish is typically served in generous portions, making it a great choice for sharing with friends and family.
For an authentic experience, head to the island of Zakynthos to try Garidomakaronada in one of the local tavernas, the Green Boat.
36. Gavros Marinatos
Gavros Marinatos is a delicious dish in Greek cuisine that features fresh anchovies marinated in a mixture of vinegar, water, garlic, and oregano. Marinatos means marinated in Greek and Gavros is anchovies.
This traditional dish is usually served as a meze, which is a small plate that is shared amongst a group. Greeks typically eat it as an appetizer or as part of a larger meal, accompanied by bread, olives, and a glass of ouzo or wine.
Anchovies have been a staple in Greek cuisine for centuries, and this dish has a long history in the country.
To prepare Gavros Marinatos, fresh anchovies are gutted, cleaned, and then marinated in a mixture of vinegar, water, garlic, and oregano for several hours. They are then served with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of fresh parsley.
If you’re looking to try Gavros Marinatos, one of the best places to do so is in a traditional taverna in a coastal town or village in Greece. Alternatively, you can also find it in many local food markets.
37. Beans: Fasolada, Gigantes, Mayromatika, Fasolakia
Fasolada is a simple, hearty soup that is made with white beans, tomatoes, onions, and various herbs. It is often called the national dish of Greece and it is also commonly served during the fasting period of Lent, when many Greeks avoid meat.
Gigantes (meaning giants) are large white beans that are baked in the oven with a tomato sauce and various herbs. This dish is often served as a meze, which is a small dish meant to be shared among friends, and is a staple in Greek tavernas. You can also have gigantes as a main dish with bread and feta.
Mayromatika (meaning black-eyed peas) are a popular ingredient in many Greek dishes, including salads and stews.
Fasolakia are green beans cooked in a tomato-based sauce with onions, garlic, and various herbs. This dish is usually served as a main course and is often accompanied by a piece of crusty bread to soak up the delicious sauce.
Beans have been a staple in Greek cuisine since ancient times, and were a major part of the diet in rural areas where meat was scarce. They are also an important component of the Mediterranean diet, which is known for its health benefits.
38. Imam Bayildi
Imam Bayildi is a classic vegetarian dish that is popular in Greek and Turkish cuisine. The name “Imam Bayildi” literally means “the Imam fainted,” and according to legend, a Turkish Imam fainted after eating the dish because it was so delicious.
The dish consists of eggplant that is stuffed with a mixture of onions, garlic, tomatoes, and spices, then baked in the oven until tender. It is typically served at room temperature, and can be enjoyed as a main course or a side dish.
Imam Bayildi has a long history that dates back to the Ottoman Empire. It is considered a national dish in Turkey and has gained popularity in Greece as well.
39. Lachanodolmades (Stuffed Cabbage Rolls)
Lachanontolmades, also known as stuffed cabbage rolls, are a traditional and delicious dish in Greek cuisine. They’re made by rolling a flavorful mixture of ground meat, rice, herbs, and sometimes vegetables inside blanched cabbage leaves, then simmering them in a tomato-based sauce. They’re typically served hot as a main dish or as part of a larger meal.
Chickpeas, or revithia in Greek, are a staple in Greek cuisine, used in a variety of dishes such as salads, stews, and dips. In Greek cuisine, chickpeas are often paired with flavors such as lemon, garlic, and olive oil, creating a delicious and healthy dish.
One of the most popular dishes made with chickpeas in Greece is revithada, a hearty stew made with chickpeas, onions, tomatoes, and herbs. It is often served with crusty bread.
Briam, also known as tourlou, is a traditional Greek vegetable dish that is loved for its simplicity and delicious flavors. It is essentially a baked casserole that consists of a variety of fresh vegetables, including potatoes, eggplant, zucchini, onions, and tomatoes, all cooked in olive oil and seasoned with herbs such as oregano and thyme.
The origins of briam can be traced back to the rural areas of Greece, where farmers would prepare the dish with fresh, seasonal vegetables grown in their gardens. Today, it is a popular dish throughout Greece and can be found on menus in many tavernas and restaurants.
Briam is usually served as a main dish on its own, but it can also be enjoyed as a side dish. It is typically served warm or at room temperature and is often accompanied by fresh bread and feta cheese.
42. Lamb or Goat on Spit
Roasting lamb or goat on a spit is a beloved tradition in Greek cuisine, particularly during festive occasions and celebrations such as Easter, weddings, and village feasts.
The preparation process for roasting lamb or goat on a spit is a time-intensive and laborious affair, involving the careful selection and seasoning of the meat, and several hours of cooking time over a wood fire. The meat is typically served with traditional side dishes such as roasted potatoes and vegetables, tzatziki sauce, and Greek salad.
The cultural significance of roasting lamb or goat on a spit goes beyond just the culinary experience. It is a symbol of communal gathering, where families and friends come together to share in the preparation, cooking, and sharing of the meal.
Tourists can also witness the preparation of lamb or goat on a spit at local festivals and celebrations throughout Greece, where it is a common feature. The aroma of the meat roasting over an open flame and the communal atmosphere of the event make for a unique and unforgettable experience. Whether enjoyed in a restaurant or at a local festival, roasting lamb or goat on a spit is a must-try dish for anyone visiting Greece.
Mageiritsa is a traditional Greek soup made with lamb offal and wild greens, often consumed during the Easter season. The name “mageiritsa” comes from the Greek word “mageirevo,” which means to cook.
The soup originated in ancient Greece and was considered a celebratory dish. It was consumed during feasts and festivals, and even by soldiers before battles, as it was believed to give them strength.
Mageiritsa is traditionally made with lamb offal, such as heart, liver, and lungs, along with onions, dill, lettuce, and other wild greens. The offal is boiled until tender, then mixed with the greens and seasonings to create a hearty and flavorful soup. It is typically served with a dollop of avgolemono, a sauce made from eggs and lemon juice, which adds a creamy and tangy flavor to the soup.
Fricassée is a classic Greek dish, a creamy, stew-like dish typically made with chicken, lamb or veal. The unique combination of ingredients, including white wine, lemon juice, and eggs, gives fricassee its distinctive flavor and texture. It is often served on Easter.
Antikristo is a traditional Cretan way of cooking meat that can be traced back to ancient times. The meat is cut into four pieces, salted and placed on wooden skewers around a circular fire, cooked by the flames and developing a unique flavor.
“Antikristo” means opposite in Greek and it refers to the pieces of meat that are placed opposite each other.
It was traditionally prepared by shepherds and rebels during the Turkish occupation, who cooked it for an hour to avoid revealing their location. Nowadays, it’s slow-cooked for 4-6 hours, marinated or seasoned before cooking, and is a popular delicacy in Crete. Its simplicity and unique flavor make it a must-try for anyone visiting the island.
Pastitsada is a spicy and hearty meat stew with origins in the Ionian islands of Greece. The dish is typically made with beef or veal, and is simmered in a rich tomato sauce flavored with onions, garlic, cinnamon, cloves, and sometimes red wine or vinegar. Pastitsada is usually served over thick pasta such as tagliatelle or bucatini.
Pastitsada is a popular dish in Corfu and other Ionian islands. Its origins can be traced back to the Venetian period of the Ionian islands, when the dish was likely influenced by Italian cuisine.
Spetsofai is a traditional Greek dish made with sausage, peppers, and tomatoes. It originates from the region of Pelion in Thessaly, mainland Greece. The dish is typically prepared in a large pot or pan, where the sausage is cooked with onions, peppers, and tomatoes until they are tender and flavorful. Spetsofai is often served as a main course with crusty bread.
To try Spetsofai, head to a traditional taverna or restaurant in the Pelion region, where you can taste the authentic version of the dish.
48. Feta & Other Cheeses
Feta is an integral part of Greek cuisine and culture. It is a white, salty cheese made from sheep’s milk or a mixture of sheep’s and goat’s milk. Other popular Greek cheeses include kefalotyri, graviera, and manouri.
The origin of feta can be traced back to ancient Greece. It was made by shepherds who needed a way to preserve their milk. They would store the milk in barrels with rennet and salt, creating the cheese we know today as feta.
In 1996, the European Union granted feta PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) status, recognizing it as a product that can only be produced in specific regions of Greece.
Feta and other Greek cheeses are commonly used in Greek dishes such as the famous Greek salad, spanakopita (spinach pie), and tyropita (cheese pie). They are also often served on their own as an appetizer.
Feta is traditionally served in large blocks or crumbled over dishes. It is often paired with olives, tomatoes, and cucumbers, and drizzled with olive oil and herbs. Other Greek cheeses can be enjoyed in similar ways, depending on the type and flavor.
49. Feta me Meli (Feta with Honey)
Feta me meli is a delicious Greek dish that combines salty feta cheese wrapped in phyllo dough and drizzled with sweet honey. It is often served as an appetizer.
Feta cheese is a staple in Greek cuisine, and when combined with the sweetness of honey, it creates a delicious balance of flavors that is sure to satisfy your taste buds. The sweetness of the honey complements the saltiness of the cheese, creating a perfect balance of flavors.
Baklava is a sweet and rich pastry made up of layers of thin phyllo dough, filled with chopped nuts (usually walnuts or pistachios) and sweetened with a syrup made of honey, sugar, and water. Baklava is a treat that Greeks love to enjoy with their afternoon coffee, or as a special treat during celebrations.
The history of baklava can be traced back to the Ottoman Empire, which ruled Greece for hundreds of years. Nonetheless, baklava has become an important part of Greek cuisine and can be found in bakeries and sweet shops all over Greece.
Traditionally, baklava is made by layering thin sheets of phyllo dough with a nut mixture, and then brushing each layer with melted butter before baking it to a golden brown. Once out of the oven, a sweet syrup of honey, sugar, and water is poured over the top, infusing the pastry with its signature sweetness.
Baklava is a dish that is often shared and enjoyed in the company of family and friends. In Greece, it is often served on special occasions, such as weddings and family gatherings. It is also a popular souvenir for tourists to bring back home as a taste of Greece.
For a truly traditional baklava experience, head to a local Greek bakery or sweet shop, where you can try fresh, homemade baklava made with high-quality ingredients.
You are in for a sweet treat with Loukoumades! These fluffy golden dough balls are a beloved Greek dessert.
Loukoumades are small, bite-sized dough balls that are fried until crispy on the outside and airy on the inside. They are traditionally served drizzled with honey syrup and sprinkled with cinnamon, although other toppings such as Nutella or chocolate sauce have become popular in recent years.
The etymology of loukoumades can be traced back to the Arabic word “luqma” meaning “morsel”, “mouthful”, or “bite”. In 13th century Arabic cookery books, the dish was referred to as “luqmat al-qādi” or “judge’s morsels”, and the term “luqma” has since come to be associated with it. The Greek name for the dessert, “loukoumádes”, and the Turkish name, “lokma”, both derive from the Arabic word.
Loukoumades are not only a dessert but also a part of Greek culture and tradition. They are often served at festivals and celebrations.
Loukoumades are typically prepared by mixing flour, yeast, and warm water to create the dough. The dough is then allowed to rise before being fried until golden brown. Once they are fried, they are served hot and drizzled with honey syrup and cinnamon.
If you want to try the traditional version of Loukoumades, head to Krinos in the center of Athens. This was my grandmother’s Sunday outing with my mother as a kid 🙂
Galaktoboureko is a traditional Greek dessert made with phyllo pastry, semolina custard, and sweet syrup. The name translates to “milk pie,” which reflects the key ingredients of the dessert. The origins of galaktoboureko are uncertain, but it is believed to have originated in the Ottoman Empire.
The dessert is typically prepared by layering phyllo pastry sheets with the custard filling and then baking until golden brown. Once baked, a hot syrup made from sugar, water, and lemon juice is poured over the top to create a sweet and sticky glaze.
A traditional way to enjoy galaktoboureko is to serve it warm with a dusting of cinnamon on top. It can be found in most bakeries and sweet shops throughout Greece, but some of the best places to try it are in local patisseries that specialize in Greek desserts.
If you want to try one of the best galaktoboureko in Athens, then definitely go to Kosmikon at Plaka.
Ravani is a traditional Greek dessert, a semolina cake that is soaked in a sweet syrup, typically flavored with lemon or orange. The origins of ravani can be traced back to the Ottoman Empire, where it was a popular dessert among the ruling class. It is a common dessert to enjoy at the end of a family meal.
The cake is typically baked in a rectangular or square pan and then cut into small diamond-shaped pieces. You can often find ravani in traditional Greek bakeries or dessert shops.
Ravani is fluffier than Samali and it also contains eggs and flour.
Samali, similar to Ravani, is a traditional Greek dessert made from semolina flour, drenched in a sweet syrup made from honey, sugar, and water. The difference with Ravani is that Samali contains no eggs, no flour and has a mastic aroma.
To make Samali, the ingredients are mixed together to create a batter and then baked in a shallow pan. After baking, the syrup is poured over the hot dessert and left to soak in, creating a moist and sweet texture. It can be served warm or at room temperature.
55. Amygdalota (Greek Almond Cookies)
Amygdalota is a delicious traditional Greek dessert made of almonds and sugar, often served with a hot cup of Greek coffee or a glass of ice-cold water. The word “amygdalota” comes from the Greek word for almond, “amygdala”, and they are associated with Cyclades.
To prepare them locals grind almonds into a fine powder, mix them with sugar and egg whites, and then bake the mixture until it forms a crispy outer layer with a soft, chewy center.
Amygdalota are often served at weddings and baptisms. It’s also a popular souvenir item, with visitors often taking boxes of the sweet treat home to share with family and friends.
For the most authentic experience, we recommend trying amygdalota at a traditional pastry shop in Andros, Cyclades. One such place is “Laskari”, where they use a traditional recipe passed down through generations to create their delicious amygdalota.
Halvas is a sweet, semolina-based dessert that is popular throughout Greece and the Middle East. It is believed to have originated in ancient Persia, but it has since spread throughout the region and has become a beloved dessert in many different cultures.
The preparation of halvas typically involves cooking semolina, sugar, and butter or oil together until it forms a thick, sticky mixture. This mixture is then flavored with various ingredients, such as rose water and vanilla. Once the mixture is fully cooked, it is poured into a pan and left to set before being cut into pieces and served.
In Greece, halvas is often served during fasting periods. It is also often offered at the end of a meal in Greek tavernas.
Kataifi is a delicious pastry that is popular throughout the Middle East and Mediterranean, including Greece, Turkey, and Lebanon. It is made from shredded phyllo dough that is wrapped around a sweet filling of chopped nuts and honey syrup.
The preparation of kataifi involves carefully separating the phyllo dough into thin strands, which are then layered and wrapped around the filling to create a cylindrical shape. Once assembled, the pastry is baked until it is golden brown and crispy on the outside, with a sweet and sticky filling on the inside.
One of the most famous places to try kataifi in Greece is at the famous Ta Sermpetia stou Psyrri in Athens, a family-owned patisserie that serves künefe kataifi with kaimaki cream from buffalo milk.
58. Giaourti me Meli
Giaourti me meli, also known as Greek yogurt with honey, is a delicious and simple dessert that is a staple in Greek cuisine. This sweet treat is made by combining thick, creamy Greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey and sometimes sprinkled with nuts, such as walnuts or almonds.
Greek yogurt, which is thicker and creamier than regular yogurt due to its straining process, has been a part of Greek cuisine for thousands of years. Honey, another staple ingredient in Greek cuisine, has also been used for centuries and is produced throughout Greece.
Giaourti me meli is a popular dessert or snack in Greece, often enjoyed as a light and refreshing way to end a meal. It is also sometimes served as a breakfast or brunch dish, with the addition of fresh fruit or granola.
To enjoy giaourti me meli in the most traditional way, it is recommended to use high-quality Greek yogurt and locally-sourced honey.
Pasteli is a traditional Greek sweet made from sesame seeds and honey. It is a simple yet delicious treat that has been enjoyed in Greece for centuries.
The preparation of pasteli involves toasting sesame seeds until they are golden brown and then combining them with honey to create a sticky, sweet mixture. The mixture is then poured into a pan and left to cool before being cut into individual pieces.
What makes pasteli special is its simplicity and the use of high-quality ingredients. Sesame seeds have been a staple food in Greece since ancient times, and honey has been produced in the country for thousands of years. The combination of these two ingredients creates a delicious and nutritious snack that has stood the test of time.
60. Spoon Sweets
Spoon sweets are a popular Greek dessert. They’re made by preserving fruit in a syrup made with sugar, lemon juice, and water. They’re usually served as a sweet treat after a meal or as a snack with a cup of Greek coffee.
Did you know that coffee culture is huge in Greece? It’s true! Unlike other cultures where breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day, Greeks typically just have a coffee. The older generation prefers Greek coffee, while the younger crowd leans more towards frappes or freddos.
And let me tell you, there’s no shortage of cafes in Greece! You can find them at almost every corner, and it’s not uncommon for Greeks to say “Pame gia kafe,” which means “let’s go for a coffee.” This phrase is used to mean “let’s meet up and socialize,” even if you’re not necessarily drinking coffee.
So, next time you find yourself in Greece, make sure to experience the coffee culture and try out some of their unique coffee drinks!
61. Ellinikos kafes (Greek Coffee)
One of the most popular beverages in Greece is Greek coffee. It’s a strong coffee served in a small cup.
Ellinikos kafes, also known as Greek coffee, is a traditional type of coffee that is popular in Greece and many other countries in the Middle East and Balkans. It is made by boiling finely ground coffee beans in a long-handled pot called a briki, and then serving it in small cups with the grounds still in the bottom.
Don’t drink what is left at the bottom of the cup!
Greek coffee has a long history in Greece, dating back to the Ottoman period when the Turks brought coffee to the country. Since then, it has become a beloved part of Greek culture and is often enjoyed throughout the day, either on its own or with a sweet treat like a loukoumi. It is often accompanied by a small glass of water to cleanse the palate before and after drinking.
What makes ellinikos kafes special is its distinct preparation method and flavor. The coffee beans used are typically roasted until they are dark and oily, which gives the coffee a rich and intense flavor.
The boiling process used to make the coffee creates a layer of foam on the top, known as kaimaki, which is a prized part of the coffee and considered a sign of a well-made cup.
To try the most authentic ellinikos kafes in Greece, visit a traditional kafeneio, such as the famous Mokka in Athens. Mokka is a roastery and a cafe serving Greek coffee traditionally prepared stin hovoli, ie in heated sand.
62. Frappe (iced coffee)
Frappe is a popular cold coffee drink that has become a cultural icon in Greece. It is made by shaking instant coffee, water, and sugar together to create a frothy foam that is poured over ice. The drink is then topped with cold water or milk and served with a straw.
The history of frappe dates back to 1957 when a Nescafe representative, Dimitris Vakondios, accidentally created it in Thessaloniki. Since then, it has become a favorite among Greeks.
Frappe is more than just a coffee drink in Greece; it is a symbol of the Greek lifestyle and culture. Greeks often enjoy frappe at cafes or while relaxing with friends and family. It is commonly associated with summer and beach, and many people enjoy it as a refreshing drink on hot days.
While frappe can be found in most cafes and restaurants in Greece, the best way to try it is at a cafe by the sea. You should have the frappe first thing in the morning and take over 3 hours to drink it (joking, but not really 🙂 )
Freddo is a Greek iced coffee that has become very popular in recent years. It is made by blending a double shot of espresso coffee with ice cubes and sugar until frothy and then pouring it into a glass, typically served with a straw.
Variations include the freddo cappuccino and freddo espresso. It is often enjoyed as a refreshing summer beverage and can be found in almost every café in Greece.
64. Greek Wine
Greek wine is a unique and flavorful product of Greece’s long history of winemaking, which dates back more than 6,500 years. Greece has a rich tradition of winemaking that spans many regions and grape varieties, and the country is known for producing some of the world’s finest wines.
Wine was important in both religious and social life in ancient Greece, often used as an offering to the gods and consumed during symposia. Spondi, an ancient Greek term for a small offering of wine mixed with water, was also used in religious rituals and as a sign of hospitality.
There are many different types of Greek wine, each with its own distinct flavor and character. Some of the most popular grape varieties used in Greek wine production include Agiorgitiko, Xinomavro, Assyrtiko, and Moschofilero, among others.
Greek wine is culturally significant in Greece, with many varieties being produced in the country’s numerous vineyards and wineries. Wine is an important part of Greek cuisine and is often enjoyed during meals and social gatherings with family and friends.
To try the most authentic Greek wine, we recommend visiting some of the many vineyards and wineries located throughout the country. One popular region for wine tasting is the Peloponnese, where you can find some of the best red and white wines in Greece.
Another popular wine region is Santorini, where the volcanic soil creates a unique flavor in the local wines. If you’re interested in learning more about Greek wine and its production, this highly rated wine tour with Santorini highlights and sunset in Oia comes highly recommended.
Book a Santorini wine tour here
These tours often include visits to local vineyards and wineries, where you can learn about the different grape varieties used in wine production and how the wine is made.
Retsina is a traditional Greek wine that is flavored with pine resin, giving it a distinct and memorable taste.
The history of retsina dates back to ancient times, when winemakers used pine resin to seal their wine amphorae and prevent spoilage during transport. Over time, the flavor of the resin began to infuse the wine, creating a unique taste that became popular among Greeks.
Today, retsina is still a popular wine in Greece, often enjoyed as an accompaniment to traditional Greek dishes like grilled seafood and meze. It is typically served chilled and is enjoyed in small open glasses. It is one of the cheapest Greek wines and its reputation has not always been positive.
To try the most authentic retsina in Greece, we recommend visiting a traditional taverna or mezedopoleio, where you can enjoy it with a variety of small plates and dishes.
Essential Ingredients in Greek Cuisine
One of the main ingredients in traditional Greek cuisine is feta cheese. Feta cheese is a soft, crumbly cheese that’s made from sheep’s milk. It’s used in many traditional Greek dishes, including Greek salad, spanakopita (spinach pie), and tyropita (cheese pie). It’s a versatile ingredient that adds a delicious and tangy flavor to any dish.
Local olives are a staple in Greek cuisine. They’re used in many dishes and are usually served as a side dish or a snack. Kalamata olives are one of the most popular types of olives in Greece and are known for their rich and fruity flavor.
Tomato sauce is another essential ingredient in Greek cuisine. It’s used in many dishes, including moussaka and pastitsio, which are both layered casseroles made with meat, pasta, and creamy béchamel sauce. The tomato sauce adds a rich and savory flavor to the dish.
Lemon juice is also a popular ingredient in Greek cuisine. It’s used in many dishes as a marinade or dressing, and it adds a bright and tangy flavor to the food. Lemon juice is also used to make the famous Greek drink, lemonade, which is a refreshing beverage perfect for hot summer days.
Greek yogurt is a staple in Greek cuisine. It’s a thick and creamy yogurt that’s usually served as a side dish or used as a dip. It’s also used in many traditional Greek recipes, including tzatziki, which is a yogurt dip with cucumber and garlic.
Greek tavernas are a great place to try traditional foods. They’re usually family-run restaurants that offer traditional dishes and a warm and welcoming atmosphere. You can find them all over Greece, and they’re a great way to experience local cuisine.
We like Scholarcheio at Plaka, a traditional taverna in Athens. Even if you are visiting Athens for 2 days, it’s at a central location and the food is quite good.
One of our favorite things in summer is visiting Thodoros kai Eleni, a humble seafood taverna near the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion. The best time to go to the taverna is after visiting the temple and swimming around there.
A Rich and Diverse Cuisine
In conclusion, Greek cuisine is a delicious and diverse cuisine that’s full of bold flavors and fresh ingredients. From traditional dishes like moussaka and pastitsio to street food like gyro and souvlaki, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
So, if you’re looking for the best food in Greece, make sure to try some of the best Greek foods like souvlaki, kalamarakia, and tzatziki. And don’t forget to visit some of the best places to try authentic Greek foods like local tavernas and street vendors. You’ll have the chance to taste the real thing and experience the warm and welcoming atmosphere of Greece.
Join our Facebook community
World Wild Schooling * Traveling to Greece with kids
More Greece Travel Guides
- Athens with Kids
- Two Days in Athens with Kids Itinerary
- Best Day Trips from Athens
- Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon
- Ranking the Best Greek Islands for Beaches
- Corfu with Kids
- Rhodes with Kids
- Best Family Hotels in Zakynthos
Greece Travel Tips
Pin It Now,
Read It Later
Travel Planning Resources
Jo Koni (Georgia Konidari) is a writer and the creator of World Wild Schooling, a digital platform dedicated to travel. She is on a mission to explore the globe and share her experiences with fellow travelers. You can follow Jo on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube.