There is much more to Greek food than Greek salad. On the streets of Greece, souvlaki is a popular fast food of skewered pork with tzatziki, lettuce, and tomato in a pita. In Crete, locally grown snails sautéed in olive oil and garlic are a popular entrée. Don't forget the holy trinity of Greek spirits: ouzo, tsipouro, and mastic!
You can expect fresh ingredients and loads of flavors whenever you indulge in some Greek foods found throughout the country. Their healthy traditional recipes will leave you wanting more, and fortunately, there are many excellent restaurants, eateries, and cafes all over the city. So, to help you figure out what Greek dish you're going to order next, here are a few things to be sure to try.
Greek Meze from Local Markets
The Greek Meze is fresh ingredients and bite-sized pieces you eat, visiting many local farmers' markets. Experiencing the λαϊκή αγορά (farmer's market) is perhaps one of the tastiest and most incredible experiences in Greece. Eating Greek meze while stopping at each market stall for small bites of food is heaven if you are a foodie. Depending on the season, it may include anything from roasted red peppers to octopus. Each vendor may serve hot or cold samples as you eat your way through the market.
Greek Street Food
Greece has some incredible street food. You will find an excellent selection of tasty Greek meals from gyros to pitas and everything in between. Souvlaki is a must-try. Souvlaki refers to Greek fast food, but don't let that turn you away. Greek fast-food is typically much healthier and tastier than fast-food in the U.S. You can order gyros, meat and vegetable skewers, grilled turkey patties, seasoned rice, and much more.
While each region and family put its unique spin on the recipe, the tasty roll is a flavourful finger food you must try in each area of Greece. An iconic Greek dish, Dolmadakia(dol-mah-thah-kya), are grape leaves stuffed with ground meat, like lamb or beef, rice, pine nuts, and fresh herbs. Don't forget the lemon wedge or lemon sauce on them!
As one of Greece's most treasured authentic dishes, you must try moussaka. Variations of this well-known dish range all over Greece, with potatoes, onions, cinnamon, allspice, and various cheeses appearing in many dishes. Served up in every taverna in Greece, the casserole is part of local life, but many say the best moussaka is homemade.
Greece has traditional spirits that the natives like to drink, including ouzo(throughout Greece), masticha(Chios), and raki(Crete), among other types of unique liquors. Metaxa(Piraeus) is a Greek Brandy and is as commonly drank as ouzo throughout Greece.
As one of the oldest wine-producing regions globally, you absolutely cannot pass up on the opportunity to indulge in Greek wine. Visit a wine bar or an international market to find some of the best wines. Retsina Wine is one of my favorites. While the powerful ouzo is fun in small doses, sipping on a glass of Greek Retsina Wine adds a special feeling to the meal. This wine traces back over 2,000 years and is sealed with pine resin, adding an unusual but lovely flavor to the wine. It blends wonderfully with the famous spices of the region, mint, rosemary, and dill.
Greek Coffee at Cafes (Kafenia )
Coffee is huge in Greece. Traditional Greek coffee is quite strong, and you'll have a ton of delicious options. The relaxed pace of drinking Greek coffee makes it ideal for social gatherings. It is not uncommon to see people conversing over Greek coffee at a local cafeteria (a Greek cafe for men and women) or kafeneio (a Greek coffee house for men).
You can't leave Greece without trying some of its desserts, especially its zaharoplasteio (pastries). Some of the sweets you should try include kataifi, koulourakia, milopita, baklava, galaktoboureko, and loukoumades.
As you can see, there is an endless amount of dishes and foods to try while on vacation in Greece. Perhaps I'm a bit biased as I married a Greek and learned to cook all his favorites and a few of my own from my Greek mother-in-law. So, if you'd love to start filling up your itinerary, and planning a Greek holiday, send me an email, or click here to get started!