When you think of Greece, you likely picture breathtaking coastal scenes, like those straight out of “Mamma Mia”: crystal Mediterranean water, white-washed buildings with blue rooftops, and cliffs jutting out over the water. But Greece offers so much more than sunny beach days and lovely panoramas. A country rich in cultural and historical heritage, Greece connects us to the past in a tangible and powerful way. And what better way to discover a country’s culture and history than through its cuisine? After all, though we may not always realize it, what we eat tells us a lot about a place, and there’s a profound beauty in enjoying the same dishes that local families have been creating for centuries. Feasting on Greek food makes that all too obvious.
So are you ready to dive into Greek cuisine? Continue reading below for the top foods you must try in Greece!
Greek Food: for Starters
1. Greek Salad (Choriatiki)
This one probably seems obvious (I mean, a Greek salad in Greece should just be called a salad, right?). But the Greek salad is unique: a staple for most Greeks at every meal, Choriatiki consists of cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, and red onion, generally served with a large piece of feta cheese on top. It’s so light and refreshing, you don’t even need a dressing!
2. Courgette Balls
These delicious courgette (or zucchini) and feta balls are a perfect veggie starter for any meal. Crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside, this salty — and tasty — appetizer will please your taste buds with its rich texture and refreshing aftertaste of mint and various herbs.
3. Fava Dip (Yellow Split-Pea Puree)
A great appetizer for the cold winter months, this vegetable dish made of yellow split peas is most popular on the island of Santorini, but has made its way throughout many of the other Greek Isles. Creamy, rich, and extra delicious, you’ll want to order this as a starter or a dip before your meal. It is the perfect way to warm up on a chilly day!
4. Dolmades (Stuffed Grape Leaves)
These tiny dolmades, or stuffed grape leads, come full of rice, herbs, and ground lamb or beef. Usually served as an appetizer with lemon wedges, these unique and delicious grape leaves are the perfect way to start your meal!
Greek Food: for the Main Course
A classic example of Greek food, moussaka is a tomato-based, casserole-like dish made with eggplant and minced meat, which are bound together by a creamy bechamel sauce. Though most families prepare their own distinct variations of this iconic meal, moussaka is also on the menu at most local restaurants and taverns. Though it’s generally offered at lunch, you will also find this dish on many dinner menus, as well. Take a taste of this filling, traditional Greek dish to get a delicious taste of the local cuisine!
Chances are that you’ve tried a gyro once or twice (or at least heard of it!). Gyros are a popular and extremely economical meal in Greece. This handheld pita can be specified to your liking: fill it with roasted beef, lamb, chicken, or pork with various taste enhancers, like tzatziki sauce, onions, lettuce, and tomato. Pair it with a side dish of french fries, and you’ve got yourself a delicious meal!
This traditional Greek spinach pie can be enjoyed at any time of the day, whether for a meal or snack or starter. Butter, olive oil, feta cheese, and fresh spinach, all mixed together and baked to golden perfection, spanikopita will most certainly satisfy your tastebuds!
A Greek word meaning “meat on a skewer,” souvlaki is a popular Greek food that you can even find on street side restaurants. A well seasoned meat topped with fresh tzatziki sauce, souvlaki can be made with lamb, beef, pork, or chicken. The meat is cooked until juicy and tender, and it is typically served with pita bread, rice, fries, or even a simple Greek salad.
Greek Food: for Dessert
Baklava is the quintessential Greek dessert, and it is a must-have while you’re exploring Greece! A sweet dessert pastry, baklava is made of various layers of filo, along with chopped nuts and held together by honey or syrup. Its delicious and delectable flavors and crispy pastry layers make it one of the most popular Greek desserts.
Made with a special type of pastry called kataifa, this popular dessert is filled with a wonderful, almond-and-walnut center that is wrapped in thread-like strands of pastry and soaked in sweetened syrup.
Dying to try Greek food in the country that created these iconic dishes? Join Acanela Expeditions on a magical expedition through the Greek Isles! On the divinely beautiful islands of Mykonos and Santorini, we’ll take cooking classes from talented chefs, shop in local markets, and sip wine in volcanic vineyards — and we want you to join us.