Greek dishes will amaze you! The food in Greece is flavoursome with smooth to crunchy textures, nutrient, fresh and timeless. Discovering, tasting and experiencing Greek food is, by all means, one of the joys when visiting Greece. Greek dishes are exceptionally delicious and very popular. The ones unaware of it might think that Greek cuisine is all about Tzatziki, green Salad, Mousaka and Souvlaki.
The real Greek dishes are some of the richest, healthiest and tastiest in the world. Greek cuisine is made up of virgin olive oil, seasonal fruit and veggies, herbs, honey and measured amounts of dairy products, meat and fish. If combined well, meals turn into true feasts accompanied by good quality local wines.
List of the Top Greek Dishes
Salads, Spreads, Dips: Greek Salad, Chorta, Tzatziki, Taramosalata, Tirokafteri, Skordalia.
3 Popular Greek Salads
The Greek ‘Choriatiki’ in its purest form consists of tomato, cucumber, olives, onions, capers and feta cheese sprinkled with salt, oregano and olive oil.
When at a taverna or a Greek Restaurant, you’ll often find the Greek version of potato salad which is cool and goes well with several Greek dishes. Be sure to squeeze a bit of extra lemon over it!
Chorta (wild greens) usually translated as ‘boiled greens’, the collective name for a number of green leafy vegetables usually collected in the countryside.
Tzatziki is a yoghurt dip combining cucumber and garlic as well as dill. (In Cyprus they use dry mint instead). Olive oil is typically added.
Taramosalata is a fish row, mixed with breadcrumbs, lemon juice and olive oil.
Tirokafteri is a bit spicy spread or dip made up of feta cheese, roasted red peppers and a little garlic.
Skordalia is made up of mashed potatoes, garlic, olive oil and vinegar. It is a purée that typically accompanies fried cod.
Greek Dishes -Appetizers
Florina peppers have a deep red colour and shaped like a cow’s horn. They are roasted, dressed with olive oil and stuffed mostly with cheese, rarely with herbs too.
Kolokythoanthoi in Greek are the flowers of zucchini. They make a delectable appetizer, stuffed with veggies, rice and spices.
Anchovies are served on their own (pickled) and also as part of the Greek meze. They are pickled and match well with Ouzo or wine.
Octopus and Squid
Octopus and Squid usually grilled served as main, as well as part of a meze.
Greek Dishes -Soups
Avgolemono, literally “egg yolk-lemon” in Greek. A term used to define soups with eggs and lemon juice mixed with broth thickened until it gets silky and creamy. The most popular is made with chicken meat.
Faki is the popular Lentil soup.
Fasolada is the Bean soup and is considered a traditional Greek soup, perhaps the most popular of all. Typically it is cooked with celery, onion, tomato paste, dried herbs and plenty of olive oil.
Main Greek Dishes
Giouvetsi is baked lamb in a clay pot preferably with a special pasta identical to orzo or ‘hilopites’ tomato sauce, some cinnamon, bay leaves, onions, some red wine, olive oil. It is served with grated cheese.
Oven-baked Lamb Oven-baked with potatoes is a common Greek dish slow baked, adding garlic, a few bay leaves, olive oil, lemon and oregano.
Mousaka, -the daring gourmet! Who doesn’t know this dish! It is an eggplant (aubergine) dish often including ground meat, topped with creamy béchamel sauce and baked together until golden. A delicious taste of Greece!
Pastitsio a baled pasta dish with a filling of ground spiced minced meat and like Moussaka, is topped with creamy béchamel sauce topping.
Soutzoukakia Politika, are meatballs in a savoury tomato sauce generously spiced with cumin and garlic, made preferably from beef minced meat, bread crumbs, egg and parsley.
Gemista is stuffed vegetables, mostly tomatoes, bell peppers, zucchini, even eggplant filled with rice and a bunch of herbs like parsley and fresh or dry mint which makes them super tasty, especially the latter. Some prefer adding ground beef. Olive oil is important in this dish otherwise you won’t get this melt-in-your-mouth sensation. In between, they add potatoes.
Souvlaki ‘kebab or skewer.’ Everyone who has visited Greece has tasted at least once the Greek souvlaki which comes in three dishes. You will ask for “souvlaki” or “souvlaki with pita” or “pita gyros”. All three have become a trademark of the Modern Greek culture over the years.
Gyros is let’s say, something like a classic Greek sandwich made with pork cooked on a gyro cone. The filling consists of pita bread, tomatoes, onions, tzatziki and french-fries.
Pies are made of dough and come with a variety of fillings. You will find them served as a starter, but you may also get them as a breakfast extra, and of course, many people have them as a snack any time of the day. There are several types: cheese pies are the most common, but there are also pies filled with spinach, courgette/zucchini, meat, leaks or whatever the cook thinks will taste good.
Greek Eating Habits
Greeks eat late and if you go to a restaurant before 9 pm, most likely you will find it empty. They rarely have lunch before 2:00 pm or dinner before 9:00 – 10:00 pm. Generally, there are no strict meal hours in Greek and Cypriot restaurants. Restaurants serve food from 11:00 am until quite late at night. Lunch usually starts from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm. You can order whatever you are in the mood for, avoiding the starter-main dish dessert formula. Nobody will frown even if you only have starters.
Eating out at a Fish Tavern
Restaurants, in general, serve grilled or fried fish. Fresh fish is pricey in Greece and sold by the kilo, so before you order enthusiastically, keep this in mind. The best and most common way to order is to go to the kitchen and ask them to show you the fish and point to the one(s) that appeal to you.
Grilled Fish Served with Olive Oil
Expect to have your fish served with an olive and lemon sauce. If you don’t know what to order, ‘Tsipoura’, the Snapper is a safe bet. Another popular choice is the Red mullet ‘barbounia’ usually fried and extremely tasty if fresh. Feel free to use fingers to eat them!
List of Greek Things to Try
Pasteli: Honey and Sesame bars.
Cheese: Greece is among the highest consumer countries of cheese worldwide. Besides the traditional Feta try the Graviera.
Dried Figs: The best come from Kymi (Evia).
Honey: Greece is known for its excellent quality of honey. Out of all the varieties in the market, the best is the Thyme honey.
Aegina Pistachios: Not your average pistachio, but tastier, straight off the tree from the island of Aegina.
Apaki, Apaki or Lountza: Smoked ham from different parts of Greece, sliced thinly and cured in Greek herbs and vinegar. (Called lountza in Cyprus).