What to eat when you’re in Greece
Whitewashed houses, inviting sandy shores, bright blue waters, lush olive groves and historic ruins – these are just some of the things that make holidays to Greece so popular. Attracting millions of tourists year after year, alongside an array of beautiful Blue Flag beaches to relax upon and a peppering of ancient architecture to explore, Greece is a country famed for its incredible cuisine too – so if you’re a foodie, your taste buds are well and truly in for a treat!
There’s nothing better than food, friends and sunshine, so whether you’re booking a getaway to the Greek mainland or spending your summer holiday island hopping around the peninsula, you’ll find a whole host of delicious dishes waiting to be discovered. Indulge at the local restaurants and try authentic favourites like Moussaka and Baklava, or simply make the most of some Greece’s finest flavours like Feta and Olives.
If this is your first holiday to Greece and you need to know what to look out for on the menu, or maybe you just need a refresher ready for your next trip, here’s our A-Z Greek food guide of what to eat when you’re in Greece…
A dessert favourite and one of the more well known Greek specialties, Baklava is pastry based and made with nuts, butter and sugar. Layers of filo are covered in a sweet syrup before baking – the result? A seriously moreish sweet - one simply won’t be enough!
You’ll most likely find Dolmadakia gracing the appetiser pages of your menu. The dish features little stuffed parcels made up of ground meat, herbs and rice, all wrapped up in vine leaves. Squeeze a dash of zingy lemon over and enjoy!
Say cheese! A Greek staple, Feta is a creamy white cheese traditionally made using sheep’s milk. You’ll find this type of cheese comes in a slice so it’s perfect for crumbling over salads, adding to pastry dishes or for packing into pittas.
Salads vary all around the world and Greece is no different. Their signature salad is bursting with big juicy tomatoes, fresh olives, onions, cucumber and of course, a slab of feta cheese too! It’s a refreshing option for lunch or as a side to share at dinner and you simply can’t jet off to the country without sampling the plate at least once.
Think of Gyros as the Greek answer to a warm sandwich and prepare for love at first bite! Gyros is pork or chicken cooked on a rotisserie (much like shawarma of middle eastern cuisine) and the tasty tender meat is then sliced and put into pitta bread along with crunchy lettuce, tomatoes, onions and finished with tzatziki – an effortless snack and a serious taste sensation!
Dating back to Rome at the time of the Ancient Greeks, Loukoumades is the Greek take on a donut. The bite-sized sweet treats consist of little balls of dough covered with honey syrup, a sprinkle of cinnamon and walnuts. These are then deep-fried creating a serious melt-in-the-mouth treat. Okay, so they aren’t the healthiest option, but if you can’t indulge on holiday, when can you?
No matter if you’re visiting Athens or Rome, Crete or Kefalonia, you’ll never be far away from a plate of Moussaka. The famed Greek dish is a culinary favourite across the country and it’s easy to try with most traditional tavernas and restaurants serving up their own take with recipes varying from region to region. Traditionally layered with eggplant, tomato sauce, minced beef and a rich béchamel sauce – make this a must for dinner at least once!
A regular in Mediterranean cuisine, you’ll find olives and olive oil in many dishes all across Greece. From a dash of olive oil over a salad and paired with balsamic to accompany bread, to loose olives as a bar snack or used within pastas and salads, Greek olives are often noted as being the very best in the world and there are several varieties to choose from including Kalamata, Halkithiki and Cretan Green Olives.
If you’re out for dinner in Greece, it’s not uncommon for the staff to serve you a chilled shot of Ouzo as an aperitif or digestif. Traditionally distilled in copper and infused with anise, the spirit is native to the country so all that’s left to do is say Yamas (a phrase meaning cheers, to our health) and give it a try.
Similar to a kebab, the Greek dish Souvlaki consists of grilled meat on a skewer. An effortless choice for lunch or dinner, pork is the most popular meat, however, you’ll also find chicken and lamb served up too. Simply savour the flavour and enjoy alone, or try with a Greek salad, tzatziki and potatoes.
A traditional Greek meze, real Taramasalata unlike supermarket versions, is a smooth, grainy dip made from tarama (roe from fish like cod, striped mullet or herring) olive oil, fresh lemon juice and mixed by pestle and mortar with a base of bread or potatoes. Lather it on pittas, or dip into crunchy veggies for a simple snack in the sunshine.
If you’re yet to try Tzatziki, there’s no better place to taste the dip than in the country it originates from. A humble blend of fresh yoghurt, olive oil, garlic and dill, the sauce is a must with grilled meats, salads, pittas… you name it, it will pretty much go great with just about anything!
Have we got your taste buds tingling? We thought so! Greece is ready and waiting to welcome you this summer...