A guide to the best Greek food. Here, we’ll guide you through the tastiest dishes you must try when you visit Greece; take a look at our Greek foods list!
It’s a fact Greek food is loved all over the world, and the food in Greece is always well-remembered once a holiday is over.
Who doesn’t go back home after a trip to Greece feeling nostalgic about that excellent homemade moussaka, that fantastic grilled octopus by the sea, or those delicious gyro wraps that taste like nowhere else in the world? Who doesn’t love authentic Greek food?
Any mealtime in Greece is a big event; that’s the magic of it, and that’s why I believe it tastes like nowhere else.
Sitting at a table is a ritual that revolves pretty much around sharing and enjoying company, friends, and family, as well as one of the simplest pleasures in life, but one of the most fulfilling ones: food.
Moreover, enjoying Greek cuisine comes with a lesson; you will learn that the simplest ingredients are the best and that you need nothing more than freshness and simplicity to have a feast at the table.
Mediterranean vegetables, only seasonal ones but also lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, the catch of the day, goat, lamb, chicken, grains and fantastic varieties of bread, creative pies, and unique fresh salads are some of the several things you’ll experience.
You should try good quality honey, thick, rich yogurt, and good local wine are staples of Greek cuisine.
And if you still haven’t been to the country and still have to experience what all the fuss about Greek food is about, then you’ve landed in the perfect place.
In this guide, we have listed all the popular Greek food options; we will guide you through the best and tastiest Greek dishes you must try when visiting Greece.
Let us show you now what food to eat in Greece;
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Greek Appetizers & Greek Snacks
Not that hungry, or do you want a table with more than one option? Then try out some of these traditional Greek food choices:
If you’re a cheese lover, this is the one for you! It’s deep-fried cheese, usually a variety called kefalotyri.
Sometimes known as sfougata, these are another cheesy delight, but this time, it’s fried balls of cheese. Tikokroketes are usually a mixture of different cheeses, and sfougata is a local type of cheese.
3. Feta Me Meli
More cheese! Feta me meli is feta cheese rolled up in filo pastry with a massive dollop of honey over the top. It sounds strange, but it’s a delight!
Similar to feta me meli but without the honey, these are triangles of filo pastry filled with different types of local cheeses.
In the mood for more appetizers? Fava is another great dish to have before starting your meal.
Contrary to its name, fava beans have nothing to do here. Fava is a yellow split pea puree with a topping of fresh onions, parsley, and (again) a good drizzle of olive oil. Fava is fantastic when spread over a freshly baked slice of pita bread but also together with an octopus salad and a glass of ouzo.
Fava is one of Santorini’s most famous dishes, but it’s so much loved by the Greeks that you can enjoy it in every region of Greece, especially on the islands.
Another staple of Greek cuisine, dolmades, can be made with vine leaves and cabbage leaves, especially on the mainland. Any version is full of flavor.
Dolmades can be filled with a mix of rice, lemon juice, and tomato but should always include a unique selection of fresh herbs, including mint, thyme, oregano, and dill. Cooked with very little water and a lot of olive oil, they are perfect as a meze (the Greek word for appetizer) after you’ve let them cool.
These are an important piece of the Easter festivities in Greece.
This fantastic bread ring covered with sesame seed can be seen almost in every corner of the capital, Athens, but are popular and consumed everywhere in Greece, especially in Thessaloniki, the city that claims to have given its origin to the koulouri.
Koulouri has very ancient origins; it’s been popular since the Byzantine times. Today, though, it has become one of the country’s favorite foods to eat on the go, usually holding a cup of cold coffee in your other hand.
Those looking to experiment will be happy to know that a koulouri can be simple and plain with sesame seeds. Still, it can also have olives, cheese, chocolate, honey, raisins…and whatever the baker’s imagination can think of!
You’ve no doubt heard of this food in Greece! Tzatziki is a dip made with yogurt, garlic, and cucumber. It is often served with kebabs as a meze, and many people enjoy it as it is!
Taramosalata is a dip, and it’s not for everyone, but you should definitely try it! This is a combination of white or pink fish eggs, known commonly as fish roe, mixed with seasonings and olive oil. It doesn’t sound very good, but try it because you’re in for a tasty surprise!
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Greek Breakfast Dishes
10. Eggs With The Trimmings
If you are in Greece and looking for a traditional breakfast option, look no further than feta cheese, Kalamata olives, eggs, and fresh bread. This basic but satisfying meal will give you the energy to start your day exploring all Greece offers.
Try avgolemono, a Greek soup made with chicken, rice, lemon, and egg, for something a little heartier. It’s the perfect comfort food on a chilly morning.
This is a type of olive and rosemary bread that is served warm. It’s often enjoyed alongside feta cheese, sundried tomatoes, and caramelized onions. No matter what else people have for breakfast, they’ll undoubtedly have some eliopsomo to go with it.
If you often have a sweet craving when you wake up, pischies is for you! This is a fried type of pastry that is filled with sugar, cinnamon, and butter. It’s often served with a bit of syrup on top and crushed almonds. It hails from Cyprus, but you’ll find it everywhere.
Bougatsa is another delicious pastry to enjoy in the mornings. You can choose a sweet version (usually custard) or a savory one (usually cheese or minced meat). This particular option is made of phyllo pastry containing your filling of choice.
14. Buttered Bread With Honey
This might sound very simple, but when your bread is freshly made, and the honey comes from the local beekeeper, it’s something different and super delicious!
15. Fresh Yogurt With Honey
Greek yogurt is famous worldwide, but when it is fresh from the source, it’s super-special. Proper Greek yogurt is very thick, and it has a thick crust on top. You’ll often find it in small clay pots, and you can drizzle some fresh honey over the top for a delicious and creamy breakfast choice.
If you want something a little heartier for breakfast, kagianas are an excellent choice. The best way to eat it is with plenty of fresh bread. This is scrambled eggs with a thick tomato sauce cooked in new olive oil. You can also find kagianas with feta cheese on top.
17. Staka Me Ayga
This dish from Crete will give you all the energy you need to start the day. This dish is fried or sometimes poached eggs, then topped with a creamy/flour-based mixture. It’s then all mixed and seasoned, served with tomato. It sounds strange in the description, but give it a try, and you’ll surely enjoy it!
Greek Meat & Fish Dishes
Let’s get to the all-time famous Greek food type – meat and fish.
Probably Greece’s best-known dish, moussaka, is very similar to an Italian lasagna, only lacking the pasta, which is replaced by layers of crispy fried aubergine and potatoes. In some places, they usually add layers of friend courgette, too.
Between those layers, a fantastic tomato sauce made with meat and a good dose of cinnamon gives moussaka a distinctive and unique taste.
The dish is topped with béchamel sauce, which is still made from extra virgin olive oil instead of butter in traditional villages. The moussaka is then ready to go into the oven for the béchamel to get a very tempting golden brown color.
If you’re vegetarian, it’s also possible to find moussaka made equally delicious and appealing without meat.
You probably think of Turkey when you hear the word ‘kebab,’ but Greece has them too. These are shaped like sausage and are usually a mixture of beef and lamb with cumin and garlic thrown in. Kebabs in Greece have a slightly oriental taste, but it’s mouth-watering in all the right ways.
The meat is usually served in pita bread, or sometimes you’ll find it on a plate.
Gyro is another equally famous and popular dish across the country, as beloved as souvlaki or even more!
When it comes to gyro, the meat (again also, chicken, pork, beef, or lamb) is not on skewers but cooked and sliced and wrapped inside a pita that has been previously heated or kept warm.
Here, of course, traditions and personal taste define the gyro. Some Greeks would never dream of adding to their gyro other than traditional tomatoes, onions, and yogurt.
For others, a gyro wrap is not complete without putting lettuce and fried potatoes in it.
Other people would never eat a gyro without tzatziki sauce inside it… there’s a gyro for every taste in Greece. Just choose the one you fancy or try them all!
Another Greek dish that has become famous all over the world is souvlaki.
Greeks love their meat, and they love it even more when it comes as a skewer. Souvlaki is grilled meat (it can be pork and chicken, although, in some hidden places, you can still be lucky enough to find lamb).
These skewers are usually served with plain yogurt or with tzatziki sauce (yogurt with cucumber, olive oil, and sometimes herbs, too, such as mint or dill, and, of course, a good dose of garlic).
Pita bread, fried potatoes, salad, and even rice are some side ingredients that can come with souvlaki. And if you’re lucky… you can even get them all!
One of the favorite dishes in Greece is this slow-cooked meat (usually lamb or even goat) wrapped inside a layer of baking paper and cooked for hours, if possible, inside a wooden oven to produce a very tender dish.
This dish is typically very flavourful and heavily seasoned with onions, fresh oregano, thyme, and garlic. In the same pan, many people like to add potatoes or other vegetables that cook together and are all served together.
The meat is usually marinated overnight before cooking, so it will be easy to tear apart even without needing a knife, eventually melting in your mouth.
Although not as well known as other dishes in this list, Kleftiko is one of Greece’s most delicious things you should taste during your next trip to Greece!
Vegetarian Greek Dishes
This dish is chickpeas and spices rolled into a ball and fried. It’s much like falafel and has the same spiced taste. It’s often served with fresh bread and salad.
24. Greek Salad
Salads in the Mediterranean are pretty special, but the Greeks do it well! A traditional Greek salad is often served with all meals, combining tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, olives, and feta cheese. Vinegar, lemon juice, and olive oil are drizzled over the top, and as with many of the foods in Greece, this will be served with fresh bread.
Traditional Greek Food – Pies
We could not list the best Greek food without covering at least one Greek pie type.
25. Spanakopita & Other Pies
Greece is the home of the pie, and of all the Greek foods on this list, you have to eat this at least once in Greece. It doesn’t matter the shape or the filling, not even if they were baked or fried. Every Greece region has its type of Greek pie which you should try.
Cheese pies, meat pies, sweet pies made with phyllo pastry, or even kadaifi are incredibly thin threads of phyllo pastry that can wrap anything inside.
When it comes to pies in Greece, there’s always one to fit anyone’s taste. However, the queen of Greek pies is Spanakopita. It usually comes with spinach and feta cheese, although it’s also common to find spanakopita featuring the traditional cheese in the region where you’re tasting it.
On Crete, for instance, it’s common for feta to be replaced with local myzithra, a fantastic goat and sheep cheese ideal for sweet and savory dishes for its delicate balance.
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Hmm, maybe the best Greek foods are the ones of the sweet kind…
Another amazing Greek dish, this time for those who prefer sweets over savory, are loukoumades.
A fantastic delicacy made with the well-known donut dough, these small balls of pastry are fried and served hot, sprinkled with loads of honey, sometimes cinnamon, or crushed almonds or nuts. A typical food of Greece easily found in Greek resorts during summer, loukoumades can be served with whipped cream and even ice cream that melts when placed over the steaming hot sweet pastry.
Nothing is more delicious than a dish of just-fried loukoumades. They can be the perfect afternoon treat and a fantastic dessert right by the beach!
Middle Eastern flavors have made their way into Greece during the several foreign occupations of the country and the islands. They have now become part of the national Greek food, with many Greeks claiming to be nothing but local dishes.
The oriental style sweet, known as baklava, is one of them.
Baklava is a little pastry that is extremely sweet and drenched in syrup, usually made from honey and covered with different nuts according to the region.
While the north of Greece and some of the island prefer crushed pistachios, Baklava is commonly sprinkled with walnuts or almonds in Athens and certain areas of central Greece.
You now have a list of the best food in Greece, so all that is left to decide which of these traditional Greek dishes you will try first.