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Is there anyone out there that has visited Greece and hasn’t fallen in love with Greek food?
We highly doubt it!
Let’s be honest, it is not a surprise that everyone gets crazy about Greek food- it is fresh, local, and finger-licking good. Not to mention that it is actually good for your health. Rich in flavor and nutrients, Greek cuisine is full of delicious dishes that will excite your taste buds!
So, if you’re planning to visit Greece for the first time or searching for the absolute must-try dishes to order at a Greek tavern, then stick with us. Things are going to get really tasty!
Why everyone goes crazy with Greek food
Well, for many reasons, but the main ones are that it is both delicious and healthy. This rare combination has made Greek cuisine famous all over the world! The Greek diet is a Mediterranean diet, which means it is rich in vegetables, legumes, and herbs. It also includes meat, dairy, and fish, usually fresh and local.
The modern flourishing culinary scene of Greece is based on traditional recipes with a modern twist. In Greece, you’ll discover a good selection of restaurants and taverns with a modern approach to traditional cuisine, but also many traditional taverns that cook the old way. It is really worth it to give both a try!
This is arguably the most popular Greek food. It basically consists of small marinated pieces of meat (and sometimes vegetables, like onion, tomato, and peppers) on a skewer. The meat that is used for souvlaki is pork or chicken. It is usually served inside pita bread along with fried potatoes, tzatziki, and tomato, or alone with a side of fries and tzatziki. You can find Greek souvlaki almost everywhere in Greece, from taverns and restaurants to food carts and little grill houses. And the best part is it is very cheap, so you can have as many as you want!
Greek potatoes are famous for their rich flavor, which they owe to the fertile Greek soil! They are a must for every meal in all their forms, fried, roasted, or mashed. Fried and roasted potatoes can be perfectly paired with grilled meat, like souvlaki, while mashed potatoes are a great side dish for fish.
Tiropita (Cheese pie)
Traditional tiropita is one of the locals’ favorite dishes, maybe because it reminds them of their childhood. It is very common to find old women in villages all over Greece making handmade cheese pie in a traditional wood-fired oven. Even if you don’t have the chance to visit a traditional village and taste fresh-out-of-the-oven cheese pie (which we highly recommend), don’t worry! Most Greek restaurants and taverns make their own homemade tiropita following the traditional recipe!
Greek salad is definitely a staple of Greek gastronomy! You can mainly enjoy it during the summer when its ingredients are freshly harvested and rich in flavor. Given that Greek salad consists of several highly nutritious ingredients, you can also have it as a main dish. The basic ingredients of the Greek salad are tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, bell peppers, feta cheese, local mountain oregano, salt, and extra virgin olive oil. Yum!
Spanakopita (Spinach pie)
Traditional Greek spanakopita will make you lick your fingers! There are several variations of this pie depending on the region. However, the basic ingredients include spinach, feta cheese, extra virgin olive oil, onions, and eggs. The crust is always handmade, which gives spanakopita a unique flavor.
Fact: Spanakopita is a recipe that easily becomes vegan if you skip cheese and eggs.
This is one of the most popular fast foods in Greece! Pita gyros is a variation of souvlaki with pita, but the difference lies in the type of meat. More specifically, souvlaki consists of small pieces of meat (pork or chicken), while gyros is meat (pork or chicken) roasted on a vertical rotisserie. You can enjoy it in pita bread along with tzatziki, fried potatoes, and tomatoes. Delish! Also, if you get hungry while exploring a city or an island, pita gyros is one of the best Greek delicacies to eat on the go!
Pastichio, which is very similar to the Italian lasagna, is one of the yummiest traditional Greek dishes! The traditional recipe consists of grilled pasta with ground meat, bechamel sauce with nutmeg, and cheese. It’s hard to find a traditional Greek tavern or restaurant that doesn’t serve this delicacy.
Keftedes = the Greek version of meatballs! The traditional Greek meatballs contain ground beef, ground pork, red onion, garlic, breadcrumbs, egg, and herbs. They are fried, roasted or cooked in a pot, depending on the recipe and usually served with a side of fried potatoes, rice, or pasta. There are many variations of this recipe, depending on the region. So, if you’re visiting several places in Greece, don’t miss the different versions of keftedes. They won’t disappoint!
Saganaki cheese is the Greek version of grilled cheese and it is utterly delicious! It is a famous appetizer and an essential part of a Greek meze dinner. The most popular cheeses for saganaki include kefalograviera, graviera, halloumi, kasseri, kefalotiri, formaela, and feta. After being fried in a pan, saganaki cheese is drizzled with lemon and served hot. You can pair it perfectly with fried potatoes and cheese!
Well, this is one of the most popular Greek dishes worldwide! It consists of eggplant, potatoes, pureed tomatoes, ground beef, cheese, and bechamel sauce. Each of these ingredients serves as a layer of the final dish: the eggplants and potatoes are the bottom layers, the ground beef with the pureed tomatoes are the middle layers, and the bechamel sauce is the top layer. Moussaka is one of the most beloved main dishes in Greece.
Fact: The popular French-trained Greek chef Nikolaos Tselementes was the person who originally created the modern version of moussaka.
Are you drooling?
We know we do!
The truth is that no matter what you may hear or read, nothing will prepare you for the deliciousness of the Greek food!
So, if you want to try these dishes yourself, book your holidays and don’t forget to bring your elastic pants with you!