Greece is a country with a rich history, culture and cuisine. Whether you are visiting the ancient monuments, the stunning islands or the lively cities, you will find plenty of delicious food and drink to enjoy. From fresh seafood and grilled meats to hearty casseroles and sweet pastries, Greek food is full of flavor and variety. And don’t forget the drinks – Greece is famous for its wine, ouzo, raki and coffee.
In this blog post, we will explore some of the best dishes and drinks to try in Greece and where to find them. We will also give you some tips on how to order and eat like a local. So get ready to feast your eyes and taste buds on some of the most mouthwatering food and drink in the world!
Best dishes to try in Greece
Greek cuisine is influenced by its geography, climate and history. It uses fresh ingredients such as olive oil, herbs, vegetables, cheese, yogurt, honey, nuts and fruits. It also incorporates meat, fish and seafood from the land and sea. Some of the most popular dishes in Greece are:
: A creamy dip made from fish roe (eggs), bread or potato, olive oil and lemon juice. It is usually served with bread or pita as an appetizer or meze (small dish). You can find it in most tavernas (traditional restaurants) or delis.
Olives and olive oil
: Greeks love olives and olive oil, which are essential ingredients in their cuisine. They use them for salads, dips, sauces, marinades and frying. They also eat them as snacks or meze. There are many varieties of olives in Greece, such as kalamata, throubes, amfissa and green olives. You can buy them fresh or cured in brine or vinegar. Olive oil is also produced in different regions of Greece, such as Crete, Peloponnese and Lesvos. You can taste and buy olive oil in markets, shops or olive mills.
: Stuffed grape leaves with rice, herbs and sometimes meat. They are cooked in lemon juice or tomato sauce and served hot or cold as an appetizer or main course. You can find them in tavernas, supermarkets or street stalls.
: A popular street food that consists of meat (usually pork or chicken) cooked on a vertical rotisserie and sliced into thin pieces. It is wrapped in a pita bread with tomato, onion, tzatziki (yogurt-cucumber-garlic dip) and sometimes fries. You can order it “sto heri” (in hand) or “sto piato” (on a plate) with more fries and salad. You can find gyros shops everywhere in Greece.
: Greece has a long coastline and many islands, so seafood is abundant and fresh. You can enjoy grilled or fried fish, octopus, squid, cuttlefish, shrimp, mussels and more. Some of the best places to eat seafood are by the sea or in fishing villages. You can choose your fish from a display or ask for the catch of the day.
: Greeks are also experts in grilling and spit-roasting meat. You can try souvlaki (skewered meat), paidakia (lamb chops), brizoles (pork chops), kotopoulo (chicken) and more. They are usually seasoned with salt, pepper, oregano and lemon juice. You can eat them with bread, fries, salad or tzatziki.
: The national dish of Greece is a baked casserole of layered eggplant, potato, minced meat and béchamel sauce. It is rich and filling and often served with bread or salad. You can find it in most tavernas or make it at home.
: The most famous dessert in Greece is a pastry made from thin layers of filo dough filled with chopped nuts (usually walnuts or pistachios) and soaked in honey syrup. It is crunchy, sweet and sticky and often flavored with cinnamon or cloves. You can buy it from bakeries or pastry shops.
Best drinks to try in Greece
Greek drinks are also diverse and delicious. They range from alcoholic beverages to coffee and tea. Some of the most popular drinks in Greece are:
: Wine is one of the oldest and most important drinks in Greece. It has been produced and consumed since ancient times. Greece has many wine regions and varieties, such as retsina (wine made with pine-needle resin), assyrtiko (white wine from Santorini), agiorgitiko (red wine from Nemea) and xinomavro (red wine from Naoussa). You can drink wine with your meal or as an aperitif. You can also visit wineries and vineyards to taste and learn more about Greek wine.
: The most famous Greek spirit is ouzo, a clear liquor flavored with anise. It is usually mixed with water, which turns it milky white, and served with ice and meze. It has a strong and distinctive taste and aroma. You can drink ouzo in ouzeri (ouzo bars) or cafes.
: Another popular Greek spirit is raki, also known as tsipouro or tsikoudia. It is a clear and fiery drink made from distilled grapes. It is usually served in small glasses with water and meze. It has a similar taste to ouzo but without the anise flavor. You can drink raki in raki shops or tavernas.
: A Greek brandy that is blended with wine and aged in oak barrels. It has a smooth and sweet taste and comes in different grades, such as 3 stars, 5 stars, 7 stars and 12 stars. You can drink metaxa neat, on the rocks or mixed with soda or juice.
: A thick and strong coffee that is brewed in a small pot called a briki. It is usually sweetened according to taste: sketo (no sugar), metrio (medium sugar) or glyko (sweet). It is served in a small cup with a layer of foam on top and the grounds at the bottom. You can drink Greek coffee in kafeneio (coffee houses) or at home.
: A cold and frothy coffee that is made by shaking instant coffee, water, sugar and ice in a shaker or blender. It is usually topped with milk or cream and served with a straw. It is a refreshing and popular drink in the summer. You can order it at cafes or beach bars.
How to order and eat like a local
Now that you know what to eat and drink in Greece, here are some tips on how to order and eat like a local:
- Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations or suggestions from the staff or the owner. They will be happy to help you choose the best dishes and drinks for you.
- Don’t expect to have separate courses or plates. Greek food is meant to be shared and enjoyed together. Order several dishes for the table and try a bit of everything.
- Don’t be surprised if you get some free extras, such as bread, water, salad, dessert or liqueur. This is a common gesture of hospitality in Greece.
- Don’t rush your meal or your drink. Take your time and savor the flavors and the atmosphere. Greeks like to linger over their food and drink and chat with their companions.
- Don’t forget to tip. Although it is not mandatory, it is customary to leave a 10% tip for good service in restaurants, cafes and bars.
Greece is a paradise for foodies and drinkers. It offers a wide range of dishes and drinks that reflect its history, culture and geography. Whether you prefer meat or fish, sweet or savory, hot or cold, you will find something to suit your taste buds in Greece. And don’t forget to enjoy the company of the friendly and hospitable Greeks who will make you feel at home.
We hope this blog post has given you some ideas on what to eat and drink in Greece and where to find them. Have you tried any of these dishes or drinks? What are your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!