With grilled fish, spiced meats and fresh feta salads, as well as sweet, flakey Baklava all washed down with a glass of ouzo, the food in Greece is a big part of its allure.
While you’re dreaming of tucking into plates and plates of the local delicacies, remember to browse for villas near the traditional villages and resorts to truly immerse yourself in the culture. With this in mind, below you’ll find a detailed guide to the local food you can sample in Greece.
A snapshot of the heritage
Greek cuisine has many similarities from food found in Cyprus and Turkey. This may be because of their shared ancient Roman and rich Byzantine and Ottoman heritage which fused flavours and the names for dishes across the Mediterranean Sea.
Culturally, Greek cuisine is typically made with olive oil and consists of grilled vegetables, herbed rice and legumes and spiced meat on a skewer. You’ll usually get a side dish of flatbread and olives to accompany your meal.
Local dishes you need to try
With hundreds of islands in Greece, you’ll quickly find that they all have their own take on traditional dishes. Some may prefer to use garlic and thyme while other areas use basil and oregano. Here are some of the traditional options you’ll find on the menu in most tavernas.
What us Brits may consider these a kebab but in Greece they’re called gyros and are a lot fresher than the ones served in a greasy takeaway. Spiced pork, lamb or chicken is wrapped in a slice of homemade pita bread and decorated with fresh cucumber and yoghurt dip.
Enjoy a tasty plate of skewered meat, seasoned and spiced to perfection. This simple dish is usually chicken, lamb, beef, pork or vegetables and comes with a side of fresh tomatoes and traditional dips.
A delicious lunch option, a traditional spanakopita is a fresh filo pastry filled with spinach and feta that’s bound with eggs.
Also found in the Middle East, Moussaka is a filling dinner that’s similar to lasagna but instead of pasta, they use sauteed aubergines. Herbs and spices are added to ground beef or lamb and mixed with tomatoes. The first layer is typically potato and the dish is topped with a thick layer of cheesy béchamel sauce.
As well as sprinkled on salads, in Greece, Feta is often baked and served up as an appetiser. Baked in olive oil with roasted tomatoes and olives, this dish is the perfect accompaniment to freshly baked pita bread.
Interestingly, although hummus is now firmly on the menu in many Greek restaurants, it surprisingly did not originate in Greece. In fact, hummus dates back to 13th-century Egypt. Tzatziki, however, stems from the Ottoman Empire. This delicious yoghurt based dip is made with garlic and cucumber which is the perfect accompaniment to cool down spicy Souvlaki.
Known also as Dolma, this common appetiser or side dish is a sweet accompaniment to any meal. Lamb, beef, and rice are mixed together and wrapped in grape leaves.
There are so many reasons why you should visit Greece and this list of delicious delicacies may only tempt you further.