Famous Food in Greece
Greek cuisine has been influenced by Middle Eastern, Italian, and Ottoman cultures. Fresh vegetables, fish, olive oil, wine, meat, and grains play a significant role in these dishes, as well as cheese, bread, olives, herbs, and yogurt.
Here are some of the most delicious Greek food you should try if you visit Greece.
Appetizer (Mezze) & Main Courses
koulouri is a large soft bread ring covered in sesame seeds. Koulouri is often bought from street vendors stands yellow street carts and eaten on the go with a cup of coffee. Koulouria originate from Greece's Jewish community.
This nutritious soup is famous for its healing properties and looks easy to make.
It is cooked by slowly boiling a whole chicken in a pot with vegetables and rice and then picking the meat off, cutting the skin and bones.
Then Avgolemono (the egg and lemon sauce) is added.
The soup is a rich, silky smooth soup that gives fat, carbs, and protein with vitamin C.
Magiritsa is a Greek national dish. It refers to a dense and filling Greek soup made with lamb offal, greens, onions, and dill. It’s the opening meal that breaks the Greek Orthodox Fast or Lent.
Magiritsa is made with the lamb’s head and neck, along with its intestines, heart, and liver. The lamb parts are cleaned and boiled whole before being cut up into smaller pieces and simmered. It’s prepared on Holy Saturday and consumed immediately after the Easter midnight church service.
Youvarlakia or giouvarlakia is a famous Greek meatball soup, which is full of Mediterranean flavors, fresh herbs, juicy meatballs, and the dish is finished with a delicious egg-lemon sauce (avgolemono).
It is the best dish to eat in winters, it is usually accompanied by bread and enjoyed as a nutritious main course.
- Tzatziki – a healthy yogurt dip made with garlic, cucumber, and olive oil;
- Tahini is a paste of crushed sesame seeds, olive oil, lemon, and garlic;
- Taramosalata, a type of fish roe mixed with pureed potatoes, olive oil, lemon juice, and onions;
- Hummus, a traditional pureed chickpea, and tahini dip.
-Fava is a yellow split pea that is cooked alongside onions and various spices until they completely dissolve and transform into a creamy, velvety purée.
Dolmades are a typical greek side dish.
It is made of vine leaves, stuffed with rice, fresh herbs & other seasonings, which are then steamed. You can also find them filled with meat or vegetarian with rice only.
The vine leaves can be replaced with cabbage.
It is served as an appetizer & cold.
Dolmadakia is tiny dolmades with lamb or beef and rice.
It’s usually served as an appetizer drizzled with olive oil & lemon wedges. Dolmadakia is shaped like short cigars and boiled until the leaves are very tender. Unlike gemista though, the usual filling here is minced meat and they're served hot with avgolemono sauce.
*A dolmadaki is singular, the plural is dolmadakia. So a dolmadaki is literally a little stuffed wrap. The dish is also called dolmades which is the plural of dolmas, especially if you use large grape leaves and thus the wraps are somewhat larger.
Gemista is also a popular dish in Greece.
Gemista is vegetables usually tomatoes, bell peppers, zucchini, and eggplant filled with rice (sometimes with ground meat) and baked in the oven, and served in traditional taverns.
Gemista translates as “ones that are filled”. They're delicious served hot or cold, This dish can be found commonly throughout Cyprus, Turkey, and the Middle East.
it's a typical summer dish.
Tiropittes / Tiropitas (Greek Cheese Pie)
Tiropita, also known as ‘Greek cheese pie’, is an appetizer made from phyllo pastry, cheese (usual feta), mix it with two other kinds of yellow cheese for added flavor, and egg mixture, melted butter, olive oil, then wrapped in a triangle shape, finally, baked until crispy & golden.
It is served for breakfast or as a mid-day snack.
One of the most beloved Greek dishes.
Greek Salad is also known as Village salad or Horiatiki
It’s simple, fresh, and available everywhere in Greece. Some regions and islands will have their own versions of salad.
It is made with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, capers, and kalamata olives. It’s topped with a block of feta cheese and dressed with olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice, vinegar, and oregano.
In Santorini, they make it with cherry tomatoes and capers.
Stifado is a traditional greek beef stew cooked with tomatoes, onions, cinnamon, vinegar or red wine, and a variety of spices and herbs, and sometimes garlic.
Depending on the region, meat such as goat, rabbit, wild hare, beef, snails, tripe, or octopus can be added to the stew.
Meat cut into large pieces and roasted with vegetable oil, is stewed along with vegetables in the pot or deep frying pan for 2-2,5 hours.
The dish is served with potatoes, rice, and vegetables.
It is ideal for a cold winter's day.
Kleftiko is a traditional Greek dish with slow-oven-baked lamb on the bone, which is first marinated in a mix of olive oil, bay leaves, garlic, herbs, salt & pepper, and lemon juice which is then poured over the lamb and then baked in an earth oven.
It’s cooked in baking paper to save the rich aromas and liquids of the juicy meat.
It’s commonly served with potatoes, though they are traditionally cooked separately.
*The name means “stolen lamb” as historically people would steal meat and bury it to be slow-cooked in covered holes in the ground so that no smoke would give away the location of the thieves.
Souvlakia is popular Greek street food and one of the most well-known dishes in Greek cuisine.
In Greek language Souvlaki stands for ‘meat-on-a-skewer, it is thinly sliced meat pieces traditionally lamb, pork, chicken, or sometimes beef – served on top of pita bread with a pickled salad, hummus, and tzatziki, or tahini dip.
It is can be served either as a sandwich in pita bread or on skewers with vegetables, fried potatoes, pita, and tzatziki.
It is often confused with gyros, a type of kebab.
Gyros is a bit like shawarma or the Turkish doner kebab.
It is a typical Greek sandwich that consists of pieces of meat (usually chicken, pork, lamb, or beef) cooked on a rotisserie and wrapped in a flatbread or pita along with salad, onions, and a variety of sauces (tzatziki). Vegetarian versions can include grilled halloumi (a salty Cypriot cheese made from a mix of sheep’s and goat’s milk) or feta cheese instead of the meat.
Probably the most famous Greek dish, moussaka consists of layers of fried eggplant, minced meat, and potatoes, topped with a creamy béchamel sauce and then baked until golden brown.
Moussaka is popular not only in Greece but you can also try it in Cyprus, Turkey, Macedonia, and Bulgaria.
Another variation of the dish is vegetarian moussaka.
Papoutsakia (Stuffed Eggplants)
Papoutsakia is stuffed eggplants that are first baked until soft and then filled with a tomato-based meat sauce, topped with bechamel sauce and cheese, and baked till they get a beautiful golden color.
The dish is called papoutsakia (little shoes) because its shape resembles little shoes.
Due to its ingredients, the dish tastes a lot like Moussaka.
Pastitsio is a Greek baked pasta dish with ground meat and béchamel sauce with variations of the dish found in other countries of the Mediterranean Sea.
It is similar to mousakas. It may look like moussaka, but the air trapped along the macaroni renders it a fluffier, lighter meal.
Tirokroketes (fried cheese balls) is an appetizer dish, these small bites are made from a combination of various cheeses, graviera, feta, and gouda, which are then mixed with bread crumbs before being fried.
Spanikopita is known as ‘Greek spinach pie’.
A delicious layered savory pastry made of phyllo (filo) or puff pastry and stuffed with spinach, feta cheese, spring onions, and egg, and flavored with dill it tastes best when hot.
Spanakopita is delicious and it’s perfect as a snack or side dish.
Greek potato salad usually consists of large bite-sized potato chunks that are coated in a flavorful dressing based on olive oil, mustard, yogurt, or mayonnaise.
The salad is easily adapted with various additions that may include different vegetables, boiled eggs, olives, and fresh herbs such as dill or parsley with a drizzle of lemon juice.
It is generally considered a side dish, as it usually accompanies the main course as grilled meat.
Kolokithokeftedes is a popular Cretan appetizer that is consists of zucchini, fresh mint, feta cheese, and extra virgin olive oil.
These zucchini balls are nicely served with some tzatziki or a plain yogurt dip.
Tomatokeftedes, or tomato fritters, are a traditional appetizer & main course in Santorini. Made with diced tomatoes, onions, mint, and feta cheese, these small bites provide a unique combination of flavors.
It’s considered a staple dish in Santorini cuisine.
Saganaki is a Greek appetizer, the name for all small dishes that are being fried in the small pan called Saganaki. But the most common one is the Cheese Saganaki or Shrimp Saganaki.
Saganaki cheese is the greek version of grilled cheese, it is made with a variety of cheeses like halloumi, graviera, feta, and kefalograviera. To prepare, the cheese is melted in the pan until bubbling and served with a drizzle of lemon, pepper, and some bread.
Shrimp Saganaki the dish consists of sautéed shrimps that are traditionally deglazed with the anise-flavored ouzo, then doused in a rich tomato sauce, and finally topped with crumbled feta cheese.
Traditional Greek sausages.
A thin long sausage made of minced meat that is marinated in red wine with some salt. Pepper, cumin, and coriander are added to it and then made into sausages, smoked, and left to dry.
The sausages can be grilled, fried, or barbecued and served as part of a Meze.
Soutzoukakia (Greek meatball)
Soutzoukakia is also known as Smyrna meatballs, or İzmir köfteis is a Greek and Turkish dish made of a mixture of ground pork & beef, olive oil, and garlic, flavored with a variety of spices such as red pepper flakes, cumin, black pepper, and mint, cooked in tomato sauce with red wine.
These meatballs are served with rice on the side & garnished with chopped parsley on top. Soutzoukakia is very filling and is perfect on cold winter days.
The Greek Giouvetsi is made with orzo pasta, onions, red wine, rich tomato sauce seasoned with cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and bay leaves, and meat*, then topping the casserole with a layer of grated cheese, baked one-pot oven dish.
It makes for a perfect Sunday family dish.
*Meats like chicken, veal, lamb, or beef are often used though they can be made with seafood as well.
Loukoumades - often referred to as honey doughnuts-, are bite-sized puffy dough balls that are deep-fried until they become golden brown and then soaked in sugar syrup or honey.
Cinnamon, crushed or flaked nuts, sesame, and powdered sugar are used to coat them.
They are light, spongy and the size of the dough balls can vary.
Loukoumades are always served fresh and hot
It can be found in Cyprus, Greece, Turkey, Egypt & Middle East.
Baklava is a traditional sweet pastry made with phyllo (filo) or layers of unleavened dough with chopped nuts* -pistachios, walnut & almonds- and soaked in honey syrup or syrup in between.
It is served with Tea or Coffee.
*The crushed nuts in baklava can be different depending on where they're made.
Halva is a great combo of four ingredients: oil, semolina, sugar, and water. halva is semolina pudding that is sweetened by syrup and decorated with nuts.
It is served alone or with vanilla ice cream and pomegranate syrup.
It is better to serve cold.
Bougatsa is a traditional, Greek pie made of a phyllo pastry layered with a filling of cheese, or semolina custard.
Bougatsa is garnished with cinnamon and powdered sugar to give it an even more delicious flavor.
Usually baked as a large pie and then freshly cut into smaller pieces, it's served with icing sugar and cinnamon powder, perfect alongside a cup of coffee.
Kataifi refers to a Greek dessert made with a special type of pastry called Kataifi.
It’s stuffed with chopped walnuts and scented with ground clove and cinnamon, baked and then soaked in a lemon-scented syrup.
Amygdalota is typically made with ground almonds, egg whites, sugar, & rosewater, or orange essence.
It is a gluten-free cookie that is wildly popular in Greece and is the perfect match for a warm cup of Greek coffee.
Galaktoboureko is a Greek dessert made with semolina custard baked in phyllo pastry it is a Greek dessert with crispy perfection.
This dessert is made of crispy phyllo sprinkled with melted butter & cinnamon, then baked and soaked with a sweet syrup and may be flavored with lemon, orange, or rose. They’re best eaten warm, straight from the oven.
Galaktoboureko can be made in a pan with phyllo layered on top and at the bottom, or it can be rolled into individual portions.
A close relative of galaktoboureko—that is distinguished by the use of phyllo sheets—classic Greek galatopita combines semolina, milk, eggs, butter, and sugar into a creamy, custard treat.
Often enriched with citrus zest (and wrapped in pastry in some regions), galatopita is baked until golden-brown and is typically garnished with a sprinkle of powdered sugar or cinnamon.
With its light texture and delicate flavor, it can be served on any occasion and is best enjoyed well-chilled.
Pasteli is made of only two components; honey and sesame seeds.
pasteli is known as the original power bar in Greece.
In addition to honey and sesame different nuts like walnuts, almonds or pistachios are used to bring more variety.
Pasteli fits very well as an accompaniment to tea. It can also be eaten as candy or lunchtime snack and energy booster.
Revani is a classic Greek and Turkish dessert made from semolina, sugar, and flour, with the addition of flavorings such as vanilla, lemon zest, or rose water, depending on the recipe variations, it then decorated with dried coconut, ground pistachios, almonds, fresh fruit, or whipped cream.
The cake is known for its overpowering sweetness, a result of soaking the cake in sugar syrup after it has been baked.
Although the dish is mostly associated with Greece, it is found in numerous other cuisines of the Middle East, the Balkans, and Africa, and it is named differently in each region.
Feta cheese with Honey
Another Greek food dish that can be tasted as dessert or an entrée.
Feta is wrapped in filo pastry before oven baked and honey is drizzled over it. The best balance between salty feta and sweet honey creates a mesmerizing taste.
Keftedes (Greek meatballs) is a famous Greek appetizer, commonly served as part of a meze platter, with some creamy tzatziki sauce and pita breads. Keftedes can also be served as a filling meal with some basmati rice and a nice Greek feta salad.
Briam is a classic Greek dish that can be enjoyed as a main course or as an accompaniment to various meat dishes.
It is mixed roasted vegetables, it typically consists of sliced potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, and zucchinis that are generously seasoned with olive oil and various spices, then neatly layered and baked until all of the flavors are combined.
Ellinikos (Greek Coffee)
Ellinikos is still the most favorite style of coffee adopted in Greece.
The coffee is served in the traditional long-handled coffee copper pot which is known as briki in Greek. There are three different tastes of Ellinikos like Vari Glyko which means strong & almost honey-sweet,
Metrios meaning medium sweetness and Sketos meaning without sugar.
Frappe is an iced coffee drink.
Frappe is made by combining instant coffee with water and ice. The combination is usually prepared in a shaker or a hand mixer, so when the drink is poured into a glass, a frothy foam should appear on top.
Traditionally, this coffee is served in a tall glass, and three degrees of sweetness are available.
4 views0 comments