Similar to other Mediterranean cuisines, Greek food is known for its great nutritional value. Rich in authentic flavours and aromas, there is no shortage of tasty vegetables, aromatic herbs, seasonings and good olive oil. Like Turkish gastronomy, Greek food is built around the culture of sharing, with meal times an important part of the day to enjoy with the whole family. From Athens to Thessaloniki, passing through Mykonos, discover these 10 classic dishes of Greek cuisine:
Meze is typical of Greek and Mediterranean gastronomy and symbolises their culture of sharing. A meze platter is a selection of hot or cold dishes that can be served in tapas format as starters, or as a main course. The dishes are normally consumed as an appetizer with bread and drinks, such as ouzo, a Greek aniseed liquor that is served cold.
2. Greek Salad
The Greek salad is one of the most popular salads in the world, but you will find the most authentic flavours in its country of origin. The salad consists of tomatoes and peppers grown in the sun, black olives, onion, cucumber and local feta cheese, dressed with olive oil, vinegar and traditional aromatic herbs. This yummy dish is served as a staple with almost every meal.
This cooling yoghurt, cucumber, lemon and dill sauce is a firm favourite amongst many. You can try it as a starter or as a garnish to many main dishes. It goes well with meat and vegetables or served directly on pita bread fresh from the oven.
A filo pastry pie with spinach and feta cheese makes this a perfect dish for vegetarian travellers. Available in a variety of different shapes and sizes, it’s as good for breakfast as it is for lunch or dinner. Enjoyed hot or cold, it’s the perfect snack to take to the beach for a picnic!
Summer is the best time to travel to Greece if you want to try seasonal gastronomic delights like dolmades. You will find many variations for Dolmades across regions from the traditional vine leaf parcels to the hollowed out vegetables, such as peppers. The vegetable or vine leaf is stuffed with rice and/or meat and baked in the oven.
One of the best known Greek dishes and for good reason! Tasty minced meat with a tomato based sauce is layered with sauteed aubergine and topped with a béchamel cheese sauce and then baked in the oven until golden brown.
Souvlaki means skewer so this dish ultimately represents anything grilled on a skewer (lamb, pork, chicken etc). Traditionally served on the plate or in pita bread and accompanied by vegetables, tzatziki and sometimes fried potatoes for a quick and tasty meal.
You can find this Greek dish anywhere in the country, both on the mainland and on the islands. A gyro is when the meat is roasted vertically, whilst turning on the spit. Slices of it are then placed in a pita bread with tzatziki sauce, tomatoes, onions, lettuce and chips. Gyros are generally cheap and enjoyed as a snack on the go.
Dating back to the Ottoman Empire, baklava is a well-loved dessert in Greece and its neighbouring countries. Available in most pastry shops, baklava is a layered pastry filled with nuts, covered in sweet syrup and topped with pistachios.
The Greek version of doughnuts, small and round honey dough balls are fried, then drizzled with honey and sprinkled with cinnamon and chopped nuts. You will find these sweet delights in all Greek cities, it is not uncommon to find them with chocolate or other sweet toppings too.