Ten Delicious Greek Foods You Must Absolutely Try
Greece’s exquisite sandy beaches, historical ruins, and picturesque islands are widely acknowledged, but there is one particular aspect that keeps luring tourists back to Greece – the food. A single taste of olive oil, feta cheese, or fresh seafood is enough to spark a Greek culinary obsession. Whether you prefer the local hole-in-the-wall establishments selling hot and savory gyros or an outdoor dining experience with a breathtaking view of the glistening Mediterranean, Greece caters to every gastronomic desire. Without further ado, we have compiled a list of the top 10 must-try Greek dishes that will leave you craving for more.
Don’t leave Greece without trying…
Fasolada – Greece’s National Dish
Fasolada, one of Greece’s most renowned dishes, has a rich history that dates back to ancient Greece, where it was even offered as a sacrifice to the Greek God, Apollo. This soup is made by boiling white beans that have been soaked overnight and then adding celery, onion, grated tomato, legumes, and olive oil. It’s a highly nutritious meal that’s especially comforting during winter, and in keeping with Greek customs, it’s best enjoyed in the company of good friends.
Moussaka – A Classic Greek Casserole
Moussaka is a beloved Greek dish consisting of a layered eggplant casserole made with minced lamb or beef, tomato, potato, and aubergine, all topped off with a creamy bechamel sauce. This hearty meal is perfect for fueling your sightseeing adventures and will delight your senses with its melt-in-your-mouth texture and harmonious blend of flavors.
Souvlaki and Gyros – Greek Fast Food Delights
When wandering the sunny streets of Greece, it’s nearly impossible not to be lured in by the mouthwatering scent of souvlaki and gyros. These popular meat dishes are a staple of Greek cuisine and can be found in most restaurants as well as hot hole-in-the-wall establishments. To ensure you don’t miss out, make sure to try both! Souvlaki is made from seasoned meat that’s grilled on a skewer, while gyros features shaved meat, wrapped in a warm pita bread and served with chips, tomatoes, and tzatziki. Yum!
The Greek Salad, also referred to as ‘Horiatiki’ or ‘Xoriatiki’ by the locals, is an indispensable addition to any meal. The combination of crisp cucumbers, juicy tomatoes, red onions, feta cheese, fragrant oregano, and savory black olives is not only refreshing but also incredibly healthy, making it the perfect dish to beat the heat. In keeping with the Greek tradition, this salad is best enjoyed in the company of friends, paired with a light dressing of red wine vinegar and olive oil. Don’t miss out on this delicious and nutritious treat that captures the essence of Greek cuisine.
Are you a fan of sweet treats? Then you’ll love Greek baklava! This delectable pastry is made from delicate filo dough, walnuts, and syrup. The locals call it “siropiasta” because of its ultra-sweet flavor, making it the perfect indulgence for an afternoon of Greek adventure.
Kolokithokeftedes – Greek Zucchini Fritters with Feta
Have you tried kolokithokeftedes? These zucchini meatballs are a Cretan favorite and can now be found on almost every island. They’re typically stuffed with feta cheese, onions, and hints of fresh mint before being fried. Pair them with tzatziki and hummus dips, and wash it all down with some ouzo for the ultimate taste experience. Trust us, this dish is one of the tastiest Greek delicacies you’ll ever try.
Dolmades – Stuffed Grape Leaves
Dolmades are another must-try dish, and every region and household has its variation. Whether it’s the classic vine leaf parcel or hollowed-out vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, and courgettes, they’re all delicious. The stuffing can be made with minced meat and long-grain rice or vegetarian versions with rice flavored with thyme, dill, fennel, and oregano. Pine nuts can also be added for a nutty crunch.
Pastisio – Greek Lasagna with Béchamel
Although Greek cuisine boasts an ancient history, pastisio is a relatively modern but nonetheless cherished dish. It was first introduced in the early 20th century and has since gained popularity among food enthusiasts. This delectable dish is often referred to as the “Greek lasagne” because of its many similarities to the famous Italian dish. The word “pastisio” is derived from an Italian term used for a variety of baked dishes. Like lasagne, pastisio is prepared using ground meat and béchamel sauce, and then topped with cheese, often goat’s cheese. It is then baked in the oven to perfection. The primary difference between pastisio and lasagne is that pastisio is made with tubular pasta such as macaroni, as opposed to lasagne sheets.
Feta & other cheeses
Fresh cheese is a joy when in Greece, and there’s nothing like creamy and delicious feta kept in big barrels of brine. Skip the plastic tubs of feta found outside of Greece and instead ask behind market counters for the best. Graviera is another type of cheese that’s hard and golden-white, perfect eaten cubed or fried as saganaki. Tyropita (cheese pie) can be found at bakeries, while salads like Cretan dakos are topped with a crumbling of mizithra, a soft, white cheese. Feta is a must-try in traditional Greek spanakopita or a fresh and colorful Greek salad.
Tzatziki and other dips
The first flavor that comes to mind when thinking of Greece is undoubtedly tzatziki. This refreshing dip, made from a perfect blend of yoghurt, garlic, olive oil, and cucumber, is a favorite among travellers who can’t wait to try it after landing. It pairs wonderfully with warm pitta bread or on a gyro or souvlaki, and even a single taste on a sunny day can evoke pure bliss.
Of course, Greek cuisine has a lot more to offer than just tzatziki. Don’t miss out on the delightful hummus made from chickpeas, fava dip made from yellow split peas, taramasalata made from fish roe, melitzanosalat made from roasted eggplant, or htipiti made from red peppers, feta cheese, and chillies. These delicious dips are guaranteed to enhance your Greek culinary experience and are a true source of joy.
If you’re yearning for the delectable and authentic flavours of Greek cuisine, our Greece tours offer an exceptional gastronomic experience coupled with a range of unforgettable adventures. Indulge in a variety of mouth-watering foods and drinks while discovering the magnificent landscapes and cultural treasures of Greece.