Traditional Greek cuisine is based entirely on Mediterranean cuisine. That is to say, all dishes are prepared mainly with oil, salt, various aromatics, and pure products. No visit to Greece would be complete without a thorough exploration of these traditional Greek dishes.
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The Top 15 Foods To Eat In Greece
Greece is a fantastic place to explore Mediterranean cuisine—one of the best cuisines in the world. A lot of countries follow this nutritional diet apart from Greece and it has been inscribed as an intangible cultural heritage of UNESCO.
With that in mind, be sure to try as many traditional Greek dishes as you can on your next trip to Greece! If you love food and travel, you’ll love going on a local food tour. Check out our Athens food tours.
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15. Koulouri Thessalonikis
Koulouri Thessalonikis is a round bread roll from Thessaloniki and an ideal choice for a light breakfast. You can buy them from bakeries or street vendors in Thessaloniki, but it’s a snack you’ll find everywhere in Greece.
Nowadays, there are even several types of koulouri. Apart from the classic koulouri, you can try koulouri with raisins, koulouri with chocolate, or even koulouri with cream cheese. Of course, don’t forget to have a cup of Greek coffee with your koulouri.
Where to get Koulouri: Koulourades Agiou Markou
Another option for breakfast is bougatsa. It comes with a sweet semolina cream, powdered sugar, and cinnamon. Bougatsa is a dessert that refugees from Asia Minor brought to Greece. Since then it has become a firm favorite.
Traditionally, you’ll find bougatsa in Thessaloniki, but it’s available everywhere else in Greece at bakeries or at places that specialize in bougatsa. Besides sweet cream, bougatsa come with other fillings as well. For example, you can try bougatsa with cheese or even with minced meat.
Where to get Bougatsa: Bougatsa Bantis
13. Greek Salad
Can you even say you’ve been to Greece if you don’t have a Greek salad? While it’s mainly a summer salad, you can get it all year round. Naturally, it’s our favorite salad! It comes with many delicious and fresh ingredients you’d expect from a salad, such as tomato, cucumber, olives, and onion. But what makes a Greek salad special is the tasty feta cheese, with olive oil, and capers.
Every single tavern in Greece will offer this traditional Greek salad. Don’t forget to start your meal by ordering a Greek salad. Just keep in mind that it’s a dish for everyone at the table—not an individual dish.
Where to get Greek salad: Lostre Kuzina
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Here’s another salad to try. Fava is a legume that once cooked has the appearance of puree. This cold salad is accompanied by olive oil and onions. Fava is a traditional dish from Santorini island. So, when you visit Santorini, ask for some fava to accompany your meal. Also, remember to try a glass of local wine.
Where to get it: Krinaki
Tzatziki is known around the globe. So, it’s another food you can’t leave Greece without tasting. Typically, it’s a side dish or appetizer that pairs really well with meat main meals.
Tzatziki is made of yogurt, cucumber, garlic, and olive oil. Because of the garlic, you may need some extra water after lunch. But it’s delicious and totally worth it.
Where to get it: Paneri
10. Roasted Feta
If you want to try something different, this is it—roasted feta. You’ll see it on the menu of several taverns, especially in northern Greece. Feta is a type of white cheese produced mainly in northern Greece and made exclusively from sheep or goat’s milk.
Roasted feta is also a side dish and is usually served with honey, sesame, and peanuts of Aegina. Once you try it, you’ll certainly adore it!
Where to get it: To Steki Tis Pareas
9. Dolmadakia Gialanji
Dolmadakia Gialanji is another traditional appetizer that refugees from Asia Minor brought to Greece. The Turkish call it gialanji, which means “false,” because they don’t contain minced meat.
However, we Greeks are used to making them with vine leaves filled with rice, olive oil, and lemon. It’s one of the most delicious choices, especially in the summer. You can combine this meze with a glass of ouzo. You’ll mainly find traditional dolmadakia gialanji in Thessaloniki.
Where to get it: Rouga
If you love eating lamb, then antikristo is for you. This is a traditional recipe from Crete. Antikristo means “opposite”. Cretans cook it by making a pit in the soil where they light a fire and place the lamb in a circle on the spit facing each other—hence the name.
This way of cooking comes from ancient times and residents of ancient Crete would follow this recipe when they wanted to make sacrifices to the gods. That means antikristo lamb was their top choice when it came to food. Today, you can pair your antikristo with a glass of wine or raki, which is the Cretan drink.
Where to get it: Petousis Restaurant
Pastitsada is a traditional dish served in Corfu. Its basic ingredients are meat and thick spaghetti. But many women from Corfu villages prefer to add some cinnamon while cooking, which makes it different.
You’ll find traditional meat dishes everywhere in Greece. However, pastitsada is special for its spice mixture of cinnamon, grated clove, allspice, nutmeg, and cumin typically added. They also use red wine and vinegar for the sauce. Another difference in Corfu is that the meat is cooked in butter not oil. It all makes for a delicious meal Corfu-style.
Where to get it: Aegli Restaurant
6. Traditional Pies
If you have the chance to pass through Epirus, then you have to taste some traditional pies. Locals in Epirus cook many types of pies, like Kasiopita, Kothropita, Kimadopita, Pepeki, Kasata, and Blatsaria. Also, if you visit Tzoumerka or Zagorochoria, tasting pies is a must.
The locals in Epirus still use traditional recipes for their pies. So, don’t hesitate to ask them which pies to try and they’ll suggest the right mouthwatering pie for you.
Where to get it: Fyssa Roufa
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Another great option for a traditional dish is spetsofai. From Pelion (Volos), spetsofai is cooked with sausages, Florina’s peppers, eggplant, zucchini, onions, and tomatoes. It often comes with either rice or fried potatoes.
Greece is a producer of great livestock. So, local chefs choose Greek meat to make their sausages, which gives it its flavor. You can pair your spetsofai with a glass of wine or ouzo while tasting this incredible dish.
Where to get it: Kritsa Restaurant
4. Spaghetti With Shrimp
Spaghetti with shrimp is a popular dish not only in Greece but in many countries around the world. However, if you’re going to Rhodes, you have to try it here. Fishermen in Rhodes produce fresh shrimp every day, so many restaurants will make their homemade pasta with fresh shrimp.
For this reason, spaghetti with shrimp will be unique in Rhodes. Also, in the traditional recipe, chefs also add some ouzo, which gives it its unique flavor.
Where to get it: Orexi Rustic Cuisine
3. Loukoumades With Honey
After your lunch, try some loukoumades with honey. Loukoumades are a light dessert made with sugar, lemon, honey, flour, and cornflour. They’re like donuts but they aren’t filled with anything.
Some people like adding cinnamon and sesame while others prefer them with some chocolate. So, it’s up to you to decide what you’d prefer from these options. Whatever you do, though, get some traditional loukoumades in Thessaloniki.
Where to get it: Lukumades
2. Künefe Peyniri
Künefe peyniri is a sweet refugees brought from Istanbul to Greece. Like all these sweets, its characteristic is that it’s syrupy. It goes really well with your favorite ice cream and is especially nice in the summer. I recommend Kaimaki ice cream when you try it.
All these sweets belong to the Greek cultural heritage from Asia Minor and we continue to keep the tradition. If you have the chance, celebrate the tradition with us by trying some künefe peyniri.
Where to get it: Zoubourlou
In the top spot is the most popular Greek food, souvlaki. You can get it absolutely anywhere in Greece. It’s a full meal, so if you’re a bit hungry at night, go with the souvlaki. It’s a quick and easy option you can eat with your hands like a sandwich. Choose between pork, chicken, or kebab, and wash it down with a Greek beer.
Where to get it: Hoocut
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