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Must-have Traditional Greek Foods

Raksha Kulkarni Jun 29, 2020
Greece is famous for its rich history and natural beauty. But the best is how truly Greeks love their food! And, why won’t they? Greek food is delicious as it’s made up of fresh ingredients and meat, and balanced with fresh or dried herbs.
Instantly, we think of delicious Greek Salad with large feta cheese, tomatoes, olives, and cucumber. We also know that the Greek olives or olive oil is a must try, but there are numerous that we don’t know!
Greek Dips
Tzatziki is a classic dip made of Greek yogurt, cucumber, garlic, and spices.
Melitzanosalata is another made of aubergine.
Fava is a creamy dip made of split pea puree, mixed with olive oil and lemon, and topped with onions.
Another must try is the Taramasalata, a creamy dip of fish roe with potato or bread, drizzled with olive oil or lemon. It may have a pink color to it.
The world Souvlaki actually translates to ‘meat on a stick’. The perfectly grilled meat skewers are mostly beef, chicken, pork, and lamb.
The well-seasoned skewers are mostly served with Greek sauces like tzatziki, pita bread, or salad.
Gyros are a Greek sandwich similar to shawarma. The meat is cooked on a rotisserie and wrapped in pita bread with salad, fries, and sauces. This dish is definitely great and is also affordable.
You may even get it platter style in restaurants. There are vegetarian versions which have grilled feta cheese or halloumi, a salty Cypriot cheese.
The Greek meat balls are usually made from pork. The appetizer is made with frying a marination of potatoes, meat, mint, and herbs.
The balls are also served with pita bread and a creamy sauce or with rice as a full meal.
The vegetarian courgette balls are a magical mixture of fresh mint and feta cheese. The Greek meze balls are creamy inside and crispy outside. Dip it in one of the Greek dips and you’re good to go!
You also get tomato fritters, Tomatokeftedes.
Mousakka is a baked casserole dish with layers of minced meat, potatoes, fried eggplant, spices, and a topping of creamy béchamel sauce and cheese.
You also may get a vegetarian version in some restaurants.
The classic white bean soup is a traditional winter comfort food in Greece. The soup consists of beans, tomatoes, and a few vegetables. The creamy soup is flavored with olive oil and fresh herbs.
Fresh Seafood
You’ll find several waterfront tavernas where you can get incredible fresh fish ranging from lobster, calamari, shrimps, to octopus.
Try grilled fish topped with a lemon and oil dressing – ladholemono; or fried small fish like red mullet or white bait.
Psari sta Karvouna is a grilled fish dish where you get the whole fish, with skin, on your plate.
Dolmades are small steamed parcels made with herb and lemon rice wrapped in vine leaves. Some are also filled with vegetables or minced meat, and a combination of herbs.
Similarly, Yemista is made by stuffing tomatoes or other vegetables.
Greek Pies
There are numerous Greek pies you’ll find in Greece. Spanakopita is a classic vegetarian phyllo pastry with feta cheese, butter, and spinach layers; with onions and a flavor of dill.
Tiropita is a crunchy pastry with a delicious cheese filling.
Marathopites, a popular dish in Syros, is made up of fennel leaves and spices mixed with dough.
Patates Tiganites
These are actually known as the best fries in the world! The outer crisp, the inner softness, and the subtle seasoning; is truly out of this world!
The Greek adaptation of lasagna is layered with small macaroni and ground meat, with a topping of creamy béchamel sauce.
Cheeses like halloumi, graviera, and kefalograviera are used in it. Squeeze some lemon juice and eat this hot to savor the deliciousness.
It is heaven for cheese lovers! It is fried cheese often served as an appetizer.
The large soft bread is a great companion for your coffee. The bread rings are covered in sesame seeds and is Greek people’s favorite breakfast on the run.
Now it's time for desserts, our favorite part of the meal!
These sweet pastries are soaked in a syrup and decorated with crushed nuts like almonds, walnuts, or pistachios. The wonderful mixture of butter, sugar, and nuts just melts in your mouth.
These are small doughnut-like fried balls dipped in sweet syrup and garnished with several toppings like crushed walnut, sesame seeds, or cinnamon. The Greek version of donuts is fluffy inside and crispy outside.
This dessert is made with layers of golden brown phyllo filled with creamy custard, sprinkled with butter, cinnamon, and scented syrup. Try one when it’s warm!
Try Ellinikos, the Greek Coffee! It is served from the briki, the traditional copper pot.
The coffee comes in varieties like Sketos (without sugar), Metrios (medium), and Vari Glyko (sweet and strong).
Last but not the least, try the wine here! Greek is popular for the abundant wineries and wines like Retsina.
Apart from wine, Greek is also famous for Ouzo (anise-flavored aperitif) and Mastika.