10 Best Greek Foods to Try in Greece
Jul 30, 2020
Whether you’re planning a trip to the Hellenic isles, or just looking for an excuse to try some terrific food, we’ve got you covered. Greek cuisine is among the most eclectic in the world, and just about any food you choose should provide a mouthwatering experience.
However, we’ve put together a list of must-try dishes so you don’t have to wonder about what to eat in Greece. Depending upon the preparation, these delectable dishes can transition from haute cuisine to homespun family meals that are enjoyed by locals throughout Greece almost daily.
So let’s dive right in and learn about some of the most popular Greek food.
1. Dolmades (Bet You Can’t Eat Just One)
You’ll find dolma all over the Balkans, not just Greece. But the Grecian specialty, dolmades, is truly exceptional. Dolmades are grape leaves stuffed with a mixture of rice, ground meat (usually lamb), and a multitude of herbs. When served, dolmades can be doused generously in olive oil and served with a yogurt dipping sauce or beautifully dressed with a light and frothy lemon egg sauce.
They can be served as a type of mezze or appetizer where they are typically rolled quite small – under two inches, or they can be rolled large – approximately three inches and be served as an entrée or side dish. It really depends upon the size of the grape leaves. The tart tang of the grape leaves is complemented perfectly by the rich lamb and rice. Then, whichever sauce you choose ties it all together. We promise these will entrance you.
2. Dig Into Some Kethethes
(note – I changed the spelling to match the spelling we use)
Also known as “Greek meatballs,” keftethes are an exquisite blend of beef, lamb, and spices cooked in tomato sauce that put other meatballs to shame. They’re a favorite of ours and if you don’t want to wait for that trip to Greece, you can always get the next best thing from us.
Keftethes are much more flavorful than typical meatballs as a result of the hearty spices typically used in their preparation. Sometimes they’re served as an appetizer, but they’re also main-dish material paired with a Greek salad and some pita bread. Their crispy, fried outside contrasts beautifully with the tender center in an explosion of flavor from the tomato sauce.
3. Try Some Souvlaki on a Stroll
Souvlaki is one of the most popular fast food to eat in Greece. It’s often sold by street vendors and in cafes. It consists of small, bite-sized pieces of meat on a skewer, served with pita bread, fried potato wedges, and any of a variety of dipping sauces. Sometimes, the skewers include pieces of vegetables as well.
Pork, chicken, beef, and lamb, are all commonly used for souvlaki. Most locals, however, opt for the pork. Fish-based souvlaki exists in some parts of Greece but they’re mostly reserved for tourists.
4. Enjoy a Scrumptious Pastichio
This is another Greek food you can find as part of our offering. Also spelled Pastitsio, this dish consists of layers of tubular pasta, a light custard sauce or a heavier bechamel type custard, and a rich, cinnamon-scented meat-based filling. There can also be a parmesan type grated cheese mixed into either the meat filling or the custard.
You’ll find this traditional meal all over the country, and it’s typically served as a main course. To make it really pop, ask for some grated goat cheese on top. Our tip for you, when it comes to ordering this amazing dish, is to master the pronunciation (pah-sti-tsyo) and firmly resist calling it Greek lasagna.
5. Indulge in Some Saganaki
Saganaki is the name of a small frying pan that’s used to make this absolutely delightful fried cheese. A common appetizer, saganaki is made using a variety of cheeses and what type you’ll get depends on what region of Greece you’re visiting.
The dish is as simple as can be. A generous square portion of cheese is flamed in a small pan just enough to get it bubbling and doused with a squeeze of lemon. Perfection.
6. Peel Away the Layers of a Traditional Moussaka
Depending on where you are, you may have already tried this Greek delicacy. Moussaka has become popular in many parts of the world, and it’s easy to see why. What’s not to love about thinly-sliced and layered eggplants and potatoes served in a tomato sauce and topped with ground lamb and bechamel sauce. If you’re anything like us, moussaka will instantly become one of your favorite popular Greek food.
7. Don’t Leave Without Trying Authentic Gyros
At this point, gyros are staples all over the globe. And they may even be more popular in some places outside of Greece! If you’ve never heard about gyros, you’re in for a treat.
The dish is made with rotisserie meat – usually, chicken or pork – stuffed in pita bread with your choice of onion, tomato, tzatziki sauce, and various other ingredients. Gyros get their name from the massive vertical rotisserie used to prepare the meat. Perhaps second only to souvlaki, gyros are among the most recognizable Greek foods and no trip would be complete without them.
8. Yield to the Temptation of Baklava
The dishes thus far have all been savory, so it’s about time we addressed your sweet tooth with one of the most delectable desserts you’ll find anywhere: baklava. It’s hard to tell exactly where baklava was invented, but Greek baklava is certainly in the hall of fame.
Baklava is made by layering phyllo dough and chopped nuts in a baking pan and, once baked, drenching it in heavy syrup. Depending on the region, you’ll see people using different types of nuts but walnuts are the traditional choice for Grecians. But be wary, baklava is extremely rich so prepare for more sweetness than you bargained for.
9. Loukoumades Will Make You Forget All About Donut Holes
We hope you’re not the type who turns down deep-fried dough because this next dish is to die for. Loukoumades are a lot like donut holes, but they pack a much more distinctive flavor punch. They’re soaked in syrup and often sprinkled with cinnamon. With roots in the Middle East, loukoumades are now one of the most popular desserts in Greece.
10. Olive Oil
No discussion of the best food in Greece would be complete without mentioning olive oil. Since ancient times, olive trees have held a special place in the culture and history of Greece. Not only has olive oil been a staple of the Greek diet for thousands of years, but olives were so prized that the winner of the Olympic games would receive a wreath of wild olive branches.
Ask any native and they’ll tell you Greece makes the best olive oil in the world. And that’s not hyperbole, Greek olive oils consistently dominate in tasting contests across the globe. If you’re ever in Greece, do yourself a favor – don’t leave without a bottle of extra virgin olive oil.
You’re All Set For Your Flavor Journey
Those are just ten of the hundreds of foods that you’re going to love trying in Greece. So consider a starting guide and branch out in every direction you find.
If you look at this list, you’ll quickly realize that Greek food is not overly complex. Traditional meals in Greece are made for a family environment. We pride ourselves on using authentic family recipes and believe that hard-working parents deserve a break.
That’s why all our Greek frozen entrees are handmade with love, from our family to yours. You can order them on our website or find them at your local supermarket in the frozen food aisle if you live in the Northwest.
So, what’s the first food from this list that you’re going to try next time you’re in Greece?