Greek Food – 35 Traditional Dishes and Desserts to Eat in Greece

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Want to know more about Greek Food & Cuisine? Here are 35 Traditional Greek Dishes and Desserts you should eat in Greece!

I also share what Greeks typically eat for breakfast, Christmas and Easter as well as some famous Greek liquours that you should try.

Gyro

Want something quick to eat in Greece? Then a Gyro or two is the best. Everywhere in Greece, you can find gyro shops where they sell pita gyro and gyro plate for 2-3 euro and 5-8 euro for a plate.

Pita gyro is one of my favorite Greek foods, and it consists of pork, fries, tzatziki, tomatoes, cucumber which are being wrapped in a pita bread. The plate is the same thing, but usually, a bigger portion and more salad served on the plate.

Gyro - traditional greek fast food

Gyro is a traditional Greek Fast Food – Photo: Shutterstock

Kleftiko

Lamb is a specialty in Greece, and I have yet to find better tasting lamb dishes than in Greece. Kleftiko was originally cooked in an earth oven, which is a small pit in the ground, used to trap heat and smoke.

It’s a truly traditional Greek dish with slow-oven-baked lamb on the bone, which is first marinated in garlic and lemon juice.

kleftiko

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Souvlaki

Another traditional Greek food is the Souvlaki, which you can find in almost any Greek restaurant. Souvlaki is basically grilled meat on a skewer and can be everything from pork, chicken, lamb, beef, and vegetables.

It usually comes with some side veggies and fries, tzatziki, and pita bread.

souvlaki - greek dish

Souvlaki is a traditional dish in Greece – Photo: Shutterstock

Keftethes

Greek meatballs made of pork or beef and seasoned with oregano, onion, garlic, and a pinch of cinnamon. You will find Keftethes on the table on most festive occasions in Greece.

Keftethes - Greek meatballs

Photo: Shutterstock

Saganaki

Saganaki is actually the name for all small dishes that are being fried in the small pan called Saganaki. But the most common one is the Cheese Saganaki or Shrimp Saganaki.

My favorite is the Saganaki Cheese, and it’s a delicious Greek appetizer.

saganaki

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Spanakopita

A spinach pie with feta cheese, onions or scallions, egg, The filling is wrapped in phyllo (filo) pastry. Spanakopita is delicious and it’s perfect as a snack or side dish.

spanakopita

Traditional Spinach Pie – Photo: Shutterstock

Moussaka

There are lots of variations of Moussaka with traditional family recipes. The traditional Moussaka recipe consists of sauteed eggplant, tomato, ground lamb, a layer of potatoes, and a final fluffy topping of cheese and béchamel sauce. However, a lot of modern versions use ground beef without potatoes.

READ MORE:  7 Reasons to love Greece

Moussaka is one of the national dishes of Greece. It’s definitely one of the Greek foods everyone should eat at least once in their life! Moussaka can also be made vegetarian for non-meat eaters.

traditional greek food

Classic Greek Food – Photo: Shutterstock

Calamari

Deep fried squid served with salt and lemon, and oftentimes also a sauce on the side. Calamari is a popular appetizer in Greece.

calamari

Greek Appetizer – Photo: Shutterstock

Feta Cheese

Baked Feta Cheese might just be one of my favorite Greek foods. In Sweden, we eat feta cheese from Greece a lot as well, but normally we don’t bake it but put it in salads or as a side dish.

When I visited Crete back in 2013, it was an amazing discovery when I ordered oven-baked feta Cheese with herbs. Since then I’ve become quite obsessed with Feta Cheese, and it’s something that I always eat in Greece.

feta cheese

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Tzatziki

The magical tzatziki, made from Greek yogurt, cucumber, and garlic is one of the Greek foods everyone should try at least once in their life.

Chances are quite high that you’ve already tried it back home in your own country since it has become world famous.

But, no tzatziki can compare to the ones in Greece!

tzatziki

Photo: Shutterstock

Pastitsio

A baked pasta dish with bechamel sauce and ground beef. This Greek dish is being eaten year round and it can be described as the Greek version of Lasagne. It’s also one of the dishes that the ancient Greeks ate, and there’s proof that Pastitsio was eaten as early as 1200 B.C.

Pastitsio

Traditional Pasta dish from Greece – Photo: Shutterstock

Stifado

A traditional Greek meat-stew with onions, tomato, wine or vinegar and a variety of spices – it’s often characterized by cinnamon and tomato. The stifado is usually made on the stovetop, but can also be made in the oven.

The older recipes of Stifado doesn’t include tomatoes though since they didn’t arrive in Europe until later.

stifado

Traditional Greek Stew – Photo: Shutterstock

Yemista

Stuffed tomatoes and peppers with rice and herbs, but could also include minced meat. There are many different recipes for Yemista and they can be seasoned with different spices and herbs in order to get a unique flavor.

yemista

Photo: Shutterstock

Lavraki

Sea Bass is another traditional Greek food that any fish lover should try while visiting Greece.

lavraki

Traditional Greek Food – Photo: Shutterstock

Kritharaki

A specific type of Greek Pasta that looks almost like long-grain rice. It’s usually served in tomato sauce or with chicken or nuts, nutmeg, and peas. Kritharaki is also used in the traditional dish Giouvetsi, which is made of Chicken, Lamb or Beef.

Kritharaki

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Dolmadakia

This tasty dish is made of stuffed grape leaves. Dolmadakia are tiny dolmades with lamb or beef and rice. It’s usually served as an appetizer.

Dolmadakia

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Fava

I tried this amazing dip the first time in Santorini, and since then I’m hooked. Fava is made from fava beans and could be compared to hummus, but I would say that Fava has a richer and nicer taste than hummus.

fava bean dip

Photo: Shutterstock

Greek Salad

One of the most beloved greek dishes. It’s simple, fresh and available everywhere in Greece. Some regions and islands will have their own versions of salad.

greek salad

Greek Salad – Photo: Shutterstock

Taramasalata

A spread made from fish roe that’s usually served as a meze and a dip for bread or vegetables. In Greece, Taramasalata is especially associated with the first day of Great Lent.

Taramasalata

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Avgolemono (soup)

A smooth chicken broth soup made with lemon juice, rice, and whisked eggs. It’s usually served with some lamb meat or chicken as well and topped with pepper to add more flavor.

Avgolemono

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Lobster Pasta

I tried this in Skyros, and it’s not my favorite dish, but it was quite good, and I know that many Greeks love this dish, so definitely something to try while visiting Greece if there’s a place serving Lobster Pasta.

Greek lobster pasta

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Kolokithokeftedes

If you want some vegetarian Greek food, I recommend you to order this veggie starter. Courgette Balls or Kolokithokeftedes as they’re named in Greek are a delight for your taste buds. They’re filled with tasty and salty feta cheese and a little bit of mint.

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Tirokroketes

Tirokroketes are basically fried cheese balls. It’s a popular meze, and you can usually find these in any Greek taverna.

Tirokroketes

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Papoutsakia

Papoutsakia means shoes in the Greek language, and it’s a true classic in the Greek kitchen. Papoutsakia is stuffed eggplants that are usually filled with seasoned ground veal and tomatoes and bechamel sauce.

This dish is actually quite similar to Moussaka.

Papoutsakia

Photo: Shutterstock

Octopus

Octopus is also common in the Greek cuisine, and there are many dishes with octopus. Some of the most popular ones include grilled fresh octopus and Octopus pasta (ohtapodi me kofto makaronaki).

grilled octopus

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Greek Breakfast

Curious about what Greeks eat for breakfast? It varies from region to region, and home to home, but below you can see a list of things that can be served for breakfast in Greece.

  • Bread, pastries, buns
  • Cheese, yogurt, traditional yogurt, butter, sour milk, etc
  • Cold cuts, meat
  • Honey, sesame bar, tahini
  • Local traditional marmalades
  • Olive oil and olives
  • Eggs (boiled, fried, omelets)
  • Pies (cheese pies, green pies, etc)
  • Local sweets
  • Fresh fruit, juices, fruit salads, seasonal vegetables, local or biological
  • Warm traditional soup (frumenty, pulses, etc)
  • Cereals (wheat, frumenty, etc)
  • Herbal drinks
  • Greek coffee
greek breakfast

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Greek Desserts

  • Feta Me Meli
  • Galaktoboureko
  • Baklava
  • Bougatsa
  • Kataifi
  • Melomakarona
  • Portokalopita
  • Loukoumades
loukoumades

Loukoumades, Greek dessert – Photo: Shutterstock

Greek Liquor

Mastika

This liquor is made on the island of Chios, and it has a nice anise taste. It’s not as strong as ouzo, but it’s very nice accompanied to some Greek food.

Krasomelo/Oinomelo

This is the Greek version of the mulled wine, and it’s popular to drink around Christmas.

READ MORE:  25 Interesting Facts About Greece

Ouzo

Probably the most famous Greek liquors of them all – Ouzo. It has a strong taste of anise and usually has 38 %, 40 %, 42 % or 49 % in alcohol percentage. Some drink it together with water, and that’s when the drink gets a milky white color.

But you can also drink it without water, and the nicer ouzo versions are very tasty and smooth.

ouzo - Greek liquor

Photo: Shutterstock

Traditional Greek Food for Christmas

  • Egg-Lemon-Chicken-Rice Soup
  • Yiaprakia Stuffed Cabbage
  • Christopsomo Bread
  • Pork
  • Melomakarona Cookies
  • Baklava
  • Kourabiethes Cookies
  • Karythopita Walnut Spice Cake
  • Kalitsounia Kritis Cheese Pastries

Traditional Greek Food for Easter

  • Spit-roast lamb
  • Easter bread with red eggs (tsoureki)
  • Greek Easter biscuits (koulourakia paschalina)
  • Skewered chicken (kotosouvlaki)
  • Balsamic-glazed figs
  • Cheese pastry cups (kalitsounia)
greek easter bread

Photo: Shutterstock

Top 10 Greek Foods

Have a hard time knowing what to eat in Greece? Here is my top 10 list of Greek Foods.

  1. Souvlaki
  2. Moussaka
  3. Kleftiko
  4. Gyro
  5. Pastitsio
  6. Stifado
  7. Spanakopita
  8. Feta Cheese
  9. Tzatziki
  10. Calamari

Greek Cuisine in short

Modern Greek cuisine is often a mix of the traditional ways of cooking, and new innovations from chefs who have studied abroad and later come back to Greece to experiment and implement what they’ve learned into the Greek kitchen.

However, a lot of the traditional Greek cuisine is still being served in the restaurants countrywide. The Greek civilization has a long history that goes back to the Ancient Greeks and beyond, but during this time the cuisine has also changed. Especially when the tomatoes, lemons, and potatoes were introduced.

However, one thing still holds true for the Greek cuisine, and that’s the focus on authentic ingredients of high quality, and the passion for food in general. Also, the fact that many products are grown locally, and the dishes are still fairly simple, yet executed to perfection.

Many Greek dishes are cooked slowly and seasoned with herbs and oil instead of exotic spices from other countries.

greek food

Photo: Shutterstock


Which of these Greek Foods would you like to try? Or if you have already been to Greece, which one of these is your favorite Greek dish?

September 7th, 2018|

THANKS FOR READING MY BLOG

Swedish Nomad

Hello! I’m Alex Waltner — A Swedish Travel Blogger & Photographer.

My vision with this blog is to inspire people to travel more and better by sharing useful travel guides and tips from my adventures around the world.

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