Cherished Greek Dishes

Greek cuisine holds a special place in the global gastronomic map thanks to its large variety of quality products, healthy food combinations, and centuries-old accumulated knowledge.

The islands and the mainland of Greece yield quality and flavourful produce to cook with; isn’t it delightful to have fresh aromatic herbs at hand for your daily meal preparations? Oregano, thyme, bay leaves, rosemary, lemons and olive oil are only a few of these tasty foods and they are common in Greek recipes. Meat from small farm animals, fresh fish, shellfish, legumes, fruit, vegetables, and dairy products that are famous the world over, next to a long list of Greek award-winning wines will offer you a wide choice of flavours that’ll tickle your taste buds.

Whether you pick a fish taverna by the sea, an eatery or a restaurant in the hinterland, one thing’s for sure: the catalogue items will all look delicious enough to give you a hard time deciding which one to pick first! Still, there are a couple of dishes – or more – that have taken the popularity of Greek cuisine to great heights. Here’s a ten-item list of the most popular ones:

Appetiser options

The Greek Choriatiki Salad is top of the list; juicy red tomatoes, cool cucumber slices, piquant onion rings, feta cheese, savoury olives, flavourful oregano and virgin olive oil create a must-taste dish, as simple as it is delicious.

The only place across the country where choriatiki salad seems to be giving up first place is Crete, as it loses to dakos, a local salad prepared with a big round barley rusk, layered with tomato cubes, grated myzithra or feta cheese, olives, capers, oregano and virgin olive oil.

A classic Greek appetiser, renowned the world over, is cool and spicy tzatziki dip, which is either eaten on a slice of bread or served next to grilled meat dishes.

Yellow split peas is a dish that Minoans (a Bronze Age civilisation) used to enjoy thousands of years ago on Crete Island, and it still is a favourite traditional food today across the country. Savour it either boiled (it becomes a tasty mash) with a sprinkle of virgin olive oil and salt, or with tomato, chopped raw onions and capers.
The list of ingredients to fill a Greek pie with seems endless: cheese, pasta, greens, rice, trachanas, vegetables, fish, meat and so on… Each area is the proud owner of a different recipe.

Main course

Ladera dishes are vegetables cooked in olive oil with herbs and flavourings, and they do not include meat or fish. Try dolmadakia (tender vine leaves stuffed with rice, onions and herbs).

Among meaty options, souvlaki is the most famous Greek dish, and you can order it as kalamaki (charcoal-baked skewered dices of meat) and enjoy it with some slightly toasted bread sprinkled with olive oil and oregano, or as pita kalamaki, meaning you get the dices of meat wrapped in a flatbread (pita), with slices of onion, tomato, tzatziki and -if you want- some fries. If you ask for a pita gyro, you’ll get shaves of pork meat wrapped in a flatbread with onion, tomato and tzatziki – as above. Have also a try at juicy keftedakia, i.e. meatballs fried in olive oil until golden brown and delicious.

If you prefer seafood, then taste golden rings of fried or oven-baked calamari, or a dish of mouthwatering charcoal-grilled octopus.

A world of flavours is included in one of the most popular Greek dishes: mousaka! This all-time classic food experience includes slices of sautéed aubergines arranged at the bottom of a baking dish, lightly fried slices of potato layered on the aubergines, minced meat cooked in advance with spices and tomato sauce, and a top layer of bechamel sauce and grated cheese.

Have we whetted your appetite? Discover many more savoury & sweet flavours on your next trip to Greece!

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