Greek cuisine can be defined as simple, traditional, and generous cuisine. It is made from fresh, local, and sun-drenched ingredients and is dominated by olive, oregano, and honey scents. Although she carries with her different influences, she has nevertheless managed to keep her own identity.

Greek cuisine is very much varied. Here is a quick overview of typical Greek dishes. This one is far from exhaustive, but we hope that it will be useful to you. Do not hesitate to print this article before going to eat in a tavern, and if you want to know the best addresses of taverns and restaurants in Athens, it’s right here. 

Typical And Unmissable Greek Dishes

Here is a list of typical Greek dishes that you will always find on the menu. Keep in mind that if you get lost reading the menu in a Greek tavern, you can safely ask to take a look in the kitchen. It gets done a lot, and the cook will happily lift the lids of his saucepans to help you make your choice.

The Salads

The famous Greek salad (choriatiki) has a name that literally means “village salad.” Absolutely essential, it is on the menu of all taverns. It is made from tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, raw onions, oregano, and olives. Topped with a slice of feta (the term “feta” means “slice” in French) and generously drizzled with olive oil.

Greek Cheeses

Feta, of course, is the king cheese. It can be eaten in a salad, fried, or wrapped in phyllo leaves and sprinkled with sesame seeds and honey.

Haloumi: A Cheese Of Cypriot Origin, Served Grilled

Regional cheeses: do not hesitate to taste the local cheeses of the region you are visiting

Saganaki is one of the great classics to order in a Greek tavern, a fried cheese that is generally very popular with children (but also older ones).

Baked Dishes

The taverns always offer typical Greek dishes, simmered in the oven. Moussaka, this aubergine and minced meat gratin covered with a layer of bechamel sauce: in the minds of tourists, it is THE iconic Greek dish par excellence. And yet, this does not necessarily correspond to reality in the eyes of the Greeks (who consider their national dish to be the fasolada). Moussaka is indeed a long dish to prepare, occasionally cooked in families. You won’t necessarily find it on the Greek menu of all taverns.

Among the typical Greek dishes, it is impossible not to mention the pastitsio to simplify, a moussaka in which the eggplants are replaced by macaroni. 

Fish And Seafood

Greece offers a wide variety of seafood, and seafood is very popular. When they are served frozen, this is expressly mentioned on the restaurant menu.

In the islands, you will find good fresh octopus and squid. Octopuses (“chtapodi” in Greek or “octopus” in English) are served grilled (“psito”) or in salad with vinegar (“xidato”). As for calamari, they can be eaten grilled (“psito”), fried (“tiganito”), or cooked in a red wine sauce.

By the sea, restaurateurs will often offer you fresh fish. It is customary to go see the catch of the day in the kitchen. Make sure you specify the price because it quickly becomes quite expensive.

Sweet Wines, such as Samos or Mavrodaphne

Obviously, ouzo is a must-try on any trip to Greece. This “Greek pastis” has an anise flavor. It is served by glass or in a small individual bottle. It goes wonderfully with mezzes. And unlike pastis, it does not dilute in water. The Greeks eat it pure, with ice cubes.

Finally, tsipouro is another Greek alcohol. It is a non-aniseed eau-de-vie. Again, it often accompanies mezze.