There are destinations where you eat to sustain yourself and fuel your activities and there are destinations where eating is one of the main activities. Italy was like that to me, I would go back any day just for a meal. And although food was not my main reason to visit Greece, it was an important component of discovering the culture and we had such a great time trying out different dishes. Here are some of my favorites!
I don't thing you can visit Greece without trying, at least once, a greek salad. The vegetables are so fresh and it's always perfectly seasoned and, in the middle of a hot summer day, it is exactly what you need. We ended up eating greek salads multiple times during our 2-week trip as it was a cheap lunch option (between 7 and 14 euros) and the heat made us perpetually dehydrated, so eating veggies felt amazing.
Talking about cheap lunch options, here is another one! Spanakopitas are puff pastries with spinach and feta cheese. You can find them in most bakeries, but also in snack bars or food trucks. The pastry is usually really flakey and they are served warm. They are around 4 euros so they make a good snack if you're not hungry enough for a big lunch or you are planning on an early dinner. There are also other types of pies like cheese pies or meat pies, but I think the spinach pies are the most popular.
Since we are in the cheap lunch options, let's keep it going! Gyros are available pretty much everywhere and are a nice full meal option for 4 euros. They are made of pita bread with meat (usually pork or chicken), tomatoes, seasoned fries, red onions and tzatziki sauce. They are really filling and I was barely able to eat the whole thing, but they are delicious! The best part is they are always made fresh in front of you.
italian style pizza
I missed italian style pizza so much and Greece is close enough so I had no choice, but try a few of the pizzas (I didn't eat both of them by myself, I had help). We did see a lot of italian restaurants during our trip and pizzas were on the menu at all of them, so it counts as a must try in Greece. It wasn't exactly like in Italy where the toppings are basically all sauce and there is barely any cheese, but the crusts where really similar and there were lots of options. Let's just say no piece was thrown away. The mediterranean pizza was my favorite, with olives, feta and red onion.
I know gelato, like pizza, is more italian than it is greek, but it was so hot out and the gelato was so good, we had to have some at least once a day. In this heat, I preferred more fruity flavors like lemoncello and berries, but my friend tried sweeter flavors like nutella and cookies and cream or stracciatella and apparently they were really good too. The portions were also pretty generous as these are the "small" portions.
You can't go to Greece and not try seafood at least once. Many restaurants offer assorted seafood plates or shareable seafood platters where you can try different options without comiting to a full plate of octopus. I love seafood so it was also a great way to get to try it all, and the octopus was actually really good. We also tried shrimp saganaki at another restaurant which was also delicious. They served the shrimp with some kind of tomato paste with feta cheese and herbs, yum!
The wine made in the greek islands is known for being very sweet and full bodied due to the low rainfall, and production is usually very small which means your best chance to taste it is while visiting Greece. We had the chance to visit a winery during our stay in Santorini and it was so worth it. We toured the grounds and factory and learned about the particular difficulties of growing grapes on wind swept islands and then got to taste four wines with their food pairing which was so good. We also tasted the local wines at many restaurants we visited which was often cheap and tasty.
sandwich with olive paste
One of the things that I bought as a souvenir is olive paste. I love olives and we tried a mediterranean sandwich one day for lunch which had the olive paste in it and it just made the whole meal even better. Seriously, just try it! It adds a little bit of spice and brings all the flavors together.
The fish dishes were often way more expensive than everything else on the menu so we didn't have a lot, but I had to try sea bass at least once since it is a signature dish at so many tavernas. On our last day in Greece, it was now on never, so I ordered it and, let's just say, it was a whole event! They served the fish whole, and then the server started opening it and taking out the bones in front of us. He then masterfully poured out some lemon and garlic sauce and presented me the plate looking absolutely incredible. We also got to talk to the server and ask about living in Greece and his life while he was preparing the fish which was fun. It was really good! The fish was perfectly cooked and the sauce made it even better!
You can bet I jumped on Pinterest to find some of those recipes as soon as I got home! As for your next trip, if I had any tip, it would be to look at multiple menus before deciding on a restaurant. Even it the same town, the prices can vary a lot and the offers can vary too, so it's a good idea to compare the menus before making a choice. We never had any trouble finding a table at any restaurant even in the middle of high season so that shouldn't be a problem. I also recommend, for at least one meal, ordering a bunch of appetizers and sharing them. We did that a few times and it allowed us to try multiple greek specialties without over eating or spending a lot of money.
Is there anything in this list you can't wait to try on your trip to Greece?
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