Call me crazy, but I never really ate Greek food until I travelled to Greece. Why? Because I was brought up on Australian/British meals. But that all changed by my second trip to this Mediterranean country. I had fallen in love with some very tasty traditional Greek cuisine. And now I have some traditional Greece food favourite dishes that I eat and enjoy regularly.

Dishes of Gyros, Moussaka, Spanakopita and desserts like Baklava are at the top of my traditional Greek food list. Every visit I make to Greece my mouth is filled, day after day and night after night with some wonderful popular greek food.

These tasty dishes are now some of my favourites that I regularly eat along with some favourite Italian and Mexican dishes. With the help of some fellow food and travel bloggers here are some typical food of Greece to wet your appetite.

Much of the best Greek food you will find in this food in Greece post is made from fresh ingredients that Greece is renowned for. And even though it is wonderful to visit Greek restaurants and be treated to wonderful Greek dishes, one of the best things about Greek food is you can make a lot of the dishes at home. So you will get loads of inspiration here of typical Greek food to add to your Greek food menu on your next visit to Greece.

 

What is Greek Food?

 

Greek dishes have been around for thousands of years. Food in Greece is based on the wonderful natural ingredients they are made from. They are some of the most flavoursome meals around using olive oil, feta cheese and grilled meats.

Without further ado, here are some famous Greek food.

 

Best Greek Dishes

 

Gyro

Favourite Greek Dish of Sarah @ Travelosio

 

Gyro favourite Greek Dish in a wrap.

Gyro

 

If there’s one thing I love as much as traveling, it’s food. And when it comes to Greek cuisine, my absolute favorite has to be the humble Gyro. This simple yet flavorful dish has a special place in my heart, and here’s why.

Gyros, a popular street food, originated in Greece loved by locals and tourists alike. It’s a dish that’s as versatile as it is delicious. The main ingredients are succulent strips of marinated pork or chicken, traditionally cooked on a vertical rotisserie. The meat is then wrapped in a warm, fluffy pita bread. Add fresh tomatoes, onions, and a generous dollop of tzatziki sauce – a creamy concoction of yogurt, cucumber, garlic, and herbs.

What makes Gyros so special to me is its perfect balance of flavors. The savory meat, the freshness of the vegetables, and the tangy tzatziki sauce create a symphony of tastes that’s hard to resist. It’s a dish that’s deeply rooted in Greek culture, and every bite takes me back to the bustling streets of Athens, where I first fell in love with it.

Cooking Gyros at home is surprisingly easy, and it’s become a staple in my kitchen. The key is in the marinade. A mix of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and a blend of Greek herbs and spices. It’s a dish that’s as fun to prepare as it is to eat.

Gyros is more than just a dish – it’s a culinary journey to Greece. It’s a testament to the simplicity and richness of Greek cuisine, and a dish that I’ll never tire of. Whether you’re in a Greek taverna or in your own kitchen, I highly recommend giving Gyros a try. You won’t be disappointed.

 

Dolmas

Favourite Greek Dish of Denise @ Chef Denise

 

Dolmas a favourite Greek Dish.

Dolmas – stuffed grape leaves

 

When it comes to Greek cuisine, one of my favorite dishes is Dolmas, or stuffed grape leaves. I remember as a kid being so intrigued that I was eating a leaf. To me, that made them so exotic I’m not sure if I even noticed the taste, but I fell in love with them.

The grape leaves are stuffed with a mixture made of cooked rice, minced onions, tomatoes, dill, olive oil, and lemon juice. Sometimes ground meat, usually beef, lamb, or a mix of both is added to the stuffing. You can buy grape leaves in a jar ready to stuff, or you can boil them yourself which takes a couple of minutes. Similar to stuffed cabbage, after all of the grape leaves are stuffed, they are steamed to soften the leaves.

Dolmas are a very popular food in Athens and throughout Greece. They can either be served hot or cold. And they can be eaten as a snack, an appetizer, or as a main meal. They are believed to have originated from the Ottoman Empire. The word Dolmas itself is from the Turkish Turkish word ‘dolmak,’ which means ‘to stuff.’ 

They may sound like a challenge to make, but they are actually pretty simple. If you can boil water, you can make Dolmas!

 

Dakos Salad

Favourite Greek Dish of Goya @ Goya Galeotta

 

Dakos Salad is a Favourite Greek Dish.

Dakos Salad

 

As a fervent traveler and a foodie, it is safe to say Greece is one of my favourite destinations for culinary adventure. Among the myriad of delectable Greek dishes, it’s the simple dakos salad that holds a special place in my heart. Bursting with flavours and crafted with simple yet exceptional ingredients, this dish encapsulates the essence of Greek cuisine and the vibrant spirit of the Mediterranean.

With a history dating back centuries, dakos salad carries the legacy of Greek traditions. Connecting us with the past and the people who lovingly passed down this culinary gem through generations, it showcases the ever impressive bounty of Greece’s fertile lands.

The star of this salad is the Cretan barley rusk, known as “dakos” or “paximadi,” which forms the hearty base. While believed to have originated in Crete, this traditional delicacy can now be found all over Greece. Each region adding its unique touch to the dish. Made from whole-grain barley, the rustic, crunchy texture of dakos instantly transports you to sun-kissed shores.

The salad often comes to life with a rich combination of ripe tomatoes, olives, (at times) capers, cucumbers, and tangy feta cheese. All drizzled with the finest extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with fragrant oregano. You can always customise it further with red onions, bell peppers, or fresh herbs like basil and mint. The beauty of dakos salad lies in its versatility and adaptability to regional flavours.

For me, what makes dakos salad truly special is not just its delightful taste but also its ease of preparation. With minimal cooking required, assembling this dish is a breeze. It is perfect for travellers seeking a quick, refreshing, and authentic taste of Greece, especially during the scorching summer months.

All in all, Dakos salad is the simplest, most prefect Greek dish that captures the essence of the Mediterranean in every bite. Its simplicity, use of fresh ingredients, and versatility make it a true delight for any traveller in search of fast and fabulous recipes that truly embody the spirit of Greece.

So, on your next Greek adventure, whether you are in Crete, Athens or Thassos, indulge in the wonders of dakos salad. Then savour the history and flavours that have stood the test of time. Opa!

 

Fava

Favourite Greek dish of Annelies @ Travelers & Dreamers

 

Fava a traditional favourite best Greek Dish.

A Greek Favourite – Fava

 

Fava is a traditional Greek dish that is deeply rooted in ancient Mediterranean cuisine. Despite its name, it is not made from fava beans but actually from split yellow peas! Fava is particularly found on the Cyclades islands, especially Santorini, where it has a “Protected Designation of Origin” status.

To prepare fava, the split peas need to be simmered with water, onions, and a drizzle of olive oil until they form a velvety, smooth consistency. The resulting creamy texture is then drizzled with a flavorful Greek olive oil and topped with onions and capers. It is often served as a spread and pairs wonderfully with Greek pita bread and some olives as an appetizer.

I particularly enjoyed fava on the mainland of Greece, on the Pelion peninsula, and in Thessaloniki. It is one of my favorite vegan Greek dishes and I have prepared it a dozen times at home after my trip!

 

Saganaki

Favourite Greek Dish of Joanna @ The World in my Pocket

 

Saganaki a traditional best favourite Greek dish.

A favourite in Santorini

 

Saganaki is one of the best dishes I ate in Santorini. I ordered it at a small taverna by the seaside, after a long day of exploring the island and enjoying local dishes. I wasn’t very hungry so I went for a dish from the seafood menu, thinking it would be small. It wasn’t small but I also couldn’t leave anything on the plate as it was so delicious.

After returning from Greece, I found out that there are many variations of saganaki. There are two things that make a dish a saganaki: firstly, is the sofrito, a flavourful blend of onions, carrots and celery, which is simmered so the flavours release slowly. The second, is the add-on of feta cheese. You can make saganaki using any protein, you can even make it vegetarian. The one I had in Santorini was a memorable dish, which I was lucky to later on learn how to make by no other than the MasterChef winner Irini Tzortzoglou, during the most recent National Geographic food show in London.

 

Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie)

Favourite Greek dish of Ruma @ New England Cities 

 

Spanakopital or Feta and Spinach pie is a classic traditional Greek dish.

Serve a Greek Salad with Spanakopita

 

Spanakopita, also known as Greek spinach pie, is a beloved dish that holds a special place in the hearts of Greek cuisine lovers. It’s a versatile dish that can be enjoyed as an appetizer, a main course, or even as a snack. The origin of this dish can be traced back to the northwestern Greek region of Epirus during the 16th century.

Spanakopita is a delicious combination of flaky pastry, savory fillings, and aromatic herbs. The star ingredient of this famous Greek pie is spinach. It’s prepared by gently sautéing the green spinach with onions and garlic until tender and mixing with a blend of feta cheese, eggs, and seasonings to create a flavorful filling. The pie is traditionally made with layers of phyllo dough. It’s a special Greek dough known for its thin and delicate texture that becomes beautifully crisp and golden when baked. Each layer of phyllo dough is brushed with melted butter or olive oil to add richness and enhance the overall texture of the pie.

 This dish is widely available in Greece in restaurants, street-side cafes, bakeries, etc. Greeks are also known to serve this delicacy to guests visiting.

 

Moussaka

Favourite Greek dish of  Cristina from LooknWalk Greece 

 

Moussaka made from eggplant, mince and cheese - a favourite Greek dish.

Moussaka

 

The national dish of Greece, Moussaka is enjoyed throughout the Eastern Mediterranean.

And even though it’s probably one of the most famous Greek dishes, its origins can be traced back to the Levant. A medieval book titled ‘A Baghdad Cookery book’, published in the 13th century, contains a musakhkhan recipe similar to that of moussaka.

Such a long history also means the name of the dish is not of Greek origin. Its root comes from Arabic muṣaqqa’a by way of Ottoman Turkish.  That’s where both Greek and other Balkan languages borrowed the name from.

The traditional Greek recipe has 3 layers: the bottom layer is sliced eggplant sautéed in olive oil, the middle layer is ground beef (sometimes lamb) precooked with spices, herbs, onion, garlic and tomatoes; and the top layer is béchamel sauce.

There is also a lent (vegan) version of the dish that excludes the animal products. It uses soy milk to make the sauce and lentils instead of meat.

Both versions do have quite a lot of steps and are pretty elaborate.

Enjoyed from Bulgaria to Montenegro and Romania, the recipe suffered some changes along the way. For example, the Romanian version uses potatoes instead of eggplants.

When visiting Greece, the best places to enjoy a freshly baked moussaka is in small, family owned tavernas.

 

Gigantes

Favourite Greek dish of Vanessa @ Travelling Cats

 

Gigantes a favourite Greek food.

Gigantes

 

One of the best foods I tried on Lesbos island is gigantes, a vegetarian dish made with large elephant beans. The word “gigantes” itself is Greek and translates to “giants” in English because these beans are substantially bigger than the usual ones.

They are cooked in a rich and flavorful tomato sauce, featuring olive oil, garlic, onions, herbs like oregano and parsley, and sometimes other vegetables like carrots and celery. The beans absorb the flavors of the sauce during the slow cooking process, resulting in a hearty and satisfying dish. Gigantes are typically baked in the oven until they become tender and the sauce thickens.

People in Greece love gigantes, and they serve them as both a main course or side dish. You usually get them with crusty bread or feta cheese, but I prefer mine with a side note of tzatziki.

Even though gigantes are supposedly popular all over Greece and you can enjoy them throughout the year, I noticed they aren’t everywhere. In Lesbos and Crete, almost every menu included gigantes, but when I visited Mykonos, I couldn’t find a single dish with them. It just goes to show how each Greek destination has its own unique food scene.

 

Baklava

Favourite sweet Greek treat of Olivia @ Inspired by Croatia

 

Baklava is a sweet desert and favourite food in Greece.

Baklava

 

Sweet, buttery, flaky and delicious, baklava is one dessert you absolutely must-try when visiting Greece. 

Originating in nearby Turkey, baklava is served all over southern Europe and the Middle East – from Iran and Lebanon to Croatia and Greece. Each country has their own version with slight variations, but the base ingredients and techniques for making baklava remain the same. 

In Greece, this sticky layered pastry is called “Siropiasta” and is made using thin sheets of phyllo dough, butter, chopped walnuts and sugar. Once it’s been assembled, the baklava is baked until golden and doused in a luscious honey syrup. 

You’ll find countless restaurants and dessert shops serving up baklava in Greece. But if you want the real deal, you’re going to have to go to Athens and head to Mitropolitikon. Founded in 1930, this family-run pastry shop is one of the oldest in the city, specializing in baklava and handmade chocolates. Their mini baklavas are made to perfection – not overly nutty or sweet, but just the right balance of flavors and textures. You can also get pieces of baklava individually wrapped so that you can take them with you on your journey!

 

Tzatziki

Favourite of Denise of Chef Denise

 

Tzatziki - a traditional favourite Greek dip.

Classic Greek Tzatziki

 

Tzatziki, is one of the most ubiquitous foods you’ll find in Greece. It is a condiment that may be served with souvlaki, gyros, or just about any traditional dish. It’s also eaten with pita as a dip for an appetizer or a snack. In the hotter months, it is refreshingly delicious and it can be a cooling agent for spicy dishes. You’ll want to try tzatziki more than once and with as many foods as you can. It really does make everything taste better.

The name comes from the Greek word “tsakoniko,” which refers to the technique of pressing and straining the liquid from yogurt to create a thicker consistency. In other words, the process to make Greek yogurt. A classic tzatziki recipe includes yogurt, cucumber, lemon, garlic, and dill. Sometimes you’ll find additional herbs or slight variations, but the biggest differences come from the cucumber. It can be grated or sliced depending on the chef or family preparing it. 

While the exact origins are debated, since yogurt is the base ingredient, it is most likely that tzatziki hails from the mountain regions. Legend has it that the ancient physician Hippocrates used this condiment for its health benefits. So, if you need another reason to try tzatziki, it’s actually an ancient health food.

 

Pastitsada

Favourite Greek dish of Louise of Traveling with the Whitrows

 

Pastitsada is a traditional Greek favourite pasta and meat dish.

Great for Sunday dinner 

 

Pastitsada is a traditional Greek dish that is typically served as a Sunday dinner. The word Pastitsada means a slow-cooked meat stew. Unique to the Greek island of Corfu it’s often referred to as Pastitsada from Kerkyra. The origins of the dish come from Verona in Italy where it was traditionally a horse meat stew. The Corfiot version of the dish is made with beef rather than horse but it can be cooked with any meat, including chicken, lamb or rooster.

Pastitsada is made up of a hearty tomato based beef stew that is poured over pastitsio or bucatini pasta noodles. It can also be served with mash potato or polenta and is most commonly topped with grated Parmesan or Greek kefalotiri, a traditional Greek hard cheese. While there are variations to the recipe standard ingredients in a Pastitsada include onions, garlic, chopped tomatoes, bay leaves, and cinnamon.

If you’re making a Pastitsada at home there are some tips to know for ease of cooking and to get the most authentic dish. Cook the beef in batches to lock in the flavour and get that sear on the beef that you’ll lose with an overcrowded pan. Another tip is to add a splash of red wine when braising the beef. This will give the dish extra flavour and richness.

 

Greek Salad

Favourite food of Greece of Sharyn @ LiveWorkPlayTravel

 

Greek Salad Made With Lettuce, Tomato, Red Onion, Cucumber And Feta Cheese.

Such a healthy Greek dish

 

Greek salad or horiatiki salad is a popular salad in Greek cuisine and it is one of my favourites.

Generally made with fresh pieces of tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, feta cheese and olives on a bed of lettuce (though many don’t use lettuce – I do to bulk it up, particularly if there are more people to feed than just me. Then dressed with salt, Greek oregano, lemon juice and olive oil – though often while traveling I purchase a pre-made dressing. I then like to mix it slightly before serving it.

The Greek salad is mostly served in early spring through summer to use the season’s produce of crunchy cucumbers and sweet tomatoes. It is often served as an easy first course or is a great accompaniment to a main dish of lamb or other loved Greek dishes.

 

Gemista

Favourite Greek dish of Tamara @ My Elated Odyssey

 

Gemista a traditional Greek dish to try when in Greece.

Gemista

 

If you’re looking for some of the best Greek cuisines on your trip, you must try gemista! This dish is one of the country’s most popular food items, and for good reason!

It’s simple to understand how gemista got its name. When translated, gemista means “filled with.” This dish consists of vegetables, traditionally tomatoes or peppers, filled with rice, vegetables, and herbs.

Vegetables and herbs that are added are usually oregano, mint, parsley, onions, garlic, and carrots. Gemista is versatile and can be made vegetarian or add ground beef or pork. You can also make gemista with eggplant or zucchini if tomatoes and peppers aren’t available.

While there is no exact location where gemista originated from, it is a stable dish that can be found all over the country. It’s said that the dish grew in popularity in the years following World War I. In the Cyclades, you can find fantastic quality on islands such as Syros and Sifnos.

While gemista can be enjoyed any time of the year, the summer is the best time to enjoy it. This is due to the vegetables being in season at the time. Gemista is the perfect dish to enjoy at a taverna or beach club.

 

Stifado

Favourite Greek Dish of Lowra @ Many Other Roads

 

Stifado - a Greek beef stew dish from Kos.

Hearty stew

 

Stifado, a savoury and aromatic Greek dish, stands out as one of the must-try meals when exploring Greece. This hearty and flavorful stew has earned its reputation as a beloved traditional dish that captures the essence of Greek cuisine.

At its core, Stifado is a slow-cooked meat stew, typically made with beef or rabbit. However, you may find other variations of it during your trip.

The key components of a Stifado include succulent chunks of meat, often marinated in red wine and spices, combined with a blend of tomatoes, onions, garlic, and aromatic herbs. You will often find whole onions or shallots in the dish which add a sweet flavour compared to the tangy tomato base. 

The name “Stifado” itself has roots in the Greek language, with its origin believed to be derived from the word “stufado,” meaning stewed or steamed. This name describes the cooking process involved in creating this dish

This dish is popular all over Greece so doesn’t belong to one area making it easy to try on your trip to Greece. However, if you are looking for an epic place to try it, visit Avli. This gem in Kos is a traditional Greek restaurant where you can get a true taste of Greece.

 

Are You Ready to Enjoy Typical Food in Greece?

 

I hope you enjoyed this favourite and famous food of Greece post. Is your mouth watering? What will be your favourite famous Greek food?

 

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Greek Food with a Glass of Wine overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

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