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11 Must-Try Traditional Foods To Try For Your Vacation in Greece

From souvlaki to greek salad
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Embark on a culinary journey through the rich and diverse flavors of Greek cuisine. From hearty moussaka to savory souvlaki and decadent baklava, Greek food reflects centuries of tradition, culture, and local ingredients.

Each dish tells a story of Greece’s culinary heritage, from ancient recipes passed down through generations to modern interpretations influenced by Mediterranean flavors. Join us as we explore some of the most iconic Greek dishes, where to find them during your vacation in Greece, and the unique ingredients and techniques that make them truly unforgettable.

Chapter Trail

Moussaka

moussaka greece food
Photo by Fotograf: Dieter Mueller on Wikimedia

Moussaka is a classic Greek dish consisting of layers of eggplant, minced meat (often lamb or beef), sliced potatoes, and a creamy béchamel sauce. The ingredients are assembled in a baking dish and then baked to golden perfection, resulting in a hearty and comforting casserole-style dish with rich flavors and a satisfying texture.

Where to Taste It

For an authentic taste of moussaka, head to Taverna Plaka in Athens. This cozy taverna offers a warm and inviting atmosphere, perfect for savoring traditional Greek comfort food. Their moussaka is rich, flavorful, and served piping hot, making it a must-try dish for any visitor to Greece.

Souvlaki

souvlaki greece food
Photo by Nikodem Nijaki on Wikimedia

Souvlaki is a popular Greek street food made of skewered and grilled pieces of meat, typically pork, chicken, or lamb. The meat is often marinated in a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and herbs, imparting it with a delicious flavor. Souvlaki is commonly served wrapped in pita bread with fresh vegetables, tzatziki sauce, and sometimes fries, making it a convenient and tasty meal on the go.

Where to Taste It

Visit Bairaktaris in the heart of Athens for some of the best souvlaki in the city. This legendary eatery has been serving up delicious skewers of grilled meat for decades, attracting locals and tourists alike. Pair your souvlaki with a side of crispy fries and tzatziki for the ultimate Greek street food experience.

Tzatziki

11 Must-Try Traditional Foods To Try For Your Vacation in Greece
Photo by Nikodem Nijaki on Wikimedia

Cool and refreshing, tzatziki is a yogurt-based dip infused with garlic, cucumber, and herbs. Its creamy texture and zesty flavor make it the perfect accompaniment to grilled meats, bread, or as a dip for vegetables.

Where to Taste It

For creamy and delicious tzatziki, stop by O Thanasis in Monastiraki, Athens. This family-owned taverna is renowned for its authentic Greek flavors and generous portions. Their tzatziki is made fresh daily using locally sourced ingredients, ensuring a burst of freshness in every bite.

Spanakopita

spanakopita greece food
Photo by terri_bateman on Wikimedia

Crispy layers of phyllo dough envelop a filling of spinach, feta cheese, and aromatic herbs in this beloved Greek pie. Spanakopita is a popular appetizer or snack, best enjoyed with a side of fresh Greek salad.

Where to Taste It

Indulge in homemade spanakopita at Yiannis Manos in Plaka, Athens. This charming bakery specializes in traditional Greek pastries, including flaky and flavorful spanakopita. Enjoy a slice alongside a Greek coffee for a delightful breakfast or midday snack.

Horiatiki

horiatiki greek salad
Photo by Armineaghayan on Wikimedia

Vibrant and colorful, horiatiki showcases the freshness of Greek produce with ripe tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, tangy olives, and creamy feta cheese, all drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with aromatic oregano.

Where to Taste It

For a classic horiatiki salad with a view, dine at 180° Sunset Bar in Santorini. Perched on the cliffs of Oia, this rooftop bar offers breathtaking views of the Caldera and serves up fresh and vibrant Greek salads made with locally sourced ingredients.

Gyro

11 Must-Try Traditional Foods To Try For Your Vacation in Greece
Photo by Antonio Fajardo i López on Wikimedia

Gyro is a popular Greek fast food dish consisting of thinly sliced meat (often pork, chicken, or lamb) roasted on a vertical rotisserie. The meat is typically served wrapped in warm pita bread with fresh tomatoes, onions, lettuce, and a generous dollop of tzatziki sauce. Gyro is a satisfying and flavorful street food enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

Where to Taste It

Head to Kostas in Athens for some of the best gyro in the city. This no-frills eatery is a favorite among locals for its flavorful meat, soft pita bread, and generous portions. Whether you opt for pork, chicken, or lamb gyro, you’re in for a mouthwatering treat.

Pastitsio

11 Must-Try Traditional Foods To Try For Your Vacation in Greece
Photo by Sam Bailey on Wikimedia

Pastitsio is a classic Greek baked pasta dish similar to lasagna, consisting of layers of tubular pasta, seasoned meat sauce (often beef or lamb), and creamy béchamel sauce. The dish is assembled in a baking dish and then baked until golden and bubbly. Pastitsio is a comforting and indulgent dish that is often served at family gatherings and special occasions.

Where to Taste It

Experience homemade pastitsio at To Kati Allo in Thessaloniki. This cozy taverna is known for its hearty and authentic Greek dishes, including their delicious pastitsio. Served bubbling hot from the oven, it’s comfort food at its finest.

Dolmades

dolmades greece food
Photo by Kritzolina on Wikimedia

Dolmades are tender grape leaves stuffed with a flavorful mixture of rice, onions, fresh herbs, pine nuts, and sometimes ground meat. The stuffed grape leaves are rolled into neat parcels and then simmered in a tangy lemon-infused broth until tender. Dolmades are a popular meze (appetizer) in Greek cuisine, enjoyed for their vibrant flavors and delicate texture.

Where to Taste It

For traditional dolmades made with love, visit Stoa Athanaton in Athens. Tucked away in the historic Plaka neighborhood, this family-run restaurant offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere, perfect for enjoying homemade Greek classics like dolmades stuffed with rice and herbs.

Baklava

baklava
Photo by Syed F Hashemi on Unsplash

Baklava is a decadent Greek dessert made with layers of crispy phyllo dough, chopped nuts (such as walnuts, pistachios, or almonds), and a sweet syrup or honey glaze. The layers of phyllo dough are brushed with melted butter or olive oil to create a crispy and flaky texture, while the nuts and syrup provide a rich and indulgent flavor. Baklava is a beloved dessert in Greek cuisine, often served on special occasions and celebrations.

Where to Taste It

Treat yourself to mouthwatering baklava at Ta Serbetia tou Psirri in Athens. This dessert shop specializes in Greek sweets, including their famous baklava made with layers of crispy phyllo dough, chopped nuts, and sweet honey syrup. It’s a sweet indulgence you won’t want to miss.

Fasolada

Fasolada
Photo by Miansari66 on Wikimedia

Fasolada is a traditional Greek bean soup made with white beans, tomatoes, onions, carrots, celery, and herbs. It is often flavored with olive oil, garlic, and a splash of lemon juice, giving it a rich and hearty flavor profile. Fasolada is a comforting and nutritious dish that is enjoyed throughout Greece, especially during the winter months.

Where to Taste It

Enjoy a bowl of hearty fasolada at Ta Karamanlidika tou Fani in Athens. This charming deli specializes in traditional Greek delicacies, including their delicious fasolada made with tender beans, tomatoes, and aromatic herbs. Pair it with crusty bread and a glass of Greek wine for a satisfying meal.

Loukumades

loukumades lokma greece food
Photo by elif ayse on Wikimedia

Loukoumades are bite-sized Greek donuts made from a yeasted dough that is deep-fried until golden and crispy. Once fried, the donuts are drizzled with honey or syrup and sprinkled with cinnamon or chopped nuts. Loukoumades are a popular dessert or sweet treat in Greek cuisine, often enjoyed at festivals, fairs, and family gatherings.

Where to Taste It

For irresistible loukoumades, head to Krinos in Thessaloniki. This legendary dessert shop has been serving up fluffy and golden-brown loukoumades for over a century, delighting locals and visitors alike. Whether you prefer yours drizzled with honey or topped with chocolate sauce, they’re sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Conclusion

Greece Salad - Cooking Vacation
Photo by Yevheniia on Unsplash

Greek cuisine is a celebration of Mediterranean flavors, culinary traditions, and the vibrant spirit of Greek culture. Whether you’re indulging in traditional dishes at a local taverna, sampling street food delights in bustling markets, or savoring homemade recipes with locals, every bite offers a taste of Greece’s rich gastronomic heritage. 

From the shores of the Aegean to the quaint villages of the Peloponnese, Greek food invites you on a gastronomic adventure that’s as diverse and captivating as the landscapes that inspire it. So, immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and flavors of Greece, and let the culinary delights of this ancient land transport you to a world of culinary bliss. Opa!

Check out our free culinary itinerary to Greece:

Plan your next dream trip with one of our hand-picked, highly experienced, licensed, and insured Local In-destination Experts!

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