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27 of the Best and Most Delicious Greek Foods

By | Last Updated : 21st March 2022

Greece never fails to impress one with its fascinating history and beautiful beaches. Adding to its picturesque beauty, one cannot deny the sumptuous spread of food the country boasts of. Influences of Mediterranean cuisine remains evident in most of their dishes, where vegetables are prioritized the most.

Also, traditional Greek food lays a lot of emphasis on nuts, cereals, pasta and seafood. When it comes to dairy, milk is given lesser importance than cheese, quite evident in most of their platters that comprise of tasty cheese delights. The herbs and spices like basil, garlic, bay leaf, and cumin dominating most Mediterranean dishes make their presence felt in Greek food too. Versatile, healthy, and tasty are the adjectives one can associate with Greek food, no wonder making it popular worldwide.

Greek Food

Some of the Popular and Authentic Dishes in Greece

1. Moussaka

Moussaka

Mygreekdish.com

Moussaka is a classic Greek eggplant dish, also considered Greece’s national dish. The main ingredients going into its preparation are fried or baked eggplants, lamb or beef meat, and béchamel sauce. The well-seasoned meat is cooked in tomato sauce, layered with eggplants and potatoes, and finally topped with thick, smooth béchamel sauce and grated cheese. Once baked, it attains a golden brown color and a creamy and juicy texture. Though it’s typically a meat dish, some Greek restaurants serve it as an out-and-out vegetarian dish.

Moussaka is filling enough to be eaten on its own. Yet, you could even team it with sides of a traditional Greek salad or even bread and butter.

2. Papoutsakia

Papoutsakia

Mygreekdish.com

Papoutsakia is a tasty eggplant stuffed dish similar to moussaka in taste and ingredients. Its name translates into ‘shoes’ in the Greek language, as it resembles the shape perfectly. The eggplants are baked until it softens and stuffed with a juicy tomato-based meat sauce. It is topped with béchamel sauce and cheese and baked again until it attains a golden outer layer. Though a filling delicacy, one can also have it with crusty bread and roasted vegetables.

3. Tzatziki 

Tzatziki

Cookieandkate.com

Tzatziki, a traditional yogurt-based dip, complements most Greek dishes. It consists of thick and smooth yogurt, garlic, cucumber, olive oil, and fresh herbs like mint, parsley, and dill. An aromatic and refreshing appetizer, tzatziki is served cold and has a tangy and garlicky taste.

4. Spanikopita

Spanikopita

Allrecipes.com

Spanikopita or spinach pie is a popular and tempting vegetarian dish. It is prepared by combining crumbled feta cheese, spinach, butter, and olive oil. The mixture is filled into triangle-shaped phyllo dough pieces and baked until golden brown and crispy. The buttery delights are yummy and taste even better with tzatziki sauce. When hungry, you can grab a piece of spanikopita for a quick breakfast snack or a hearty dinner meal.

5. Pastitsio

Pastitsio

Recipetineats.com

Pastitsio is often called Greek lasagna due to its ingredients and layered appearance that is closely similar to the Italian dish. It consists of layers of pasta and ground beef which is seasoned with spices and cooked in tomato sauce to make it juicy and flavorful. The dish is often topped with cheese before being baked in the oven. A favorite pasta dish among Greeks, pastitsio is usually served with a green salad dressed in vinegar and olive oil.

6. Souvlaki

Souvlaki

Themediterraneandish.com

Souvlaki is an appetizing skewered meat dish, popular as street food in Greece. It consists of pork or chicken marinated with olive oil, oregano, rosemary, lemon, garlic, and grounded pepper. They are threaded through soaked wooden skewers and grilled until tender and juicyThe mouthwatering dish is often enjoyed straight from the skewer accompanied by a tzatziki sauce dip or rice bowl. An alternative way to relish it is by wrapping the meat pieces in pita bread with tomato, onions, a squeeze of lemon, and a drizzle of tzatziki sauce.

Though its name means ‘meat on skewers,’ Greeks refer to any pita-wrapped meat as souvlaki. Gyros, consisting of stacked meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie, are often confused with souvlaki when served in pita bread.

7. Soutzoukakia

Soutzoukakia

Mygreekdish.com

Soutzoukakia is a lip-smacking meatball platter served in tomato sauce. It is typically prepared with minced beef and pork meat combined with cumin, coriander, freshly ground pepper, garlic, and olive oil. The meatballs are cooked in an authentic red sauce consisting of onion, garlic, tomato sauce, spices, olive oil, and red wine. The soaked meatballs are flavorful and juicy, with the tastes of the several spices dominating every bite. A plate of soutzoukakia along with a bowl of steaming rice is one of the sought-after combinations for a winter meal in most Greek households.

8. Stifado

Stifado

Mygreekdish.com

Stifado is a hearty beef stew that is pretty easy to prepare. Marinated diced beef is cooked with tomatoes, onions, red wine or vinegar, and various spices and herbs like cinnamon, oregano, freshly ground pepper, and bay leaves. The delicate spices and juicy meat easily melting in the mouth make it a delicious and satisfying delicacy.

A beef-stew and mashed potato combination often make for a fabulous meal during the colder months. Other accompaniments of stifado include potato fries, rice, and several pasta dishes like orzo or hilopittes(egg).

9. Tomatokeftedes

Tomatokeftedes

Realgreekrecipes.com

A famous appetizer in Santorini, tomatokeftedes are crispy tomato fritters. Besides tomatoes, other ingredients like flour, feta cheese, onion, and mint are also included in its preparation. A spoonful of the mixture is taken and fried in hot oil until crunchy and golden brown. They are often enjoyed warm as a part of a meze or main course with some bread and a cold yogurt dip. The crunchy delights’ flavors are a combination of everything from tart to cheesy, as well as minty, satisfying one’s taste buds to the fullest.

10. Kolokithokeftedes

Kolokithokeftedes

Mygreekdish.com

Kolokithokeftedes are deep-fried zucchini fritters, well-known among the Cretan people. They are yummy and simple, made with fresh zucchini, feta cheese, and a whole lot of fresh herbs, including dill, mint, and parsley. The mildly sweet and slightly bitter taste of zucchini paired with the tangy flavor of cheese and refreshing aroma of herbs make it a vegetarian’s heavenly delight. The authentic zucchini fritters have a crispy outside and creamy inside, though in the present times, variations do exist. A  tzatziki sauce dip goes the best with this mouthwatering appetizer.

11. Giouvetsi

Giouvetsi

Mygreekdish.com

An age-old Greek dish, giouvetsi is considered perfect for a Sunday family meal. It is typically a beef stew with beef, orzo pasta, and other ingredients like onions, red wine, and tangy tomato sauce, baked in a casserole or ceramic baking dish. With flavors oozing out in every bite, giouvetsi is indeed satisfying, meant to be enjoyed with everyone during holidays or special occasions. The beef is replaced with chicken, lamb, pork, or octopus in modern preparations and tastes equally impressive.

 12. Choriatiki

Choriatiki

Olivetomato.com

Most Greek meals are incomplete without the inclusion of choriatiki, a Greek salad. While the ingredients included are cucumber, tomatoes, olives, and a chunk of feta cheese, the dressing is left to one’s preference. Even in restaurants, olive oil, salt, vinegar, and pepper are served separately, left for the customers to add them as per their choice. Though typically enjoyed as an appetizer, choriatiki also makes an ideal side dish.

13. Kleftiko

Kleftiko

Mygreekdish.com

Kleftiko, an authentic lamb dish, involves a slow cooking method to allow the lamb meat to soak in the flavors of lime juice, garlic, and olive oil. A delicious dish, the tender and juicy meat instantly melt in the mouth with flavors exploding.

The name kleftiko means ‘stolen,’ originating from the Greek descendants, Klephts, inhabiting the mountains in the 15th century to stay away from Ottoman rule. They would steal goats and lambs and secretly cook them in underground pits where smoke and heat remained trapped. Presently, kleftiko is roasted in the regular oven, and the dish is enjoyed on special occasions like Easter.

14. Gemista

Gemista

Dimitrasdishes.com

Gemista, like its name, which in Greek means ‘filled with,’ is a stuffed dish. It includes fresh Greek tomatoes filled with a combination of rice, ground pork or beef meat, and herbs and spices. The tomato is often replaced with green pepper or potato. The stuffing varies too, with the meat substitutes with eggplants, bell pepper, and potato for a vegetarian gemista. Delectable and filling, gemista can be enjoyed any time of the year.

15. Fasolada

Fasolada

Marilenaskitchen.com

The origin of Fasolada, a healthy and simple bean soup, dates back to ancient Greece. As per the customs, it was used as an offering to the Greek God, Apollo, at the Pyanopsia festival, celebrated to honor Him for slaying the monster of Crete, Minotaur.

Currently, fasolada is one of Greece’s super comforting foods, particularly in winter. Its main ingredients include white beans, tomatoes, carrots, onions, and celery, and seasonings of herbs and spices like parsley, thyme, bay leaves, and ground pepper. The varied flavors and slightly creamy texture make it a delectable dish to satisfy one’s appetite.

16. Tiropita

Tiropita

Curiouscuisiniere.com

Tiropita is a delicious Greek cheese pie, famous as a wholesome breakfast food and even a mid-day snack. It comprises a buttered phyllo dough, shaped in several triangles and filled with a mixture of eggs and different cheeses like feta cheese and a traditional pale, yellow cheese called kasseri. The combination of light and flaky crust and smooth and creamy filling craves one to have more. One could even add chicken, lamb, or pork to the cheese for a meaty flavor.

17. Horta

Horta

Thespruceeats.com

One of Greece’s staple food, horta or boiled greens, is a healthy vegetarian side dish. Its preparation is easy, requiring boiling the leafy vegetables like dandelion, chicory, chard, and kale for a short time. The greens are then thoroughly drained and seasoned with salt and pepper while drizzling a little olive oil and lemon juice. Its mildly bitter taste could be countered well, if eaten with a spicy meat or fish dish.

18. Tirokroketes

Tirokroketes

Mygreekdish.com

Tirokroketes are tasty bite-sized fried cheese balls, an absolute delight for cheese lovers. It has different kinds of cheese like feta, gouda, and cheddar and herbs like dill and mint. The mixture is given the shape of little balls and coated with breadcrumbs or flour before frying to get a crunchy texture. The crispy golden outer layer and oozy cheese filling are sure to make you come for more.

19. Briam

Briam

Themediterraneandish.com

A Mediterranean roasted vegetable dish, Briam consists of eggplant, zucchini, and potato. All the vegetables are coated and flavored with garlic, onion, and olive oil. Chopped parsley is added as a garnish before placing it in the oven. Though made with simple vegetables, the addition of spices take them to a whole new level making it a filling and delectable dish.

20. Saganaki

Saganaki

Olivetomato.com

A Mediterranean roasted vegetable dish, briam consists of eggplant, zucchini, and potato flavored with garlic, onion, and olive oil. Chopped parsley is added as a garnish before placing it in the oven. Though made with simple vegetables, the addition of spices take them to a whole new level making it a filling and delectable dish.

21. Gigantes

Gigantes

Thewanderlustkitchen.com

A filling vegetarian meal, gigantes include giant beans baked in sauce and plenty of fresh herbs. The creamy texture and tender beans with the rich and flavorful sauce make the dish scrumptious. Though optional, a little sprinkle of cheese on top would intensify its taste. It is best served with toasty crusted bread.

22. Dolmades

Dolmades

Mygreekdish.com

Kalamarakia tiganita or fried calamari is one of the favorite seafood of Greece, sold in about any Greek fish tavern. The calamari is seasoned with salt and coated with flour before frying it until golden brown. The fried calamari, has a crispy outer layer and chewy inside. Its taste is enhanced further when garnished with herbs and topped with a dash of lemon juice.

23. Taramasalata

Taramasalata

Taramasalata is a creamy dip having a beige or pale pink color. It is made with salted and curated fish roe, olive oil, lemon juice, and soaked bread. Sometimes, mashed potatoes are added instead of bread for the extra smooth texture. A unique and tasty appetizer, taramasalata goes well with accompaniments like pita or fries.

24. Kalamarakia tiganita

Kalamarakia tiganita

Thespruceeats.com

Kalamarakia tiganita or fried calamari is one of the favorite seafood of Greece, sold in about any Greek fish tavern. The calamari is seasoned with salt and coated with flour before frying it until golden brown. The fried calamari, has a crispy outer layer and chewy inside. Its taste is enhanced further when garnished with herbs and topped with a dash of lemon juice.

25. Gamopilafo

Gamopilafo

Cooklikeagreekblog.com

Gamopilafo is a well-known Cretan rice dish traditionally served at weddings. It is made with rice flavored with lemon juice and butter and meat like lamb, goat, chicken, or pork. While the meat is cooked separately, its broth is used for cooking the rice. The rice is placed on a plate, topped with meat pieces, and accompanied with a lemon wedge for the serving. A rich and flavorful dish, gamopilafo remains the centerpiece of Cretan weddings and other special occasions till date.

26. Gyros

Gyros

Found in every street stall in Greece, gyros are lip-smacking meat sandwiches. Similar to kebab in appearance and texture, the meat pieces like chicken, pork, or lamb are cooked on a rotisserie until tender and juicy. The best way to eat gyros is to wrap them in a pita bread with sauces and salads. Street vendors also sell its vegetarian substitute in which the meat is replaced by feta cheese and grilled halloumi, a traditional cheese in Cyprus made with a blend of goat and sheep milk.

27. Bakaliaros

Bakaliaros

The word ‘bakaliaros’ in Greece has two meanings. While it actually refers to cod fish, the Greeks popularly call the platter of cod fritters by the name. Salt cods are coated in a thick batter made with beer, egg, mint, and flour and fried in oil until golden brown. The crispy outer layer and soft and meaty interior have a salty taste with a refreshing minty touch. Traditionally, they were eaten to celebrate the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary and the Independence of Greece from the Turks, both falling on the same day on March 25. Presently, they are enjoyed throughout the year, often as a part of a mez

These scrumptious Greek foods are worth trying at home or if visiting the country. They are flavorful, cheesy, and aromatic. If you’ve a sweet tooth and love honey, don’t miss the traditional Greek desserts. They are loaded with honey syrup and taste delicious.

TOP PICKS

Best Greek Side Dishes: Dolmades, Choriatiki, Horta

Best Greek Christmas and Easter Dishes: Kleftiko, Dolmades

Best Greek Street Foods: Souvlaki, Tiropita, Spanikopita

Best Greek Vegetarian Dishes: Spanikopita, Fasolada, Kolokithokeftedes

Best Greek Chicken Dishes: Gyros, Giouvetsi, Souvlaki

Best Greek Fish Dishes: Bakaliaros, Taramasalata

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