Must try Greek food

Greek food you just need to try when you are in Athens!
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Food holds a special place in Greek culture and is often enjoyed as a shared experience with family and friends. From street vendors serving delicious souvlaki, gyros, and Greek coffee to traditional tavernas offering a variety of mezedes (small plates), Athens is a food lover’s paradise. Exploring the city’s food scene through a food tour is a must for any visitor to experience the best of Greek cuisine.

Key ingredients commonly used in Greek cooking include wheat, olive oil, tomatoes, eggplants, and a variety of Greek cheeses. These ingredients form the base of classic dishes such as moussaka, a baked pasta dish layered with ground meat, eggplants, and a rich béchamel sauce. Another popular dish is spanakopita, a savory spinach pie made with phyllo pastry and feta cheese. 

Greek Salad

The Greek Salad, also known as horiatiki, is a refreshing and colorful staple of Greek cuisine. It is a salad that bursts with flavor and is a true representation of the Mediterranean diet.

Origins of the Greek Salad can be traced back to the countryside of Greece, where it was traditionally made with locally sourced ingredients. The key ingredients of this flavorful salad include ripe tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, thinly sliced red onions, Kalamata olives, and generous chunks of feta cheese. These ingredients are all drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with fragrant herbs such as oregano.

What sets the Greek Salad apart is the quality and freshness of its ingredients. The ripe and juicy tomatoes, coupled with the crunchy and refreshing cucumbers, create a delightful combination of textures. The tangy feta cheese adds a rich and creamy element to the salad, while the Kalamata olives bring a savory and slightly salty note.

When you are in Athens, try this classic dish and experience the essence of Greek cuisine.

Saganaki

Saganaki is a delectable Greek dish that is sure to satisfy any cheese lover’s craving. This traditional appetizer showcases the versatility of Greek cheese, typically feta or kefalograviera, which is fried to perfection. The result is a golden and crispy exterior that encases a gooey and flavorful center. The combination of the crispy exterior, creamy interior, and tangy lemon juice creates a mouthwatering experience that is truly irresistible.

Saganaki is often served hot, adding to the delightful experience of indulging in this dish. It is not uncommon for the cheese to be flambéed, creating a dramatic presentation that enhances the overall taste. To balance the rich cheese flavor, people often add a little fresh lemon juice or honey syrup with sesame seeds. This adds a refreshing or sweet note.

Dolmades

Dolmades, a beloved Greek dish, are vine leaf parcels filled with a delightful mixture of minced meat, rice, and aromatic herbs. These little bundles of goodness are a staple in Greek cuisine, offering a burst of flavors in every bite.

One of the joys of Dolmades is the variety of vegetables that can be used to encase the filling. Vine leaves are the most commonly used, adding a distinct tanginess to the dish. However, other vegetables such as cabbage or zucchini, can be used as alternative wrappers, adding a unique twist to the traditional recipe.

Homemade dolmades are highly recommended over store-bought versions. The care and love put into crafting each delicate parcel ensure a superior taste and texture. The homemade version offers a perfect balance of flavors, allowing you to savor the combination of minced meat, rice, and herbs in every single bite.

Souvlaki

A plate of meat skewers and french fries.

When visiting Athens, you cannot miss the opportunity to tryin the most popular Greek street food known as Souvlaki. This dish consists of grilled skewered meat, typically pork or chicken, served on warm and fluffy pita bread.

The key to the irresistible flavor of souvlaki lies in the perfectly grilled meat, which is marinated with a blend of Mediterranean herbs and spices. The meat is then cooked to perfection, resulting in a juicy and flavorful filling that is simply irresistible.

To enhance the taste and add a refreshing element to the dish, souvlaki is often topped with creamy tzatziki sauce. This combination of flavors, along with the addition of fresh tomatoes and onions, creates a harmonious explosion of taste in every bite.

You can find it being sold by street vendors around Athens, make sure to try this iconic Greek street food. 

Tzatziki

Tzatziki real greek food

This creamy and refreshing sauce is a classic in Greek cuisine and is made from Greek yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, and dill.

Tzatziki is the perfect accompaniment to meat main meals, as it adds a burst of flavor and a cooling element to balance out the richness of the dishes. Its tangy and creamy texture complements grilled meats like souvlaki, adding a delightful contrast to the smoky flavors.

Whether you’re dipping fluffy pita bread, dunking juicy kebabs, or spooning it onto your plate, Tzatziki is just it! If you would like to try making this yourself it is super easy with this recipe.

Moussaka

Moussaka Athens

Moussaka is a timeless and iconic Greek lasagna dish that takes culinary inspiration from the Ottoman Empire. This traditional delight has captured the hearts and taste buds of locals and visitors, making it a house favorite in Greek taverns.

Layers of sliced eggplant, ground lamb, and creamy béchamel sauce come together to create the mouthwatering masterpiece that is Moussaka. The combination of tomato sauce-cooked minced beef, sweet eggplants, and rich béchamel sauce results in a dish that is both creamy and juicy. Moussaka stands out from other traditional dishes with its delicious blend of flavors and textures. Its origins can be traced back to the Middle East, but it has become a beloved national dish in Greece.

Stifado

Stifado, a traditional Greek stew, is a dish that will transport you to the cozy streets of Athens. You can create this delicious stew using different types of meat, like rabbit, beef, or lamb.

The word “Stifado” is derived from the Italian term “estufare,” meaning to cook or steam. It was brought to Greece by the Venetians in the 13th century, and it has since become a beloved staple in the country’s culinary repertoire.

What sets Stifado apart is its slow-cooking process. Tender pieces of meat are simmered together with pearl onions, adding a subtle sweetness to the stew. Adding tomato, a bit of wine or vinegar, and sweet spices like cinnamon and clove enhances this delightful combination even more.

Spanakopita

Spanakopita, a traditional Greek pie, is a must-try dish for anyone visiting Athens, whether you’re a vegetarian or a cheese lover. This flaky phyllo pastry delight is filled with a combination of spinach, feta cheese, onions, and a medley of aromatic herbs. Spanakopita is not only a delicious treat but also a nutritious one. Packed with the goodness of spinach, it is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The feta cheese adds a tangy and salty flavor that complements the earthiness of the spinach perfectly.

The pie is baked to perfection, resulting in a golden-brown, crispy exterior that gives way to the creamy and flavorful interior. With each bite, you’ll experience the delightful contrast in textures and the explosion of flavors.

Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt is a basic in Greek cuisine, known for its thick and creamy texture that sets it apart from regular yogurt. Made from sheep’s or cow’s milk, it undergoes a process where it is strained three times, resulting in its rich and velvety consistency.

One popular way to enjoy Greek yogurt is by adding a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of walnuts on top. The sweetness of the honey complements the tanginess of the yogurt, while the crunchy walnuts add a delightful texture. It can be enjoyed as a breakfast option or a dessert, serving as a healthier alternative to other sweet treats.

Revani

must-try-greek-food revani

Revani is a type of Greek dessert that is loved for its unique combination of nutty and grainy texture, accompanied by a delightful lemony flavor. This moist cake is made with semolina flour, which gives it a slightly coarse and granular texture, adding a distinct element to its overall appeal.

What sets Revani apart is its sweetening method. Instead of being overly sweet, this Greek dessert is soaked in a simple syrup that is flavored with orange zest. The syrup seeps into the cake, infusing it with a subtle citrus aroma and the perfect amount of sweetness. The result is a perfectly balanced dessert that is not overpowering but leaves a lasting impression on your taste buds.

Revani is a wonderful addition to any dining table. Whether it’s served as a finishing touch to a Greek feast or enjoyed as a sweet treat on its own. 

Ouzo

A drink on the must try greek food list? Yes, Ouzo! The iconic Greek drink known for its distinctive anise-flavored taste. This traditional spirit is often enjoyed alongside a meze platter, which consists of small plates of various appetizers. Ouzo has a long-standing history in Greek culture and is an integral part of the country’s culinary scene.

When ouzo is served on ice, the anise oils in the drink become diluted, giving it a milky white appearance. This transformation occurs when water is added to the clear liquid, creating a captivating visual effect.

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