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Greek Cuisine & Specialties
48. Which traditional Greek dishes do you recommend I try during my stay in Greece?

The Greek cuisine is famous throughout the world for its wonderful taste, variety and nutrition, as the cuisines of the Mediterranean countries are considered the healthiest of all cuisines. The main components of the Greek cuisine are olive oil, bread, grains, dairy products, vegetables, legumes, honey and fish, as well as meats like goat, lamb, and pork. Many herbs and spices are used in Greek food, in moderation so as not to take away from the taste of the vegetables and meats. The most widely used herbs and spices are oregano, mint, garlic, dill, parsley, bay leaf, basil, thyme, cinnamon, clove, rosemary, nutmeg, and saffron from Kozani. You will also find a wide variety of wines, due to the massive production of grapes in Greece.

Eating in Greece is intertwined with good company and discussion, and for this reason it is considered an important part of the everyday life of the Greeks. There are many types of eateries in Greece, such as restaurants, tavernas, psistaries (grill houses), psarotavernas (fish taverns), ouzeries, tsipouradika (like ouzeries, but serving tsipouro or raki), mezedopolia (that served small dishes with bit size hors d' oeuvres), koutoukia (like mezedopolia, but which serve house wine and usually have someone performing with a guitar), as well as souvlatzidika (souvlaki houses), tiropitadika (for filled pies on the fly) and cafeterias.

Some Greek dishes are very well - known and are served in restaurants throughout the world. We suggest trying the following dishes:

  • Souvlaki Kalamaki or me Pita (souvlaki on a stick or in a pita – either pork or chicken)
  • Gyros Merida or me Pita (gyros serving or in a pita – either pork or chicken)
  • Mousakas (baked eggplant and potato in layers, topped with ground beef and bechamel sauce)
  • Pastitsio (baked macaroni, topped with ground beef and bechamel sauce)
  • Kokoretsi (entrails stuffed with liver, spleen and lungs, cooked on a rotisserie)
  • Papoutsakia (baked eggplant with ground beef and meat sauce)
  • Keftedes (meatballs, often with parsley or mint)
  • Soutzoukakia (meatballs with cumin in a tomato sauce)
  • Kontosouvli (pieces of tender pork, roasted on a rotisserie)
  • Exochiko (pieces of pork, wrapped around a rotisserie, stuffed with green pepper, tomato and cheese)
  • Kleftiko (lamb roasted in cooking paper with vegetables)
  • Yiouvetsi (baked lamb or beef and orzo pasta in a tomato sauce)
  • Arni Souvlas (lamb on the rotisserie)
  • Arni Fricassee (lamb with lettuce and spring onions in a egg-lemon sauce)
  • Arni, Chirino or Moschari Lemonato (lamb, pork or beef in a lemon sauce)
  • Stifado Kouneli or Moschari (rabbit or beef stew with plenty of baby onions)
  • Spetsofae (sliced sausages and green peppers in a tomato sauce)
  • Pastitsada (chicken or beef in a tomato sauce – a Corfu specialty)
  • Kokoras me Chilopites (cock with chilopites pasta)
  • Kotopoulo me Patates sto fourno (roasted chicken and potatoes)
  • Kotopoulo me Bamies (chicken and okra in a tomato sauce)
  • Loukanika (sausages)
  • Patsas (soup with entrails and spicy pepper)
  • Magiritsa (soup with entrails, organs and herbs, served after the Resurrection during Easter)
  • Kapnista Kreata (smoked meats – apaki from Crete and siglino from the Peloponnese)

  • Kalamarakia Tiganita or gemista sta karvouna (squid either fried or stuffed and grilled)
  • Chtapodi xydato, krasato or sta karvouna (octopus doused in vinegar, in wine sauce or grilled)
  • Garides/Karavides (shrimp/crayfish either steamed or saganaki)
  • Bourdeto (fish in a wine and garlic sauce – a Corfu specialty)
  • Soupies me kokkini saltsa or me spanaki (cuttlefish in tomato sauce or with spinach)
  • Midia (mussels either steamed, saganaki or with rice)
  • Kidonia and Yialisteres (live cockles doused with lemon)
  • Gavros Tiganitos (fried anchovies)
  • Marida Tiganiti (fried smelt)
  • Tsipoura sta karvouna (grilled gilthead sea bream)
  • Barbouni Tiganito (fried red mullet)
  • Galeos Tiganitos me Skordalia (fried dog fish with skordalia dip)
  • Bakaliaros Tiganitos me Skordalia or Plaki (fried cod with skordalia dip or baked cod)
  • Lavraki sta karvouna or plaki (grilled or baked sea bass)
  • Sargos sta karvouna or plaki (grilled or baked sea bream)
  • Lithrini sta karvouna or plaki (grilled or baked pandora)
  • Glossa Tiganiti (fried sole)
  • Sardeles Pastes (salted sardines)
  • Psarosoupa (fish soup)

Vegetables & Legumes
  • Gemista (stuffed tomatoes, peppers, squash and eggplant)
  • Dolmadakia Yialtzi (vine leaves stuffed with rice)
  • Lachanodolmades (cabbage leaves stuffed with rice and ground meat)
  • Agginares a la Polita (artichokes, potatoes, carrots, dill and fresh onions in a sauce)
  • Fasolakia (green beans)
  • Fasolada (bean soup)
  • Gigandes (broad beans in tomato sauce)
  • Mavromatika (black-eyed peas in a red sauce)
  • Fakes (lentil soup)
  • Briam (baked seasonal vegetables in a tomato sauce)
  • Imam (stewed seasonal vegetables in a tomato sauce)
  • Bamies (stewed okra in a tomato sauce)\

Salads, Side Dishes & Mezedes (Hors d' oeuvres)
  • Pikilia (a dish filled with different bite-size hors d' oeuvres, such as little pies, sausages, meatballs, dips, small fish, etc)
  • Choriatiki Salad (Greek salad)
  • Chorta (greens)
  • Black-eyed Pea Salad
  • Cretan Dakos (barley rusk, soaked in a little oil and water, topped with finely-chopped tomato, feta cheese and often capers, onions and olives)
  • Patates sto Fourno (oven-roasted potatoes with lemon, salt, pepper and a little garlic)
  • Kolokithia, piperies, and melitzanes tiganites (squash, peppers, and eggplant fried in batter)
  • Aspres Tiganites Melitzanes (fried white eggplant - specialty of Santorini)
  • Fava (specialty of Santorini - split pea dip with olive oil, lemon and onion)
  • Domatokeftedes (fried tomato balls - specialty of Santorini)
  • Kolokithokeftedes (fried squash balls)
  • Revithokeftedes (fried chick-pea balls)
  • Piperies Florinis (red Florina peppers)
  • Pites (pies filled with spinach, cheese, leeks, greens, squash, chicken, meat, etc)
  • Baked Feta Cheese
  • Saganaki (cheese fried and doused with lemon)
  • Tzatziki (yogurt dip with grated cucumber and garlic)
  • Skordalia (garlic and potato dip)
  • Melitzanosalata (eggplant dip)
  • Taramosalata (fish roe dip)
  • Tirokafteri (spicy cheese dip)
  • Cheeses (feta, mytzithra, kasseri, kefalotiri, manouri, anthotiro)

Desserts & Sweets
  • Balkavas (thin philo dough, with nuts, clove, and syrup)
  • Kataefi (shredded pastry dough with nuts, clove, and syrup)
  • Walnut Cake
  • Galaktoboureko (philo dough with custard and syrup)
  • Loukoumades (small round doughnuts, fried and coated in honey and cinnamon)
  • Loukoumia (a specialty from Syros, chewy with nuts, like Turkish delights)
  • Sweet preserves (preserved fruit and vegetables)
  • Chalvas (sesame and honey bar)
  • Chalvadopita (specialty from Syros, wafers filled with nougat)
  • Pasteli (sesame or nut bars)
  • Koulouria (traditional cookies made with orange in the winter and milk during Easter)
  • Melomakarona (traditional Christmas cookie made with semolina, cinnamon, and clove cookies drenched in honey)
  • Kourabiethes (traditional Christmas fresh butter cookies with rosewater, sprinkled with powdered sugar)
  • Tsoureki (sweet bread, eaten mainly during Easter time)
  • Yogurt with honey, walnuts and fruit

  • Wine (white, rose, and red)
  • Retsina (wine with pine resin)
  • Ouzo (the famous anis-flavoured Greek beverage)
  • Tsipouro/Raki (very strong alcoholic drink – like ouzo but without the anis flavour)
  • Greek coffee
  • Frappe coffee (Greece 's famous instant iced coffee with creamy froth)
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