Greece Traditional Food: Top 10 Dishes of Greece Cuisine

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Last updated:
06.08.2021

The dishes in Greece are as diverse as the country itself. Hence if you're thinking about a trip to Greece, you need to consider what and where you will be eating.

The food varies from region to region, and each area has its own specialties. Interestingly, that many Mediterranean dishes are so simple to make and require only a few ingredients, such as olive oil and different herbs. What is more, Greek cuisine is one of the oldest cuisines in the world and famous for its interesting history and, as a result, a large number of unusual and delicious food. This article will cover 10 of the most popular dishes that you should definitely try!

1. Moussaka

The famous casserole Moussaka has a special place in the hearts of Greeks and gourmets around the world. This is a dish of fried vegetables with the addition of spices. In the classic moussaka recipe, always present eggplant, finely chopped lamb meat, and Bechamel sauce. The French sauce hardens during baking and gets a ruddy crust, which gives the dish an appetizing appearance. Greek homemakers complement the classics with their special secrets, like adding a layer of boiled potatoes or fried zucchini.

Greek Moussaka

Quick Greece Facts

  • Location:Southeastern Europe
  • Currency:Euro (EUR)
  • Member of EU: since 1981

2. Kleftiko

Out of all the meat dishes in Greek cuisine, Kleftiko is by far one of the most popular. Translated from Greek to mean "stolen," this meal has a long history with many legends behind it. One said that the Klephts stole lamb or goats and cooked the meat in hidden underground ovens to seal the aroma and smells and avoid being caught! Kleftiko doesn't demand any fancy ingredients or tricky techniques, just good raw materials such as a leg of lamb, red onions, garlic, and a good deal of patience.

Kleftiko

3. Souvlaki

Souvlaki is a fast food staple in Greece that can be found at many restaurants. The most common meats used for souvlaki are pork and chicken, but don't forget the lamb or beef! The accompaniments are usually tomatoes, red onion, and tzatziki wrapped in soft pitta bread. In some tavernas, they serve chips stuffed inside the pitta too. The cooking process starts with a marinade of olive oil and lemon juice. Then small, pieces of meat get threaded onto special wooden skewers-suvla (σοββλα), which is, thanks to this dish, how it got its name. Souvlaki can be cooked on coals at home or in an oven and will become a great addition to your dinner!

Souvlaki

4. Baklava

Baklava is a dessert popular not only in Greece but also in all countries of the Middle East. The sweetness is usually served after lunch or dinner in small pieces in addition to fragrant Greek coffee. Local chefs have developed a technology for creating a thin filo dough, from 33 layers of which baklava is prepared. Then it is soaked in sweet honey syrup, cut into neat lozenges, and baked. The filling most often includes ground hazelnuts, peanuts, or walnuts, making this dessert incredibly delicious!

Baklava

5. Greek salad

Greek salad translated as "rustic salad," is probably the most popular and well-known Greece national dish. Its taste advantages, nutritional value, and balanced caloric content have made it world-famous. Traditional salad is a storehouse of vitamins and beneficial substances for the body. An essential component of this fantastic dish is, of course, feta cheese, which has preserved the tart aromas of Greek herbs. The salad also includes a lot of vegetables such as cherry tomatoes, cucumber, kalamata olives, and thinly sliced red onion, so this is a great way to get your daily dose of active nutrients. It's worth taking a train in Greece and travel to the best place for this salad - Bairaktaris, Athens.

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Greek salad

6. Tzatziki

The national Greek yogurt sauce Tzatziki is usually served cold with meat and fish dishes and can be an excellent accompaniment to vegetables. A mix of cucumbers, garlic cloves, olive oil, salt, and herbs make up this simple but delicious dip that can be eaten in many different ways: on a plate or flatbread; spread between pita bread slices; drizzled over roasted veggies for extra flavor- even mixed into pasta sauces!

Tzatziki

7. Stifado

Stifado is meat (usually beef, less often rabbit meat) stewed in tomato sauce with many shallots, red wine, and cinnamon. There are several opinions about the origin of the Stifado recipe name. Some say that it comes from the ancient Greek word "typhus" - steam. Others claim that the name derives its roots from the Italian word "Stufato" – to stew. However, this is not so important; the main thing is that it is incredibly delicious!

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Stifado

8. Dolma

Dolma is a delicious, healthy, and satisfying dish, quite popular in Greek cuisine. In Crete, Dolma is often prepared with rice, onions, and herbs and served as a cold appetizer. But in northern Greece, as a rule, minced meat is wrapped in grape leaves with rice and parsley and served as a hot snack or a full-fledged dish.

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Dolma

9. Gemista

Stuffed Gemista vegetables are one of those dishes that you'll see all over Greece during springtime. Greeks choose Bulgarian pepper for stuffing because of its high level of vitamin C, which provides extra protection against illnesses or diseases. Stuffed vegetables can be filling in two different ways: with minced meat and vegetarian ones – with rice and vegetables. However, both recipes are equally tasty, hence, if you don't end up trying it on your Greece trip, attempt to make it at home!

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Gemista

10. Lukumades

Lukumades, otherwise known as 'Greek doughnuts,' are sold from small dedicated patisseries all over Greece. These sweet and crispy balls are the perfect way to end a meal. With their signature honey, sesame seeds, and ground cinnamon, they will soften in your mouth!

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Lukumades

As you can see, Greek food is very diverse and interesting. It is considered one of the healthiest cuisines, rich in fresh vegetables and seafood, with various meat dishes grilled or roasted over an open flame. So if you’re ready for some delicious food and want to try something new, these traditional dishes will be sure to please!