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My Favorite Typical Greek Food | The Top 12 Best Greek Dishes

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There is huge variety in Greek food. The majority of Greek dishes I tried were simple and made use of what's in season, but they were all done perfectly. The Greek diet is full of seafood, grilled meats, cheese, fresh vegetables, olive oil and savory pastries. In fact, Greece is considered to have one of the healthiest diets in the world. 

There is huge variety in Greek food. The majority of Greek dishes I tried were simple and made use of what's in season, but they were all done perfectly. The Greek diet is full of seafood, grilled meats, cheese, fresh vegetables, olive oil and savory pastries. In fact, Greece is considered to have one of the healthiest diets in the world. 

There is huge variety in Greek food. The majority of Greek dishes I tried were simple and made use of what's in season, but they were all done perfectly. The Greek diet is full of seafood, grilled meats, cheese, fresh vegetables, olive oil and savory pastries. In fact, Greece is considered to have one of the healthiest diets in the world. 

Typically when you think of Greek food, you think of gyros. But as I learned, there is huge variety in Greek food. The majority of Greek dishes I tried were simple and made use of what’s in season, but they were all done perfectly.

The Greek diet is full of seafood, grilled meats, cheese, fresh vegetables, olive oil and savory pastries. In fact, Greece is considered to have one of the healthiest diets in the world. 

After spending nearly a month eating my way through Greece, I present to you the best Greek dishes:

Greek coffee

I’m not much of a coffee drinker, but the Greek are coffee fanatics! On nearly every corner, at all times of the day, you can find a coffee shop full of locals. The only other place where I can recall a comparable coffee culture is Albania.

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Greek coffee very much reminded me of the Turkish coffee I tried on my walking food tour of Istanbul but don’t tell a Greek person that! They take their coffee very seriously, as they should: the Greeks actually invented the frappe!

Souvlaki

This is a simple dish that most of you are likely familiar with. Souvlaki is Greece’s favorite fast food and is nearly ubiquitous.

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You can have your souvlaki skewered or in the gyro version that we’re most familiar with back in the states, where I’m from.

The pita bread is stuffed with your choice of grilled meat (my favorite is pork), onion, tomato and usually some type of sauce, typically tzatziki- a yogurt and cucumber sauce. Souvlaki also sometimes is filled with fries.

I’m not as used to having the fries on it but I can’t say I was mad! Also, be sure to ask for extra tzatziki– it’s messy but completely worth it!

Koulouri

Full disclosure- I didn’t actually care much for koulouri. But, because it’s so popular, I felt I should include it.

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Koulouri is typically eaten as a Greek breakfast on the go. I thought it was a bit like a pretzel covered in sesame seeds, but drier. Try one for yourself for an authentic local dish!

Fennel pie (marathopites)

Fennel pie is a local speciality of Syros, one of the Greek islands.

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These simple pies are full of flavor- aromatic fennel and onion in a buttery crust cooked to perfection. Definitely look for these when you visit the island!

Tiropita (Greek cheese pie)

For a pie you can find all over the country, be sure to look for tiropita, or Greek cheese pie.

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This savory pie contains several types of cheesed wrapped in phyllo dough and brushed with either olive oil or butter. It’s not exactly a light snack, but it’s a delicious one!

Fava

Anyone who followed me on social media during my time in Greece is well aware of my obsession with fava.

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I insisted on fava as one of the appetizers for nearly every meal, and my friends joked I was becoming a fava connoisseur.

Fava is a simple dish- a split pea puree covered in olive oil, a generous squeeze of lemon, and sprinkled with capers and onions. That’s it- so simple, but so full of flavor. Spread it over fresh bread and it’s the perfect snack or appetizer.

I would compare fava to hummus, but I might actually prefer the taste of fava. This is a must try Greek dish during your time in the country.

Tirokafteri- Greek spicy cheese dip

My second favorite Greek dip is this spicy cheese dip I saw on several menus before I decided to give it a try.

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I don’t know why I waited so long- it’s amazing!

Feta cheese and yogurt are combined with spicy peppers to make a spread that’s perfect for crusty bread. This became another favorite with our group!

Lemon chicken & potatoes

This is another one of those Greek dishes that was so simple and straightforward, yet incredibly satisfying when done correctly.

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Roasted chicken and potatoes covered in fresh lemon juice, olive oil and garlic. The intense lemon flavor permeates both the chicken and potatoes, making the dish surprisingly light.

Moussaka

Other than souvlaki, I would say moussaka is quite possibly the next most well-known Greek food.

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If you’ve never had it, moussaka is a dish made with layers of eggplant or potatoes. It often has ground meat and is covered in a white cheese sauce before being baked off.

The recipe typically contains cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice, all combined to give the dish a complex flavor.

My favorite version contains ground lamb or beef and potatoes rather than eggplant.

Olive oil

While most of us consider olive oil simply a basic ingredient, in Greece, it’s a staple of the diet.

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In fact, Greeks consume more olive oil than anyone else in the world. So, it’s no surprise they also produce some of the best olive oils in the world.

During an olive oil tasting I attended, we were instructed in the various oils and their specific uses- this lighter one is for salad dressings, this one for baking, this one for frying, etc., etc.

I’ve tried olive oils all over the world, and Greece truly has some of the best I’ve tasted.

Seafood

I know this is a broad category not a specific dish, but Greeks do seafood so well it has to be mentioned.

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Roasted octopus over chickpeas drizzled with a fragrant olive oil

With such amazing access to a plethora of seafood, the country has perfected its seafood dishes.

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Seafood is a staple of Mediterranean cuisine and one of the primary reasons the diet is considered so healthy.

Koliva

I’ll end on a sweet note- koliva is a unique Greek dish that I’ve not had anything like before.

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Koliva is a mixture of wheat berries, toasted nuts and dried fruits. This version even contained fresh pomegranate seeds.

This Greek food is traditionally served at funerals. The ingredients are sybolic- the wheat berries represent the promise of everlasting life, the fruits the sweetness of life, and the spices are symbols of plenty.

I always reiterate how I don’t have a sweet tooth. but I actually enjoyed koliva because it was similar to a granola dish with fresh fruits in it. I would gladly have this again.

Visiting other destinations in Greece? Or maybe traveling through Europe? Check out our other delicious guides:


Which Greek food looked the best to you? Are you a fan of Greek food? Let me know in the comments section below!

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Socrates kifonidis

Thursday 17th of November 2022

Lamb chop potates spanakopita galatobouko revani koulorakia

Tina Whisnant

Tuesday 15th of November 2022

Having grown up with a French grandmother who married a Greek man, and learned to outcook most of the elderly Greek ladies in the community, you haven't lived till you've had Chicken Kapama, tender chicken breasts and/or thighs, braised with lemon juice & cinnamon, then slow-cooked with tangy tomato sauce with potatoes, or, that great Greek dish of roasted lamb & lemon potatoes in a roaster, or eaten Greek cookies like Finikia, Karoumbiades, or Colouria, which are buttery Greek shortbread, rolled into a tube, twisted like a small braid, given an egg wash & sprinkled thickly with sesame seeds. They are light golden-brown, rich but not greasy, terrific for dipping in coffee or hot chocolate. They're like Lorna Doones but much better. Colouria ARE Greece!

Nathan

Friday 18th of November 2022

Oh wow, that does sound delicious and I've never had that! I need to try this. Thank you!

Tony Thomas

Wednesday 6th of October 2021

When I'm in Greece I enjoy everything mentioned except mousaka because it sinks way too hard because of the oil and eggplant. Worth mentioning though, is breakfast. I love bougatsa for breakfast. It is a rich, cream filled pastry wrapped in phyllo dough that is then sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar than cut up into bite size pieces turning it into messy finger food. More signicantly, the source is usually a hole in the wall little coffee shop or mini bakery that has a mind boggling number of pastry, sweets and items covered in phyllo then stuffed with cheeses, ham, creams, savory cooked greens and all kinds of goodies that may be regional. You never cared less of something being healthy when you are salivating on the other side of that glass case and trying to decide what the different items might taste like.

Also worth mentioning is the quality of salads. The only time I have ever had a bad salad in Greece is when someone puts it together than thinks they can improve on simplicity. Simple, fresh, tomatoes, sliced onion and cucumbers and fresh bread. The golden elixer that is Greek olive oil pooling on the bottom waits for the fresh bread. The tomatoes are inexpicably the best you have ever tasted as well as the tastiest cukes. It has something to do with the soil and amount and quality of sunshine or it could be magic. One of those three make salads my most memorable part of the Greek cuisine. The olive oil btw, is different than anything else out there. I'd like to describe it but it defies description. It has something to do with olive trees that may be over a hundred years old.

Everything else you eat at a taverna on the shore will blow your mind. The reason for that is the magic. Hearing the whispering waves lazily lapping the sand or the soft gurgling of the waves over a rocky part of the beach, makes your focus so intense on nothing other than that infamous NOW that your presence automatically grounds you. Perfect balance of food and environment causing all the muscles in your neck and shoulders to turn to jello. Yeah, I miss it.

Dan Mackey

Thursday 23rd of September 2021

Spanakopita and tyropita for breakfast

Sandra

Wednesday 22nd of September 2021

Gemista is one of my favorite greek dishes, stuffed vegetables, mainly tomatoes and peppers. I make mine with Arborio rice, grated onion, olive oil, some raisins, parsley. Sublime. Also, dolmades should be on any list of the best greek dishes.

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