I have fallen in love with the Greek food six years ago, when I decided to completely change my lifestyle. I have always liked fresh vegetables, fish and cheese, so the healthy Cretan cuisine fit me perfectly. Soon enough, I started cooking various Greek foods, thanks to the recipes I got from friends who either live in Greece or are of Greek origin.
But it wasn’t until I visited Athens that I truly got the taste of what the Greek cuisine is all about. In a small taverna, in Plaka, together with my significant other and a dear friend, I’ve tasted the best tzatziki of my life and fell in love with green peppers filled with cheese.
Here is a list of the Greek food & drinks I absolutely love and also like to cook at home (sometimes). Just remember that I wasn’t on an island or close to the shore, so tasting the sea food was not an option (this time).
Tzatziki is probably one of the most popular Greek foods. You have seen this yogurt dip on the shelves of supermarkets, for sure. But no, that’s not the one I want to talk about. In Greek, it’s thick and flavorful. The yogurt is left to strain overnight. The grated cucumbers are also left to strain. Then they come together with dill and garlic. Sometimes, it’s served with olive oil on top. And you’ll always find it as a meze, but it goes wonderfully with lamb, too. While it’s generally served with pita, we had it with absolutely amazing white bread.
By the way, it’s similar to the Turkish cacik , which contains about the same ingredients but it’s more liquid.
Horiatiki Traditional Greek Salad
The traditional Greek Salad is made with cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, olives, green peppers and a large chunk of feta cheese on top. Dried oregano and olive oil are sprinkled on top of the salad.
You can find this salad year-round in Greece but it’s best when the tomatoes are in season (summer). If you want to make it at home, make sure to buy the real feta cheese (from ship and goat milk).
Green peppers stuffed with cheese
For our main course, we ordered a shared cheese plate which included these fabulous green peppers with cheese, put on the grill. I absolutely loved the taste and the combination. These are often served as meze, too.
I am not much of a meat eater, but when you spend all your day walking among the ruins and climbing stairs, you need energy. Gyros is souvlaki served in a pita . The meat can be pork, lamb or chicken. It’s grilled on the spit. Then tomatoes , onions and …French fries are added….wait a minute? Did I just write “French fries”? Yes, on the streets of Athens you can find it with French fries and tzatziki in it. But , technically, the French fries don’t belong in this pita sandwich. It’s similar to the Turkish doner and the Middle Eastern shawarma.
If you don’t want the added calories, just order a souvlaki (the grilled meat on the skewer) with a Greek salad.
In short, these are grape wines stuffed with rice. The rice is first cooked a bit with onions, pine nuts and various herbs, then put in the grape wines and boiled. Sometimes, eggplant or zucchini are added to the rice mix. They can be served as meze or as a main dish.
You can make this dish at home, easily. And they don’t take too long to boil. Since the ingredients are finely grated, the dish is done with the rice is done. Serve with tzatziki.
The beans soup is one of my favorite comfort foods. It’s easy to make and keeps you filled for hours. Often it’s served with feta cheese on top. It’s a hearty soup, ideal for the winter days when the weather is colder.
Oven-roasted potatoes (with garlic, lemon and oregano) are also an amazing side dish you can order especially during the winter months. They go well with any meat. I love to make these at home and serve them with grilled meat and a salad on the side (try the cabbage and carrot salad).
Any coffee you order in Greece comes with a large jug of water. Café frappe is the staple for the warm days and is a foam-covered iced coffee made with instant coffee.
If you are not a fan of instant coffee, you can order the Greek coffee , which is a strong brew, served with foam on the top and grounds on the bottom. Or you can stick to the regular espresso or café late.
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