Top 20 Foods You Must Eat In Greece

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Greek food rapidly moved into number one position for my husband and came close to my undeniable adoration of Mexican.

What was it exactly that made us fall in love? Well massive apologies in advance, but this is going to make your mouth water. Big time!

There were a few foods in Greece that had strange names for our English tongues, but were so delicious we made a point to remember the name. I decided to compile a list for you so when you are relaxing by the sparkling waters of a Greek island your tummy won’t feel left out. Or if you can't make it - at least cook it!

Island Tip: Explore the Greek islands by ferry. Check out the latest prices from Athens to Santorini.

Travel Tip: Turkey is a neighbouring country that is overflowing with traditional foods. If you want to visit Turkey, compare hotel options at

1. Gyro

In Greece they have Gyros, Souvlaki and Kebab, which where I am from is pretty much the same thing so we asked our guide to explain the difference to us. A Gyro is when the meat is roasted vertically turning on the spit. Slices of it are then placed in pita with typical accessories – sauce (tzatziki), tomatoes, onions, lettuce and often french fries/chips. They are cheap and so yummy! But very messy for kids, try the alternative. 


We stayed at the Oscar Hotel Athens which was just around the corner from a Stathmos Larisis metro station and walking distance to street vendors selling delicious gyros. Read more reviews...

2. Souvlaki

Means a skewer, so this is anything grilled on a skewer (lamb, chicken, pork, etc). These are great for the kids (and adults too). Sometimes these can be served in a similar style to a gyro, wrapped in pita bread with sauce and garnish. Other times just the meat on a stick.

Sorry, I ate it before I could take the picture. Here's a stock photo for you.

3. Kebab

A kebab is an elongated piece of meat, kind of like a burger patty. It’s meat all minced and squished together into a sausage-look-alike. These are great for the kids. A good kebab will pack a lot more flavour than you may expect.

Sorry, I ate it before I could take the picture. Here's a stock photo for you.

4. Saganaki

Deep fried cheese. Need I say more? 


This photo was taken on the island of Kythnos, one of our absolute favourite islands of all time.

5. Tirokroketes/Sfougata

Golden melt-in-your mouth fried cheese balls. I definitely don’t need to say more! (From the expert - Sfougata is made with local cheese, while Tirokroketes usually has mixed cheese.)


6. Revithokeftedes

Similar to a Middle Eastern falafel, this is a fried chickpea ball packed with a spice blend unique to Greece.


Foodie tip: Some of Greece's best food is in Crete. And to get around this island, you'll need a hire car. We recommend checking out Rental Center Crete for decent rates and quality cars.

7. Feta Me Meli

Feta wrapped in filo pastry oven baked and then drizzled with honey. A dessert or an entrée, who knows? This is Josh’s favourite. The delicate balance between the salty feta and sweet honey makes for an unforgettable party in your mouth.


8. Mousakka

It’s like a pasta-free lasagne. Sautéed eggplant, minced meat, tomato, onion, garlic, potato, béchamel sauce and grilled cheese, layered and usually covered with cheese. 


9. Tiropites

Triangle pastries made up of filo pasty and filled with a delicious mixture of Greek cheese. So simple, yet so delicious. 


10. Tzatziki

This has been my favourite dip since I can remember and the Greek do it so well with their awesome Greek yoghurt. Basically it is yoghurt and cucumber seasoned with garlic. Goes great with meat, vegetables, pita, or just by itself with a spoon. 


11. Greek Salad

Famous all over the world, but the Greeks still do it better. Crunchy cucumber, juicy ripe tomato, olives, red onion and a giant slab of feta on top. Dressed with olive oil, vinegar and lemon juice. It’s a staple with every meal. 


12. Olives & Olive Oil

Most restaurants on the Greek islands make their own oil from their own olives. Greeks have been cultivating olives for millennia. Local olives accompany most Greek meals and most dishes drizzled with olive oil. Why wouldn’t you?


13. Dolmathakia

You saw these on the menu in Israel, stuffed grape leaves. Usually these are stuffed with rice, pine nuts and fresh herbs. I like them warm.


14. Taramosalata

This is often referred to as a salad, but is in fact a dip. One that, if I had known beforehand what it was, I wouldn’t have tried. But I absolutely loved it. A creamy blend of pink or white fish roe (fish eggs). If you don’t like things that taste fishy, then fear not – this tastes so good, you’ll be licking the plate. (It's the plate on the right)


16. Spanakopita

We were offered these all over Greece. Filo pastry pies stuffed with spinach and feta cheese. Available in a variety of different shapes and sizes. A Greek favourite.


17. Loukoumades

For those who are waiting for the sweets, try these. Basically it’s a Greek fried donut balls soaked in honey or syrup and sprinkled with cinnamon. Josh crammed a fistful of these in his mouth. Irresistible

To go style

18. Vanilla Submarine

The name describes this perfectly it’s a spoonful of vanilla fondant submerged in a glass of water. You lick it like a lollipop and then drink the sweetened water that’s left over. Way too much sweetness for me, but Josh and Mia had no trouble polishing theirs off. 


Tip: Not many folks in Greece have heard of this. We found the Vanilla Submarine in Chora on the island of Sifnos.

19. Glyka Tou Koutaliou (spoon sweets)

Traditionally Greek restaurants often give complimentary dessert. We often got Greek yogurt (or crème fraiche) with fruit preserves. The strangest one we tasted was a carrot marmalade, which actually ended up being the sweetest and most delicious of them all. 


20. Halvasi

Butter cake of semolina, raisins, almonds, served with alone or with vanilla ice cream and pomegranate syrup.


Bonus: Pies of Kythnos

A delicious shortbread type pasty filled with a cheese and honey that almost takes like cheesecake combined with a quiche. My description is really not doing it justice. It’s just plain yum! This dish is unique to Kythnos and a must try.


Ok, if your keyboard hasn’t short-circuited by now due to your salivation, then well done! It’s easy to see why we now love Greek food so much. Now that you know the lingo, head over to our food tour series of the Greek islands: Kythnos, Sifnos, Milos, Ios and Paros

While in Athens we stayed at several hotels. Find the lowest Athens hotel prices.

Tip: Plan your own vacation around the Greek islands by ferry. Check out the latest ferry prices.

Reader Comments...

"I respond to every comment by direct private email. I look forward to your feedback" -

Yummy, some of these look very good. :)

Christy Uplifting Families May 18th, 2014

I must admit to never having hear of Vanila submarine, and I live here!

Bex May 19th, 2014

Can't wait until #TBEX to try some of these out. I love gyros and have ha a few, but will have to try as many f the others as possible. Thanks for sharing!

Mike Hinshaw May 19th, 2014

Bex - we had it in a very old (1900's), small restaurant in the middle of Chora in Sifnos. You must try!

admin May 20th, 2014

Well now I'm hungry for Greece.

Michelle May 23rd, 2014

I had some sort of dried, roasted tomato dish in Santorini I'd die for, and for the life of me I wish I could remember its name.

Michael Orobona May 25th, 2014

Mmm, I love Greek (and Mexican) food! I'm intrigued by that vanilla submarine.

Jamie Jul 10th, 2014

Tried Loukoumades for the first time earlier this year and they were absolutely gorgeous. Going back to another part of Greece in a few weeks and will see how many of these I can find. There are a few old favourites that I know well but many new ones in this list too.

Kathryn Burrington Sep 15th, 2014

Going in two weeks....CAN'T WAIT to try all this deliciousness!

Leslie Aug 10th, 2015

that vanilla spoon thing is called mastiha. Comes from the Island of Chios, actually such a hidden gem

Desi Aug 19th, 2015

You forrgo these foods:
gemista (tomatoes and peppers stuffed with rice and meat)
Fasolada(soup with beens)
Psarosoupa (soup with fish)
Melitzanosalata (sause with eggplant, feta , garlic and olive oil)
kourampiedes ( tradinional chistmas cookie with almonts and powder sugar)
pastitsio(pasta with meat and bechamel in the oven)

Mary-Greece Jan 13th, 2016

cant wait to go

Ella Mar 30th, 2016

Great article with a good presentation of some of the good stuff (there are plenty more amazing options that could make other people's top 20), but I don't personally know any Greek who hasn't hear of "vanilia." It's a variation of masticha, which has a distinctly floral flavor, made from the sap of masticha trees on the island of Chios.

Spyro Aug 1st, 2016

Fuck I just love food

Lauren Aug 7th, 2016

Number 13. Dolmathakia, these are originated from arab countries like lebanon palestine syria.. they're called waraa eenab in arabic as in leaves of grape. They can either contain rice with meat or rice another vegetarian mixture of rice. You should try the arbs version you wont regret it

Souse May 2nd, 2017

Hey! One minor correction/note. Everyone in Greece knows about the Vanilla Submarine. It's basically part of every Greek kid's childhood memory. Maybe you had a language barrier?

Michael May 19th, 2017

*me* Sees article *me five seconds from that* Is in Greece. TAKE ME THERE NOW

(Not Telling srry) Oct 20th, 2017

numerous dishes to choose from patsa,kokoretsi,tzigerosarma,kleftiko,melitzanosalata,tyrokafteri,kolokythopita,octopus,kolokithakia gemista,pastitsio,galaktompoyreko,siropiasta,katsikaki,sofrito, and the list goes on.

lazaros Dec 11th, 2018

You didn't include Bougatsa = Crispy Filo Pastry Filled With Warm Custard Cream. Generally available in the morning and forenoon. You should try it sometime, you won't regret it.

Yetta Nov 29th, 2019

Thanks for continually sharing such useful, best greek restaurants in london detailed. I really enjoyed reading your post.

Keira Moran Mar 6th, 2020

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