athens travel guide

best travel info

Mouthwatering Traditional Greek Dishes You Have to Try in Athens

SHARE THIS ON:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on reddit
Share on skype
Share on whatsapp
Share on email
traditional greek food

Similar to the way the country’s culture has been shaped through the centuries, Greek cuisine is a melting pot of different civilizations on the crossroads between the East and the West. It’s celebrated internationally for its immaculate tastes and the simple ingenuity of its Mediterranean character.

Lately, Athens has been rapidly transforming into one of the most interesting culinary destinations worldwide. The Greek capital is undeniably one of the best places worldwide to experience high-end gastronomy and get a taste of the authentic Greek cuisine.

Here’s our list with the most traditional Greek dishes you have to try on your visit to Athens.

Greek Salad

This one is probably the most internationally acclaimed traditional Greek dish.

Its recipe is quite simple, yet its tastes and aromas are impeccable.

It’s typically made with tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, olives, virgin olive oil, fresh oregano and of course the trademark slice of creamy feta cheese on top.

The extremely refreshing Greek salad –or “Horiatiki” as you will hear locals call it– is ideal for a light lunch at a seafront restaurant and the perfect way to recharge your batteries in between sightseeing and exploring Athens city.

Fava

Fava is the delicious Greek answer to houmous.

The two dishes might look similar but are actually based on different recipes.

Fava is made with mashed fava beans, onions, parsley, olive oil, and various seasonings.

Although it’s native to the famous Santorini island, it has gained nationwide fame and you can find fava in almost every restaurant and tavern in the country.

It can be served both as an appetizer and a spread and it’s a must-try dish for vegetarians and vegans visiting Athens.

Moussaka

Moussaka is undoubtedly one of the most delicious dishes Greek cuisine has to offer.

It’s traditionally made with boiled and fried potatoes, eggplants, minced meat and béchamel cream layered on top of each other and bathed in rich tomato sauce.

During the past years, several kinds of variations of the recipe have been popping up in gourmet restaurants across the hippest neighbourhoods of Athens, some of them being vegan and vegetarian, incorporating mushrooms or zucchini in the mix instead of meat.

Image courtesy by jules from flickr.com

Dolmadakia

Dolmadakia are as tasty as hard they are to pronounce.

You can expect to find this dish in many local traditional eateries in the center of the city and when you do, don’t hesitate to try it as a finger-food appetizer or even a main course.

Dolmadakia are small rolled vine leaves stuffed with minced meat, rice, dill, parsley, and other herbs.

They’re typically sparkled with olive oil and served with a side of lemon juice.

Image courtesy by Lesya Dolyk from flickr.com

Spinach Pie

Roaming around the streets of Athens, you’ll probably notice countless bakeries serving slices of fresh hot spinach pie or “spanakopita” from sunrise till sundown.

Locals go crazy over it and apart from it being a street food delicacy, it’s also served in restaurants and taverns.

The crispy crust of the trademark “phyllo” dough on the outside and the rich filling of spinach and feta cheese will surely have you asking for more.

Image courtesy by stu_spivack from flickr.com

Taramasalata

If you’ve been wondering what that pinkish thick spread side dish that locals seem to savor piously is, you’ve come to the right place.

Taramasalata is a paste made with codfish roe, lemon, black pepper, olive oil, and dill.

If you’re visiting Athens during Easter, you’re sure to come across this one a lot, as it’s traditionally made during the Lent period.

Zucchini Balls

This dish is one of the most typical “mezedes” you’ll find on a restaurant’s menu.

Not to be mistaken with common meatballs, zucchini balls are made with fresh zucchini, feta cheese, spices and herbs that are deep-fried in a mix of eggs and flour to come out as crispy fritters. Finger-licking good.

Tzatziki

You’ve probably tried or heard of this one even if you’ve never visited Greece before.

Tzatziki is famous the world over for its strong flavor and refreshing taste and as the perfect accompaniment to souvlaki.

The creamy white sauce comprises of Greek yogurt, fresh cucumber, olive oil, vinegar, dill and lots of garlic.

And we do mean lots.

Even though not the ideal choice for a romantic date which includes dinner, tzatziki is an exceptional dip for any kind of meat or vegetable platter. 

Souvlaki

Souvlaki is one of the six national dishes of Greece and beyond any doubt the most beloved.

The name itself has often been a matter of controversy among different Greek regions, but one thing is for certain; souvlaki is enjoyed equally across the country.

The recipe is quite simple.

Thick pieces of pork or chicken meat are skewered on a stick before slowly cooking on the grill.

It’s served with French fries, pita bread, onions, tomato and -of course- an abundance of tzatziki. 

Gyros

Gyros is sometimes confused with souvlaki and, indeed, the similarity is evident.

Yet, gyros is made with thinly trimmed slices of pork and chicken that are grilled on the iconic vertical rotisserie you’ll see everywhere around you in downtown Athens and especially around Monastiraki.

The juicy meat is served rolled in pita bread with fresh tomato, tzatziki, fries, and onions.

We’d urge you to try it, but the enticing smell of gyros will certainly lure you in a gyros place anyhow. 

Yemista

This dish is as traditional as it gets. Yemista –or ‘’stuffed’’ in Greek– is a delectable vegan dish.

It’s made with mature tomatoes, green peppers and zucchini filled with a mix long-grain rice, herbs and seasonings and cooked in the oven. 

A perfect example of the distinctive simplicity of Mediterranean cuisine and diet.

Yemista are typically enjoyed with a side of feta cheese or a generous scoop of Greek yogurt.

Saganaki

Calling all cheese lovers!

If Greek gastronomy hasn’t completely and utterly charmed you yet, this one is bound to do the trick.

Saganaki is a thick slice of “kaseri” or “graviera” cheese that is fried in a pan with olive oil.

It comes out as golden brown delicacy that’s crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, the perfect side dish for any meal.

Make sure to sprinkle your saganaki with a lot of lemon juice to bring out its extraordinary taste.

Loukoumades

After you’re done feasting on all the treats listed above, it’s high time for dessert.

And Athens has the most exquisite delicacy in store for you.

Loukoumades are deep-fried donut balls dipped in honey, chocolate, ice-cream or anything else you can imagine and they’re seriously addictive.

Little known fact: loukoumades are actually nearly as old as Greek civilization itself, served as a heavenly trophy to winners of the Olympic games as early as 776 B.C.

 

Whether you choose to indulge in these dishes in a street food stall, a traditional local taverna or a luxurious restaurant, there is no doubt that the gastronomy scene of Athens will astound you.

Bear in mind that B.T.I. Athens is here to help you embark on the most exciting culinary adventure with insight on the city’s best food spots, eateries, and hidden gastronomical wonders.

Come hungry!

 

START BOOKING YOUR TRIP

Hotels

Discover the best hotels in Athens by area, price, and reviews, and see photos by clicking this link to Booking.com. Best Prices and many hotels you can book and then cancel with no cancelation penalty.

Activities, Tours & Tickets

Find, compare, and book sightseeing tours, attractions, excursions, things to do, and fun activities in Athens, Greece. Save money and book directly from Getyourguide.com

Ferry Tickets in Greece

Our preferred website to compare and book our ferry tickets is Ferryhopper. Here, you can see all the ferry schedules and easily book your Greek ferry tickets online.

Flights

Find cheap flights at best prices to every destination! Latest flight deals. Search and compare flights on JetRadar

Car Hire

Search, Compare & Save! Compare 900 companies at over 60,000 locations. Rentalcars.com connects you to the biggest brands in car hire.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

Leave a Reply

In Brief
  • What to See: The Authentic Greek Cuisine
  • What to Do: Taste the Most Traditional Greek Dishes
Trending Now
Athens Hotels Best Deals
Ferry Tickets in Greece
Tours & Online Tickets

We Need Your Support

Best Travel Info is an independed Athens travel guide that pays its own way. Our writers never take freebies or discounts, so you can always trust what you read on the site. Thus, we would like you to know that some of our pages feature links to companies that we have affiliate agreements with. This means that these companies compensate us with a small amount when users carry out a transaction through the aforementioned links. So, if you find our website useful, please show your appreciation by using the links you found on our website. It doesn't cost you anything but it helps us to offset the costs of paying our writing team. Please feel free to check our detailed

Affiliate Disclosure.

Thanks for your support!

Receive the latest news

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get notified about new articles and travel offers. Don’t worry, we hate spam as much as you do! We will never share your email. Ever!

best travel info

ARE YOU IN?

3,000 subscribers already enjoy our premium stuff.

Subscribe to our mailing list and receive to your email inbox the latest news and travel offers from our team.