What and where to eat in Greece
Whether you’re eating seafood at a seaside restaurant or sampling
contemporary Greek cuisine under the floodlit Acropolis, dining out
in Greece is never just about what you eat, but rather a whole sensory
experience in itself. Greece’s relaxed and hospitable dining culture makes
it easy to get into the local spirit. Like many Europeans, the Greeks like
to dine late with some restaurants not opening for dinner until 7pm. You
will only need reservations in the most popular places and these can
usually be made a day in advance.
You can choose from the range of Greek eateries, the first of which is
the Taverna. Tavernas are informal and often specialize in seafood,
chargrilled meat or traditional home-style baked dishes. Perfect for
the laid-back tourist wanting to eat in style. Greek tavernas can be
disarmingly and refreshingly laid- back. Then there is the Estiatorio, a
more formal restaurant serving similar fare to tavernas or international
cuisine. A Mezedhopoleio serves Mezedhes, whereas an Ouzerie is similar
but serves a round of ouzo with a round of Mezedhes. If that sounds too
complicated, grab a traditional Greek coffee at any Kafeneio – one of
Greece’s oldest traditions. Besides restaurants, you can always take a
cue from the locals and go straight to the source! Go fishing at seaside
fishing hamlets or head to mountain villages for local meat. Be sure to
have some space in your day baggage for local treats, such as olives and
extra virgin olive oil, feta cheese, aromatic Greek thyme honey; dried
oregano, mountain tea and camomile flowers; or a jar of fruit preserves.
From feta cheese and olive oil to the raw ingredients on your plate, you
will find many local variations and specialties on your travels. Crete, for
instance, is a popular foodie destination with distinct culinary traditions
offering unique culinary treats. Be sure to ask about local dishes, cheese
and produce to stay in the loop about the freshest products. As a fact, the
essence of traditional Greek cuisine lies in seasonal homegrown produce.
Northern Greece is more influenced by eastern flavors, thus there’s more
butter, peppers and spices in its dishes. Peloponnese is known for its
herb-rich, one pot dishes and Ladhera (vegetarian, peasant-style dishes).