View of table and sea in Greece to enjoy Greek food

12 Traditional Greek Food Favorites You Must Try

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I’m not sure why I’m torturing myself by writing this article right now. Maybe it’s because I’m starving and traditional Greek food is one of my all-time favorites. Or maybe it’s because I want to make you just as hungry as I am. Either way, I’m excited to share some of the most mouthwatering dishes from Greece that are sure to leave you drooling.

So grab a snack (or don’t, if you’re feeling brave), and let’s dive into the delicious world of traditional Greek food.

A Taste of Greece

Traditional Greek food is like a party in your mouth, and everyone’s invited! With fresh and wholesome ingredients like olive oil, herbs, veggies, and lean proteins, Greek cuisine is not only scrumptious but also one of the healthiest worldwide. Simplicity is key in Greek cooking, with many dishes showcasing only a few ingredients, cooked using straightforward techniques such as grilling, roasting, and sautéing. It’s no surprise that traditional Greek food is a beloved choice around the globe!

Is Greek food healthy? The answer is yes! The Mediterranean diet is a cornerstone of Greek cuisine and has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other chronic conditions. This is due in part to the emphasis on plant-based foods, healthy fats, and lean proteins, as well as the minimal use of processed and refined foods. While there is no magic bullet for longevity, following a balanced and healthy diet like the Mediterranean or traditional Greek diet is certainly a step in the right direction. So, you can indulge without the guilt – that’s a win-win!

But it’s not just about being healthy – traditional Greek food is also about having fun, it’s a celebration of life, love and friendship. From sharing plates of meze with friends to smashing plates and yelling ‘Opa!’ at weddings, Greeks know how to party. And let’s not forget about the music and dancing – it’s like a non-stop Zorba fest up in here.

Top Traditional Greek Food Cravings

Enough with the smart talk, let’s get to the real star of the show – the irresistible traditional Greek food and dishes! I’ve got a list of my absolute favorites that you simply must try for yourself.

If you haven’t had the pleasure yet, you better go fix that ASAP. Your taste buds will thank you, I promise.

1. Moussaka

This traditional Greek food is like the cousin of Italian lasagna – but with a twist. Picture layers of sliced potatoes, juicy minced meat, tender eggplant, and potatoes, all topped with a rich tomato sauce and creamy béchamel sauce.

Moussaka is typically served hot, straight out of the oven, and is often accompanied by a side salad or some crusty bread. It’s a hearty and satisfying dish that’s perfect for cold winter evenings, but can also be enjoyed year-round.


If you’re interested in trying your hand at making this dish at home, click here to check out a Moussaka great recipe.

2. Gyro

Let’s get real here. If you haven’t had a gyro bread in your life, then what have you been doing? But I’m not talking about that van down the street that also sells pizza and burgers (although those can be pretty tasty too). I’m talking about the real deal, the Greek gyro!

A succulent grilled meat (pork or chicken, usually) that’s been marinated in heavenly herbs and spices. It’s cooked to perfection on a vertical rotisserie and then thinly sliced. Next, it’s tucked into a warm pita bread along with juicy tomatoes, crisp onions, crunchy lettuce, and your choice of dreamy sauces, such as tzatziki, hummus, or hot sauce.

And the best part? You can grab a gyro and munch on it while strolling around town, thanks to the convenience of street vendors who serve this traditional Greek food all around the world.


3. Souvlaki

Souvlaki are juicy chunks of meat (pork, chicken, or lamb) marinated in herbs and spices, skewered and grilled to perfection, resulting in a deliciously charred and smoky flavour. Actually, the word souvlaki has roots in the Greek word souvla, meaning skewer (souvlaki means small skewer).

But that’s not all – souvlaki is often served on a plate with fluffy pita bread, crisp veggies like tomatoes and onions, and a dollop of creamy tzatziki sauce. Oh, and did I mention the crispy and golden fries that can come on the side? Yep, souvlaki has it all.

So, the difference with gyro is that the latter is typically served in a warm pita bread and filled with thinly sliced meat, veggies, and sauce, while souvlaki is often served on a plate with pita bread, veggies, and sauce on the side. Same same but different.

Souvlaki, best traditional greek food

4. Spanakopita

Looking for traditional Greek food that’s both comforting and full of flavour? Look no further than Spanakopita! This delicious Greek pastry is filled with spinach, feta cheese, onions, and aromatic herbs, all wrapped up in a flaky phyllo dough crust.


Whether you’re a die-hard fan of Greek cuisine or just looking to try something new and exciting, Spanakopita is a must-try dish. Want to learn how to make it at home? Check out this recipe here.

5. Greek Salad

Greek salad needs no introduction – it’s a beloved classic that’s cherished by foodies around the world. And with good reason! This simple yet delicious dish is bursting with flavor and loaded with healthy ingredients. The juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, and crunchy peppers create the perfect balance of sweet and savory, while the tangy feta cheese adds a rich and creamy note.

What truly sets an authentic Greek salad apart, however, is the quality of the ingredients. Using fresh, ripe tomatoes and cucumbers, and high-quality feta cheese, elevates this salad to a true taste of the Mediterranean.

Greek salad, Greek food

With just a few simple ingredients and a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice, you can create a delicious and healthy meal that can be enjoyed anytime, anywhere. Whether you’re at home, at work, or on the go, a Greek salad is a quick and easy way to enjoy the flavors of traditional Greek food.

So why settle for a lackluster salad when you can enjoy the flavours of traditional Greek food?

6. Dolmades

Dolmades, also known as stuffed grape leaves, are a beloved dish in Greek cuisine. These bite-sized treats are made by wrapping a mixture of seasoned rice, onions, and herbs in tender grape leaves. The result is a savory and slightly tangy flavor that is both satisfying and delicious. Dolmades can be served as an appetizer, side dish, or even as a light lunch.


One of the great things about dolmades is that they are versatile and can be customized to your liking. You can for example add ground meat or pine nuts for added protein and texture.

But no matter how you choose to make them, dolmades are always a crowd-pleaser. These traditional Greek food options are perfect for entertaining guests, or simply enjoying with a glass of wine on a lazy afternoon.

Looking for a recipe to try out? Click here for a great one.

7. Tzatziki

Where do I even begin with tzatziki? This creamy dip is a staple in Greek cuisine that I have been enjoying since I was a child. Made with thick and creamy Greek yogurt, fresh cucumbers, garlic, and a touch of lemon juice, tzatziki perfectly complements grilled meats, pita bread, or fresh vegetables. And here’s a little traditional Greek food secret – I like to add some feta cheese for an extra burst of flavor.


8. Baklava

Baklava, the dessert that knows no borders! This pastry has been a staple in various countries and cultures, from ancient Persia to modern-day Greece and Turkey. And let me tell you, it’s not just loved by people all over the world – I’m a big fan too!

Picture this: layers upon layers of crispy phyllo dough, generously sprinkled with finely chopped nuts, and drenched in a sweet honey syrup. It’s a dessert that requires some serious attention to detail, but it’s worth it. Personally, I have a Turkish friend to thank for introducing me to baklava. He would bring me some every time he went back home, and I’ve been hooked ever since!

And get this: November 17th is National Baklava Day! Yep, a whole day dedicated to celebrating this scrumptious pastry. So mark your calendars, because it’s a day worth indulging in a little extra sweetness. And here is a great recipe if you want to try your hand at making this dish at home.

Baklava, greek food

9. Kleftiko

This hearty traditional Greek food dish is a true Mediterranean delight. Made with lamb or goat, Kleftiko is slow-cooked in a sealed pot with aromatic herbs and spices, creating tender and juicy meat.

The name Kleftiko is said to have originated from the word “kleftes,” which means “thieves” in Greek. Legend has it that the dish was created by Greek bandits who would steal lambs from local farms and cook them in a sealed pit underground to avoid detection – talk about cooking with attitude!

Today, you can find Kleftiko in many Greek restaurants and households, where it’s prepared with a variety of traditional seasonings like garlic, oregano, lemon juice, and bay leaves.

And the best part? Kleftiko is often served family-style with sides like roasted veggies or potatoes, making it perfect for sharing.

10. Saganaki

Fun fact about me: cheese is my one true love. And when it comes to traditional Greek food, Saganaki is a dish that could steal my heart every time. This simple yet delicious dish features a variety of cheeses, including feta, kefalotyri, and halloumi, that are fried or broiled until golden and crispy.

The name “saganaki” actually refers to the small frying pan that the dish is traditionally prepared in. The cheese is often served hot, sizzling in the pan, and is typically accompanied by a slice of lemon and some crusty bread for dipping.

While feta is perhaps the most popular cheese used in Saganaki, other cheeses such as kefalotyri or halloumi can also be used. Kefalotyri is a hard, salty cheese that is similar to parmesan, while halloumi is a semi-hard cheese that is known for its ability to hold its shape when cooked.

11. Loukoumades

Loukoumades are fluffy, golden dough balls which are deep-fried until crispy, then drizzled with honey syrup and sprinkled with cinnamon and chopped nuts. Think of Loukoumades as the Greek version of doughnuts, but even better!

Some claim it is one of the oldest desserts in the world. One of the best things about Loukoumades is that they can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. You can indulge in them plain, or add your own twist by topping them with chocolate sauce, fruit, or ice cream.

So, whether you’re looking for a sweet treat to satisfy your cravings or a unique dessert to impress your friends and family, Loukoumades are the perfect choice. Click here for a great recipe to try out!

12. Keftedakia

Keftedakia are a Greek food classic not to be missed! These bite-sized meatballs are made from a blend of ground beef, breadcrumbs, and aromatic herbs and spices like garlic, onion, parsley, and oregano. The secret to their rich flavor and tender texture is using a combination of beef and pork.

Once shaped, the meatballs are fried to golden brown and typically served as an appetizer or meze, often accompanied by tzatziki sauce or a squeeze of lemon.

Every family has their own special traditional Greek food recipe, passed down through generations, making each batch unique and infused with tradition. Want to learn how to make them? Click here for a great recipe.

Drink Like a Greek

No traditional Greek food or meal is complete without a refreshing drink to wash it down. Greek beverages are as diverse and delicious as the food.

  • One classic drink is ouzo, a traditional Greek anise-flavored liqueur that pairs well with salty and savory dishes like Saganaki, Keftedakia, and Spanakopita. It’s often served as an aperitif or alongside meze dishes.


  • Retsina is a Greek white wine that’s flavored with pine resin, giving it a unique refreshing taste. It pairs well with grilled fish, seafood, or light appetizers like Greek salad or Tzatziki.
  • Metaxa is a Greek brandy that’s made from a blend of wine distillates and aged in oak barrels. Its smooth and complex flavor pairs well with dishes like Kleftiko or Moussaka.
  • When it comes to Greek beers, there are several on the market that pair well with a variety of traditional Greek food, and dishes. Popular options include Mythos, Fix, and Alpha.
  • Finally, Frappé is a popular Greek iced coffee drink made with instant coffee, sugar, and water. It’s often served with a straw and enjoyed as a refreshing drink with any meal.

Santorini, Greece, table next to sea for Greek food lovers

Final Thoughts on traditional Greek Food

There you have it! While there are countless delicious Greek dishes, I’ve shared my top 12 must-try traditional Greek food favourites. I hope this article has left you as hungry as it has me, and that you’re already planning your next Greek food feast. Personally, I’m even already checking flight options to Greece.

Whether you’re a fan of souvlaki, moussaka, or something in between, there’s no denying the deliciousness of Greek food and cuisine. And if you can’t make it to Greece anytime soon, at least you can enjoy a taste of the country’s rich and vibrant cuisine right from your own kitchen or favourite restaurant. Opa!

Disclaimer: While I make an effort to snap my own photos, some folks out there are just naturally better with a camera. So, in this article, you’ll see that most of the pictures are thanks to the talented Unsplash and Pixabay communities.

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