GTN Greek Gastronomy Guide

From Wikipedia: Gastronomy is a compound word that derives from the ancient Greek γαστήρ -τρός “stomach” and -νομία “-rule”. It is the study of the relationship between food and culture, the art of preparing and serving rich or delicate and appetizing food, the cooking styles of particular regions, and the science of good eating.

Traditional Greek food is one of the most popular cuisines in the world but choosing where and what to eat in Athens can be difficult as you should try to avoid tourist traps. Steer away from tourist restaurants and go where locals eat. As a general rule, avoid places on the main tourist drags, especially those with touts outside and big signs with photos of food. Be wary of hotel recommendations, as some have deals with particular restaurants

Greek Popular dishes

Souvlaki pita: grilled meat skewers or gyros
Spanakopita: spinach, feta cheese, herbs
Tzatziki: Yogurt, cucumber, garlic, olive oil
Tirokafteri: spicy cheese spread
Tirokroketes: fried balls of cheese, chopped mint and dill
Ntolmadakia: vine leaves stuffed with herbs, lemon and rice, folded over in small pieces
Saganaki: fried cheese drenched with lemon
Moussaka: minced beef, sliced eggplants and potatoes and creamy béchamel
Greek salad-horiatiki: tomatoes, olives, cucumber, green peppers, oregano, onion, virgin olive oil and a large piece of feta cheese.
Loukoumades: Crisp authentic Greek delight with honey and cinnamon

Greek popular food dishes can be found anywhere in Greece, the test varies from place to place from tavern to tavern. Here we include some places in Athens where you can really test the best of some of popular Greek dishes.

  • Thanasis (Mitropoleos 69) – Shish kebab, Tzatziki, souvlaki 
  • Strofi restaurant (Rovertou Galli 25) – classic Greek plates (tzatziki etc.)
  • Kalamakia O Elvis (Plateon 29) – tasty souvlaki skewer
  • All That Jatz (Agiou Filippou 10) – Gyro, tzatziki, good food 
  • Krinos Loukoumades (Aiolou 87) for traditional loukoumade

To get the best test of Greek food, just take a cue from the locals and go straight to the source.

Greece Seafood

Greece is the ideal place for enjoying seafood and fish, with the great diversity of marine life in its sea beds and deep blue seas studded with thousands of islands. Greek fish are considered to be among the tastiest in the world. The large deep sea fish are very tasty if charcoal-grilled with a generous sprinkle of lemon and olive oil sauce, whereas tiddlers are usually best if fried

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Check out our suggestions

Octopus or Chtapodi – Tenderized octopus, char-grilled and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, a squeeze of fresh lemon, and a sprinkling of fresh parsley, try it with ouzo – simple, yet deliciously!! Or boiled and marinated with vinegar. Both usually served as a starter.

Kalamari- squid, usually fried and absolutely delicious! There is also a baked and stuffed calamari version, usually with feta, try it with white wine or ouzo, you won’t regret it!

Barbounia– red mullets often fried with a crunchy smoky taste

On the Go

Walking in Athens? Εxhausted? You need some refuel… here we’re.

  • Koulouri the fresh bread ring topped with sesame seeds is delicious. it’s sold on most street corners in Athens. Get a coffee also and keep walking … like a local.
  • Bougatsa, an ideal break during your shopping, seat in a café get a lovely coffee and a delicious sweet, bougatsa with vanilla cream and see the people pass by.

Where to Eat in Greece

When visiting Greece, people are often surprised by how many different types of restaurants there are. Here are some of the most common types of restaurants, which, confusingly, are often very similar to each other!

  • Souvlatzidiko / Psistaria / Psitopolio – A place offering souvlaki and Gyro! You can’t misses it, just follow your nose.
  • Tavern or taverna is a kind of folk restaurant that is quite popular in Greece. A basic restaurant with mainly meat dishes and reasonable prices. It has two variations – the psarotaverna (serving fish and seafood) and hasapotaverna or psistaria (for chargrilled or spit-roasted meat).
  • Estiatorio – A restaurant slightly more upmarket than a taverna, with a huge menu.
  • Magirio (cookhouse) / Oinomagirio– A small basic taverna offering hearty, traditional Greek dishes(mayirefta, one-pot stews), house wine and friendly prices.
  • Mezedopolio – A restaurant serving mostly a lot of mezedes (small dishes) and drinks for friendly companies.
  • Ouzerie – a small mezedhopolio. It serves a usually free round of mezedes with your ouzo, upgraded with the rounds of ouzo orders. Regional variations focusing on the local firewater include the rakadhiko (serving raki) in Crete and the tsipouradhiko (serving tsipouro) in the mainland north.
  • Koutouki – A small, cozy taverna old fashion decorated, with house cooked dishes accompanied by good house wine and beer

Tip: An 130 years old Koutouki is in the central market of Athens, Socratous st. 9 and Theater Square corner. It is a basement, no signage or tavern name, no English spoken, no menu, no choice, no price list, no ‘mind your head’ warning as you step down the stairs and usually shares a table with others. The menu rarely changes – crusty fresh bread, 3-4 large sharing plates, all home cooked and taste- full – bean soup, fantastic chickpeas, beans, plain or married yellow split peas puree, cod, fried sardines, braised with spaghetti, barley juvetsi, salads and very nice local wine from a big wood barrel. Amazing food, quick and good service and friendly staff. An authentic Greek food experience!