You never hear much about Greek food. It’s not as popular as Italian (my favorite), Chinese or Mexican, but I sure do love it. While traveling through Greece, I have definitely fallen in love with some favorite dishes and also watched my husband eat some questionable ones (octopus). And while we have a few Greek restaurants here in Miami, I haven’t found any to be as authentic as the food in Greece. Here are my top 10 favorite Greek dishes:
Galaktoboureko This has to be my favorite Greek dessert (yes, let’s start with the desserts, why not), and it’s actually not very easy to find. Everytime I’m in Greece I specifically browse the menus of most recommended places, and I have only come across this heavenly treat in a small cafe in Oia. Galaktoboureko, is a divine combination of creamy custard and flaky phyllo dough that is baked to golden perfection then drenched with a lemon and orange infused syrup. I used to work with a Greek friend who told me her mother makes it from scratch. I never tried making this, as to me the recipe seems a bit above my experience level…LOL. But if you are brave enough to try, make sure to eat it the same day, as the custard tends to harden once it’s refrigerated.
Loukoumades Continuing with desserts, my husband loves these little bite-sized sweet honey puffs, essentially the Greek version of donut holes, which are deep fried to golden and crispy perfection. Loukoumades are traditionally served soaked in hot honey syrup, sprinkled with cinnamon and garnished with chopped walnuts or toasted sesame seeds. I’ve also seen them accompanied with a scoop of ice cream. Either way, delicious!
Halvas Yet another dessert (I promise I will get to the food soon). A semonlina, almond, cinnamon based dessert, which I ended up liking more than what I had anticipated. There are two different sweets called halvas in Greece. One is wet pudding made of semolina powder, olive oil and sugar. The other type is very similar to a nougat made of sugar and sesame powder, similar to Spanish turron. I was also served halvas ice cream one night…amazing!
Fried Feta with Honey and Sesame Seeds Many of you that know me know of my love affair with cheese, ANY type of cheese! But I really love feta cheese and usually have loads of it when I’m in Greece. However, this fried feta covered in sesame seeds and honey is on another level. The sweet and salty combination of flavors is absolutely delicious!
Tzatziki This yummy Greek sauce is always served with grilled meats or as a dip. Tzatziki is made of strained yogurt mixed with cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil, lemon juice, and dill, mint, or parsley… always served cold.
Dolmadakia Typically served as an appetizer or side dish, dolmadakia is a favorite dish throughout Greece. Grape leaves, stuffed with long-grain rice and herbs like thyme, dill, and fennel. My husband loves these, definitely something to try!
Greek Salad Famous all over the world, but the Greeks make them best! Crunchy cucumber, juicy ripe tomato, olives, red onion and a giant slab of feta on top, covered with olive oil, vinegar and lemon juice. It’s an absolute staple with every meal.
Gyros Yes, these are the ones typically found in your local state fair or neighborhood festivals, but boy are they yummy! Pita bread, grilled meat, fresh salad, sauce (usually tzatziki), and many times they also include french fries inside. Depending on the restaurant, they may also be served as a platter with the pita bread on the side. Either way, I love them.
Spanakopita These are Greek pastries, filled with spinach and feta cheese folded in layers of phyllo dough. Most of the time, you will see them folded into triangles, but it can also be made as a pie or in a pita. Cheese pies of all types are very popular all over Greece. I usually eat these as an appetizer or a snack, but they can be enjoyed at any time of the day.
Pastitsio Also referred to as Greek Lasagna, Pastitsio, is made of luscious layers of juicy minced beef, cooked in a tomato based sauce, with pasta and creamy béchamel sauce, all baked together until golden perfection.. simply irresistible! This is one of my favorite dishes in Greece, I always make sure to have it at least once on every trip.
Have you tried Greek food, and if you have what are your favorite dishes? I’m curious…