Greek Food


Tavernas and Restaurants

Greek food has its good reputation for a reason. It is delicious and healthy. To make it perfect eating out is still quiet cheap in Greece. In a local restaurant (Taverna) you get a full meal including starter, main dish and half a litre local wine for 8 10 Euro. That's fair especially if you consider we are talking about fresh and delicious food. For this very reason people go out a lot. It is a social thing to do. You meet friends in the restaurant order a variety of starters and main dishes and then share it with your friends. At the end you just split the bill.

 

 

A few years ago when you asked a waiter to produce separate bills for the food ordered at one table would have looked at you like an alien. At this stage they are used to this weird habit of some of their foreigner guests. It's a good idea though to tell the waiter in advance that they keep it separate.

 

Very often these small restaurants are family business. Papa might play the waiter, mama is the cook and the children help wherever they can.

 

On many islands the tab water is excellent. In pretty much any restaurant you can ask to get a jug of tab water instead of a bottle. It's free of charge. If you want to find out if the water is any good, check out the locals. When they drink the water it is safe.

 

Most popular are starters. There is a wide range from Tzatziki, soups, Zucchini or meat balls, Dolmades, salads and baked cheese to fancy shrimp saganaki, snails and small fish.

 

After you finished your meal you are normally offered some cake, fruit or just a shot.

 

Unless you are in a remote village menus come in multiple languages. Greek, English and German is pretty much standard but I've seen up to 12 languages in a menu.

In some cases these menus are actually quite entertaining. The spelling often enough is a disgrace and sometimes words are hardly recognisable. I personally think this is due the fact that the designers that do them use a program like babelfish and later don't bother to check. Well most of the times you will know what it means and nine out of ten the waiter will be fluent in English and able to assist should you struggle.

 

In remote places they often don't have a menu. If so you just walk into the kitchen, have a look around and order what ever you fancy. I actually prefer it this way. You always know what you'll get, well kind of anyways.

 

 

The main meal for Greeks is dinner. They hardly eat breakfast and dinner doesn't start before 9 PM. I always thought I'd starve to death doing it this way but it is actually alright. During the day it is to hot. You only need a few coffees to wake up and since you dined until late at night you are not particularly hungry in the morning.

 

Tavernas are generally better and cheaper than restaurants. One thing you may need to get used is that the dishes are often not hot but only warmish. Drinks on the other hand are served cold.

 

When you order a main dish it most of the time will come with chips. In most places they are quite nice since they are made with fresh potatoes. Sometimes you will also get rice or boiled potatoes; the latter is rather unusual though.

 

All the food is prepared with Olive oil. It doesn't really make a difference with fried food but certainly with everything else. Olive oil is very healthy and most likely the reason why cancer is not very wide spread in Greece.

 

In most places you will have to pay a cover charge. It's normally 50 to 80 cents. The bread in return is for free.

 

Many main dishes are also available as starters and the other way around.

 

If you are interested in Greek food there are plenty of recipe and cook books on the market. Finding a Greek supermarket might be more challenging. It will depend on where you live.

 

 

 

Fast food

 

Believe or not but Greeks do have fast food and it is good. Most popular are Gyros Pitas. They are dirt cheap and tasty. For 1.50 you get well I'd call it a full meal. They consist of bread, meat, chips, Tztatziki, tomatoes and onion. It's brilliant. They even come as vegetarian pita with Feta instead of meet.

 

Taken this into consideration it is hard to believe that McDonald is becoming increasingly popular. They are spreading all over the country. They are popular with tourists for a number of reasons. McDonalds always have proper air conditioning and clean toilets; still I find it hard to believe that people also eat there.

 

Another typical food chain would be Everest. Allegedly sandwich and pizza there are OK but to be honest I never tried.

 

 

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