While food in cities like Athens in mainland Greece will certainly be up to scratch, the islands of Greece offer so much variety and flavors and ingredients will change from island to island based on locally sourced produce. Here is a list of Greek eats that must be tried on your visit:
Everyone has heard of Greek gyros in some way, shape or form. Even Middle Eastern cultures have their own type in the form of shawarmas, the Turkish in the form of doner, and India in the form of kathi rolls. But this is so much more than meat and veggies and sauce wrapped up in a piece of bread. The cilantro, red onions, and tomatoes at Obelisk Gyros, a Santorini institution, tasted as if they had just been freshly chopped up from the back garden. Not usually a fan of thick, creamy yoghurts, We initially asked for the lamb gyros without the tahini yoghurt but a passerby informed me that I would be making a poor decision and he was absolutely right. The lamb too was tender, and the pita bread was soft, warm and fresh out of the oven. A delicious first meal in Santorini!
The islands automatically must have delicious, fresh catch of the days. There will be very few restaurants especially in Santorini, where you would go wrong ordering a grilled sea bass with garlic and herbs, octopus with tomato sauce pasta, Greek shrimp saganaki, usually prepared in a small, two-handle heavy bottomed frying pan, called a saganaki or sagani, or Greek mussels (the most delicious of which I had in Mykonos years before). This particular seafood risotto with sea shrimps was cooked to al dente perfection, infused with hints of saffron, burst with flavor and was really fresh.
This was such a wonderful and healthy discovery. Found at almost every breakfast cafe in Fira, the Santorini Crepe will put a smile on anyone, knocked out from a crazy night before. This particular crepe is incredibly crispy on the outside, glazed with hints of parmesan cheese, and is stuffed to the brim on the inside with everything you could find in a Greek salad and more -melted feta cheese, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, walnuts, pistachios. It was actually so delicious that we went ahead and treated ourselves to two huge crepes.
Ouzo is the poison of Greece but the pride and joy of Greek alcohol. It is essentially a pure white alcohol that has undergone a two distillation process (of course the process varies from distillery to distillery). After the alcohol has been distilled, it is infused with various herbs such as aniseed (most predominant), licorice, mint, wintergreen, fennel, and hazelnut. It is clear and silky and easy to underestimate because of its innocent aesthetic. Ouzo is customarily served neat – no ice. The Greeks will add iced water to dilute the strength causing the liquid to turn an opaque, milky white.
Greeks love this drink so much that there are countless ouzo bars across Greece calledouzeries (ooh-zeh-REE-es). These are casual places that specialize in many different types of ouzo, but even more importantly are popular for their sumptuous array of appetizers known as mezethes (meh-ZEH-thes).
These savory small plates of food are an essential component of the social side of ouzo drinking. Despite its strong flavor, ouzo compliments many different types of food and the mezze menu will often be long and varied.
Contributor: Disha Samaiyar