Greek cuisine is just as important to Athens as the Acropolis, ruins, and ancient history. Prepare to eat your way around the Greek capital, and try the best traditional Greek dishes in Athens!
Souvlaki is perfect for whether you’re looking for something cheap and quick or to sit down for a relaxing meal. Typically, bits of meat slathered in spices are roasted over the grill until cooked to perfection and then served with vegetables and a pita. The meat is so juicy it will make your heart sing. Athens tip: do as the locals do and get a souvlaki pita (or two) at O Kostas. Get there early, as there is always a line and when the meat runs out, they close up for the day!
If you love roasted meat, you’re sure to love gyros. Similar to souvlaki, gyros are pitas that are loaded up with roasted meat, a bit of veggies, and some tzatziki sauce. The meat is stacked in slices vertically and roasted, and then when it’s ready it’s shaved off into thin slices. It’s Greece’s version of a doner kebab, and one of its most famous traditional Greek dishes today.
Moussaka has many variations throughout the Balkans and Middle East, but the Greek version came about in the 1920s. Tasty layers of eggplant or potato and ground meat are topped off with a bechamel sauce and cooked until perfection. It’s similar to lasagna in that each bite you get layer after delicious layer. Rich and indulgent, it really hits the spot when you’re craving comfort food.
The beautiful thing about spanakopita is that it’s so versatile in that it can be enjoyed at any time of day. Craving something savory for breakfast or a snack? This savory pie will hit just the spot. Savory spinach filling and flaky layers of phyllo make spanakopita for something you can munch on for any meal. Serve it with some veggies or rice as a meal, or get a piece to go as the perfect snack!
Pasta lovers will take delight in pastitsio, or Greek lasagna. This is one of the perfect traditional Greek dishes to eat if you want to try something different, as it’s not as well known as some of the other dishes listed. Pastitsio features layers of pasta, ground meat and tomato sauce, and is topped off with a hearty layer of bechamel and cheese. It’s left to bake in the oven until bubbly and golden, and voila! Pure pasta comfort food.
Looking for something on the lighter side, or vegetarian-friendly? Try fasolada, which has the nickname “the national food of the Greeks”. This hearty bean stew is packed with white beans, veggies, and olive oil, so it will keep you full without feeling weighed down. It’s a perfect representation of the Mediterranean diet and is loaded with the region’s best flavors.
This one’s a no-brainer, but Greek salad is a must when you visit Athens. Light and healthy, crisp and refreshing, this salad can accompany a main dish or stand out on its own. Fresh veggies like cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, and onions, mixed in with heart-healthy olives and olive oil, make this one of the healthiest traditional Greek dishes around. Just add some tangy feta and you’re all set.
Dips and spreads
The tradition of mezze in Greece is the sharing of small plates as appetizers before the main meal. Even though they are small plates, they are huge on flavor. Often times, dips and spreads make for perfect small plates and are easy to pass around and share. Hummus, tzatziki, taramasalata, and baba ganoush are all excellent choices. Slather them on a warm pita and you’re in heaven!
Make sure to save plenty of room for some Greek baklava. This epic dessert is made from layers of flaky phyllo, chopped nuts, butter, and honey. In Greek tradition, baklava should have 33 layers of phyllo and nuts, typically pistachios or walnuts. Honey gives this pastry a sweetness that perfectly contrasts the bitter taste of the walnuts. It will be love at first bite!
See more: 7 Tips you Should Know Before Traveling to Athens, 5 Reasons Why the Kypseli Neighborhood is the Trendiest Spot in Athens, 6 Fantastic Coworking Spaces in Athens for Digital Nomads, Greek Culture 101: the Importance of Oxi Day in Athens, A Checklist of the Best 10 Things to Buy in Athens When You Visit
After eating your way around the Greek capital, come home to Olala Homes, where style, comfort, and beauty meet!