Enjoy eating as the Greeks eat. We’ll provide the dictionary of Greece’s unique flavours and you can put your imagination and creativity to work. Knowing your food in Attica is vital, especially since all these delicacies can be found in Athens and the surrounds, with most of them made right here in Attica.
FETA: a traditional brined curd cheese that goes well with every dish. Plain, with a little olive oil and oregano, with freshly baked bread, with a choriatiki salad, in the oven, on the grill, with tomato, melted, as a salad dressing or in cheese pies... the list goes on.
CHORIATIKI: we’re talking real Greek salad here, a main course where tomato meets cucumber, green pepper, onion, feta cheese, olive oil and oregano.
TZATZIKI: yoghurt, cucumber and lots of garlic. Avoid if you have a hot date.
SOUVLAKI PITTA: the king of souvlaki. Pork, lamb or chicken brochette wrapped in a pitta bread between tomato, onion, tzatziki and sometimes chips.
KALAMAKI: the vice chairman of souvlaki, it rules with its simplicity. Pork, chicken or beef brochette grilled and sprinkled with salt, oregano and lemon.
GYROS: pork meat roasted vertically and cut into thin slices, served with grilled pitta and tzatziki or wrapped as a souvlaki.
MOUSSAKA: the name is Arabic (musaqa) but the recipe of layered aubergine, ground beef and tomato with a thick topping of béchamel sauce is totally Greek.
DOLMADAKIA: fresh vine leaves hugging rice (often ground beef too) and spices. Usually served in olive oil and lemon or special mustard sauce.
MEZEH: a generic term for small portions of Greek munchies, hot or cold.
FAVA: yellow, warm, perfectly boiled fava beans go wonderfully with olive oil, lemon and chopped onion.
DAKOS: traditional hard wheat bread soaked in water, olive oil and vinegar, and topped with juicy red tomato, crumbled feta cheese and oregano.
HORTA: a generic term for boiled greens served with olive oil and lemon with a slice of feta on the side.
SAGANAKI: yellow cheese, fried to perfection until crisp on the outside, with a slice of lemon.
SPANAKOPITA: spinach and feta cheese in layers of thin filo dough.
TARAMOSALATA: fish roe mixed with boiled potatoes or moistened breadcrumbs, olive oil and lemon juice
YEMISTA: tomatoes, peppers, courgette and aubergine stuffed with rice, herbs and raisins, then oven-baked.
PASTICHIO: baked pasta with a ground-meat filling and a rich, creamy béchamel sauce on top.
SCORDALIA: thick garlic and potato puree, which usually accompanies deep-fried fish.
OUZO: rarely served straight, but mixed with water and an ice cube. Inseparable from a mezeh, and a perfect companion to grilled octopus and calamari. Ouzo is a protected designation-of-origin product.
TSIPOURO: the forefather of ouzo, this is a strong distilled spirit popular among (mainly male) drinkers.
MASTICHA: made on the famous island of Chios these 'tears' make a nice digestif.
RETSINA: a dry white flavored with resin, it is perhaps the most famous Greek wine, popular the world over.
FRAPPE: once the king of summer beverages, it fell from grace thanks to the freddo. Made from instant coffee with sugar, shaken until it foams and served over ice.
FREDDO: iced espresso with foamed cold milk and crushed ice.
ELLINIKOS: finely ground coffee beans are brewed in a pot (briki) and served hot with a frothy surface. Straight, semi-sweet, sweet or very sweet.
KOULOURI: if the average Athenian opts for breakfast on the go, this will most likely be their prime choice. It is a round string of tasty dough with sesame seeds.
BOUGATSA: filo pastry filled with sweet semolina custard, and sprinkled with powered sugar.
LOYKOUMADES: similar to small doughnuts, loukoumades are fried balls of dough covered with honey and sprinkled with cinnamon.
BAKLAVA: filo pastry layers filled with chopped walnuts and covered with honey.
KANDAIFI: a close relative of baklava, kandaifi are shredded filo dough filled with chopped nuts and covered with syrup.
GALAKTOBOUREKO: custard baked between layers of filo and then soaked with lemon-scented honey syrup.
FYSTIKI: pistachio nuts grown on the island of Aegina. Best served salt-roasted (its most popular version) or plain.
AMYGDALOTO: powdered blanched almonds, confectioner's sugar and rose water.
KOURABIEDES: flour, butter and crushed roasted almonds generously dusted with powdered sugar. Available around Christmas time, but some aficionados can find them in speciality pastry shops in Athens all year round.
PASTELI: just sesame seeds and pure honey, a triumph of simplicity.
YAOURTI MELI: yoghurt with Hymettus honey combined with peaches or watermelon makes a wonderful breakfast. Also served as a dessert, with honey and chopped walnuts.
LOUKOUMIA: made from starch and sugar, this is similar to Turkish delight, usually flavoured with rose water or mastic.
GLYKO KOUTALIOY (SPOON SWEETS): the most popular version is sour cherry (vissino).
YPOVRYCHIO: a spoonful of vanilla (sometimes flavoured with mastic raisins) submerged in a glass of ice-cold water.