Hey everyone! This post is a little different than anything I’ve done before. Those who know me are aware that this year I was lucky enough to travel to Greece with Nik. We stayed in both Athens and Santorini, and of course, one of the main things I was excited about was trying all of the delicious Greek food! This was truly the trip of a lifetime. I saw awe-inspiring ruins, beautiful architecture, drank delicious beer, met wonderful people, witnessed heavenly sunsets, and sampled some incredible Greek cuisine.
Our first day in Greece was spent sleeping off the awful jetlag, which was made worse by the fact that I am apparently incapable of falling asleep on a plane, no matter how exhausted I am! When we finally woke up, it was 9pm and our tummies were rumbling. We ventured out and found a crowded restaurant with tables sprawling out onto the street. We tried some Greek beer, called Mythos, and ordered some Saganaki, which is a traditional Greek appetizer of a pan-fried firm cheese. Holy yum, can it get any better than fried cheese? This was a heavy dish, but the accompanying lemon slice helped cut through the delicious greasiness. Mythos beer is smooth, flavorful, and goes down like water. It was our favorite beer of the trip!
I knew I had to order Gyros first thing. I love a good Gyro and was so excited to try the authentic version. It did not disappoint. At only 2,30€, a good Gyro makes a great budget lunch or dinner. You can find them on any street, but make sure you wander away from the touristy areas to avoid being over charged.
Athens is definitely a foodies paradise. There is plenty of traditional Greek food, but also a surprising amount of great Global cuisine. The amount of restaurants, dessert cafes, coffee bars, and specialty shops is enough to keep even the most ravenous foodie satisfied for months!
The specialty shops are where you want to go for all of your souvenir needs. Peruse Monastiraki’s winding flea market, but wander away from the crowds to purchase your goodies; you’ll save so much money shopping away from the touristy areas! Pictured above is a shop we found that sells all sorts of specialty olive oil, oregano, honey, Greek candies, nuts, ouzo, and tins of gourmet seafood in herbed oil.
Speaking of ouzo, we knew we had to try it even though neither of us thought we would like it. Ouzo is an anise-flavoured aperitif that is widely consumed in Greece. It’s interesting because it is a clear liquor, but when mixed with water (the most common way it is drunk) it takes on a milky color. In my opinion, ouzo is disgusting, but that’s because I hate black licorice, and ouzo tastes like liquid black licorice x100. This stuff is crazy strong, and if you like the taste of licorice, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!
Also pictured above is Nik enjoying a classic Greek salad, which consists of cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, feta, olive oil, and oregano. We ate so much of this salad during our trip, even for breakfast most mornings!
The Greeks aren’t big on breakfast, and most of them prefer to grab something quick to eat with their morning coffee. Koulouri, one of the most popular street foods in Greece, is the breakfast of choice. Koulouri is a bread ring covered in toasted sesame seeds. They are crunchy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, and the sesame offers a nice, subtle flavor that is perfect to snack on. We picked up a few for breakfast while we walked around the stunning Temple of Zeus.
For my vegetarian readers who want more than salad and bread rings for dinner, Athens has the best falafel I’ve ever tasted! They are offered at many of the same places Gyros are offered, but there are a few stands and shops that sell only falafel. The one we tried was perfect; the falafel was so crunchy on the outside and perfectly soft on the inside. Not dry at all like many falafels I’ve had in America. The tahini sauce is also out of this world! And don’t get me started on how soft and warm all the pita is. I will never be able to eat pita at home again.
No trip to another country is complete without checking out the nightlife. I’d heard of Brettos Bar and I knew I had to go there because it just looked so beautiful! The cocktails here are a bit pricey, but there are so many different flavored liquors and plenty of options for every taste. We made a few friends here from all over the world as well. It’s a great place to come and stay for a while!
Another thing I was surprised to find in Greece were crepes! Not only that, they were the best crepes I have ever tasted! The shop we found was right off of Monastiraki square, so we could sit outside and watch the hustle and bustle of city life while enjoying our treats. My crepe had ham, cheese, tomato, and cheese salad. Delicious!
Off we go to Santorini!
Santorini is known for its sweet, rich tomatoes, and many restaurants on the island feature tomatoes prominently on their menu. First thing upon arriving in Thira, we went out to dinner and tried some delicious Domatokeftedes, or Tomato fritters. This was my favorite meal of the trip, hands down. The fritters were perfectly balanced, the dough was nice and rich, and the tomatoes were so sweet and tangy. The fritters were extremely crispy, and came with a basil lemon aioli for dipping. The salmon pasta was out of this world as well. It was dressed in a tomato based vodka cream sauce, and the salmon was lightly smoked and so flaky and tender. I’ve spent so many hours trying to recreate these two dishes, they were absolutely perfect!
Saganaki is a traditional Greek dish named after the pan in which it’s prepared. The shrimps were huge and so, so fresh! As always, the tomatoes took this dish to the next level.
The Greeks I talked to said the best way to enjoy fresh seafood in Greece was simply grilled with olive oil and lemon, and I could not agree more. I had some of the best seafood of my life in Santorini, including probably the most tender, butter-like octopus in the world. Even if you’re not a fan of Octopus because of the chewy texture, you’ll love it here. It’s absolutely delightful!
Cheers everybody! We had such a wonderful time in Greece and I hope I fit everything in this very very long review of Greek food. I skipped out on Baklava, which you should definitely not, because it’s delicious and rich. I just didn’t get a picture! I have fallen in love with Greece, and cannot wait to go back someday. I hope you have a great time there if you decide to go, and make sure you make the most of the trip by eating everything in sight!