The tastes and flavors of Greece are dished up in pitas, skewered, sliced up as pieces of pie, or rolled in leaves to provide bite-sized portions of traditional Greek foods served on the streets. Here is the ultimate guide to the best 25 greek street food dishes.
Souvlaki is the tastiest street food going! Souvlakia (the plural!) is Greece‘s answer to fast food and they can be bought in so many places in every town. They are often confused with Gyros (see below).
Souvlaki is wooden skewers threaded with cubes of pork or chicken that are marinated and then cooked over charcoal. The meat is then put in warm pitta bread with sliced onion, tomatoes, and tzatziki sauce sprinkled with salt and a drizzle of fresh lemon juice. Not only do souvlakia taste great, but they are also very healthy to eat too.
Records show that Souvlakia has been made since the time of the Ancient Greeks when it was called ‘Kandaulos’ and also contained cheese and fresh dill. The first souvlakia shop was opened in Livadia in 1951.
Today, you will find souvlakia shops in every town and in some beach restaurants, where you can order a takeaway – you will get a really delicious and substantial meal at a very affordable price.
By Chrysoula of Greece Travel Ideas
Gyros (meaning turning) is probably the most widespread Greek street food. It originates from Turkish doner kebab. It first became popular in Athens and then quickly spread on the mainland and on the islands.
Today this meal can be found all over the country. It is also popular in the USA, where Chicago is home to the big producer of meat for gyros.
Grilled meat is cut thin and it is put on pita bread with some salad and tzatziki sauce. Everything is then wrapped in pita and ready to consume. It usually also includes french fries. Alternatively, in a restaurant, it can be served on a plate.
The meat is roasted on a vertical spit. In contrast to the Turkish variant with beef, lamb, or chicken you can find here pork or chicken.
Like with souvlaki, gyros meat comes with Pita, salad, and ofter fries. Pita is a flatbread that originates from the Middle East and today is widespread among Mediterranean countries. In gyros, it is oiled and a bit grilled/heated.
The salad usually consists of tomatoes, chopped onions, and lettuce. The tzatziki sauce is made of cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil, and some herbs.
By Džangir Kolar at Dr Jam Travels
After a meal in Greece, Greeks often serve loukamades or “greek doughnuts.” They make a wonderful after dinner sweet treat and they’re simple to make.
Loukamades are really just balls of dough that are fried and then dipped in honey. They are then sprinkled with cinnamon and chopped walnuts and there you have it – one of Greece’s very best street foods!
New variations have been created where you can choose from a host of sweet toppings such as nutella!
While the origin of dolmades is still debatable, with several middle eastern countries claiming their origin, it is also undeniable that dolmades have existed since the 17th century. They are still one of the most popular street foods in many countries.
The ‘domades’ is derived from dolma which is of Turkish origin. However, it is said that the dish is of Greek origin and was later adopted by the Ottoman Empire when the word “dolma” was established. Dolmades are one of the most famous greek delicacies that can be eaten as breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
These are traditionally vegetarian/vegan dishes made of vine leaves that are wrapped into small rolls and stuffed with rice, onion, fresh herbs, and pine nuts. Vine leaves are rich in fiber, vitamin A, Vitamin K, low in calories, and are rich in antioxidants.
The vine leaves are first processed in boiling water until they are tender enough to roll. Saute onions, followed by rice, pine nuts, mint, parsley, salt, and cook them completely. They are carefully made into small portions and wrapped with vine leaves and left in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. Vegetarian dolmades are generally served cold or at room temperature with yogurt and a squeeze of lemon juice.
A visit to Greece is incomplete without tasting these tantalizing dolmades.
By Anuradha from Country Hopping Couple
Spanikopita is a flaky pastry filled with spinach and feta cheese. The country has many types of pies or pitas that are very similar and have various fillings. It is also closely related to Turkish Borek.
These flaky pastry dishes most likely originated in Persia and were brought overland into Turkey. The Turks then spread the dishes all the way to Austria during the 17th and 18th centuries. In the case of spanikopita, they brought both the dough (yufka – now phyllo) then the spinach.
This tasty pie is made using multiple layers of phyllo. The tricky thing about phyllo is that it needs to be very thin, so bakers pull and pull, stretch and stretch before it’s ready. It takes years to master, so it’s easier for home bakers to buy frozen phyllo pastry from the store.
Each thin sheet is brushed with olive oil or butter, stuffed with a mixture of sweet or savory filling, and finally baked. Spanokopita filling is a mixture of spinach, feta cheese, dill, and other herbs.
You can find spanikopita in coffee shops, bakeries, and restaurants all over Greece.
By Corinne of Reflections Enroute
A popular street food in Greece, Koulouri Thessaloniki is essentially a Greek bagel. A fluffy bread with a crispy crust, koulouri are covered in sesame seeds and are delicious by themselves or with a filling.
It has been popular since at least Byzantine times when koulouri was associated with Thessaloniki and Constantinople (and they’re still widely available in Istanbul today – just ask for simit).
Now you can buy koulouri almost anywhere in Greece and they’ve become an iconic street food, available from street vendors or from bakeries.
Koulouri comes in different sizes and is sometimes twisted. Thin versions can be served with a dip or eaten by themselves for a snack, while the thicker ones resemble bagels closely and can be filled with cream cheese, feta, or tomatoes (or butter and jam if you prefer).
While plain koulouri is traditional, you can also buy stuffed versions, which are equally delicious.
Made from a simple dough, most kolouri recipes are straightforward and relatively easy to follow. They are also relatively healthy and very cheap in Greece and make a quick and enjoyable snack.
By Roxanne from Faraway Worlds
Dakos is a traditional Cretan meze dish consisting of dried bread or barley rusk with chopped tomatoes, crumbled Cretan soft cheese called mizithra, and garnished with spices such as dried oregano, fresh olive, and a splash of olive oil.
Dakos are also called koukouvagia, and it is believed to have their origins in a bar situated near Rethymnon that started serving dakos in the 1950s to its customers to keep them energized while drinking all night.
Dakos are similar to Italian bruschetta and are a light dish that can be eaten as a light lunch or a starter before the main evening meal. Mizithra cheese is widespread in Greece but mainly produced in Crete.
It is made of goat or sheep milk. It has a soft texture and creamy, a little salty taste. The cheese on a dried crunchy bread softens by a locally produced olive oil tastes delicious with sun-ripen tomatoes.
Dakos can be found in most taverns and restaurants in Crete. It is a simple yet delicious dish and is a must-try while visiting Crete.
By Mal from Raw Mal Roams
Crisp, warm pastry with a soft, creamy filling – Bougatsa is a textural sensation. One of Northern Greece‘s favorite street foods, this snack is served either savory with meat or cheese, or sweet with a custard filling.
It can be eaten any time, any place, but is particularly popular as a pick-me-up in the morning.
Bougatsa is a favorite in Thessaloniki, where the dish in its current form is thought to have originated. Legend has it the recipe was introduced by Greek refugees returning to their homeland from Constantinople in the early 20th century.
Regional variations developed from there, with Thessaloniki‘s signature Bougatsa gaining a reputation for its ultra-flaky pastry.
There are dozens of specialty bakeries in Greece‘s second-largest city that carry on the tradition today, with Bougatsa Bantis and Bougatsa Giannis two of the oldest and most acclaimed.
The phyllo pastry is the real star of a good Bougatsa. Once baked to perfection, the pie is chopped into bite-sized pieces and served warm.
In the case of sweet Bougatsa filled with semolina and custard, a liberal dusting of icing sugar and cinnamon powder is a must, and strong coffee on the side is obligatory.
By Emily from Wander-Lush
A popular Mediterranean dish, Koupes is synonymous with Greece and Cyprus. Koupes are bulgur and flour coverings that are stuffed with a variety of fillings (with meat being the more popular one) and then fried.
Part of the Greek and even the Cyprus Meze, Koupes are also known as kibbe and kubbat in some countries.
Depending on the place they’re made, the number of herbs and onions added to the filling can vary. Hot water is added to bulgur wheat till it absorbs all of it. Then flour, salt, pepper, onion, and cinnamon is added to this and kneaded well.
While the flour is being prepared, the filling is prepared with lots of onions and parsley. Koupes are usually prepared by hand however some families do have an instrument that helps make the cylinders. These can then be filled with meat and the ends closed and shaped into a cylinder.
Once they’re shaped, they’re checked to ensure there are no cracks and then they are deep-fried. Koupes can be found in most restaurants as a main or a starter and sometimes comes with a side salad.
By Lavinia D’Sousa at Continent Hop
October = Chestnuts in Greece! Chestnuts are harvested from Castaneas trees, and are then sold in markets or at street food carts in October.
You’ll notice that each chestnut has a score mark on it so that heat can escape as it’s roasted. They are traditionally made by roasting – over a flame at a street stall – or in the oven at home.
But chestnuts are also boiled. The smoky flavor is what you want, however, and when you buy them freshly roasted, the meat inside is still warm – there is no better winter treat!
Seafood plays a wide role in the cuisine of Greece in large part due to its extensive coastline. This substantial coastline that surrounds the mainland and its innumerable tropical islands has developed a long history of seafaring.
The Greeks have been enjoying Octopus since ancient times, and this delicacy is still available at the many psarotavernes, or fish taverns, throughout the region.
The octopus (referred to as xtapodi locally) is freshly caught and hung out to dry In the sun for a couple of hours. It is then marinated and grilled over charcoal, and is best served accompanied with a homemade latholemono sauce and horta or steamed vegetables.
Pair this seafood dish with some freshly baked bread and a glass of ouzo for the perfect meal. Other choices include xtapodi in a stew or with creamy pasta.
It should be noted that overfishing has caused a significant decline in the number of octopi, so always choose seafood that has been responsibly caught and from those restaurants that follow these principles.
By Rai of A Rai of Light
The kreatopita is best known as the Greek meat pie and comes with its own Hellenic twist. On Greek New Year, a savory meat pie is traditionally served in place of the nationally common dessert pie in the region of Epirus.
But apart from these morsels, the origins of the kreatopita are ambiguous and the ingredients vary from region to region.
Nevertheless, there are some common tendencies: the basis of the kreatopita tends to be minced beef, onions, and feta cheese, all wrapped up in thin filo pastry.
These make for a warm and filling snack around the turn of the year (or at any other time you’re feeling peckish).
Said to have come from a Slavic word meaning “corncob”, kokoretsi is the Greek version of a dish found across the lands of the former Ottoman Empire.
Kokoretsi is not for the faint of heart, consisting of lamb or goat intestines (seasoned with spices like oregano and garlic) wrapped around a skewer of seasoned offal.
Once cooked, kokoretsi is often served with flatbread and a variety of condiments such as ketchup and tzatziki.
Although it flouts several EU food safety regulations, the kokoretsi is a great meaty gamble for the more adventurous eater!
Tiropita traces its origins back to either the nomadic Turkic tribes of the Central Asian steppe or the ancient Greek placenta cake (which gave its name to the human organ).
Tiropita is quite similar to its better-known cousin the spanakopita, both being savory cheese-based pies wrapped in filo pastry. But whereas the spanakopita is filled with herbs, spinach, and feta, tiropita is filled with a mixture of egg and various cheeses (such as feta, ricotta, cream cheese, or even parmesan), giving the pie a salty almost custard-like texture.
LIke Tiropita and Spanakopita, Tiropsomo shares the common goal of baking cheese into something incredible!
Tiropsomo is Greek feta bread, unlike Spanakopita and Tiropita that use filo pastry, Tiropsomo bakes feta cheese into a light bread. The dough is made from flour and milk and is not kneaded. This makes it quick and easy to make from ingredients found in every Greek kitchen.
Any kind of herbs can be added and olives are sometimes placed on top. It is the perfect accompaniment to Greek bean soup but is also a quick snack to grab on the street.
16. Fish in a Cone
A recent development in the tradition of Greek street food, fish in a cone was pioneered by Athenian restauranteur Zizis Papazisis as a quick, cheap and efficient way for Greeks to eat seafood in trying economic times.
Customers have their choice of a variety of different options, each packing a specially chosen mix of fish into a paper cone, before being sprinkled with salt and lemon.
Although a new kid on the block, fish in a cone has taken Athens by storm and looks as if it’s there to stay.
17. Ryzi (Peasant Rice)
Although originating in far-off Asia, rice was first appreciated by the armies of Alexander the Great and has been grown in Greece since at least the 19th century.
However, it was after World War Two that it really came into its own, making the transition from a luxury grain to a national staple.
Peasant rice, or ryzi, is a simple Greek rice dish that has become popular around the world. Made from long-grain jasmine rice (known as nuhaki in Greece), lemons and onions are often added as the mix is cooked pilaf style.
That said, methods and ingredients vary, so be ready for something different every time you try it.
18. Greek Falafel (Revithokeftedes)
Falafels are deep-fried balls of chickpea batter famous across the Arab world, but they’re also a common street food in Greece.
Though possibly brought to Greece by Arabs during the Ottoman era, the modern home of chickpeas and the Greek falafel is probably the Cycladic island of Sifnos.
Sifnos is well known for its cuisine, and its chickpeas in particular, and it’s from here that revithokeftedes or chickpea fritters are said to have originated. Meat was hard to find on a small and poor island like Sifnos, and so substitutes like revithokeftedes came in to fill the gap.
Made from chickpeas, potatoes, and herbs like marjoram, mint, and dill they’re widely available on the island and across the nation.
19. Dried fruit
If you’re in the mood for a healthy snack to get you through a busy day of sightseeing, then you will find a huge variety of dried foods and nuts at Greek markets.
Staples include raisins, plums, and apricots, but apples, pears, and figs are also available along with anything else that be dried and preserved.
Always a fixture in Greek life, dried fruits have proliferated on the streets as customers sought out lighter options in a culinary scene dominated by fried foods. While you’re at it, grab some chestnuts, walnuts, and sunflower seeds (often sold at the same stall) for a nourishing Greek trail mix.
Saganaki is a type of fried cheese appetizer that takes its name from the small frying pan in which it is prepared.
Sometimes flambeed and tossed with a dramatic “opa!”, saganaki is often served with lemon juice, seafood or various other local condiments.
Similar dishes exist across Asia Minor and the Mediterranean, from the great Egyptian port of Alexandria to the island of Cyprus. Saganaki differs from the better-known Cypriot side halloumi in its color and texture: halloumi cooks darker and “squeaks” more in your mouth, but both are worth a try.
Peynirli is a type of boat-shaped pide, with its middle covered in various types of cheeses and sometimes ingredients such as meat and vegetables.
Peynirli is actually a Turkish word meaning “with cheese”, and the food’s history in Greece is both sad and intriguing. Peynirli became a fixture in Greece following the 1920s population exchange with the new Turkish Republic.
As Pontic Greek refugees from the Black Sea coast arrived outside Athens, they brought with them their own regional culture and traditions. Among these was Peynirli, which can be found everywhere in Athens’ northern suburbs and throughout the country.
Originally hailing from the island of Crete, kolokithokeftedes is a national hit now available across Greece.
As you might have guessed from the name, kolokithokeftedes is a type of fritter similar to the revithokeftedes of Sifnos but made from fried zucchini or courgettes.
Chopped zucchini is mixed with a generous amount of Greek feta and herbs like mint and dill before being fried to a crisp brown.
A classic ouzo meze dish, kolokithokeftedes is a great way to soak up the excess alcohol down at the taverna and make sure you’re (more or less) fighting fit for the next day of adventuring.
The word moussaka is a regional favorite that comes from the Arabic for “fed cold” but is typically enjoyed piping hot in Greece.
Though variations differ widely from country to country, and even within Greece itself, Greek moussaka is typically a dish based upon layers of eggplant, mince, and béchamel sauce.
The mince often includes pureed tomatoes, onions, and various spices and is reminiscent of something in between a lasagne and a shepherd’s pie.
A hearty meal, great for Greece’s cold winters, moussaka is great for the traveler who wants something more substantial in their stomach. Grab some at the many moussaka yellow street carts.
24. Greek Burgers – Biftekia
Although burgers might be an American favorite, the Greeks couldn’t be content with a simple beef patty slathered with ketchup, and so they created their own quintessentially Greek version: biftekia.
Biftekia differs from its American cousin because it incorporates aromatic herbs such as oregano, mint, and parsley in an egg, breadcrumb, and mince patty. Biftekia is cooked on a grill or pan as you might expect and enjoyed on buns and with fries.
That said, they’re often had alongside horta (fried vegetables) and as part of Greek salads with condiments like yogurt and tzatziki.
25. Greek Salad (Horiatiki)
Horiatiki, or Greek salad, comes in as many varieties as the country itself. Horiatiki comes from simple origins: the simple lunch of a Greek farmer, and the word derives from the Greek for villager or peasant.
Light and mostly vegetarian, the basis of a horiatiki is usually Greek feta, cucumber, onions, and kalamata olives.
Capsicum, capers, and seasonings of olive oil and various herbs are also a common addition, but you should expect almost anything, depending on the lovely tastes of your local area!
Further Resources and Links
- See all of the best things to do in Greece, from Get Your Guide
- Check out all articles on Greece
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