Speak Greek #3 - Traditional meals in taverna

Lunch by the sea

It is great to know how to read the local menu and order food. When you are in Greece, it can really improve your food experience. Although English is popular, it is very different to read the Greek menu and order like a Greek - it can lead to warmer reception and pleasant experience in a taverna. Here are some of the most popular meals you will see in the menu of (almost) every Greek tavern.

Σαλάτα [saláta] - Salad
Χωριάτικη σαλάτα [khoriátiki saláta] - Greek (traditional) salad
Τζατζίκι [tzatzíki] - Tzatziki - Cream like mixture of yogurt, cucumber, olive oil and spices. Usually with garlic.
Ντακος [dákos] - Dakos - Dry bread or barley rusk, dipped in olive oil and covered with feta cheese, tomatoes, herbs, and sometime olives and capers.
Χόρτα [khórta] - Horta - kind of salad or light dish made of stewed or steamed local leaf vegetables. Can be served either cold or hot and garnished with olive oil or lemon.

Ψαρόσουπα [psarósoupa] - Psarosoupa - fish soup from different kind of fish and rarely with added vegetables
Κολοκυθάκια [kolokythákia] - Zucchini - usually served fried and often accompanied with some tzatziki

Μουσακάς [mousakás] - Moussaka - baked traditional meal from layers of potatoes, minced meat, fried aubergine covered with topping of Bechamel sauce. Varies based on local cooking traditional and herb preferences.
Παστίτσιο [pastítsio] - Pastitsio - baked dish of pasta mixed with minced meat with topping of Bechamel sauce.
Σουβλάκι [souvláki] - Souvlaki - small pieces of meat and sometimes vegetables grilled on a skewer.
Λουκάνικο [loukániko] - Loukaniko - sausage made from pork or lamb minced meat.
Γεμιστά [gemistá] - Gemista - usually refers to stuffed peppers or tomatoes.

Ψάρι [psári] - Fish
Καλαμάρι [kalamári] - Squid
Χταπόδι [khtapódi] - Octopus
Μύδια [mýdia] - Mussels

Πίτα [píta] - Pita - Pita bread in Greece is a flat bread, baked in oven and usually in round shape. Often used for wrapping gyros and other kind of sandwiches.
Γύρος [gýros] - Gyros - Pork or chicken (rarely other) roast meat, cut on slices and served together with french fries, tzatziki, onion slices and different kind of herbs and sauces. Usually served atop (gyros portion) or wrapped (pita gyros) in a pita bread.

Παραδοσιακό [paradosiakó] - Traditional (in general). Used to signify that the kind of meal is traditional.
Παραδοσιακό γεύμα [paradosiakó gévma] - Traditional meal
Χωριάτικο [khoriátiko] - Traditional (in the context of rural or local). Used to signify that it is local kid of meal.
Χωριάτικη σαλάτα [khoriátiki saláta] - Traditional (Greek, local, rural, village) salad. This kind of salad has many variations which are often specific to the local area and imply specific herbs or ingredients.
Ψητό [psitó] - Grilled. Something that is cooked on a grill.
Ψητά καλαμάρια [psitá kalamária] - Grilled squid
Τηγανιτά [tiganitá] - Fried
Καλαμάρια τηγανητά [kalamária tiganitá] - Fried squids
Κολοκυθάκια τηγανιτά [kolokythákia tiganitá] - Fried zucchini
Γεμιστά [gemistá] - Stuffed kind of food
Καλαμάρι γεμιστά [kalamári gemistá] - Stuffed squid

Do you feel hungry and curious now?
Feel free to explore our personal photos of what we have eaten in different Greek locations - food and drink photos

Writing the article certainly made me hungry :)

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