Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Mon August 17 2015

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  • A Cruising Couple | August 17, 2015 11:00 PM ET

    A Cheat Sheet To Our Favorite Greek Cuisine

    A Cheat Sheet To Our Favorite Greek Cuisine

    Photo of Tzatziki via Flickr/Klearchos Kapoutsis

    Greece has a widespread reputation for its flavorful Mediterranean style cuisine. And rightfully so! We loved wining and dining our way across the Hellenic landscape, trying local variations and country classics. Each region and island has its own unique flavors and dishes, but this guide will give you a good introduction to some of the most popular dishes you’ll find on menus throughout the country.


    This creamy, cool spread is perfect on hot summer days. Ingredients consist of thick Greek yogurt, lemon juice, cucumber, garlic, and dill or mint. Tzatziki is a standard ingredient in gyros but can also be served as a spread with bread for an appetizer.

    Eggplant Dip

    A simple yet scrumptious appetizer is the traditional Greek melitzanosalata or eggplant dip. Ingredients include large purple eggplants, red onion, garlic, lemon juice and parsley. The eggplants are baked first as they need to be soft to make the dip. For some extra Mediterranean flair, ask for a bit of feta cheese on top.

    Fried Zucchini Balls

    One of our personal favorites, Kolokithokeftedes or fried zucchini balls can be found on nearly every menu in Greece. The perfect version requires an extra crispy fried outside while the inside retains its creamy, rich texture.

    Olive Paste

    Simple but oh-so-tasty, this paste’s main ingredient is the olive, the region's delicious, iconic fruit. Smother a healthy dose on bread or pita and pair with a nice white wine for a quick and delicious afternoon snack.



    Photo via Flickr/Kullez

    Arguably Greece's most famous dish, it's essentially a baked lamb and eggplant casserole with a thick layer of bechamel sauce on top. You can also find variations that substitute the lamb for ground beef and the eggplant for potatoes.


    You'll see this one all over menus in Greece, although it refers less to the ingredients and more to the dish in which it is prepared. Beef saganaki, cheese saganaki and the like are all prepared in a small frying pan, crisping the contents to perfection.


    The Greek Kabab, or Souvlaki, also has many variations depending on what is being cooked. Pork, lamb and chicken are all popular choices throughout the country.



    Photo via Flickr/Wendy

    Looking for a single course to keep you full all day? The Greek gyro will do just that. This Grecian take on the taco typically includes your choice of vertical-cooked rotisserie-style meat, tomato, onions, French fries and tzatziki sauce all rolled up and packed inside a pita.

    Beef Stifado

    This amazingly tender Greek stew is melt-in-your-mouth amazing. The beef stifado we sampled came with orzo pasta and a flavorful tomato based sauce mixed with aromatic herbs and spices.


    The Greek Islands naturally take advantage of the surrounding sea, turning out some delicious seafood like mussels, calamari, fresh fish and even lobster. If you're really up for an adventurous meal, try the sea slugs or sea urchin.

    Greek Salad

    Santorini Greece

    I don't think we went 24 hours without having a Greek salad. A light and healthy mix of tomatoes, cucumber, cloves and feta cheese drizzled with olive oil. The secret to a truly amazing Greek salad is using Santorini tomatoes and deseeding the cucumbers.

    Greek Yogurt

    We prefer this thicker and healthier option to other types of yogurt. Add your favorite fruit or a dab of honey to sweeten it up.


    This foam-covered iced coffee drink is made from instant coffee and water, which is combined using a mixer. You can add milk or sugar if you like or take it black. It's a great way to start your day or to chill out on a hot afternoon.


    The national drink of Greece is a powerful one. Always recommended after a large meal and diluted with water, this licorice-flavored aperitif is commonly seen being sipped slowly late into the night.


    Greek Wine

    It seems every region of Greece specializes in a different type of wine, and many of the islands have wineries you can visit and do a tasting. We recommend checking out the Estate Argyros in Santorini. The wine master is very knowledgeable, and the assyrtiko wines for which Santorini prides itself are phenomenal.

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A Cruising Couple A Cruising Couple's Column

A Cruising Couple Dan and Casey are the two lovebirds, world travelers and adventurers extraordinaire behind the popular travel blog A Cruising Couple - adventure travel with a dash of class. Their stories and photographs feature that special place where experiential and stylish travel meet. Find out how you can spend less money, live more adventurously and travel more luxuriously on their blog,
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