Food in Greece

Jan 11th, 2001, 07:55 AM
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Food in Greece

This is kind of a silly question but I am headed to Greece (Athens, Santorini, Crete, Mykonos, Rhodes) in July for our honeymoon and I am curious as to the type of food that we will find.

I am a very picky eater (no seafood, plain/bland, no sauce/creams) and my fiance loves everything. I would like to be able to find restaurants where we will both be able to enjoy our meals. Is this going to be possible? An example of some of the meals I enjoy, grilled chicken, steak, pasta with a tomato or bolognese sauce.

We our both big fans of dessert though. Any good places for after meal snack?

Thanks for your suggestions.
Jan 11th, 2001, 09:17 AM
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No worries, Danielle. You'll find plenty of food for both of you. Greek cuisine tends to be big on the seafood, but you'll also get amazing vegetarian dishes, great lamb and chicken, pasta, etc. A lot of it is quite simply prepared, so there shouldn't be a bunch of rich sauces or anything. And all those places you're going are used to dealing with finicky Western tourists, so you can probably find anything you want. We spent a month in the islands this summer and ate like kings. You'll have a blast. Enjoy.
Jan 11th, 2001, 09:19 AM
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Well, the good news is that you will be able to get lots of salads and lots of plain grilled meat. The Greeks have their own version of pasta with a minced beef sauce trough it. Chicken is ubiquitous.

They are not big on dessert apart from varieties of pastry dipped in honey. And yoghourt. Don't forget yoghourt.

You'll both be fine!
Jan 11th, 2001, 09:29 AM
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And believe me, you've never had a Greek salad until you have one in Greece. Oh. My. God. They're just amazing. My parents always despaired of me because I'm not big into salads, and I could take or leave Greek salads made here in the US, but I couldn't get enough of them on our trip to Greece. The tomatoes were more flavorful than some desserts I've eaten. And oh, that feta. Yum!!!
Jan 11th, 2001, 10:20 AM
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Did you mean NO bland food or you LIKE bland food?

Fish and seafood are outstanding in Greece, so if you dislike frozen or not too fresh fish at home, you might want to try the real thing. It tends to be cooked simply, with just oil and herbs.

Most of the food is simple, fresh and tasty, not fascinating, but to my taste, quite good, and relies on herbs for flavoring. I dislike "bland" food, but I'm happy with "simple" food that is flavorful, and I was generally satisfied. There are not too many cream sauces, and you can easily avoid them, as I did. If you really hate fish, even when it's fresh and very good, the best choices are lamb in many forms, and vegetarian dishes. Also you can try goat, which is similar to lamb. The vegetables are fresh and good, e.g., stuffed peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants, salads, sauteed wild slightly bitter greens.

Greeks generally don't eat dessert, except for fruit. But they are famous for dessert-like items - extremely rich pastries made with phyllo dough or shredded wheat and ground nuts (or sometimes custard) and honey or sugar syrup flavored with spices and citrus. but people eat these at a coffee and dessert place midafternoon rather than for dessert. They are more filling than a meal itself.

I hate American breakfasts, but i found breakfasts especially good in Greece. They have very good (but fat) yoghurt and wonderful fruit and fresh-squeezed juices, and sometimes some interesting plain slightly sweet biscuits with some strange spicy black seeds in them. although i hate eggs myself, I think they happen to have wonderful fresh tasty egs in Greece (I tried one and didn't hate it).
Jan 11th, 2001, 11:12 AM
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I was sort of wondering the same thing before I went to Greece but I had no problem. I don't call myself picky but I only eat certain kinds of seafood and certain kinds of meats. Throughout Greece I could always find roasted chicken with potatos or some kind of beans with it. Very simple, good and inexpensive too.
Jan 12th, 2001, 12:22 AM
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Here's a different opinion. I thought I liked Greek food until I went to Greece. I don't eat much seafood either, or lamb. Much of the food seemed to me to be either dripping fat or sitting in fat (like omelettes swimming in olive oil). My husband and I lost so much weight in Greece that I began to worry we'd get sick. I have to agree though, the Greek salads were outstanding. Pastas were usually good. Greek desserts are not my cup of tea, but we found lots of pastries on Santorini. The only food I miss is the Neon Cafe's (Athens) tiramisu.
Jan 12th, 2001, 02:59 AM
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I'm a big fan of Greece, but the thing I like LEAST about it is the food (although this may be because I'm not a big meat eater).

My main problems are fatty meat/cuts we don't eat in the UK, lack of fresh vegetables (mostly tinned), chips instead of potatoes, fried/oily food, and TOO MUCH CHEESE (I love it and can't resist)! Also, Greek food is traditionally served lukewarm, as they believe it is good for the digestion (I like my food hot!)

I usually order something from the grill ('tis oras'), as this is cooked to order and is served hot. Grilled chicken and pork is available everywhere. Another favourite usually served hot is keftethes (meatballs). Stifado (veal stew with onions) is excellent, if the meat is lean.

To counteract the lack of vegetables, I try to eat fruit from the market for breakfast and a Greek salad for lunch, although that feta is my downfall! Other excellent cheese dishes are tiropita (cheese pie) and saganaki (deep fried cheese).
Jan 12th, 2001, 03:20 AM
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It may really depend where you are. I thought there were plenty of vegetables, and I'm a big vegetable eater. I did try to eat fish/seafood as much as possible, since it was so fresh. Though lamb was very good, I didn't usually want anything so heavy. I never once had pasta, anything in a cream sauce or custard sauce, or meatballs. I very often had meat-free meals, like stuffed peppers or stuffed other vegetable, and many places had wild greens either raw in a salad or sauteed plain with a little garlic and herbs. The food is not among the world's greatest, but there's lots of fresh, wholesome stuff with full, zesty flavors. However, I did notice after a gap of 20+ years that there was much less traditional food in a lot of the touristy areas. Bread used to be great all over - crusty, rough, fresh peasant bread, similar to very good Italian, Spanish or French peasant bread. The last time i was there the bread in Santorini was awful, like a very bad American commercial version of "Italian" bread, i.e., too soft and tasteless. Also the tzatziki (yoghurt/cuke/garlic/herb dip for bread) used to be ultra-fresh and available everywhere. Recently I saw a lot of it badly made or even, yuk, canned-- seemed to have some starch added as thickener, and was missing the olive oil and fresh herbs. Even had one or two terrible "Greek salads" with strange "American" dressing and non-Greek olives and industrial tomatoes, and these used to be reliably good everywhere with good strong olive oil, garden-type tomaotes, sweet cucumbers, and strong flavored fat olives. Greece is catering to tourists in some of the worst, saddest ways, and one of the things to suffer is the food.

Suggestion - learn the Greek printed lower case alphabet before you go, and learn how to ask a few basic questions and a litle basic vocabulary.
Jan 15th, 2001, 03:49 PM
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Why didn't you just continue with this thread instead of asking it all over again on a new posting? I thought you wee serious, but now I wonder whether you're just playing games with us.
Jan 16th, 2001, 10:02 AM
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Sorry for the double post. I thought I wrote it in the Greece forum and when I went there to look I couldn't find it.I just realized it went in the general Europe one. My apologies.
Apr 2nd, 2001, 05:28 PM
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I couldn't believe my luck when I found this post. I'd love to go to Greece this year - but my husband thinks he'll starve for 2 weeks. He's not vegetarian, but won't eat seafood, pork or chicken. I'm sure lamb would be out of the question. I've resigned myself that in order to get to Greece, I have to be armed with Italian restaurants over there. Has anyone noticed whether there are "italian" or "spanish" restaurants in Greece (particularly Santorini or Crete)? Don't care if they were worth it or not - just as long as I get pasta into his system, I'll get to have my trip!!
Apr 2nd, 2001, 05:55 PM
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OK, he's not vegetarian, but he won't eat seafood, pork or chicken. So does that mean he only eats beef? I think there was beef on the menus. There's also pasta on many of the menus. Pasta seems to be everywhere. So if he eats that, he should be ok. Also lots of cheeses, eggs, etc. (I assume that he must get his protein somewhere.)
Apr 2nd, 2001, 05:59 PM
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And WHAT is the name of that fabulous cheese appetizer that they soak in Oozo and set afire!!!!!!!???
Apr 3rd, 2001, 11:29 AM
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GREEK FOOD IS WONDERFUL! Even if you are a vegetarian, there are plenty of choices! Have a look at my Website, you'll find a very thorough page on Greek food there:

Apr 5th, 2001, 01:29 PM
P Reynolds
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I must say I thought Greek food was not good. I had a stomach ache most of the time I was there (over 2 weeks). And I've travelled pretty widely--Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, and all over Europe. I finally figured out that I was ordering Greek food I was used to in Chicago, like pastitsio and moussaka. Then I found out these are made with a ton of olive oil--much more than we use, and that is hard to digest. So I changed to souvlaki (shish kebab). They have many varieties (beef, lamb, shrimp, fish, pork, etc.) and they're all tasty. They're served with rice and you can get a salad to round it off. It's a tasty, health and digestible meal!
Apr 5th, 2001, 01:53 PM
Steve Curry
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Especially out on the islands, we found very little variety in the restaurants. The food was good, but nothing spectacular (especially coming straight from Italy)

Although we LOVE traditional greek food, let's face it, you can only eat it so many days in a row. It almost seemed like every restaurant had the exact same menus -- the only thing that changed was the quality and price. Lots of pizza, spaghetti, french fries, etc.

The food is very simple but nothing you should worry too much about. We had a fabulous time!

(FYI -- Be prepared, compared to American standards, Greeks eat VERY late. We loved going out for dinner at 10:00 p.m. for a couple of drinks and just sitting down to dinner at 11:30 p.m.)
Apr 5th, 2001, 10:59 PM
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Wendy....the flaming cheese appetizer is called saganiki.

If you ever want desert and are in Athens the best place to go is Zonar's, the main one. It is fabulous. Lots of decadent ice cream deserts. also you can buy some of the best lokumi that I have had.

Apr 6th, 2001, 11:31 AM
Oaktown Traveler
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The food in Greece is absolutely WONDERFUL. We were there 6 weeks, ate like pigs, drank like fish and danced until the cows came home! I LOST 17 pounds with all that going on. Enjoy.
I did not read the previous posts. I am trying not to do so because some of the negativity and bad manners was starting to get me down and I love to talk and to read about travel. I'll read the threads after I post is my new personal policy. So if I have been redundant accept my humble apologies.
Apr 6th, 2001, 12:29 PM
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Unfortunately Margaret, Zonar's doesn't work anymore. The building in which Zonar's was, will be converted into a giant department store.
Maybe it will open again after 2 years, because it is the oldest pastry shop in Athens, and they want to keep it alive.
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