It's easy enough to find any guide to Greek food out there but when it comes to what not to do when ordering food in Greece, that's an area most people don't know much about. It's true that nearly every dish travelers will try in this country will be fresh, delicious, and full of Mediterranean flair, but there are some things to avoid. Among them, one-way thinking, or considering only restaurant or food avenue, can be a major hindrance to getting to know both the country and its regional cuisine.
From bright vegetarian dishes to seasoned, tender-grilled meat, there's nothing not to love about Greece and its culture. It's a country that yearns to be discovered through its flavors and if you know what to do - along with what not to do - travelers will be able to fully appreciate this island in the sun and all it offers.
Don't Avoid Street Food
One of the best parts of any country, believe it or not, is always its street food. There's something about the rustic and quick nature of grabbing a meal from a busy street corner that makes it taste better and the same is true in Greece, especially around Athens. In the U.S., there are many vendors and food trucks that serve Greek food and in Greece, it's very much the same.
This is where travelers can try authentic gyros, souvlakis, and even more traditional snacks such as falafel or halloumi. Street food definitely isn't something to stay away and while many people might not be open to the concept, it's something to try at least once and if you're going to try it anywhere, do it in Greece!
Don't Always Go With The 'Safe' Option
This includes anything from Greek salad (or just salad, in Greece) to grilled vegetables or anything with feta cheese. That's not to say that these dishes won't be exceptionally delicious - it's to say that Greece offers so much more than just those dishes.
This is a case where it's totally okay and actually encouraged to talk to the server and ask for suggestions; a little bit of guidance with a traditional menu can go a long way. This is also the key to discovering new dishes and really tasting the flavors of Greece in a way you never have before.
Try Not To Go For Restaurants That Serve Everything
Greece, like many other countries in the world, will always have restaurants that serve a little of everything. What do we mean by this? It wouldn't be all that uncommon to find a restaurant serving pizza or burgers, or another dish that's universal in terms of its origins.
You might find something like a Greek burger or a Greek-style pizza but when it comes down to it, this isn't what you're there for. If you're looking to try true, authentic Greek cuisine, opt for the restaurants and dishes that you're not familiar with. Bold flavors lie just outside of your comfort zone!
Don't Underestimate Eating Seasonally, Especially When It Comes To Vegetables
A traveler could order a salad that's full of vegetables in the middle of the winter season but chances are, if they ordered it during the summer season instead, it would taste that much better. When in doubt, the same rule applies: ask the locals!
They'll undoubtedly know what's in season and what the fresh catch of the day is, which means a better meal and one that's backed by seasonal availability. This also gives travelers the chance to try something out of their comfort zone if they travel to Greece during the off-season because dishes are rotated so much.
Don't Forget About Dessert!
If you want to skip dessert elsewhere then by all means - but in Greece, this is something that should not be done. When it comes time to indulge your sweet tooth, go for something that, once again, is a little bit unfamiliar.
Even a dessert that's traditional and well-known (such as baklava) is well worth it simply because you can guarantee it'll be traditionally made, likely with a recipe that's been passed down through generations. Greek desserts are a stunning finish to any meal and should not be missed out on.
Don't Waste Time Seeking Out Vegetarian Or Vegan-Only Establishments
Hear us out on this one: the reason for this isn't because Greece is full of meat dishes but quite the opposite.
There are many vegetable-based options in the average Greek restaurant which means it's usually unnecessary to go out of one's way to find a restaurant that specifically caters to plant-based eating. That's not to say that you can't do it but rest assured, there are plenty of options!