eating out in Greece

When visiting a popular destination in Greece, choosing a place to dine can seem daunting, especially when there’s so much choice. The best way to select is by checking out where the locals are eating. It’s a good indication that the food served is of good quality and as close as possible to the original.

Also, steer clear of restaurants that have everything on their menu. Places that serve everything from fish and meats to pizza and pancakes are to be avoided at all costs. It basically means you’ll be getting a generic version of anything that’s on the menu. Better to chose a pizzeria or a fish-only taverna rather than a smorgasbord of boring, tasteless dishes.

Once you chose a restaurant you like, look around you, see what others have ordered. If something seems interesting, ask the waiter and order the same.

If you’re visiting Greece but know very little about Greek cuisine or don’t know what to get, order a Greek salad with feta cheese and some Greek wine for starters and then just look at what others are getting. Your best bet is to watch the locals and, of course, ask them too.

A good idea is to order two or three appetizers, a salad and one main dish. Greeks usually share and rarely order individual plates for themselves. It’s part of the “going out together” culture.

Remember, each destination in Greece has specific food items and products it is known for. Ask around about the local specialties and try those first. When selecting fish, ask to accompany the waiter into the kitchen and to select the fish you want.

I also suggest asking about the local varieties of wine, particularly in places like Crete, the Peloponnese, Kefalonia, Santorini, and Athens. But also ask to sample a Greek wine. It would be a pity to visit Greece and not try some of its finest wines. Besides being winemakers since ancient times, Greek producers today export some of the finest wines in the world.

Though you’re not obliged to, leaving a small tip is a good idea if you are satisfied with the service. The more satisfied the higher the tip usually. Have in mind, that nearly all Greeks leave 1- or 2-euro tips for things like coffee or drinks. I would suggest using the 15% rule at restaurants and tavernas to be fair.


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