In Greece great food isn’t hard to come by; however, have you ever considered making a meal out of delicious Greek meze, or small plates, and accompanied by the perfect complimentary Greek drink?
Meze, or mezedes in the plural, can offer you a variety of creative little dishes, so you can get a taste of everything. Just think of it as tapas, Greek style!
Meze is found throughout the Mediterranean and North Africa, and while there are many similarities across cultures, there are many mezedes that are completely unique to Greece.
Let’s look at some great combo platters that do justice to the famous cuisine of Greece.
Going to the taverna, mezedopoleio, or ouzeri for mezedes
Whether you are dining at a taverna, mezedopoleio or ouzeri, you can experience a variety of flavors and regional dishes that are distinct and full of tradition throughout Greece.
The biggest difference here is that at a mezedopoleio, Greek meze is their specialty, so you will have a large selection of carefully crafted dishes to choose from.
At an ouzeri you are definitely going to have a variety of drinks to select from that will best compliment your dishes.
In fact, that is a ouzeris’ specialty — drink selection. So when you are there be sure to ask for recommendations regarding which drink best compliments your meal.
What Greek meze to order
You can order spicy, savory, and even sweet dishes made with fresh ingredients, that give you a well-rounded sampler of any Greek yiayia’s kitchen.
While the list of Greek mezedes is endless, featuring meat, seafood, vegetables, and more, there are a few dishes that stand out.
A typical summer dish that is eaten year-round, made of red or long green peppers stuffed with soft cheese or a rice, nut and black currant mixture.
Taramasalata is made from salted cod roe and breadcrumbs, with a little lemon juice and olive oil thrown in. If it’s pink it has food coloring, because the natural color of this dish is a pale yellow-gray. It is a typical dish eaten around Easter time as well as year-round.
Plevrótous oyster mushrooms
Served up grilled, these unique mushrooms are a great treat! Although they’re completely vegetarian, these mushrooms have a meat-like quality due to their taste and texture.
Tyrokafteri, or spicy cheese dip
Made with pureed cheese and hot chili powder or fresh pieces of green chili, tyrokafteri is a delicious, slightly spicy dip. It’s perfect with fresh bread!
Dolmades made with grape leaves or cabbage leaves
These scrumptious little rolls, either made with cabbage or grape leaves, are filled with either a meat mixture or stuffed with rice and herbs and are eaten at room temperature with a dab of Greek yogurt.
Pites, or pies
Pites, or pies, can be eaten at anytime during the day in Greece. You will see people enjoying a cheese pie for breakfast, lunch, or dinner as they are quite versatile and filling.
Made with phyllo or a light bread covering, depending on what regional style of pita you are eating, these pies can be filled with anything from spinach, chicken, and cheese. These are just some of the more popular options — there are even more varieties to select from.
Try flaming saganaki, or feta, graviera, kefalotyri or kefalograviera, just to name a few delicious Greek cheeses.
Usually cheese is eaten with meals in Greece, so why not include a sampler with your meze feast?
Many Greek restaurants will end your meal with a complimentary bowl of Greek yogurt with nuts and honey drizzled over top, or a seasonal fruit platter.
Don’t be surprised if there is just one bowl or plate offered with many utensils, as Greeks often share the dessert at the end of a meal.