Soak up Santorini sunsets with a refreshingly chilled craft beer. Hop between postcard-pretty fishing villages for the freshest catch of the day. Let our Personal Travel Experts take you on a culinary tour of the best dishes to eat in Greece – and the dreamy Hellenic hotspots in which to try them.
Naples is the birthplace of pizza. Lisbon invented the pastel de nata. You can’t leave Nice without trying the ratatouille. While every country has its absolutely-cannot-be-missed delicacies, any foodie worth their Himalayan rock salt knows it’s always best to visit the region that calls the dish its speciality.
But from slow food to street food, simple tavernas on a buttery-soft beach to Michelin-starred dining amid the scooter-horned buzz of the capital, Greece has as many culinary high points as it has Instagram-worthy places in which to try them.
From the homely perfection of moussaka to artisan takes on feta cheese, the best dishes in Greece evoke the very essence of the Mediterranean. Renowned for its nutritious and vibrant nature, the country’s mosaic of culinary traditions spans thousands of years, deeply rooted in history and influenced by both Eastern and Western cultures.
So what is the best food in Greece according to the Kuoni experts who know it best? For Jamie Trennery, Personal Travel Expert at Kuoni Bluewater, the answer’s simple. “Personally I love gyros, a savoury bundle of joy made of chicken or pork with loads of lemon, olive oil and salad, all wrapped up in a warm, fresh pitta. The best gyros in Greece would come served on a sun-kissed terrace in Rhodes.”
For Jenny Staniforth at Kuoni Meadowhall, it’s the sunny Greek flavours captured in the freshest of produce - and the pastel-shaded island backdrops that make them taste even better. “Just a simple tomato salad in Greece is better than just about anywhere else in the world. But I had an amazing truffle risotto in a beautiful hidden courtyard in Mykonos that I still dream about.”
For Jane Griffiths, Store Manager at Kuoni Liverpool, it’s the relaxed pace of life that makes Greece so special. “Just having a meze can last hours but it’s such a social thing to do with friends.”
Ready to begin your own love affair with this famously foodie destination? We asked Jamie, Jenny and Jane to lead us on an indulgent gastronomic tour of all the best things to eat in Greece – and to let us in on the hidden gems where you can eat them like the locals.
In this article we’ll be covering:
The Best Drinks in Greece
The Best Food in Greece
The Best Desserts in Greece
The Best Drinks in Greece
From vivacious red wines grown high on Macedonian mountain slopes, to a booming brewery scene perched on the edge of a volcano’s caldera, there’s more to Greece than just ouzo and retsina. Raise a glass to Greece’s top three tipples.
Sip the best beer in Greece in Santorini
Imagine enjoying a refreshing beer in a white-washed taverna overlooking a sun-soaked black-sand beach. Now make that a craft beer, brewed just the way you like it from a microbrewery that happens to be just one cobbled street away. Greece is currently enjoying a golden era when it comes to craft beer – and the volcanic island of Santorini is its capital.
Most famous of the island’s microbreweries is the Santorini Brewing Company, whose donkey-themed beers were inspired by the animals used to ferry goods up the steep cliffs. In fact, their ‘Crazy Donkey’ variety was the first IPA ever produced in Greece. We’ll drink to that.
Sample the best ouzo in Greece in Lesvos
Ouzo enthusiast? There’s only one place to go to sample the best of the best. Connoisseurs of the aniseed liqueur flock to the North Aegean island of Lesvos, the epicentre of exceptional ouzo distilleries. Most of the country’s supply is produced in its seaside town of Plomari, but you can also visit the World of Ouzo Museum or go on a tour of a distillery. Rich in botanicals and using centuries-old, traditional methods, each ouzo tastes slightly different – which sounds like a good excuse to try more than one.
Head to Halkidiki for the best red wine in Greece
The surprising thing about Greek red wine is its sheer diversity. Although famous for its balmy, Mediterranean climate, many of Greece’s finest grapes are grown at high altitudes on mountain slopes, so there’s a huge range of flavours to try, from the vivacious and tart to the more aged, oaky styles.
The Halkidiki wine region encapsulates this diversity perfectly. With its warm climate tempered by cooler air in the hilltops, the three-legged peninsula in north-eastern Greece is as well-known for its viticulture as its breathtaking coastline. And the best way to sample what Halkidiki has to offer is to tour one of its vineyards. “We went on an excursion where they were having a wine festival and enjoyed many chances to savour the local wines and pair them with various foods,” says Jamie. “We were even able to tread the grapes which added to the charm.”
The Best Food in Greece
For our travel experts, the best Greek food in Greece is always the traditional favourites. “You can’t leave Greece without trying a meze board complete with freshly made tzatziki,” says Jenny. Home-baked moussaka made from a family recipe that’s been handed down through generations also scores highly with both Jamie and Jane. “When it’s cooked in Greece it just tastes better. You can taste the love and tradition in every bite,” says Jamie. But what else should be on your dream Greek menu?
With its extensive coastline and crystal-clear waters, it’s no wonder Greece is lauded for its excellent seafood. And, with tables looking out over lively Mikrolimano harbour, Michelin-starred Varoulko Seaside in Piraeus, Athens, is widely regarded as one of the best restaurants in Greece for fresh fish aficionados. But when it comes to sourcing outstanding Greek seafood for yourself, there’s no need to push the boat out.
According to Jane, “Some of the best fish to eat in Greece are served at simple tavernas on the islands as this is caught locally by the fisherman. In Crete, I stayed at the stunning resort of Daios Cove Luxury Resort & Villas which has its own traditional taverna serving incredible fish caught only that day.”
The best extra virgin oil in Greece? For Jamie, there’s no contest. “You’ll find it in Corfu. The smell you get from the olive groves in the afternoon sun never leaves your memory.”
One of the country’s lushest islands, this Ionian jewel offers more than just achingly pretty sea views. It’s also home to the Dafnis family, who have been producing their single-estate extra virgin olive oil from the ancient Lianoli variety of olive on their family farm for generations. So good it’s said to have health-enhancing properties, you can visit the Governor estate to see the 15th-century mill in action – and to sample the golden elixir for yourself. Warning: you won’t be leaving without a bottle.
Once Athens had thousands of dairy bars – traditional cafes where locals would stop for coffee and a milky dessert. Now there’s only one. Called Stani’s (meaning ‘sheep pen’ or ‘barnyard’, depending on who you ask), it not only single-handedly keeps the dairy-bar tradition alive, but it also serves hands-down the best Greek yoghurt in Greece.
Nestled behind historic Omonia Square, smartly dressed waiters serve coffee and loukoumades (“honey-soaked doughnuts, and very moreish,” says Jamie) to a lengthy queue of hungry locals. But people also flock from far and wide to try Stani’s incredible Greek yoghurt. Locally produced and so thick you can stand your spoon up in it, it’s served the traditional Greek way with honey and walnuts.
Rhodes has Medieval towns, romantic sunsets and warm, soft sand, but it also has a culinary claim to fame. Called gemista, these stuffed peppers are filled with minced meat, rice and vegetables. They’re on the menu everywhere in Greece, but in Rhodes, bulgur replaces the rice, giving the gemista a lighter and even more nutritious twist.
Moussaka, kebabs and gyros may be meat-heavy, but that doesn’t mean vegetarians will go hungry in Greece. Crispy on the outside, moist and gooey in the middle, kolokithokeftedes are tasty little fritters made from grated courgettes and crumbly feta cheese, bound together with batter and fried. They're at their best when eaten as part of a meze on the island of Crete, according to Jenny. “Crete in my opinion has the best food, with great options of Mediterranean dishes made with lots of fresh produce. It's no wonder it's renowned.”
The Best Desserts in Greece
Decadently sweet Greek desserts may not help you build the body of a Greek god, but for Kuoni expert Jamie they’re worth loosening the waistband for.
“I love bougatsa which is a Greek custard pie made with semolina custard and filo pastry. Flavours vary from region to region, but my favourite is the cinnamon variety,” he told us. This indulgent dessert dates back to the Byzantine period and the best place to try it is in Chania’s characterful Old Town on the island of Crete. Here, its world-famous pastry shop, Iordanis Bougatsa, has been baking fresh bougatsa since 1922.
And although not strictly a dessert, Jamie also found the best feta in Greece came with a surprisingly sweet twist. “In Rhodes I fell in love with Greek honey and whipped feta. I still make it that way now.”
This article features expert advice from:
• Jamie Trennery, Personal Travel Expert at Kuoni Bluewater, is a Europe expert specialising in holidays to Greece, Turkey and Spain. When he’s not designing adventures for Kuoni travellers, he enjoys trips to the cinema and beach walks with his dogs.
• Jenny Staniforth, Personal Travel Expert at Kuoni Meadowhall in Sheffield, has worked with Kuoni for over a year. She especially loves helping couples plan their honeymoons and when she’s not at her desk, she enjoys whipping up travel-inspired dishes at home.
•Jane Griffiths, Store Manager at Kuoni Liverpool, has over 33 years of experience in the travel industry – with the last 13 years dedicated to Kuoni. She loves planning the perfect itinerary for customers and in her spare time, she enjoys watching her daughter horse riding and travelling on her own family holidays.
Has that whet your appetite for a food and drink adventure of your own? Find out more about the flavours of Greece with our destination travel guide or get in touch with our Personal Travel Experts and we’ll tailor-make your perfect foodie holiday.
This feature was created on 18th December 2023. The information within this feature is correct to the best of our knowledge.