A trip to Greece is a wonderful experience, but exploring the country without eating its food is job half done! There are many sweets and flavors to taste, but eating in Greece is a beautiful adventure. Just like in any adventure, there are certain things you should and shouldn’t do.
Do try the street food
No matter where you are in this country, you are sure to find more than one street restaurant that serves gyro, souvlaki, and tzatziki. These kinds of meals are easy to find, cheap, and delicious. However, don't overdo it. Enjoy their incredible flavors, but don’t forget that they are not light or easy to digest.
Do taste the traditional, Greek cuisine
A quick bite is nice, but not as nice as mousaka or pastitsio. Layers of flavor in the form of mince, pasta, and béchamel await you in every restaurant. These are a few of the innumerable choices that Greek diners have to offer.
Don’t trust the image
When you reach Greece, you are going to look for something to eat. So, it is quite probable for you to notice the huge amount of restaurants, cantinas, and diners that resemble museums. It is a common practice for owners to fill their shops with flags, statues, and pictures of archeological sites just to lure in unsuspecting tourists. Of course, this does not necessarily mean that the food will not be good, but you may have to exceed your price range for an, fortunately, average experience.
Do ask the local people for information and advice
You are in a foreign country. It is normal not to know where to go and what to eat. Loving food is a requirement for being Greek. So, ask some natives to show you a good place to eat. In all likelihood, they will introduce you to a cheap, hidden, small restaurant where you are going to taste wonderful flavors. If they join you in your meal, they might offer to pay the bill. Don’t insist and don’t refuse their offer. Greek people are hospitable, and this is their way to show it to you. Show your gratitude and enjoy.
Many tourists, wanting to save money, choose to go in a traditional, Greek restaurant and just eat a Greek salad or something similarly cheap. Although, the Greek salad is fantastic and a popular Greek food, don’t compromise. You are in Greece, which means that there are hundreds of places where you can eat tasty and filling foods with the same or less amount of money.
Find the hidden gems
You may find the perfect cantina or restaurant on your first try but look for more. The Greek cuisine offers a great variety of flavors, and this translates to a huge amount of different restaurants. Strolling around any city, you will be able to admire the pulchritude of Greece, but you will also discover a hidden paradise of taste in your price range.
Don’t say no
Once you find the cheap, great restaurants, you will enjoy not only the food but also the hospitality of the owners. They will propose certain plates to you. Don’t refuse. They know better, and they want you to have a good time. They will also treat you something to drink. Usually, it is a traditional, Greek drink like ouzo, tsipouro or wine. Don’t say no. Drink with them, but don’t get drunk. Keep in mind that these beverages are quite strong. You can just take a sip and thank them for their hospitality. Don’t be too stressed about your table manners. In many occasions, Greeks prefer to use their fingers rather than the pitchforks. Follow their lead and you will notice that food tastes better that way.
Do a compliment
If you like the food, don’t hold back. Offer your congratulations to the people responsible. They will appreciate your kindness. Leave a tip. Tips are not as common in Greece as they are in other countries, but tip if you feel like it. Don’t worry about the amount of money. The gesture is more important.
In conclusion, the Greek eating etiquette consists of few and simple rules. Don’t settle for less when it is easy to find more, cheaper, and better food. Don’t say no to treats and offers, but don’t overdo it. Compliment and show your gratitude to the owners and waiters. Be open to advice from the local people and explore the culinary beauty of Greece.