Greek Food Bucket List: 30 Traditional Dishes to Eat From Greece

Call me crazy, but prior to traveling to Greece I had no idea how delicious Greek food would actually be. But, by the third trip to the Mediterranean country there was a deep love fest forming for the tasty traditional Greek cuisine. My days (and nights) were filled with dishes of moussaka, tzatziki and, of course delicious desserts like baklava. It is some of the best food in the world! 

Greek food spreads its culinary influence throughout Europe and beyond. With an ancient tradition, Greek cuisine has been greatly influenced by both Eastern and Western cultures. Flavors of Greek food changes with season and geography. However, fresh vegetables, fishes & seafood plays a significant role in the dishes mostly because of its long coastline while meat is treated as less popular, with the exception of lamb.

Here are some of the favorites not to missed when traveling through Greece.

Greek Food Bucket List: Names of the Best Traditional Dishes to Eat From Greece Cuisine

1. Amygdalota

Amygdalota is gluten-free almond cookie that is wildly popular in Greece and are the perfect match to a warm cup of Greek coffee. Whether it is a family or friends gathering, Amygdalota reflects the images of good times warm relationships. This food may vary a bit in different parts of Greece, but almonds being the dominant ingredient throughout the regions.

Recipe > Almond Cookies by Saveur

2. Baklava

Baklava is the quintessential Greek food experience. This cuisine mostly contains nuts and butter along with sugar. After baking, sweet syrup is poured over it so that the syrup can be absorbed by the crispy layers of phyllo. It is probably the most popular food item among all Greek desserts. It brings a festive mood in the dining room through its exquisite flavor and flaky crust.

Recipe > Baklava by Michael Symon

Layered pastry Baklava (Greek Dessert)

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3. Bougatsa

Bougatsa is a kind of sweet pie (less sweet if you consider Greek standard) made of phyllo pastry & semolina custard. This is a kind of food that tastes good in daytime, delicious at late night and best enjoyed with pleasant memories. If you want to eat this pie from roadside food court you will also get a sprinkle of powder sugar and cinnamon on top.

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4. Courgette Balls (kolokithokeftedes)

You are going to want to add this veggie starter to the list of your favorite dishes. This is a very popular Cretan meze, found in most (if not all) Greek restaurants. Your taste buds will be mesmerized by its flavored texture, salty & tasty feta cheese with a bit of fresh mint. The original kolokythokeftedes must be crispy on the outside with a creamy texture on the inside.

Recipe > Courgette Balls by Lemon & Olives

Courgette Balls on a black plate

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5. Dolmadakia (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

This is another sign of the versatile nature of Greek food. Dolmadakia are tiny dolmades that are made of stuffed grape leaves. Inside the leaf you will get meat of ground lamb or beef (sometimes both) and rice stuffing. Traditionally, this dish is served as appetizer with lemon wedges.

Recipe > Dolmades by Tyler Florence

(Popular Greek Food) Dolmadakia

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6. Tomatokeftedes (Santorini Tomato Fritters)

Tomaotokeftedes or tomato fritters are traditional meze and main course vegetarian food item in Santorini and Syros. Proper draining of tomato is essential for preparing this delicious food item. These fritters have rough edges with bits of mint, tomato and onion chunks.

PS: before heading to Santorini, definitely read our Santorini Bucket List: 30 Best Things to Do on the Greek Island!

Recipe > Tomatokeftedes (Fried Santorini tomato balls / tomato fritters) by My Greek Dish

Traditional Greek Food: Santorini Tomato Fritters

7. Ellinikos (Greek Coffee)

Ellinikos is still the most favorite style of coffee adopted in Greece. The coffee is served in the traditional long handled coffee copper pot which is known as briki in Greek. There are three different tastes of Ellinikos like Vari Glyko which means strong & almost honey sweet, Metrios meaning medium sweetness and Sketos mening without sugar.

Recipe > Greek Coffee (Ellinikos Kafes)

8. Greek Fava Dip (Yellow Split Pea Puree)

This mouthwatering vegetable dish, made with yellow split peas, is mostly popular on the Greek island of Santorini, however, remains dominant in terms of popularity all across Greece. It is creamy with spectacular taste—great starter for winter days. Enjoy this Fava dish as an appetizer or dip with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Recipe > Authentic Greek Fava recipe (Yellow Split Peas Puree)

9. Feta Me Meli

Another Greek food dish that can be tasted as dessert or an entrée. Feta is wrapped in filo pastry before oven baked and honey is drizzled over it. The optimum balance between salty feta and sweet honey creates a mesmerizing taste.

Recipe > Phyllo-wrapped Feta Cheese Appetizer with Honey and Sesame Seeds

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10. Frappe

Frappe is an iced coffee drink that makes your hot summer days comfortable. Two main components of Frappe are water and instant coffee granules. Once mixed it becomes addictive, delicious and frothy. With such a strong appeal it’s a perfect pick-me-up drink without extra calories.

Recipe > New York Times Recipe: Greek Frappé

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11. Galaktoboureko

Galaktoboureko is a great Greek dessert with crispy perfection. Take a mouthful bite of Galaktoboureko and let your mouth be filled with its juices. This age old Greek dessert is made of crispy phyllo sprinkled with melted butter. Greeks use the most creamy custard & scented syrup to increase the taste of this food by many folds.

Recipe > Traditional Greek Galaktoboureko recipe (Greek Custard Pie with Syrup)

Galaktoboureko on a white plate

12. Greek Salad (Choriatiki)

Greek salad is a must have for Greeks with almost every meal. Choriatiki are made of tomatoes, olives, cucumber and a large piece of feta cheese and served undressed.

Dressing is left at person’s choice hence all restaurants serve vinegar, salt, pepper and olive oil with the salad. With the tradition of being a starter, Greek salad can also be a great side dish.

Recipe > Bon Appetit Greek Salad

13. Gyros

Gyros are an economical meal choice and so yummy! When the meat is roasted vertically and turning on the spit it is known as Gyro. Wait, it is not done yet. Slices of gyro are then placed in pita with various taste enhancers including sauce, onions, lettuce, tomatoes and potato chips.

Recipe > Gyro Meat with Tzatziki Sauce by Alton Brown

Gyros served with potato fries

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14. Halvas

You will be surprised by the deliciousness of such humble food especially when you are looking for a no dairy, no butter and an egg free dessert. Halva is a great combo of four ingredients: oil, semolina, sugar and water.

You will be mesmerized by the taste of these four ingredients when combined. In simple words, halva is semolina pudding which is sweetened by syrup and studded with nuts.

Recipe > Halva (A Greek Sweet Using Semolina)

Greek Semolina Halva

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15. Kataifi

This is one of the most popular Greek desserts made with a special type of pastry called Kataifi. When rolled up the pastry resembles shredded wheat. A delectable nutty center is rolled inside crisp, thread like strands of pastry, baked, and then soaked in sweet syrup.

The pastry is full of strand so there is always a chance to get messy when you eat this. So don’t try too much to pull them or cut them.

Recipe > Kataïfi: Almond & Walnut Pastry in Syrup

Kataifi served on a white plate

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16. Keftethes (Meatballs)

Give this juicy and crispy Greek meatball a try and bring a delicious twist to your plate. Keftethes is mainly a Greek appetizer dish served with creamy sauce and pita bread. However, this item can also be eaten as a full meal with basmati rice and Greek feta salad.

Recipe > Margaret’s Keftedes (Greek Meatballs)

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17. Loukoumades

Loukoumades are little bite-sized golden puffs of fried dough that are sprinkled with sweet syrup, walnuts and cinnamon. With crispy outside and fluffy inside this Greek donut will give you absolute deliciousness.

Recipe > Loukoumades at All Recipes

Filters Pastries or Loukoumades

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18. Moussaka

A legendary, traditional dish that is creamy and juicy. Moussaka is served in almost all tavernas in Greece. In the big family gathering this dish is prepared by Greek homemakers. In Moussaka, tomato sauce is used to cook minced beef which is subsequently layered with sweet eggplants and creamy béchamel sauce. This irresistible cuisine is filling so you don’t need too many side dishes.

Recipe > Bobby Flay’s Moussaka

A rich and delicious moussaka

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19. Pasteli

Pasteli is a Greek cusine made of mainly two components; honey and sesame seeds. These pasteli are known as the original power bars in Greece. In additions to honey and sesame different nuts like walnuts, almonds or pistachios are used to bring more variety. Pasteli fits very well as an accompaniment to tea. It can also be eaten as candy or lunchtime snack and energy booster.

Recipe > Pasteli at Epicurious

Pasteli or Sesame seed candy

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20. Pastitsio

Pastitsio is a baked pasta dish including ground beef and béchamel sauce. This mouthwatering food is something you can enjoy in every season. The food in Greece is served with mixed green salad dressed with wine vinegar and virgin olive oil.

Recipe > Nikki’s Perfect Pastitsio

Greek baked pasta Pastitsio

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21. Retsina Wine

An age old wine bearing all rituals and cultures of ancient Greece for more than 2000 years. The unique test of this wine is believed to have originated from sealing wine vessels with Pine resin. Pine resin prevents air from entering into the bottle while infusing the wine with resin aroma. This wine matches superbly with dishes containing mint, rosemary and dill.

A Greek white resinated wine Retsina Wine

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22. Revani

Revani is a very popular dessert which is nutty and grainy with some lemony flavor. This moist cake is sweetened by simple syrup flavored with orange zest. This is not an overly sweet desserts and it is indeed a delightful addition to any dining table.

Recipe > Really Rich Revani Cake

 A sweet yellow cake called Revani

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 23. Saganaki – Fried Cheese

This is the food that holds the attention of all cheese lovers. Sagnaki is mostly an appetizer that is prepared in two-handled small frying pan. This beloved traditional Greek food is prepared in less than 10 minutes while using only two ingredients—flour & cheese.

Sagnaki refers to many dishes (which are mostly appetizers) like Shrimp Sagnaki, Mussels Sagnaki etc. However, the most famed one is this Cheese Saganaki.

Recipe > Greek Saganaki: Emeril Lagasse

Saganaki served on a whitenplate

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24. Souvlaki

Souvlaki is a very popular Greek food available in street side restaurants. The dish is well cooked with seasoned meat and then flavored with tzatziki sauce. In Greek language Souvlaki stands for ‘meat-on-a-skewer. Most Greek people call any type of pita wrapped meat a Souvlaki. However, they somehow distinguish the name by the meat that is used. As for instance, Souvlaki with pork skewers or Souvlaki with chicken Gyros.

Recipe > Lamb Souvlaki with Yogurt-Garlic Sauce

A popular Greek fast food Souvlaki

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25. Spanikopita

Spanikopita or otherwise known as Greek spinach pie is a traditional yet delicious recipe. With its versatility the dish matches with every time of the day. Be it dinner, as a snack or starter Spanikopita will definitely satisfy your taste buds. Feta cheese, butter, olive oil all are mixed and baked until golden crispy perfection.

Recipe > Spanikopita (Spinach Triangles or Pie)

a Greek savory spinach pie Spanikopita

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26. Taramasalata

Taramasalata is a creamy Greek dip made with fish roe, lemon juice, olive oil and soaked bread. You can also use mashed potatoes instead of bread and add onions, garlic and/or peppers. This dish is typically served as an appetizers or meze with lots of pita bread.

27. Tiropita

Tiropita, otherwise known as ‘Greek cheese pie’, is traditionally popular throughout Greece and can be eaten as a starter or a mid-day snack. This feta cheese food comes into different shapes & sizes. When it is rolled into individual triangular servings that’s when it is called Tiropita.

The main ingredient used in this recipe is various types of cheese (feta cheese mostly). Melted butter and olive oil are also used while preparing this mouthwatering dish.

Recipe > Tiropita (Greek Savory Cheese Pie)

A Greek pastry Tiropita

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28. Tzatziki

Tzatziki is one of the classic Greek sauces or appetizers with as many varieties as there are cooks who prepare it. Basically, this spectacular food item is made of thick strained yogurt, garlic, olive oil as well as fresh dill. Although it’s a combination of various ingredients but it is simple to prepare and is able to rock any get together.

Recipe > World’s Best Tzatziki

A dip, soup, or sauce Tzatziki

29. Yiaourti Me Meli

Yiaourti Me Meli literally means yogurt with honey. This is simple filler which is rich in protein with creamy sweet flavor. You can have this food in breakfast dishes or as a dessert. Yiaourti Me Meli is a healthy combo of Greek yogurt, honey and walnuts.

The subtle sour taste of yogurt, the sweetness of thyme or wildflower honey, the depth & complexity of walnuts—altogether it is a food from heaven!

Greek yogurt with honey Yiaourti Me Meli

30. Yemista

Yemista is a traditional recipe for Greek stuffed tomatoes that comes with vibrant colors and juicy flavors. Instead of tomatoes other vegetables are also used and baked until it turns to brownish color. The stuffing can either be with rice and various herbs or it may contain minced meat. There are countless variations of Yemista and you are allowed to experiment with different types of herbs & spices.

Recipe > Yemista (Greek Stuffed Tomatoes and Peppers)

Are your taste buds salivating yet? If you’re ready to indulge in traditional Greek cuisine an easy way to do so is to take a food tour. 

What is your favorite Greek foods, dishes or cuisine?


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107 thoughts on “Greek Food Bucket List: 30 Traditional Dishes to Eat From Greece”

  1. It’s truly amazing that so many amazing foods exist in Greece.
    Not only is this place magical ,with friendly people,but also it has so many delicious traditional dishes which take your breath away.
    I’ll make sure I’ll taste them all again when I will be able to do so.

  2. Just Yuummmmm! Now I can’t wait to go. Have you forgotten about Tirokroketes, one of the best Greek food. But I liked these too. I am hungry & just wish to to finish all this one by one. Nice article.

  3. I used to find pastelis in local sumpermarkets, just they weren’t called that way. Delicious! Now I know they’re original from Greece.

  4. Hi Annette , impressive list , you show many delicious greek dishes . I can add just .Paputsakia (eggplants shoes), Octopus with pasta (ohtapodi me kofto makaronaki ) , Octopus in vinegar.You must to know that in Greece fishes dishes are most than common .

  5. Same Turkish foods with different names but you shouldn’t change the names which are accepted Turkish by UNESCO. Like It is Turkish coffee and since it has no difference with it changing its name iz not nice. Same as Cacık(Tzatziki in Greek) At least you should point that it is an share food With Turks. Thanks…

    • Cacik is not the same with Tzatziki. Cacik often has sumac and it’s more watery. Tzatziki is thicker and never has sumak friend. Only the name is similar:)

      • Well I have never heard that you put sumac in cacik,
        Where ever you go in turkey it has always cucumber, garlic , mint and olive oil and sometimes served with a slice of lemon on the side. You should do your research better my friend

        • In Greece we never put mint in tzatziki and don’t use a slice of lemon (maybe some restaurants would do this, but the people who make it at their homes, never do it). The yoghurt is strained (if that’s the correct wording, please excuse my English). Sometimes we put some dill in it. We always put some salt. Tzatziki existed in ancient Greece (a dip very-very similar to tzatziki, if not exactly the same), with the name ‘myttiko’.

  6. Thank you for sharing all of the amazing, traditional foods one visiting Greece must try. Mediterranean food is packed full of bold flavors, fresh ingredients, and exciting new tastes. It would be a waste not to try them all (if possible) while in the heart of Mediterranean culture. That said, there is hope for those that simply cannot make it out to Greece anytime soon. In fact, many restaurants are serving up replicas of some of the very dishes you describe and they taste just as good. If you can’t plan a trip to Greece to try their delicious cuisine, at least try to visit a local Mediterranean cafe and see what they have to offer. If anything, it will make you want to start saving to visit Greece to try the real thing!

  7. Excellent list. One small note: The pic for keftethes is the one from sountzoukakia (Smyrna meatballs) that are often served with tomato sauce and have this shape.

  8. It’s a good list, but there are a few inaccuracies. Spanikopita is definitely not vegan and not in triangles. Turopitakia are in triangles. They are similar in fillings and taste, but there are differences. Gyros are either chicken or pork. The photo you used appears to be a Döner. And Retsina isn’t something to be drunk with a fine meal. It’s cheap, low grade wine that is usually mixed with lemonade (white soda) or drank on its own for the purpose of getting drunk :)

  9. I think you forgot to put in your list a delicious greek dish. Stuffed courgettes with eggs and lemon sauce. Very greek and very tasty.

  10. Great list Annette
    Slowly learning how to make them all.
    Here in Corfu potatoes boiled with skins on, till very soft, drained, seasoned and slowly folded into good olive oil with chopped parsley is Heaven on earth. Simple but nothing quite like it! Καλα Σε ευχαριστω πολυ!

  11. Dear bloggers, travellers. I am from Turkey. I travelled Greece two times. I want to say some of them are Turkish food. First baklavaki is not Greek food. It s from Turkish cuisine. I ate baklavaki in Greece, it was bad. It s BAKLAVA. If you want to eat real baklava you can search ”Gaziantep Baklavası”. Also Ellinikos, it s Turkish Coffee. Fava, Helva (halvas), Kadayıf (kataifi), Lokma (loukmades), Revani, Cacık(Tzatziki). All of them are %100 Turkish food. I don’ want to say they stole them to us. We have same foods. Because Greece is taken by Ottoman Empire. Greece is nearly stay 400 years in Ottoman Empire. I want to write true things. Thanks…

    • Hahaha you mean the two countries that are next to each other, that constantly fought each other, share the same cuisine?! No way… Looks like Greece has had the better marketing!


    • Sorry to tell you this, Merthe – the war is over and the Ottoman Empire has disappeared. It should be no surprise that countries that share a geography and historic trade routes will also share the foods that grow there and the ingredients, spices and methods of cooking. How do you make the claim of where any particular dish originate, which is correct and which came first? Why does it matter?

  12. Even if you don’t go that far south, you could still enjoy authentic Greek food made by Greeks. I always include a trip to Brussels when I go to Holland, just an hour or so by car.
    There is a street that has many (I would guess 12) Greek restaurants at Rue de l’Argonne close to Gare du Midi (Brussels South) train station. A small street but all of them are plain looking – almost catering to the budget clientele. They offer plat du jour (menu of the day). For that they invite you to come to the kitchen wth a plate in the hand, and ask you which of the dishes you want to have. You just point to the ones you deem interesting. Trust me they are all delicious. Some are not included in the plat du jour and need to be ordered as a side dish.
    Yes, order some wine too, which is not served in tall glasses, but in plain-Jane 100 cc Duralex glasses (made in France, of course).
    You eat at one of the long tables that can be shared by many.
    I started going there in 1972 as I was finishing my engineering study in Amsterdam. I just hope that gentrification has not destroy this major Greek attraction in Brussels (at least for me it is). Sorry, I didn’t Google to see if they are still there.

  13. I am going there next month so I am doing my research about Greece. This article is very helpful indeed. Thanks for sharing!

  14. most of these dishes are Turkish food
    greeks say our own food for a very long time living under the auspices of the ottoman they think they eat this wrong
    most of these dishes are Turkish and most of them are registered Turkish food

  15. Indeed an informative post! I love to eat Greek cuisine! Thank you for sharing about delicious and traditional Greek foods. Among all dishes, my vote goes to Choriatiki. I found an easy Greek salad recipe yesterday & I will try it tonight!

  16. Great article!! I was in Greece this last April for a month, totally amazing!! The food, wine. People, & places were fabulous. This was a second visit to that beautiful country. Crete had the best overall dishes but Paros had the best stuffed onions and at that same restaurant they had marinated figs in honey for a dessert. Naxos also has some fabulous cheeses and so much more.

  17. It is such a informative list that can help us to know more about the traditional foods of Greek Cuisines. Believe me I haven’t found anything like this before. We just know some global famous dishes. Your article can expand our culinary knowledge i.

  18. Where’s all the seafood?! Especially octupus. No snails either?!

    I also recommend putting a picture an actual pita and not that “gyro” thing. They are also called “pita” with one of the styles of meat being gyro. I’d also clarify that the “chips” are French fries. Sauce is tzatziki usually, because “sauce” is an actual sauce in Greece. There is def never lettuce.

  19. Thank you very much. Such a wonderful article. All dishes look very appetizing, the photo is super. If hungry, it is better not to watch). I want to try everything!

  20. “25. Spanikopita” should be corrected. It is “spanAkopita”, not “spanIkopita” (no panic included).


  21. I have never been to Greece, I will definitely make time for it, I will save these dishes. Thank you for sharing the valuable experience!!

  22. Ooh, those are some gorgeous pics! I’m a massive foodie and the dishes you’ve posted look mighty tempting. Looks like I’m going to have to add Greece to my travel bucket list!

  23. Loved your blog. Do you have any restaurant recommendations? We are traveling to Greece in first week of May. We are planning to go to Athens, Naxos and Santorini.

  24. Royal Curry House Restaurant is an Indian restaurant at the heart of Athens. Our Services include provision and services of Asian, Oriental cuisines, Halal foods, vegetarian & non-vegetarian, healthy food, sea fo

  25. I think i have to correct you because lots of these food traditional for Turkey :) You can search for it if you want. When the Greece army occupied İzmir in Turkey they stole lots of values of our nation. Please search what they did to us, what they did to our values, women and kids. Please don’t close your eyes to realities. I’ll put here my email address, you can send me mail, we can argue about the realities.

    • at least we have the best one gyros I have been in Greece and in my opinion it’s the best food you can get also I also looked it up Greece was its second occupier and what do you mean by what they did to your women and your kids they did nothing also don’t correct other peoples work

  26. Annette White, i have never been to greece but if i ever do i know exactly what to eat, thanks so much for sharing this most incredible post that covers the best greek food in the world!

    • I’m currently in Greece & have to say unfortunately it’s hard to find most of these dishes. They mostly offer 🍕🍟🥪🍔🥧🧇🥗 & on Corfu 🇬🇧 brekkie 🤣 things I’ve found I’ve already eaten in Turkey or other Mediterranean countries. Of course there are similarities, but no need to argue on a nice blog people 🤦🏽‍♀️🙅🏽‍♀️

  27. A lot of these foods are traditionally middle-eastern but are also considered Greek because of shared history. For example, in Arabic the stuffed grape leaves are called yabra.

  28. I never knew that Baklava is one of the most popular Greek desserts. My brother is coming to town this weekend and he wants to try some Greek food in our city. I’ll be sure to find one that has some great Baklava that we can enjoy.

  29. It’s interesting to know that there is a cookie called Amygdalota in Greece that uses almond as the main ingredient. I’ve always been a fan of pastries and this dish might be the first food I’d try in the Greek cuisine. I hope there’s a nearby restaurant that sells these cookies so I can have them for takeout.

  30. Wonderful recipes for Greek food. The Greeks are really very unusual cuisine, which is very different from ours, although at first glance you will not say. Thank you so much for sharing all these recipes!

  31. Can’t believe how many comment are about the fact that the Greek “stole” Turkish dishes. 90 % of what is called “Turkish food” has been adopted from Byzantine and Middle Eastern cuisine anyway…
    There have been mutual influences in food all over the world over centuries and even millennia, nothing is truly “original”. Traditions evolve and that’s beautiful :-)
    Loved the article, we did a road trip in Greece last summer and I just realised that we haven’t tried almost half of the things you list here!!!
    I guess we’ll have to plan another extensive trip to eat our way through that insanely beautiful country :-)

  32. This article is making me hungry! We love Greek food – especially gyros – yum!!! I can’t wait to be able to travel to Greece again.

  33. There’s alot of overlap between Greek and Turkish food, but both are popular all over the world. Even though I live in South Africa, we eat many of these foods on a regular basis.

  34. This is such a fantastic dish. Looks so yummy. I love Mediterranean food, but have tried a few out of this list – baklava’s, stuffed grape leaves with rice stuffing, gyros. They all look so tempting that wanna try them all.

  35. Thanks For Sharing this amazing recipe. My family loved it. I will be sharing this recipe with my friends. Hope the will like it.

  36. I (Eric) loved Baklava and couldn’t stop eating it everywhere we went! I have to say some of the best restaurants we have been to were on Milos Island. The lamb was delicious!

  37. This is a great article and great read for me. It’s my first visit to your blog, and I have found it so useful and informative especially this

  38. Change the title to ”Turkish Food Bucket List: 30 Traditional Dishes to Eat From Türkiye”

    Literally more than half of the dishes that are listed on this list originate from Türkiye.

    Greece and Türkiye are culturally very similar but adding ”ki” and ”des” at the end of Turkish food doesn’t make them Greek…

    And the WHOLE WORLD knows that these dishes all have Turkish origin, so please don’t forget to give credit next time. Thanks.


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