What You Will Find In Greek Restaurants & Tavernas
Some people tell stories of how the food is one of the best things about Greece. It isn’t. But it’s pretty good and if you get the right seaside taverna can be sensational.
Tavernas are all over the everywhere, offering much the same type of food, although the quality varies tremendously. Some crowd right next to each other like people at the nearby disco while others are so isolated they become an unexpected oasis for those adventuring out into the countryside.
To find a good taverna, pick one with a lot of patrons. Check the prices on the seafood and fish – some can be expensive due to the reason noted above, but good bargains can still be found.
Meals are served just about anytime although most people don’t have dinner until about 11 p.m. The dining pace is European casual, so getting a table at a popular taverna often requires a stomach-growling wait. A good trick is to spot a popular dining spot one evening, then go back the next at about 10:30. You will be a half-hour ahead of the crowd.
One of the great thrills about eating in Greece is being able to walk right into the kitchen to see what’s cooking. Point out a few interesting items and soon it will be brought to your table.
The Greeks attribute olive oil to their long and healthy life expectancy and a result, dishes are swimming in the stuff. While it may indeed provide benefits down the road, for the short term it can have an unsettling affect on untrained digestive systems. Be prepared to make the necessary adjustments.
Tzatziki (a yogurt, cucumber and garlic dip served with pita or white bread) and stuffed grape leaves (dolmades) make for great appetizers. Main courses can be lamb, stuffed tomatoes, soulvaki(huge chunks of meat on a skewer with vegetables and served with rice) or moussaka (the Greek version of lasagna). Seafood is available everywhere, particularly fish.
Greek salads are perfect appetizers. They consist of cucumbers, tomatoes, black olives, feta cheese, and lots of olive oil (common to all Greek dishes). The average cost is 500dr; you can save about 200dr by skipping the feta cheese and ordering a tomato and cucumber salad.
Ironically, the freshest Greek salad in all of Greece is the cafeteria on Paradise Beach in Mykonos. Owner Freddie grows his own vegetables, which are so fresh they are bursting with flavor.
Bakeries offering meat and cheese-filled pastries are plentiful and family-run gyro shops are the taco stands of Greece.
The Tavernas ‘Cover Charge’ & Tipping Tips
Tavernas list a 1 Euro “cover charge,” which covers the silverware and a basket of white bread. Tips are usually included in the final bill, but go ahead and leave and extra 1-2 Euros, depending on the service and bill total.
About The Greek Wine
Avoid the Restina. It’s a local red Greek wine with an aftertaste that makes ouzo jealous.