There are many Greek dishes that are unknown or underrated in the U.S.
When you think of the Mediterranean nation, the first things that normally come to mind are ruins and gorgeous islands, not so much the cuisine.
However, when I visited Greece in the summer of 2019, I discovered that there is a much bigger variety of Greek foods than what I had previously tried in the States which consisted of mostly gyro and salads.
A lot of Greek cuisine closely mirrors that of its neighbor Italy due to their choices of ingredients that are informed by their geographical location. Both utilize cheese, tomatoes and olive oil to their highest degree, with some differences.
Here’s a list of Greek dishes that I believe will knock your socks off if you ever visit Greece or find an authentic restaurant in your home country.
When this dish was first proposed to me it sounded Japanese. The more questions that I asked about it the more I learned that saganaki is kind of like Greece’s parmigiana.
There’s tomato sauce, a protein with the mussels, and feta cheese instead of mozzarella. It was also graced with peppers and onions.
I ordered this dish in the beach town of Kamari in Santorini. The mussels were fresh and tender, and the feta cheese became creamy and created a combination flavor with the onions and sauce that perfectly complemented the fish. It was soupy and a little chewy, but not in a bad way.
The feta gave it a saltiness while the sauce sweetened it up. You can order a lot of dishes saganaki style including eggplant and shrimp.
This goat melted in my mouth and blew my mind at the same time!
I really was wary about trying it since I had never eaten the meat of that particular animal. I figured it was going to be gamey and earthy, but boy was I wrong.
If you like lamb or beef stew, this particular goat dish from Tzizikas kai Mermigas was like an upgrade from that. It had a buttery texture and mild taste that allowed the seasonings to complement it perfectly.
It also had a nice amount of fat which gave it amazing flavor, but it wasn’t excessive. I strongly recommend a glass of red wine with this hearty dish.
Lamb Chops With Tzatziki Sauce
This is a basic dish, but still worth ordering if you’re in Greece.
The lamb was cooked to perfection and the tzatziki was rich and creamy. The dish was also a lot more affordable in Greece. They gave me plenty of lamb and a heaping scoop of sauce.
The tzatziki in Greece was so much more satisfying then the versions we get here in the States from gyro trucks. And the high quality of the lamb made for the perfect partner.
This is easily the best dessert that I ate in Greece.
Lukumades are like fried donut holes with a creamy filling that are topped with sweet cream ice cream and chocolate or honey, depending on your preference.
The sweet cream ice cream was mild and worked well with the honey. The donut holes had a crunchy exterior and soft inside.
All of this sat on a bed of warm honey which made it all go down easily.
This seems like a no brainer, but when in Greece you must have the salad.
You can order it at virtually any restaurant and it rarely ever disappoints.
It’s normally served with a slab of creamy feta cheese at the top which you can break up or piece out while downing your veggies.
The salad portion usually consists of fresh vegetables with olive oil and kalamata olives. There’s just no way around trying one of these, and I have to say this dish just isn’t the same in the States.