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Your One-Stop Guide to Greek Island Food

corfu ● crete ● rhodes ● santorini ● zakynthos ● 15 December 2017

One of the great appeals of island hopping through the Greek islands is that of the iconic Greek food. If you’re excited to travel around the islands, you should have a good idea about the different types of food available to you. Chances are, unless you live in Greece or a neighboring country, your experience with Greek food is probably far from authentic. Real Greek food absolutely bursts with rich Meditteranean flavors, like olive oil, garlic, herbs, and more. Most full meals are seafood-based, but grilled red meat is popular as well. Sounds delicious, right? And we haven’t even touched on the wine and cheese culture yet!
For your convenience, we’ve compiled a two-part guide to the foods you can find on the Greek island. The first half is going to be food organized according to the island or islands that particular dish is unique to, and the second half will contain food that you are likely to be able to find at any one of the islands and including the mainland. We hope you find this island-hopping guide menu helpful!

The Islands

1. Crete. This is the biggest island in Greece and the most popular tourist destination. It’s a base for international transportation and most island-hopping adventures begin in Heraklion, the capital city of Crete. As the main tourist attraction of the island, Crete is especially known for its top-notch accommodations, including lodging, fresh fish taverns, and restaurants. On Crete, you’ll be faced with many classic-type Greek seafoods. Olive oil-roasted lamb, smothered in lemon and sprinkled with oregano, is another staple dish of Crete, also served in broth and rich, creamy rice dishes. Goat cheese is a popular side dish or even desert in Crete, often served with locally-harvested honey, olives, stuffed in peppers, or cooked into little pies. Tzatziki and hummus is a very popular snack on Crete, too.


2. Santorini. One of the medium-sized islands, Santorini has built a reputation for itself as a unique island among all the Greek islands for its Aegan fusion cuisine. Fava beans are popular on Santorini, especially served with butter, onions, and olives. Deep-fried feta cheese served with tomatoes are a popular dish, called domatokefedes or chloro. However, in recent years, Santorini’s wine production has been rapidly progressing. Whether you’re in the mood for a general wine-tasting or have your heart set on finding that perfect bottle of red or white, Santorini will have something for you. Whether you’re a currant, citrus, or dry wine-drinker, you’ll be sure to find a bottle like no other.  

3. Rhodes. Attracting tens if not hundreds of thousands of visitors annually, Rhodes is most popular perhaps for its meze, a widely-varying collection of hors d'oeuvres-type finger foods featuring a vast array of minced meats and veggies, from chickpeas fried in mint to potato wrapped in cabbage leaves. Most meze dishes are served with an egg and lemon sauce to dip in. Rhodes-grown produce is the pride of the island, with asparagus in abundance and honey that is traditionally believed to act as a one-stop healing potion. If you’re looking for seafood, you can enjoy traditional Greek fish dishes served with vinegar, oils, and rosemary, as well as some octopus, if you’re feeling adventurous. Octopus can be served in meze, in stews to accompany some pasta, or eaten grilled or marinated.

4. Corfu. Another one of the largest Greek islands, Corfu is unique in that it has a widely-varying food scene. Meat skewers called souvlaki are extremely popular, as pork and lamb served with vegetables are in high demand. Another popular meat dish is called sofrito, serving veal or tenderized beef cooked with parsley and garlic. A meaty stew called stifado is served with cherry tomatoes and baby onions, served with a generous helping of bread. Local fish soup ranges from classic to spicy, and hotels and taverns on Corfu are known to offer everything from a family-friendly experience to a more high-end gourmet style.

5. Zakynthos. Also called Zante, this island has a reputation for its green vegetation and lush hills contrasted against rocky, cliffside coves. One of the most unique dishes on this little island is called ladotyri, a thick, zesty cheese served in some variations of meze or even cooked into casseroles. Another signature, staple dish of Zakynthos or Zante locals is called spetsofai, a rabbit dish stuffed with cheese, served with herbs, and cooked in red wine. Some of the seafood selection on Zakynthos or Zante includes bass, swordfish, sardines, and more.

All Over

1. Fresh, locally-sourced fish. Each island is likely to put its own spin on seafood-based dishes, but since every island has plenty of harbors and port space, fresh fish is a huge part of the dining scene at every island. From red mullet to calamari, lightly fried fish drizzled in oil and lemon dressing won’t be hard to find at every island.

Fresh fish

2. Grilled meats. From spit-roasts to charcoal grills, you’re sure to find skewers and gyros on every island, including the mainland. You’ll probably find meat wrapped in pita bread or served with various herbs and onions. Lamb, pork, and kid goat are some favorites.

3. Olives and olive oil. Olives are a tradition in Greek, based on the legend that the goddess Athena gifted an olive tree to the city of Athens. Many meals, from salads to meat dishes, are served with some exciting variation of olives on the side or doused with a hearty serving of the flavorful oil.

4. Taramasalata and other dips. These are classic side dishes that come in all kinds of variations, from yogurt and garlic to aubergine to split pea puree. Taramasalata is the most popular, a creamy dish roe dip with a bread or potato base, often served with - you guessed it - olive oil.

5. Baklava. Most Greek cuisine focuses on hearty fish- or meat-based dishes, and dessert is not usually a high priority, but baklava is a must-have on every island. This rich, flaky filo pastry is stuffed with chopped or ground nuts and held together with syrup or honey.

Where to Stay

Hotel in Delphi, Greece Hotel Orfeas
Hotel Orfeas
Ifigenias & Syggrou Str. 35, 33054 Delphi, Greece

Hotel Orfeas is set in a central location in the village of Delphi, close to the archaeological site. Arachova is a 15-minute drive away.

Hotel in Chalkidiki, Greece Stratos Hotel
Stratos Hotel
Afitos, 63077 Chalkidiki, Greece

Stratos Hotel is centrally located in the lovely, traditional village of Afitos. The beach is approximately a 15-minute walk from the property. Thessaloniki International Airport is 75 km away.

Hotel in Piraeus, Greece Hotel Acropole
Hotel Acropole
7, Gounari str., 18531 Piraeus, Greece

Hotel Acropole is located in the centre of Piraeus, just opposite the port. Within a 5-minute walk you can reach your ferry and the electric railway/metro station Piraeus. The centre of Athens can be reached within 15 minutes with the train/metro. Athens International Airport is at 45 km. A bus stop for the X96 bus connecting Piraeus and the airport is at 150 m.