What to Expect in a Greek Restaurant

Posted on: 9 December 2020

Greek restaurants are quite common in North America. Many people have immigrated from Greece to North America over the years, and they're excited to share their cuisine and culture with others. But if you have not been to a Greek restaurant in the past, you may not be sure what to expect. Here's an overview of Greek food.

1. Lots of Olives and Feta Cheese

Olives are really common and easy to come by in Greece, and as such, they have become a huge part of the cuisine. You can expect most salads and other dishes in a Greek restaurant to have olives incorporated in some way. Usually, these are ripe black olives, but you may also see some green Kalamata olives. Feta cheese is another popular ingredient. The Greeks use it almost as a condiment, so many dishes will come with a sprinkle of feta on the top. Its salty flavor helps bring out the other flavors in the foods. 

2. Soups and Salads

Few cuisines do soups and salads like the Greeks! Most Greek restaurant menus have a lot of soup and salad options, and it's not at all inappropriate to enjoy these options for dinner — not just lunch. You'll probably see souvlaki salads, which consist of various lettuces and veggies topped with marinated lamb, beef, or chicken. Gyros, which are stuffed pita sandwiches, are also popular. A common soup is avgolemono, which is made with chicken, rice, lemon, and egg.

3. Plenty of Lamb

Lamb is definitely a favorite meat choice—if not the favorite choice—in Greek cuisine. At more authentic Greek restaurants, it is typically the default meat that comes in gyros and on top of salads, although they will give you chicken or beef if you ask. In Greece, they also serve goat meat a lot, but this is not as common in North America since many people are not used to eating it.

4. Desserts With Phyllo

When you visit a Greek restaurant, it is definitely worth ordering dessert. Greek desserts are typically made from phyllo dough, a really flaky, tender pastry. A common one is called baklava, and it consists of walnuts and honey layered between sheets of phyllo. Bougatsa is also worth trying. It's a phyllo pastry pocket stuffed with cream.

Greek food is incredible and inviting. If you have never been to a Greek restaurant before, it is time to broaden your horizons and visit one. This article gives you an idea of what to expect, but there is nothing quite like visiting in person.