I want to start by saying that there are so many local Greek foods that I could not try in the 4 days that I stayed in Athens. You have desserts that are so good that you will lick your fingers, so many types of meat recipes that you would not know what to choose, delicious salads, and let’s not forget about the beverages. And sometimes the restaurants give you free things while you wait for your next favorite Greek food.
While not a Greek food, it is a local beverage. Not a fan favorite among my friends, but I quite enjoyed it. The whiteish drink has a taste quite peculiar: it is sweet (although my friend said that it tasted like crushed medicine) with a strong anise or black licorice flavor. If you are in Greece then you should at least try this drink as an appetizer with octopus, salad, or calamari. And if you do not like this drink, don’t despair. Try some wine.
One small tip: the portion is small, or at least mine was. Don’t order this if you are hungry. It was quite simple, and it did not taste funny. The dish was okay, but at the restaurant that I had ordered octopus I had received free wine and not ouzo so maybe this was the missing ingredient.
And if you are not hungry then you should try a traditional Greek salad (minus the tomatoes for me because I do not like them. Even if the waiter scolded me that the tomatoes are the Greek soul.) The best part of this dish is that I could taste the Greek olives and the feta cheese. But if you are vegetarian or vegan then you could try the many other possible salads. The salad menu was very long.
I thought I knew how a kebab looked like, after all, it is the best food if you are tight on money in my country. I even asked if it was wrapped or on a plate. I did not understand why the waitress smiled at me until I saw the dish. It looks very different from the kebab from my country, more like a sausage or Romanian mititei without the fat and more delicious, especially with the tzatziki. And speaking of tzatziki…
I’m not a fan of this sauce. Or this was the case with the version bought from non-Greek supermarkets that taste more like cucumbers and nothing else. The Greek version has every ingredient balanced and I could enjoy it with kebab, fries, bread…
I actually tried two versions of this: stuffed and fried. Fried tastes like the calamari rings you can find everywhere (of course, you will receive tzatziki, a mini salad, and fries), but I want to talk about stuffed calamari now.
On our first night, we searched for the perfect restaurant to eat the best food. I think you know this game, especially if you are a group. Someone does not like a place, someone believes that the prices are too high. We found this restaurant that did not look that good. And then the waitress spotted us.
She explained the menu to us, the deals (one free glass of wine for a meal, but she likes us and can give two glasses), and that she loves the stuffed calamari. She was too nice to look for another place and so we settled here. It was a good call because she was right: the stuffed calamari was delicious. And the two glasses of wine became three, a can of beer and a coupon.
My advice for anyone planning to see Athens or Greece is that you should be open to new experiences. Don’t eat food that you could find anywhere (even if the chicken comes with salad, sauce, and fries), and don’t say no to free food and drink. The people are very friendly and it would be a pity not to take advantage of the Greek spirit.