Saturday, March 21, 2015

Greek Eats

I have finally finished my one month travels in Europe, and there is so much to share. First, I traveled to Athens, the beautiful capital of Greece. Food-wise, I was pleasantly surprised that though I was a budget traveller, I was able to eat quite well in this country.

The most affordable, filling "fast food," is souvlaki. Souvlaki is basically roasted or grilled meat wrapped up in a warm, soft pita. There is pork, lamb, and chicken varieties. Other fillings include tomatoes, lettuce, yogurt sauce, and sometimes herbs. Souvlaki commonly costs around 2 euros, and the quality can vary vastly.

The souvlaki in the photo below had french fries added into the mix!

The best souvlaki that we tried was at a small family establishment called "O Kostas." This hole-in-the-wall is a out of the way from the Acropolis area, and it looks quite plain from the outside, but looks are deceiving in this case. This shop exclusively makes souvlaki, and have done so for about 50 years. Inside is a tiny room with a counter, a small grill and toppings bar, and two bar stools.

This souvlaki was the best! The pita bread was soft and warm, the meat was tender, the tomatoes so fresh, and the fresh herbs added a nice flavor punch. The price is comparable to any other shop, 2.20 euros for one. We went back again just to experience this amazing food. The owners were really friendly, and we could see how successful the little shop was, with the continuous line of locals throughout the whole lunch period.

Another cheap eat we saw everywhere was a sesame bagel/pretzel crossover called koulouri in Greek. These are deliciously chewy and seedy - they make a nice snack with some tea or coffee. 

Most of the meals that we had involved some form of grilled meat, bread or potatoes, and salad. Greek food is simple, wholesome, and relatively healthy. There is plenty of olives, feta, lemon, and olive oil - all part of a healthy Mediterranean diet.  

The small plates of meat skewers are pretty cheap. At many restaurants, even in the tourist areas, they were 1.5-2 euros for a meat skewer and some bread on the side. Two of these could be a light meal for a person.

At local neighborhood sit-down restaurant, dishes cost between 4 and 9 euros. Most prices include tax, and some restaurants charge for water while others provide it for free. 

I had to try a Greek salad, and here they use way more feta cheese than I've ever seen. The salads commonly come with huge slabs of salty, savory feta. The salads usually cost around 5 euros, and they were certainly large, meant to serve as a side for multiple people. 

I also ate copious amounts of Greek yogurt, obviously. I love that creamy, rich yogurt, and in Greece I found that dairy and fresh-baked bread was much cheaper than in the U.S., and certainly than in Asia. Overall, the food is surprisingly affordable for Europe, especially if you buy food from grocery stores to make your own breakfast.

No comments:

Post a Comment