With delectable tender grilled meats, fresh seafood, zesty salads, syrupy pastries and of course loads of olive oil, it’s no surprise that Greek food has been ranked second among the world’s fifty best cuisines!
Greek cuisine is simple, colorful and incredibly nutritious, and like other Mediterranean food, Greek food has a reputation for being heart healthy with its heavy use of olive oil, fish, lean meats, vegetables, herbs and grains.
But it’s not just the health benefits of Greek cuisine that have catapulted it into the spotlight in recent years, it’s also thanks to its wide range of dishes, like yeero, tzatziki, stuffed grape leaves, baklava and souvlaki with their un-denied universal appeal and unmistakable flavors that keeps everybody craving more.
And then there is the unmistakable love and pride that has been going into Greek cuisine since the start. As when Greeks taste something delicious, they have a lovely phrase “Yia Sta Heria Stas” which translates as “I kiss your hands”, celebrating the skill of the cook.
So here is a look at the top 10 must try Greek food menu items in 2023 that we are saying “Yia sta heria stas” to!
The Yeero of Greek Cuisine
Whether you pronounce it gyros, yeeros or simply ‘that Greek spinning meat’, everyone knows that you are talking about one of the most popular Greek food menu items that can be found all over the world.
This Greek dish of stacked slices of meat, usually lamb, beef or chicken, is roasted on a vertical spit that rotates slowly as it is cooked and is usually served in a pita bread with tomato, onion and a generous helping of tzatziki sauce and eaten by hand.
You can’t say that you are eating Greek food if there isn’t a generous bowl or portion of this zesty mild sauce on your table or slathered on your food!
Tzatziki sauce is a subtle, mild, and mellow yogurt-based sauce that bursts with flavors. The sauce is creamy and provides the refreshing flavor notes of cucumbers and lemon and compliments almost any traditional Greek dish.
Sizzling Souvlakis Skewers
Souvlaki is another famous Greek dish enjoyed the world over. The word souvlaki has roots in the Greek word souvla, meaning skewer, with the word souvlaki meaning small skewer.
This popular Greek dish consisting of small pieces of chicken, beef or lamb and sometimes vegetables that are grilled on a skewer.
Souvlaki is commonly served wrapped in a pita along with sauces and garnishes or on a plate, often accompanied with potatoes and other vegetables. Souvlaki pitas can make great light snacks whereas souvlaki plates can be satisfying full meals.
Beg For More Baklava
Baklava might just be the absolute quintessential Mediterranean desert, decadent yet still healthy (ish!) and packed with all the ingredients and textures that conjure up lazy days on sun drenched coats with white washed cliffs.
This delicious sweet is made from crispy layers of phyllo dough filled with chopped nuts, usually pistachios, and sweetened with honey or syrup.
Simple, yet absolutely decadent!
Another simple yet utterly delicious Greek dish that captures all the flavors and textures of classical Mediterranean food, is dolmades, or stuffed grape leaves.
This Greek dish can be made with either cabbage or grape leaves, and is stuffed with a delicious herb-y rice mix, or a meat mixture, and shaped into little rolls and boiled until wonderfully tender.
Traditionally dolmades are usually served as an appetizer alongside a big bowl of tzatziki.
Directly translated ‘horiatiki’ means village, hence being named the Greek village salad. This salad is served at almost every meal and every taverna in Greece has it on their menu.
This deliciously simple, fresh salad consists of tomatoes, cucumber, onion, olives, and feta cheese and is an essential part of any Greek meal.
You might not know of it yet, but get ready to love Loukaniko sausage! This traditional Greek sausage is made with pork or lamb and typically flavored with orange peel, fennel seed, and various other dried herbs and seeds.
Loukaniko is often served as a mezze, sliced and fried, or it can be cooked into a variety of dishes.
Try Some Tyrokafteri
Not as popular as its yogurt based dipping cousin yet, Tyrokafteri is a super flavorful Greek dip made with feta cheese and spicy peppers.
This dip is used in much the same way as tzatziki and tastes great on almost any Greek food. So, make sure to try this underrated Greek delicacy next time you order some Greek cuisine!
Save Some Space for Spanakopita
Famous the world over, this triangle shaped Greek pastry needs no introduction. Spanakopita is a delicious savory Greek pie made of perfectly crispy layers of phyllo dough and a comforting filling of spinach and feta cheese.
These little pastry bites make a great healthy meal or appetizer!
Heavenly Grilled Haloumi
Haloumi is a cheese unlike any other. It has a mellow flavor and slightly squeaky texture and doesn’t melt when fried!
Halloumi can be enjoyed almost any of the ways you’d eat other cheeses: sliced, for a simple snack, cubed in salads or melted on casseroles, but the traditional Greek way of serving this wonderful cheese is to simply fry or grill it with a drizzle of lemon juice.
Where To Get The Best Greek Food In NYC
If you are like us and find yourself in the Astoria or Long Island area and this list has left your mouth watering with a severe craving for some Greek food, check out the best local Greek restaurant in the NYC area, Souvlaki Bar!
Offering all 10 of these authentic Greek delicacies and more, SVL Bar is sure to become your favorite Greek restaurant in NYC, and will have you yelling “yia sta heria stas” in no time!
All of their delectable dishes are made the real Greek way with only the finest ingredients, and SVL Bar offers daily and weekly specials, so keep an eye out on their social media for the latest specials to snag some of the best Greek dishes in your area and transport your sense to the sunny Mediterranean this winter!
Order online, eat in stores or order the best Greek food in NYC straight to your office for your next event!