If your tongue and tummy are happy, your mind is happier. You fall in love with a place more when their food is excellent. Finding tasty yet healthy authentic plus cheap food is not an easy job. As a first-timer and a non-vegetarian, all I knew about Greek food was their seafood. As for my vegetarian lady, she was clueless about what to eat in Greece.
Here is your complete food guide to Greece for finding tasty food in two Greek cities, Santorini and Meteora
I am not writing anything about Athens food because other than a pizza place at Syntagma square; we depended on readymade food from Plaka’s supermarket and juices from the neighbourhood shops. The food joints near Acropolis and Syntagma square were extremely expensive for us.
- Our favourite Greek foods
- Greek Dishes were not worth the hype.
- Quick facts about Greek food
- Best places to eat in Santorini
- Eateries that weren’t worth our money in Santorini
- Best places to eat in Meteora
Three Best Non-Veg Foods in Greece, according to me.
Grilled Octopus with herb sauce and tangy chutney
Chicken steaks with fresh yoghurt dip and tomatoes & Wine Chicken
Gyro is a wrap with meat, veggies and herbs( Without Beef, as I prefer).
Three Best Veg Food in Greece according to Sahana
Avocado pancakes with fresh & juicy Santorini tomato plus Avocado pieces. The poached eggs as a topping add more taste to it.
Yoghurt – Frozen yoghurt or Dips, with fruits or without, Greek Yoghurt is the best of all the yoghurt in the world for us.
Greek Dolma -Mediterranean Stuffed Grape Leaves with yoghurt – Egyptians Dolmas are juicier and spicier; these were mild.
Other than these, you can ask Gyro without meat ( It becomes a veg wrap, though, but tastes amazing because of the kind of bread Greeks use for wrapping- Sahana says). Finally, honorary mentions for our best Greek food – Fried Calamari, Santorini tomato stuffed with rice and Fired cheese.
Greek food which was not worth the hype
There are a lot of similarities between Middle East dishes and Greek dishes. Some of the dishes I prefer in Egypt over Greece, and a few aren’t worth the hype that social media gave.
Feta Cheese and Tomatoes with bread – Nope. The tomato doesn’t add any magic to the flavour of this “not so tasty Fatah Cheese”
Crunchy Greek Honey Baklava – Similar to those of Turkey’s with extra (too much) sweetness
Honest Greece Food guide – These food aren’t worth the puff it gets
- Falafels: The yoghurt dip is nicer in Greece, but the filling is better in Egypt.
- Saganaki – Eggplant ( Brinjal) dish- Too bland.
- Feta Cheese: Neither of us is a cheese expert. But Feta cheese is not the cheese we liked most. To be frank, it is the cheese we hated most!
Quick facts about Greek food
What is the most popular breakfast in Greece?
The most common breakfast menu in Greece is – Bread, Cheese(Fatah Cheese, I didn’t like it at all), yoghurt, fruits like pears and apples in hilly areas, eggs (boiled or scrambled), fruit juice and a small cup of Greek coffee. Their yoghurt is something that I want to be part of every meal of the day.
Global food chains in Greece
Santorini and Athens have plenty of food chains like Pizza hut and McDonald’s outlets if you are not in the mood for authentic Greek Dishes. Unlike India, you don’t get veg burgers there. The typical veg pizza is Margherita with feta cheese and tomato.
Non-Vegetarians: You are in for a treat with seafood. Try Octopus, squid and prawns as much as possible while in Santorini. Beef, Veal and Pork are the most common meat in Greek dishes. Specify if you don’t want any one of them while ordering.
Is it difficult to find vegetarian food in Greece?
Vegetarians – Your options aren’t as plentiful as you get in neighbouring countries like Egypt and Turkey. Most meals are cheese and tomato-based. Eggplant ( Brinjal) dishes are your saviours. The Dolma and falafels aren’t as tasty as Egypt, but better than eating Feta cheese always. Have frozen yoghurt any time, any day, to escape from the heat. It is super refreshing. Vegan options were almost non-existent in Meteora but better in Santorini.
While ordering food in Greece, remember –
Tea is not common; their thick black coffee should be your daily dose of caffeine. A small extra portion of milk is usually given to those who want coffee with milk.
Any Greek food tastes best with wine. Our personal favourite is Atlantis Rose by Estate Argyros
Greeks love their food portion huge. A meal for one Greek was enough for both of us most times. Order carefully so that you neither waste food nor your money.
Look for family-run bakeries and restaurants for traditional food at lower prices in Santorini.
Akation Restaurant in Firostefani was a home run, 100-year-old and cosy place
Best places to eat in Santorini
In that almost a week in Santorini, we have tried multiple eateries and stuck to a few at the end of the week. The best eateries in Santorini, according to us, are-
- Aktaion Restaurant, Firostefani
- Da Vinci, Firostefani
- Vanilla, Firostefani
- The Greeks, Fira.
- Yogi Gyro, Fira.
- Louyo Greek frozen yoghurt, Fira
- Kantouni, Pyrgos
- Tranquilo, Perissa
- Boulangerie bakery, Perissa
Aktaion Restaurant($$$), Firostefani Since 1922
This family-run restaurant is the best place for seafood. The ambience and the host are excellent. Veg food was average—a three-course Dinner for two costs around 2800INR or 35 EURO. The dish you see here is “Fava beans purée with grilled octopus and fresh spring onions”. The green sauce on the side is a capers jam, a secret of their chef.
Da Vinci, (($$$$) , Firostefani
Best place for Greek & Italian food, especially Pizza in a romantic setup overlooking the sea. Their prices are on the higher end, and you may have to reserve the place during peak tourist season. However, if you are ready to spend on delicious food in a lovely ambience by the cliffside of Firostefani, this place must be on your list. Their portions are large, so think twice before ordering multiple dishes—2-course lunch for two costs 3000INR or 35EURO.
Vanilla, Firostefani ($$$)
The best restaurant for vegetarians and an average restaurant for non-vegetarians. Located closer to Dana Villas in Firostefani, this is one more cliffside restaurant with a fantastic sea view. The locality of this place is so crowded that you have to look for this place particularly. You see Mykonos windmills standing high out of nowhere by the side of this busy lane. Next to that, the restaurant Vanilla is located.
The ambience is sophisticated. The white interiors with a fireplace are best if you are ready to spend more money. You may have to book places during peak tourist season.
Sahana tried Dolmades -Mediterranean Stuffed Grape Leaves with yoghurt. It was super healthy and tasty too—a 2-course Dinner for two costs around 1600INR or 20 EURO.
The Greeks, Fira. ($$)
When you walk from Firostefani to Fira, you come across art galleries first. At one point, a plaza full of shops appears. Literally, the tourists will be happily buzzing here. With tons of tourists come hundreds of options for food joints. That not so impressive by appearance with and blue furniture, the Greeks Fira attracts budget travellers. Plus, their display of seafood on the counter can make anyone drool.
I loved the tender, juicy grilled Octopus here. The pinch of Lemon zest, the aroma of olive oil with herbs, along with Santorini’s trademark – the Volcanic tomatoes make it even more delicious.
If you don’t mind streetside chaos, this restaurant is cheap and the best. Sahana’s veg – Baked Feta with tomato was just average. 2-course lunch for two costs 1000-1500 INR or 20 EURO. Do not opt for this place if you are a vegetarian.
Yogi Gyro, Fira ($)
Out of those three shops we tried, Yogi Gyro served the freshest and tastiest Gyro. Their small seating set up by the main road is an added advantage when you want to eat and wait for the public bus. The cheapest place is right by the main Fira streets opposite Mc. Donalds.
How to Pronounce “Gyro”
We didn’t even know what a Gyro- (pronounce it as Yeiro), was until an American tourist we met on sailing told us about it. If you are familiar with shawarma rolls or donner kebabs, you can relate those dishes to Gyro. It is a sandwich of thick bread with veggies and patties. The patty is made of lamb mainly. You can get broken patty pieces and French fries as toppings too. Chicken, lamb, pork and beef are the main meat for the patty. This grab and go dish is our all-time favourite. (Sahana’s version of Gyro is Veggie rolls with fries.)
Louyo Greek frozen yoghurt, Fira ($)
We were roaming in Fira on the second day of Santorini, searching for some affordable snacks before lunch. By then, we had seen many shops selling Greek yoghurt. This shop was “Louyo” Frozen yoghurt, a random encounter then, which became the primary source of cheap snacks whenever we came to Fira. When that first spoon of yoghurt melted in our mouth, it was an explosion of the sweetness of cold condensed milk and the sourness of curd with a creamy texture.
The thing about Greek yoghurt is, that it is thicker, creamier and less sweet than the regular yoghurt. The frozen yoghurt almost feels like ice cream! This healthy ( I am ignoring the fat content here) snack keeps you full for a longer time. Adding berries, and fruits double the taste of yoghurt. Out of those two shops we tried, Louyo served the freshest yoghurt. Their options for topping are more; cut fruits are tender, and the sauce options are plenty. There is no fixed price for a yoghurt cup; the cost depends on the weight after adding fruits and sauces.
Kantouni’s locality Pyrgos square itself makes it unique. After a long walk in the sun from Eliyas monastery, you will need a healthy dose of hydration and shade. Or, after strolling in the shaded streets of Pyrgos between the lime plastered thick walls, you want to munch on something as traditional as the Pyrgos village. Roofed but open, colourful ambience yet sober, classic Greek taste makes it a perfect place to relax before catching the bus to Perissa.
All we needed was some hydration. Their mocktails and lemonades were refreshing.
Tranquilo, Perissa – A boon for Vegetarians in Santorini.
I blame Perissa for not letting us explore more beaches. Somewhere we got into that relaxed comfort zone here on the black sands. The same thing happened with the cafe” Tranquillo” too. Right on the shore of Perissa, this is the first restaurant you see when you come walking from the main perpendicular road. So this was the obvious choice of breakfast and lunch choice on the first day. What made us stick to them is their taste and options for veg food!
This place works like a boon for vegetarians in Santorini.
The vibrant decor, shaded trees, healthy food, sunbeds on the sand to which they serve beer, and music jams at night ( maybe every night during peak tourist, there may be music performance, but there were only two in April). The owner must have travelled a lot, so don’t forget to go through the menu completely to spot some unusual names for their dishes – Varkala, Khao San, Machu Pichu and so on! The only disappointing thing was, the staff were not friendly. But when the beach is 100m away, and the food is delicious plus cheap, who cares if the waiter is grumpy.
The must-try dishes in Tranquilo are
Avocado pancake, avocado with poached egg and tomatoes, tomato with stuffed rice, Fried pockets with veggie filling and yoghurt, Mexican chicken, and banana bird cocktail.
This bakery is like a saviour for flashpackers and backpackers. Soft Croissants, strong coffee, and juicy homemade pies from here are “any time of the day” snacks. This place goes unnoticed if you don’t look away from the main road of Perissa. We were walking towards the pickup point for the sailing tour in the morning. We didn’t have enough time to sit in a cafe for breakfast or coffee. Somewhere on a side street, a big board was standing high. “Bakery and Pastry-24hrs.”
Quickly we took a 100m walk from the main road to grab croissants, coffee and a pie and left the place on that day. In the next five days, this became our “go-to” place each time we craved snacks. Their small set-up of seating on the porch is a great place to finish your coffee. Many locals come here to pick their usuals as their bread and pie are baked every day fresh.
Eateries that weren’t worth our money in Santorini
Chill Box: Fira
After getting addicted to Louyo, we thought of deviating to another yoghurt shop. Bad decision! There is nothing terrible about this place, but if you compare it to Louyo, the fruits were stale, and the fruit sauces weren’t tangy enough. Yoghurt was too sugary.
No Name restaurant : Firostefani
The taste and freshness are half of what we had in Yogi Gyro. It is just like their name – “No Name”, their Gyro was also “Not great.” The number of veggies was probably half of what we got in the other place. Also, the patty was not fresh and soft.
The hype and reviews were not worth the money we spent. The restroom was not clean; the entire place looked as if it was under restoration. The views are as good as any other cliffside cafe. The food presentation was ugly, and the taste was terrible.
Best places to eat in Meteora
The sleepy floating town of Meteora is filled with streetside cafes. Most cafes are beer cafes, and serving coffee there is mandatory. These are a few restaurants we tried based on our BnB host’s recommendation, and we absolutely loved them. In general Meteora, food was cheaper and better than in the other two cities of Greece we visited because most of them are run by small families. So the hygiene is better, and adding food additives is lesser to make it healthier and lighter. Plus food in this mountainous region was very different from islands. Eateries in Meteora which were worth spending on –
Restaurant Meteora -Gkertsou Family since 1925
This is the finest restaurant in all of Meteora for Non-Vegetarians. They have unusual combos to offer and make your own meal. You can choose one of the side dishes among potato, rice, and tomatoes with the main course! Their indoor seating is charming, with a massive collection of antiques on the wall. The outdoor seating is even more lively by the streetside, secluded by the landscape all around. At the time of the payment, that cute bill cover they give can become the best bookmark you ever get anywhere. I tried Wine chicken with rice, and it remains one of the best-enjoyed dishes in my life.
The tomatoes’ sourness, the rice’s sweetness, herbs, spices and the strangest flavour of cooked wine is a pot full of flavours. After the main course, the creamy strawberry cheesecake helps you calm down that explosion of spicy flavours in your mouth. Well, anything and everything tastes better with wine, and so is theirs. Sahana’s veg dish – Eggplant Saganaki was average. Somehow these baked eggplants overloaded with local cheese weren’t the dish we would recommend.
Boufidis Taverna, Meteora.
Boufidis Taverna is a family-run restaurant right before the first monastery of Meteora. You get that smokey aroma of steaks grilling when you are nearing this place while you drive up.
Honestly, I loved this elderly lady more than I loved the food. Maybe when we reach her age, I am unsure if I will be as active and cute as she was!
Getting back to the food – In general, Meteora food is excellent in family-run hotels. The key is – good quality olive oil. That spicy smokey smell I got when they smear the olive oil on grilling meat is stamped in my mind forever. If you love steaks, this is your heaven if you are a vegetarian – tomato stuffed with rice, fried cheese and fries, maybe your meals.
I recommend this restaurant for the convenience and comfort over their taste. After arriving at Kalmabaka by train, we had to wait almost 45 minutes to catch the bus to go to Kastraki. There are many streetside cafes in Kalambaka, but Panellenion’s locality makes it the hotspot for tourists waiting. An open restaurant with decent-tasting food and a roof over the head is the best place to eat while waiting, especially on a rainy day. The strange thing here is, the seating and kitchen are located on either side of the main road! So you see waiters crossing the road with a handful of plates and food now and then. Their spaghetti with cheese is filling.
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