Greek foods and drinks

KALI OREXI!  (Bon Appetit)

There are many tavernas and restaurants within Ermioni, as well as the surrounding areas, all of which serve good food.  Greek cuisine itself has a large variety of wonderful foods.  Many people seem to think that it is only souvlaki, moussaka and Greek salad, and nothing else.  Even if you are a vegetarian, there are many items to choose from the Greek cuisine.  The problem might be that as a visitor, you usually read the menu and don't recognise or know what is on offer.  The good news is that most menus in Ermioni are written in Greek and English, as well as other popular European languages in some of the tavernas.  There are many starters that are delicious and can easily make your whole meal, without having to order a main-course dish. Enjoy all the fresh vegetables, especially seasonal ones, the taste of fresh tomatoes and onions are incredible.  The local wines (krasi) go well with all the food, and the olive oil produced around Ermioni is amongst the best in Greece. 

What to eat:  Greek Mediterranean food is one of the healthiest diets in the world, the food is generaly served simply, without rich sauces, where the taste of the food itself is most appreciated.  Most foods will be prepared with extra virgin olive oil and lemon as an addition.  Although meat and fish are readily available with accompanying salads, vegetarians will have a great choice of various vegetable and cheese dishes to choose from.   As in the hit comedy film, My Big, Fat Greek Wedding, they sum it up when they say  "What! . . .you're Vegetarian?   No problem . . . you can have lamb!"

Tips:  Don't just stick to the menu if you are in a taverna.  As a rule the Greeks themselves don't generally read menus, they usually ask what is available from the menu or in some cases go directly into the kitchen to choose.  Sometimes certain foods or meals are not even written on the menu, therefore, ask the waiter for recommendations of their specials of the day. 

Fish and meat are usually ordered and charged by the kilo, but this does not mean you have to take a full kilo.  Fresh fish is usually more expensive than the meat dishes, but check the various grades of fish before you order, some can be surprisingly inexpensive.

Greek habits:  The Greeks don't usually order individual dishes for themselves, as they order numerous starters (mezes) and drinks and share them amongst family and friends. This usually leads to over-eating, as the starters are so delicious and tasty, that one is more or less full by the time any main meal arrives.  It used to be the Greek habit to serve food lukewarm, as Greek people believe that hot food is bad for the stomach, but most restaurants and tavernas have adapted to international visitors requirements and serve food hot.

Fresh bread is automatically brought to your table, as it is considered part of the cover charge, whether you eat the bread or not.  Below are some delicious suggestions of popular starters, main dishes and desserts that you may want to try.

STARTERS

  • Horiatiki Salata - Greek village salad, feta cheese, tomatoes, cucumber, onions, peppers, olives and olive oil
  • Lahano Salata - Cabbage salad, fresh grated cabbage, grated carrots, olive oil, lemon
  • Dakos Salata - A Cretan salad, small pieces of feta cheese and tomatoes served on an olive oil soaked crust bread
  • Horta - Wild boiled greens, olive oil, lemon
  • Kolokithakia tiganita - Crispy fried slices of zucchini 
  • Melidsanes tiganites - Crispy fried slices of eggplant
  • Kolokithokeftedes - Deep fried zucchini balls, mashed zucchini and feta
  • Feta cheese - Goats milk cheese
  • Tzatziki - Greek yogurt, cucumber and garlic
  • Saganaki - Fried hard cheese served with lemon
  • Tirokeftedes - Fried cheese balls
  • Dolmades - Stuffed vine leaves with rice and mincemeat and served with a lemon sauce
  • Melidsanosalata - Mashed eggplant salad
  • Skordalia - Mashed potatoe with garlic, or can include bread
  • Saganaki garides - Shrimps cooked in pan with tomatoes and feta cheese
  • Gavros - Fried small fish
  • Mikroula - Even smaller fried small fish
  • Spanakopita - Spinach pie
  • Tiropita - Cheese pie
  • Gemista - Stuffed tomatoes, peppers or aubergines, with rice and mincemeat

MAIN DISHES

  • Grilled fish - Many varieties and grades of fresh fish (ask to see the selection available)
  • Octapodi psito - Grilled octopus
  • Kalamari - Grilled or deep fried squid (fresh or frozen)
  • Grilled meat - Most kind of grilled meats - usually pork, chicken or lamb - beef is available in selected tavernas
  • Souvlaki - Cubed grilled meat, pork or chicken, on a metal/wood skewer with peppers, tomatoes and onions
  • Kalamaki - As Souvlaki, but plain pork or chicken, and smaller in size
  • Brizola - Pork chop, usually served with chips or rice and a salad garnish
  • Beefteki - A large 'beefburger' using real meat, served plain or stuffed with a choice of melted cheese 
  • Pitta gyros - Grilled meat wrapped in pitta bread with onions, tomatoes, tzatziki and chips (Greek fast-food take-away)
  • Gyros merida - The same as a pitta gyros wrap, but larger portion of meat and served on a plate
  • Paiydakia - Grilled lamb chops, or chicken (in a lemon mustard sauce), by the kilo/half kilo, or a single portion 
  • Moussaka - Eggplant, minced meat, b├ęchamel sauce in layers, slowly baked in the oven
  • Pastichio - Minced meat, pasta noodles, b├ęchamel sauce, baked in the oven with cheese
  • Pizza - Various selections on offer. Try the 'Greek' pizza - with feta cheese, tomatoes, onions, peppers and olives
  • Loukaniko - Greek sausage, which the Hellenes believe are better than any of the German or Italian sausages

SWEETS/DESSERTS

  • Yoghurt - Natural 100% Greek yoghurt with honey and walnuts, or optional fresh seasonal fruits
  • Galaktoboureko - Milk pie, like semolina
  • Kataifi - Traditional sweet with walnuts and honey
  • Baklavas - Traditional sweet (puff pastry) with walnuts and honey
  • Tsoureki - Sweet Easter buns
  • Loukoumades - Similiar to doughnuts, deep-fried & served with honey and cinnamon
  • Revani - Semolina cake
  • Cafe Ellenikon - Greek coffee - order sketo (without sugar) metrio (medium sweet) gliko (very sweet)

 

WINES  There are many delicious Greek wines, but sometimes it is not easy to choose the right one.  Not all the tavernas in Ermioni have a large selection of wines to choose from, usually it is their own home-made house wines, which are either lefko (white), rose (pink), or kokino (red).  These home-made house wines usually compliment the local cuisine.  Bottled red wines from Nemea and Macedonia are popular with locals and visitors, but the traditional Retsina is only found in the super-markets.

 

BEERS  There are a number of Greek beers available in Ermioni.  Fix and Mythos are the most popular Greek beers found in the restaurants and tavernas, as well as some popular European beers like Amstel, Heineken and Kaiser.  Alpha and Vergina can be found in a few tavernas and cafes, but mostly in the supermarkets. Some tavernas also offer draught beer.  A few Greek speciality beers can be discovered in the surrounding villages of Ermioni, which include Zeos, Neda and Bios5.

 

FRUIT and VEGETABLES  Buy local fresh fruit and vegetables, as they are extremely tasty.  Especially delicious are: pomegranates, watermelons, honey-melons, grapes, peaches, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions.  The small grocery stores in Ermioni usualy offer freshly picked local produce, which can also be found in greater quantities and varieties in the larger super-markets.  Most visitors to Ermioni buy all their fresh produce at the weekly Thursday morning farmers market.

 

POMEGRANATE FESTIVAL  There is an annual pomegranate festival held in Ermioni, third Sunday in October. It celebrates this 'ancient fruit of the gods' as it has been grown in the Ermioni area for thousands of years.  The local tavernas and bakeries produce an amazing number of fresh recepies for the villagers to sample, all beautifully displayed at the Limani harbour waterfront, accompanied by folk dancing and live music. Fresh pomegranate juice has become big business in Ermioni recently, with a healthy export market.

  

Picture Gallery
Greek food: Moussaka Greek food: Kalamaki Greek food: Greek village salad Greek food: Fresh fish Greek food: Red Mullet fish Greek food: Stuffed tomatoes Greek food: Dolmades Greek food: Pitta Gyros Greek food: Meatballs and pasta Greek food: Assorted pizzas Greek food: Kalamari squid Greek food: Pastichio Greek food: Souvlaki Greek food: Spanakopita pie Greek food: Dakos salad Greek food: Pomegranates and natural yoghurt Greek drinks: Popular beers Greek drinks: Specialist beers Greek drinks: Larger beers Greek drinks: Ouzo Greek drinks: Ouzo selection Greek drinks: Metaxa brandy Greek drinks: Cool Frappe Greek drinks: Greek coffee