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How to Say It

This page will give you an idea of what you can eat and how to pronounce it so that you can order on your own in a Greek restaurant without pointing. But pointing is OK too so if you don't memorize all these don't worry. This may be a good page to print out.

    Mezedes (Appetisers)

These are some of the dishes I discussed on the mezedes page that are eaten as a snack with ouzo but also the normal appetisers that you would have with a meal.
  • Sadziki (sah-tsi-key): Yogurt, cucumber and garlic, and salt. Great on fresh Greek bread.
  • Melitzana Salata (mel-its-zan-na sah-lah-ta): Eggplant salad. Like Babaganoush in the middle east. Eaten on bread.
  • Tarama Salata (tah-rah-mah sal-ah-tah): roe of carp. Greek caviar. Don't be afraid to try it. It doesn't taste like you expect. Eaten on bread. There is a the pink kind from carp which is common and the white kind from mullet which is more rare.
  • Saganaki (sah-gah-nah-ki): fried cheese. Sometimes comes with tomato sauce. I like it plain with lemon. You can also get it with shrimp (gah-ree-des), mussels (me-dyah), or pastourma (pas-tour-mah) which is a spicy cured meat.
  • Capari Salata (cap-ah-ri sa-lah-tah): Caper salad. Sifnos specialty. Goes on bread.
  • Tiro Kafteri (tee-row kaf-teh-ree): Cheese salad. Strong sometimes spicy. Spread on bread
  • Olives (el-yes ): a hundred different varieties. Don't say you don't like olives until you have tried them all. You may find one you can't live without.
  • Kasseri (kah-seh-ree) Soft cheese like mozzerela.
  • Keftedes (kef-teh-des): Deep-fried Meatballs. Other areas have their own variety of keftedes. Sifnos has Revithiakeftedes (reh-veeth-ya kef-teh-des), made from chickpeas. Santorini has Domatokeftedes (tho-mah-toh kef-teh-des) made from Tomatoes. There are also Tirokeftedes (tee-row kef-teh-des) made with cheese and psarokeftedes (psah-row-kef-teh-des) made with fish. They are all delicious.
  • Spanakopita (span-ah-koh-pee-tah) Spinach pie, one of my staples
  • Tiropita (tee-roh pee-ta): Cheese pie
  • Kreatopita (krey-ah-toh-pee-tah): Meat pie
  • Manindaropita (mah-neen-dah-roh-pee-tah) A cheesy mushroom pie often has bacon in it
  • Mavromatika (mav-roh-mah-tee-kah) is a black eyed peas salad
  • Pikilia (pee-kee-lee-ah) This is a plate of mixed appetisers which is usually labeled as large (meh-gah-lo) or small (mee-kro) or sometimes you get the option of meat (kreh-as) or fish (psah-ree or tha-lah-see-no)
  • Yigendes (yee-gen-des): Big beans like lima beans served either with oil and lemon or with tomatoe sauce.
  • Fava (fah-vah): Dip or stew made from yellow split peas that can be eaten with a spoon or with bread.
  • Fakyes (fak-yes): Lentil Soup
  • Kolokithikia Vrasta (koh-loh-kee-thai-kya vras-tah ): Boiled zucchini seasoned with oil, lemon and sometimes vinegar.
  • Patates Tiganites (pa-tah-tes tee-gah-nee-tes ): fried potatoes. Greek french fries blows MacDonalds away. It must be the oil. Or the potatoers. Or the fact that it is not McDonalds
  • Koukia (koo-kya) Large beans eaten in Lesvos. They say children should not eat these because they have high levels of something that is not good for them. But adults all eat them so it is not fatal to us.
  • Pepperies Tiganites (pep-ehr-yes tee-gah-nee-tes) Fried peppers, usually not spicy
  • Sikotaria (see-koh-tah-ryah) Organ meats like liver and kidneys usually braised in wine
  • Greek Salads

    Greek salad
    • Choriatiki Salata (hoe-ree-ah-tee-key sa-lah-tah): Village salad or what we in America call a Greek Salad, except in Greece you usually don't get lettuce. It generally consists of Tomatoes(tho- mah-tes), Cucumbers(an-goo-ree), Onions(crem-ee-thya), Feta, Olive Oil( la-thee), vinegar ( ksee-dee) and olives (ill-yes ). Sometimes they leave off the feta so you have to ask for it and they charge you extra. When I order I ask for a hoe-ree-ah-tee-key meh feh-tah, a village salad with feta, just to avoid this. If you want it without any of the above items just tell the waiter: hoe-ris (without) and the name of the item.
    • Lachano-karota (la-cah-no-kah-ro-tah): Cabbage and Carrot Salad
    • Horta (hoar-ta): Boiled greens. Very healthy and good with lemon, oil and vinigear.
    • Vleeta (vlee-tah): Cooked and served like horta but different greens. Restaurants will have one or the other.
    • Marouli Salata (mah-roo-lee sah-lah-ta) Lettuce salad
    • Dakos (dah-kos) Cretan salad, like a village salad but on a husk of dried barley bread
    • Tomato salata (do-mah-to sa-lah-ta) is a plain tomato salad
    • Politiki Salata (poh-lee-tee-kee sal-ah-tah) means City salad and is a spicy slaw from Constantinople
    • Salata Vrasta (Sal-ah-tah vrah-stah) is a boiled salad usually served in the winter and consists of broccoli, cauliflower, beets, horta, zucchini
    • Batzaria me Skordalia (bah-dzah-ree-yah meh skor-dah-yah) Boiled beets with garlic sauce

    Greek Vegetarian Dishes

    The first thing to learn is how to say I am a vegetarian: Ee-meh hor-toh-fah-gos. Or you can say I don't eat meat: Then troh kray-ass. If you want to say you are allergic to something say ech-oh al-er-gee-es.
  • Patates sto Fourno (pa-tah-tes stoh for-no): Oven lemon roasted potatoes. My favorite dish.
  • Briam (bree-am): roast vegetables. Usually contains potatoes, onions, zucchini, eggplant, garlic and tomatoes.
  • Rivithia (reh-vee-thya): Chickpea stew.
  • Araka (ah-rah-kah): Peas. Cooked with onions and tomatoes.
  • Anginares (ang-ee-nah-res): Artichokes in lemon and egg sauce with potatoes.
  • Lachanodolmades (lah-kah-noh-dol-mah-des) Stuffed cabbage, can be meat or vegetarian and usually covered in egg-lemon sauce (av-goh-lem-oh-no)
  • Dolmades (doh-mah-des): Grape-leaves stuffed with rice, onions (and sometimes ground beef) either served with egg lemon sauce or plain.
  • Spanakorizo (spah-nah-koh-ree-zoh) Spinach and rice
  • Kolokithia Tiganites (koh-loh-kee-thyah tee-gan-ee-tes) Fried zucchini usually served with sadziki
  • Melitsana Tiganites (mel-ee-tsah-nah tee-gan-ee-tes) Like above but with eggplant. People usually order these together.
  • Makaroones (Mah-kah-roo-nes) Cheesy pasta from the Peloponessos (photo)
  • Emam (ee-mom): Eggplant and tomato dish that is similar to papoutsakia but usually without the meat.
  • Yemista (Ghee-mee-stah): Stuffed tomatoes and peppers, can be found with or without meat
  • Strapatsada: (strah-pah-tsah-dah) Like an open faced omelet or eggs scrambled with cheese, onions, tomatoes, peppers and pretty much whatever you want in it
  • Bamyes (bam-yes) Okra cooked in tomato sauce
  • Pre-cooked Dishes (Magerefta)

  • Stifado (stee-fah-doh): Stew made with lots of small onions, tomatoes and either rabbit (kou-nell-ee), lamb (ar-nee), beef (mos-char-ee) or octopus (ach-toh-poh-thee).
  • Macaronia (mak-ah-ron-ya): Spagetti as we call it. Served with ground beef (meh kee-mah) or tomatoe sauce (sal-tsa). If you want to say without meat say ho-ris kee-mah
  • Mousaka (moo-sah-kah): Baked and similar eggplant parmagion but not as tomato saucy. Contains eggplant, potatoes, onions, ground beef, oil, cinnamon, and a flour, milk and butter topping. The accent is on the kah and not on the sah!
  • Pastitsio (pah-stee-tsyo): Like Lasagna but not as saucy. Layered noodles, meat, tomato sauce and topping similar to mousaka but denser.
  • Papoutsakia (pah-poo-tsak-yah) Eggplant stuffed with meat and a cheese-béchamel sauce
  • Lamb Fricasse (ar-nee free-cah-seh ): Stew made with spinach, lemon, eggs and oil.
  • Arni Psito (ar-nee psee-toh ) Leg of lamb roasted with potatoes. Also called lamb in the oven (ar-nee stoh for-noh)
  • Arni Lemonato (Ar-nee leh-mon-ah-tow): Lamb cooked in a lemon sauce and usually served with macaroni or fried potatoes. They also use goat (kah-tsee-kee leh-mon-ah-toh)
  • Kotopoulo Sto Fourno (koh-toh-pou-loh stoh four-noh) Oven Roasted Chicken with potatoes.
  • Psaronefi (psah-ro-neh-fee) Pork loin usually roasted
  • Moschari Kokinisto (mos-kah-ree kok-ee-nee-stoh) Braised beef (or veal) in red sauce
  • Avgolemono Soup (av-goh-leh-mon-oh sou-pah) Egg lemon soup which is usually chicken based
  • Patsa (Pat-sah): Tripe soup. Good for hangovers. Also Podi (poh-dee) which is a soup made from the foot of a cow and Mageritsa (mah-yer-ee-tsah) which is the organ meats left over from the lamb and usually eaten at Easter. See my Patsa Page
  • Kokora Pastitsado (koh-koh-rah pas-tee-tsah-doh) Rooster usually served in red sauce with big macaroni
  • Fasolakia meh Kreas (fas-oh-lak-ya meh kreh-as) String beans in tomato sauce usually cooked with lamb or beef
  • Giovetsi: (Yo-vet-see) Beef cooked with orzo, a rice like pasta, with tomato sauce
  • Souzoukakia (sou-zoo-kak-yah): Spicy oblong shaped meatballs served in tomato sauce with rice or macaroni
  • Giouvelakia (You-veh-like-ya): Meatballs made ouf of beef and rice in an avgolemono (egg lemon sauce).
  • Grilled Meats (Tis Oras)

    Grilled Chicken
    • Sta Carbona (sta car-bon-ah): anything charcoal grilled.
    • Paidaikia (pie-dye-kya): Lamb grilled, like lamb chops but way better. Probably my favorite thing to eat in Greece
    • Provatina (pro-vah-tee-nah): Like paidaikia but old lamb or mutton. When it is good it is amazing. It can also be cooked on a rotisserie
    • Kotopoulo Tis Skaras ( koh-toh-pou-low tis ska-ras): Grilled Chicken. Ask for Podi (poh-thee) if you want the leg and thigh or stithos (stee-thos) if you want the breast and wing.
    • Kotopoulo Paidaikia (koh-toh-pou-low pie-die-kyah) Like lamb paidaikia but made from chicken. That's it in the photo.
    • Moschari Brizoles (mos-kah-ree bree-zoh-les):Beef Steak on the grill
    • Hirini Brizoles (he-ree-neebree-zoh-les) Pork Steak on the grill
    • Souvlakia (sue-vlak-yah): Shish-kabob with pita (pee-tah) or on a plate with rice and condiments. So if you wanted the souvlaki wrapped in pita like the sandwich you are probably familiar with you would say sou-vlah-kyah meh pee-tah. If you wanted the gyro which is the meat sliced off the rotisserie you would say yee-roh me pee-tah. I know it is complicated but there is a whole section about it on my Souvlaki page
    • Loukaniko (lou-con-ee-koh): sausage
    • Kokoretsi (ko-ko-reh-tsee): Entrails of lamb wrapped up and roasted on a spit.
    • Kontosouvli (kon-toh-sou-vlee): Big hunks of pork cooked on a spit.
    • Beefteki (beef-teh-kee) Like grilled hamburgers but more meaty and without the bun
    • Tsikoti (tsee-koh-tee) liver
    • Gouranopoulo (goo-rah-no-pou-low) Roast whole suckling pig
    • Arni to Souvlas (are-nee to sou-vlas) Roast lamb on a spit
    • Paspala (pas-pah-lah) Like strapadsada but this has big hunks of pork in it

    Fish and Seafood

    Greek seafood Octopus
    • Astako (as-tah-koh): Lobster. Mediterranean style with no claws and really expensive and not that great but people order it to show off
    • Garides (gah-ree-des): Shrimp, usually grilled or fried or in sagonaki
    • Xifia (ksee-fee-ya): Swordfish. Grilled steaks or souvlaki. I never order this even though it tastes really good because I heard that the fishermen refuse to eat it so there must be something they know that we don't.
    • Barbounia (bar-boon-yah): Red Mullet. Expensive and delicious grilled or fried. Probably my favorite fish when it is fresh. If you don't know fresh from not then you probably should not order it. We don't have this in the USA. A cheaper version is koutsomoura (kou-tsoh-moo-rah) though even these are going up in price. That's OK. The more expensive they are the fewer people will eat them and maybe someday they will be plentiful again.
    • Marides (mah-ree-des): Small deep-fried fish that can be eaten whole, heads bones and all.
    • Gavros (gah-vros): Anchovies that like marides are deep fried and eaten whole, though they cut the heads off. They are also served marinated as a meze called Gavros Marinatos (gah-vros mah-ree-nah-tos)
    • Atherinia (ah-theh-ree-nyah) These are really small fish that are deep fried with onions
    • Gopes (go-pes): Small tasty inexpensive fish served fried or grilled.
    • Soupia (soup-yah): Cuttle fish. Served grilled or with a red wine-sauce.
    • Midia (me-dee-yah): Mussels, Steamed or in a wine sauce.
    • Bakaliaro(bak-ah-lar-oh): Fried salted codfish battered and deep fried and served with garlic sauce (skor-da-ya). You can also get it fresh sometimes and they also cook it in a red sauce and call the dish Plaki (plah-kee)
    • Galeos (gah-lay-os) Dogfish or small shark battered and deep fried and served with skordalia.
    • Octopodi (och-toh-poh-dee) Octopus which can be served grilled (tis skah-ras) or boiled (vrah-stah) or in a wine sauce or stifado. Excellent with ouzo by the sea but you have to ask yourself if you want to eat a creature that may be smarter than you are?
    • Kalamarakia (kah-la-mah-rak-ya) or Kalamari (kah-lah-mah-ree): Squid, small and large. The small is frozen, comes from far away and is usually fried in small pieces. The large is fresh and is usually caught locally then fried or grilled whole. Both delicious with lemon. The really big ones may be called Thrapsala (thrap-sah-lah) and the really, really small ones are called Gones (go-nes)
    • Sardeles (sar-dell-ess): Sardines. Can be served fried, grilled or from the can packed with oil or salt. In Lesvos a special treat is pastes (pas-tess) which means that the sardines were caught that morning, salted on the boat and served raw that night. With ouzo it can't be beat.
    • Rega (reh-ga): smoked herring in olive oil. Usually an appetizer.
    • Psarosoupa (psar-oh soup-ah): Fish soup. Potatoes, lemon and egg base, can be ordered with or without fish. I t can also be called kakavia (kah-kah-vyah)
    • Tsipoura (tsee-poo-rah) Sea Bream which is usually farmed and eaten grilled
    • Lavraki (lah-vrah-kee) European sea bass is usually from farms and eaten grilled
    • Fangri (fan-gree) Common sea bream is excellent grilled when fresh as is
    • Kolios (kol-yos) Chub mackerel is excellent grilled and one of the healthiest fish you can eat along with sardines
    • Skoumbri (skoom-bree) Also in the mackerel family is usually found pickled or smoked and eaten as meze with ouzo

    Other Greek Food Pronunciations

    Nut shop in Athens
  • Eggs are av-gah
  • Bread is psoh-me
  • Salt is ah-LAH-tee
  • Pepper is pep-PER-ee
  • Oil is Lah-thee and Olive Oil is ee-lee-OH-lah-doh
  • Vinegar is KSEE-thee
  • Hot Peppers is pep-per-YES kaf-teh-REE
  • Omelet is Om-eh-leh-tah. Try it with feta or  potato omelets (pa-ta-to om-eh-leh-tah).
  • Watermelon is kar-poo-zee
  • Honeydew Melon is peh-poh-nee
  • Apple is me-low
  • Grapes are stah-fee-lah
  • Pears are are-klah-dyah
  • Apricots are veh-ree-koh-koh
  • Rice Pudding is ree-zoh-gah-low
  • Ice Cream is pah-go-toe
  • Yogurt is yah-oar-tee. With fruit is meh fruit-ta. With honey is meh mel-lee
  • Wine is krah-see. Red wine is koh-kee-no. White wine is ass-pro or lef-koh. Hee-ma means homemade from the barrel. Or you can say doh-pyo which means local
  • Glass is poh-tee-ree
  • Caraffe is kah-rah-fah-kee
  • Bottle is boo-kah-lee
  • Water is neh-roh
  • Peanuts are ah-rah-pee-kah
  • Pistachios are Fis-tee-kyah
  • Menu is cah-tah-low-go
  • May I have the check please is lo-ga-ree-as-moh pah-rah-ka-low
  • Thank-you is ef-ka-ree-stoh
  • I could probably go on forever but I think there is enough here so that you won't starve to death when you visit Greece. If you want to learn more Greek you can visit my Learn Greek page. For where to eat in Athens visit my Athens Guide Restaurant Page

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