Greek in Greece

Eating Out

Several people seated outdoors at a cafe

Greece is a country that places a high value on fresh, delicious food. Although many vegetables are served, Greek cuisine emphasizes meat, so vegetarians need to plan accordingly.

In more expensive restaurants, meals are eaten in a leisurely fashion. In these establishments, it is important to respect the dress code - no sneakers or jeans. In general, leaving a little food on the plate is considered a mark of manners. It is considered impolite to ask for leftovers "to go" unless the restaurant is familiar to you (pizza is the exception).

Tavernas are small, less expensive restaurants found in both urban and rural settings. Normally, there are several meat dishes (lamb or beef) available each day, along with a choice of rice, baked potatoes, stuffed peppers or tomatoes, cucumber-yogurt salad (tsatsiki), bean dishes and Greek wine, coffee or mineral water. At the tavernas in smaller towns, customers come to the counter and pick out what they would like, and their plates are prepared in front of them. In the larger cities, customers are seated, and a waiter takes orders.

For the most informal dining, pizzerias serve pizzas, salad, spaghetti, pasta and calzones. It is also easy to find small shops that sell gyros, which are sandwiches made of lamb or sausage, tomatoes and cooked onions, folded into pita or bread. Both American and Greek fast food chains can be found both in the large cities and smaller towns.

International restaurants, such as Chinese, Italian and Spanish, are located mainly in the major cities and almost never in small towns.

Tipping is considered a courtesy but in moderation. It is recommended that a tip always be left in a fancy restaurant, a taverna, and in the cafeterias. Always tip drivers who deliver takeout food.