A beginner’s guide to Greek food
Across the millennia, the people of Greece have had an enormous influence on the world as we know it. Not least has been the signature cuisine of this region – it epitomises the best that the Mediterranean has to offer.
The cuisine of this part of the world traces its history back over 4,000 years. In ancient times, wheat, olive oil, and wine were the foundations of the diet of most Greeks. Meat-based dishes became more popular as agricultural techniques developed.
The core elements of Greek cuisine have formed the basis for much of Western cooking as we know it today, but the food of Greece was also heavily influenced by the Ottoman Empire, and the people of Italy.
There are noticeable regional variations in the cuisine of Greece. Seasonal variations are also a feature.
- Olive oil
- Feta cheese
- White beans
- Greek salad – an unbeatable combination of tomato, cucumber, olives, and feta cheese.
- Tzatziki – hugely popular dip made from cucumber and yoghurt.
- Spanokopita – filo pastry filled with spinach and cheese.
- Souvlaki – skewers of grilled meat served in flat-bread.
- Moussaka – a Greek version of lasagne, this is layered aubergine with potato and minced lamb.
Where to find Greek food in London
Store Street in London’s Bloomsbury has always been one of London’s coolest streets, and The Life Goddess brings a good dose of Greek flavour to the neighbourhood.
It’s a combination of a deli, cafe, and restaurant - selling great products and also serving food and coffee.
It’s busy with crowds of young, cool Greeks - drinking coffee, smoking outside, and talking loudly. Love it.
It doesn’t look much from the outside, but this simple Greek cafe is a safe pair of hands if you’re craving the flavours of Greece.
We shared some salty Saganaki, a tasty grilled sausage, and a plate of grilled pork – served with some fries and tzatziki. They’ve also got a nice selection of Greek beers available.
It may not be the best Greek food I’ve ever had, and it’s probably a little over-priced for what it is, but if you’re looking for some simple and tasty Greek food in London then Hungry Donkey ticks those boxes.
The Real Greek chain is a pretty safe bet – it’s simple Greek food without any surprises.
It delivers all the classics that you’d expect on the menu at a Greek restaurant, generally fairly competently cooked, and generally the service is pretty solid.
I wouldn’t make any sort of effort to eat at an outlet of The Real Greek, but as an emergency option it does the job.