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Traditional Greek recipes

- half a kilo (1 lb 2 oz) (thick) strained yogurt
- 1 cucumber
- 4-5 cloves grated garlic
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- salt and pepper

No doubt this is one of the most famous appetizers of Greek cuisine. If you don't like garlic, don't try it even though garlic has been proven very good for your heart, blood pressure and skin. Tzatziki can be served as an separate appetizer but it also is used in combination with other food for example as sauce on souvlaki.

Peel the cucumber and grate (as for carrots) onto a clean towel. Press to remove juices. Put the yogurt in a bowl, add the well drained cucumber and grated garlic and mix well. Then add the oil, salt and (optional) 4 or 5 drops of lemon juice. Refrigerate.

Serve cold as an appetizer or with a meat dish.

Horiaki (Greek salad)
- 1 lettuce, rinsed, dried and chopped
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 170 grams (6 ounce) pitted black olives
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 large tomatoes, chopped
- 1 cucumber, sliced
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 lemon, juiced
- black pepper to taste

Mix the lettuce, onion, olives, bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumber and cheese in a salad bow. Whisk the olive oil together with the oregano, lemon juice and black pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad, toss and serve slightly chilled.

(4-6 servings) Top

Keftedes (meat balls)
Keftedes (meat balls)

- 1 kilo (2-lbs. 4 oz) minced beef
- 2 onions, grated
- 2 eggs
- 1 teacup of olive oil
- 2-3 slices of bread
- 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
- 1 clove garlic
- salt, pepper
- oil for frying or for baking.
- some flour
- 3 teacups of tomato sauce

Place the minced meat in a bowl and add the eggs, the parsley, the garlic and the grated onions. Soak the bread and squeeze excess moisture. Add it to the meat mixture along with salt and pepper. Mix all the ingredients well. Make small round balls and flatten them by hand until they are about one centimeter thick. Coat the meatballs lightly with flour and fry them in very hot oil or bake them in olive oil in a pan.

Place the fried meatballs in a pan with the prepared tomato sauce. Allow them to cook for about 15 minutes over a medium fire. Serve the meatballs hot, garnished with fried potatoes or rice.

(5-6 servings) Top

Spanakopita (spinach pie)
Spanakopita (spinach pie)

- half a kilo (1 lb.2 oz) spinach
- 6 spring onions, finely chopped
- half a teacup of dill, finely chopped
- 1,5 teacups olive oil
- salt and pepper
- feta cheese

- half a kilo (1 lb. 2 oz) flour
- 2 eggs
- half a teacup butter
- 1 teacup warm water
- salt

Clean and wash the spinach then drain it well. Saute the spring onions in the olive oil on medium heat until they become transparent but not brown. Shred the spinach in large pieces and add it to the onions. Season to taste. Cook for about 15 minutes over a medium fire so as the ingredients remain in the pot without any liquid. Stir in the dill and the feta cheese.

Prepare the pastry as follows : place the flour in a bowl, add the eggs, the melted butter, salt and as much warm water as is necessary for a dough that is pliable.
Knead the dough well and roll it out in thin pastry sheets with a rolling pin. Line an oiled pan with a pastry sheet, brush with olive oil, then lay two or three pastry sheets brushing each one with olive oil again. Spread the filling evenly and cover it with 3-4 layers of pastry sheets oiled in the same way as previously. Bake in a medium oven for about 45 minutes. Cut the spinach pie into pieces and serve it either hot or cold.

Note: you can also use pastry you can buy from a supermarket. Top

Kakavia (famous fish soup)
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 medium onions, peeled and sliced thin
- 4 plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1,5 kg (3 pounds) cheap mixed white fish, gutted
  and cleaned
- Half a kilo (1 pound) shrimp, cleaned
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
- salt and black pepper
- 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 6 slices thick toasted bread

Heat half of the olive oil in a large soup pot and add the onions. Cook covered over medium heat until wilted, about 7 minutes. Add the tomatoes and 6 cups water. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain, reserving the vegetables and pouring the stock back into the pot.

Add the fish and shrimp to the stock and simmer for another 20 minutes. Remove the fish with a slotted spoon, de-bone it, breaking the flesh apart into small pieces. Add it back to the soup pot together with the vegetables. Add the diced potatoes, season with salt and pepper and simmer the soup, partially covered for 2 hours until it becomes thick. Add more water if necessary. Sprinkle the parsley and remaining raw olive oil into the soup just before removing from the heat.

To serve, place six slices of thick toasted bread on the bottom of six bowls and ladle the soup into each of the bowls.

(6 servings) Top

- 1 lamb pluck, 1 kilo (2 lbs)
- half a kilo (1 lb) green (fresh) onions
- 1 bunch anise
- 3/4 of a teacup rice
- 2 tablespoons butter
- lemon juice
- 3 eggs
- salt and pepper

Boil the pluck and take out the foam. Put in the salt and let it boil for a while. Take it out and conserve the broth. Cut the pluck into small pieces.

Put the broth in a large pot after passing it through a strainer. Cut the onions and the anise into small pieces and add them to the broth. Also add the pluck and the butter. Lower the fire and let them boil.

When they are almost done, add the rice. In the meantime prepare the egg and lemon sauce. Beat the egg very well and add the lemon juice very slowly. Take some of the soup and add it slowly to the sauce. Do the same thing several times, always beating the sauce, then add the sauce to the pot, stirring the soup slowly.

( 8-9 servings) Top

Fasolada (bean soup)
- half a kilo (1 lb 2 oz) medium-sized beans
- 2 medium-sized scarped and sliced carrots
- 2 medium-sized chopped onions
- 2 ripe chopped tomatoes
- some chopped celery
- 1 teacup olive oil
- salt and pepper

Soak the beans in water overnight to soften up. Rinse, drain and place them in a pot with water. Add the carrots, the celery, the tomatoes, the onions, the olive oil and let everything boil over a medium fire for about 1,5 to 2 hours. Serve warm with anchovies or grilled herring and black olives

(5-6 servings) Top

- 1 kilo (2 lbs 4 oz) pork
- 12 pita bread
- 2-3 tomatoes, sliced
- 2 onions, sliced
- 1 teacup olive oil
- 2 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
- salt and pepper
- oregano
- Tzatziki (optional)

Cut the pork into small cubes. Place it in a bowl with salt, pepper, oregano and olive oil. Mix it and let it sit for a while. Take the meat out and thread it on small wooden skewers. Cook under a hot grill on both sides (about 7 minutes on each side).

Heat the pita bread. Remove the grilled pork from the skewers and place an appropriate amount of it on each pita bread along with some onion, parsley, slices of tomato, salt, pepper and some tzatziki. Serve warm on individual dishes.

Note: Pork can be replaced by beef or chicken. If you prefer, you can omit the pita bread and serve it on a plate with rice or french fries, onions, tomatoes and parsley.

(6 servings) Top

Moussaka (with egg plant)
- 4-5 eggplants
- half a kilo (1 lb 2 oz) minced meat
- 2-3 tomatoes
- 1 teacup olive oil
- 2 chopped onions
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 bay leaf
- oil for frying
- half a teacup grated Parmesan cheese
- flour
- 3 Teacups bechamel sauce
- salt & pepper

Heat the cup of oil in a pot and saute the onions in it. Add the minced meat and continue to saute for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, the bay leaf, the garlic clove, the salt and pepper and allow the mixture to boil for about one hour.

Wash the eggplants and trim off their stems. Cut them in round slices and then let them soak in salted water for approximately one hour. Drain their slices, coat them with flour and fry them in very hot oil (for a lighter version, cook the slices in the oven for 15' ( 200 degrees Celsius).

Place a layer of eggplants' slices, salt and pepper and a layer of the minced meat mixture in a pan and add another layer of eggplants and minced meat mixture. Pour the bechamel sauce over the last layer. Sprinkle with the grated Parmesan cheese and bake at a high temperature for about 2 5 minutes.

Take out the moussaka and cut it in square pieces. Serve it hot.

(5-6 servings) Top


- 1 kilo (2 lbs 4 oz) thick macaroni
- half a kilo (1 lb 2 oz) minced meat
- 2 medium-sized diced onions
- 1 bay leaf
- 2-3 ripe diced tomatoes
- 2 teacups olive oil
- 150 grams (5 oz) Kefalotyri (Greek type of
  cheese) or grated Parmesan cheese
- Pinch of basil
- salt and pepper

Bechamel sauce:
- 1 teacup flour
- 4 teacups milk
- 3 beaten eggs
- 1 teacup refined oil
- 150 grams (5 oz) Kefalotyri (Greek type of
  cheese) or grated Parmesan cheese
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Salt and pepper

Saute the onions in a teacup of oil until they turn golden. Add the minced meat and saute it with the onions stirring constantly until all the lumps of the meat are covered. Add the tomatoes, the bay leaf, the pinch of basil, salt, pepper and some water. Let everything cook over a medium fire for about 30 minutes. Half cook the macaroni in plenty of salted water, cool them down and drain. Heat the second cup of oil, in a pan, and pour it over the macaroni.

In the meantime, prepare the bechamel sauce as follows: heat the oil in a pot and add the flour stirring constantly so that it does not turn lumpy. Warm the milk and add it to the oil and flour paste beating constantly with an egg mixer. Remove the pot from the fire and add the beaten eggs, the pinch of nutmeg, the cheese, salt and pepper stirring constantly. In case the sauce turns out too thick, add a little milk.

Lay out the layer of macaroni in a dish or pan. Sprinkle it with cheese and cover with the minced meat mix that you prepared. Spread the remaining macaroni over the minced meat layer, sprinkle again with cheese and cover with the bechamel sauce. Sprinkle the sauce with cheese. Bake it in a hot oven for about 20 minutes. Take it out of the oven and let it cool down. Cut it into square pieces, then serve it.

(5-6 servings)

- half a kilo (1 lb. 2 oz) long-grain rice, washed and
- half a kilo (1 lb. 2 oz) fresh or preserved vine
- 2-3 spring (fresh) onions, finely sliced
- 2 tablespoons parsley finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons dill, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon mint
- 300 grams (5 oz) olive oil
- juice of one lemon
- salt and pepper

Wash the vine leaves well, scald them with boiling water and place them on a platter. Prepare the stuffing as follows: sauté the onions in the olive oil lightly. Add the washed and strained rice, the chopped parsley and dill, the mint, a small amount of water, salt and pepper and let these cook for about 10 minutes. Then remove from the heat and let the mixture cool.

Place a teaspoon of the stuffing near the base of the leaf (at the stem end) and fold it as follows: press the stuffing into a small sausage-like shape and fold over it the stem end and both edges-towards the middle-inwards. Then roll the stuffed leaf over to make a tight small bundle.

Line the bottom of a pot with vine leaves and lay the stuffed leaves in circles. When one layer is finished, begin a new one on its top. Add some water and lemon juice and cover the last layer of stuffed leaves with an inverted plate to prevent the leaves from coming apart. Cook on medium heat for an hour and a half. Serve cold.

(5-6servings) Top

- 1 kg (2 lbs 4 oz) lean cony-rabbit cubed.
- 500 gram (1 lb 2 oz) baby shallot onions - peeled
- 2 large onions chopped
- 3 juicy tomatoes - chopped
- 2 table-spoons of tomato paste
- 1 whole nutmeg crushed
- 1 cinnamon sticks and 3 cloves
- 4 garlic cloves - finely chopped
- rosemary sprig
- 1 small lass of extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 glasses of red wine
- a good splash of vinegar
- black pepper

Add the cony-rabbit to a large frying pan. Then add the olive oil, chopped onions, garlic, and cook on high heat until the meat is sealed and the onions have turned soft. Next, add the chopped tomatoes, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, rosemary and a good pinch of black pepper. Keep stirring while the ingredients blend on a moderate heat. Keep heating while adding the wine, vinegar and tomato paste. Stir well.

Turn out into a casserole dish - terra cotta is best. Add warm water so as to cover the meat. Cook in an oven until the meat is nearly cooked, about one hour.

While waiting, peel the baby shallot onions, wash them and shallow fry them in a little olive oil, until soft, not letting them burn. Remove the casserole from the oven and add the shallots (but not the oil) to the simmering meat. Return to the oven and leave until the meat is thoroughly cooked (soft and tender). Add water as needed so that you end up with a thick sauce.

(4-6 servings) Top


- half a kilo (1 lb 2 oz) of ready made fyllo pastry
- 2 teacups almonds pounded into crump's
- 1,5 teacups butter
- half a teacup sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon

- 3 teacups sugar
- 1 teacup honey
- 2 teacups water
- cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon clove sticks

Mix the pounded almonds, the sugar and the cinnamon in a bowl. Butter a small pan and lay a few sheets of fyllo pastry in it brushing each one with butter. Next, spread a small amount of the almond mix over the fyllo layer. Continue making successive layers of fyllo and almond mix of about equal thickness. Finish with a thicker layer of fyllo sheets (6-8 sheets) brushing each sheet with butter. Then cut the baklava in diamond-shaped pieces. Sprinkle with water and bake in a medium oven for about an hour.

In the meantime, prepare the syrup as follows : place the water, honey, sugar and the spices in a pot and boil them over a strong fire for about 15 minutes. Remove the baklava from the oven when it is ready let it cool down.
Pour the boiling syrup over it. Cut out the pieces and serve them.

Sweets for Christmas and New Year

Kourabiedes (shortbread)
Kourabiedes (shortbread)

- 2 cups of olive oil
- 1 cup of water
- 1 cup of sugar
- flour (as needed)
- ½ cup semolina or wholemeal crumbled rusks
- 1 tablespoon baking soda or powder

- 2 cups of water
- 1 cup of sugar

Mix the oil, water, sugar, flour, semolina and baking powder. Knead the mixture then shape with it with your hands into oval-shaped biscuits. Bake in a moderate oven until golden. Remove them from the oven and leave the biscuits to cool. Prepare the syrup and dip in the kourabiedes separately before coating them with sugar. Top

- 1 cup of fresh milk
- 2 tablespoon yeast
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup of butter
- 1½ cups of sugar
- 1 sachet of mahlepi
- grated lemon peel
- 1 level tablespoon salt
- 1 kg of flour
- blanched almonds

Pour half a cup of tepid milk in a large bowl and dissolve the yeast in it. Add half a cup of flour and mix it until it becomes dough. Cover with a towel and leave it in a warm place for about an hour in order to let it rise.

Once the dough has risen, beat the sugar with the yolks in a mixer. Pour in the rest of the milk, egg white, melted butter, mahlepi and lemon scraping. Knead the dough, adding flour gradually so that the dough does not become tough.

Shape it into balls and place them in a bowl. Cover them with a towel and leave in a warm place for three hours until they double in size. Knead the dough for five minutes and place it on buttered wax paper spread on a large round tray or two smaller ones. Cover the balls of dough and leave in a warm place for about two hours until they double in size. Beat together an egg yolk and a teaspoon of water and use this mixture to glaze the dough.

Before placing them in an oven, use the blanched almonds to mark the dough with the numerals of the new year. Top

Karydopita (walnut cake)
Karydopita (walnut cake)

- 3 cups of flour
- 3 tablespoons of baking powder
- 1 cup crushed walnuts
- 1 cup of ground walnuts
- 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon of ground cloves
- 1 cup of butter
- 1 cup of sugar
- 4 eggs
- 3 tablespoons of cognac
- 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
- ¾ cup milk

- 2 cups of sugar
- 1 cup of water
- lemon juice

Mix the flour in a bowl the flour together with the crushed and ground walnuts, cinnamon and ground cloves. Beat the butter and sugar with a mixer until the mixture turns white. Add the eggs and mix for a further 10 minutes.

Gradually add the flour mixture, the baking powder - that has been dissolved in cognac, orange peel and milk. Stir well and pour the mixture into a buttered, floured cake tin. Bake the cake in a moderate, preheated oven for about one hour. Prepare the syrup. Remove the cake from the oven and once it is almost cool, pour the hot syrup over it. Top

Christopsomo (Christmas bread)
Christopsomo (Christmas bread)

(for two large loaves)
- 2 kg of flour
- 130 gr of yeast
- 1 cup of tepid water
- 700 gr of sugar
- 2 wine glasses of olive oil
- 2 cups of warm red wine
- pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons of mastic, crushed
- 400 gr of walnuts, roughly chopped
- 500 gr of raisins
- 2 tablespoons of cinnamon and ground cloves
- peel of two oranges, finely chopped
- 1 small glass of orange juice
- 1 small glass of cognac For the decoration
- olive oil, sesame seeds, chopped walnuts

Prepare the yeast mixture the previous night, mixing 350 grams of flour with the yeast and some water. In the morning, add 25 grams of sugar, half of the olive oil and some flour. Knead the dough well and leave it to rise in a warm place.

Then add the remaining ingredients and knead the dough very well so it is smooth and not sticky.
Cover the dough and leave it to rise in a warm place for about 90 minutes. Separate into two loaves and place on two large, oiled baking pans. Let the loaves to rise then brush them with oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds and walnuts. Bake in the oven at 200C for 15 minutes then at 150C for 35 to 40 minutes.


- 6 cups milk
- 1 cup fine semolina
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh butter
- 7 eggs
- grated lemon peel
- 1/2 kg phyllo pastry

- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoons glucose syrup or lemon juice

Place the semolina and sugar in a pot and pour in warmed milk. Stir the mixture over a low heat until it begins to boil. Remove the pot from the stove. Pour in the butter, lemon peel and slightly beaten eggs. Let the mixture cool slightly.

Butter a medium-size baking pan (25 x 35cm) and place half the phyllo pastry sheets in the pan after they have been buttered one by one. Pour in the cream, place the rest of phyllo pastry on top and sprinkle it with a little water. Slice it horizontally and bake at 175C for one hour.

Prepare the syrup and pour it over the galaktoboureko as soon as it has been removed from the oven. The syrup must be hot. Let the galaktoboureko cool before serving. Top

Melomakarona (honey pastries)
Melomakarona (honey pastries)

- 2 cups of oil
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1 cup fine semolina
- 1 kilo soft flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- lemon and orange zest

- in a pot, mix 1 cup each of water, honey and sugar
  and bring to a boil while stirring constantly
- crushed walnuts

Preheat the oven to 200C
Beat the oil well with mixer, then add the sugar, both zests, orange juice, semolina and then, a little at a time, the flour mixed with the baking soda. Form the dough into small shapes as the pastries will get quite big while baking. Make sure the oven is hot before baking otherwise the pastries will flatten. Bake for about 30 minutes until the pastries are firm and golden brown.

When completely cooled, arrange them in rows in a pan and pour warm syrup over them. Sprinkle with crushed walnuts. Top


    Horiaki (Greek salad)
    Keftedes (meat balls)
    Spanakopita (spinach pie)
    Kakavia (fish soup)
    Moussaka (with egg plant)
  Sweets for Christmas and
  New Year
   Kourabiedes (shortbread)
   Karydopita (walnut cake)
   Christopsomo (Christmas
   Melomakarona (honey

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