Greek Glossary

more than a year ago
Eating Out

Mezes (sing.) / Mezedes (pl.): A selection of entrées served in small plates and placed at the centre of the table for sharing among friends.

Souvlaki:Traditional Greek kebab, consisting of meat topped with ‘tzatziki’ sauce and wrapped in warm pita bread.

Gyros: Pork or chicken donner meat used in ‘souvlaki’.

Small wooden skewer with chunks of pork or chicken meat used in ‘souvlaki’.

Tzatziki: Traditional yoghurt, garlic, cucumber and dill dip.

Horiatiki: Traditional salad consisting of tomatoes, cucumber, green peppers, olives, feta cheese and a generous serving of olive oil, universally known as...Greek Salad

Horta:Salad composed of certain varieties of boiled wild herbs or greens.

Saganaki:Pan-fried type of dish served with lemon. Popular varieties are the shrimp, or ‘garides saganaki’, cheese or ‘tiri saganaki’ and mussels or ‘midia saganaki’.

Gemista: Oven-roasted tomatoes, peppers (and less usually, courgettes and aubergines) stuffed with rice and herbs (and optionally mince meat, pine nuts, raisins).

Lahanodolmades: Cabbage leaves stuffed with rice, herbs and (optionally) mince meat and served in an egg and lemon sauce (‘avgolemono’).

Gigantes: Giant beans oven-roasted in a tomato and herb sauce.

Melitzanosalata: Aubergine salad (dip).

Taramosalata: Fish roe salad (dip).

Fava: Chick-pea dip served with lemon and chopped onion.

Soutzoukakia: Spicy meatballs flavoured with cumin and served in a red sauce.

Moussakas: Well-known oven-baked dish of potatoes, layered with mince meat, aubergines and bechamel sauce.

Anginares ala polita:  Oven-cooked artichokes with carrots and potatoes served with ‘avgolemono’ (egg and lemon) sauce.

Spanakopita: Traditional spinach pie.

Tiropita: Traditional cheese pie.

Kreatopita: Traditional meat pie.

Stifado: Type of meat dish slow-cooked in wine and spices, together with a generous amount of shallots.

Frikase: Type of meat dish slow-cooked with generous amounts of vegetables (usually celery).

Galaktoboureko: Rich sweet made with phyllo pastry filled with creamy custard.

Dining Establishments

Taverna: Synonymous with ‘tavern’ or ‘diner’, a no-frills, authentic and lower-priced eating-out establishment.

Mezedopolio:Taverna specializing in ‘mezedes’.

: Taverna specializing in ‘mezedes’ that are best accompanied by a carafe of ouzo.

Tsipouradiko: Taverna specializing in ‘mezedes’ that are best accompanied by a bottle of ‘tsipouro’.

Psistaria / Psitopolio: No-frills grill-house serving meat dishes.


Ouzo: Traditional aniseed-flavoured spirit usually accompanying seafood ‘mezedes’.

Traditional strong spirit.

Raki: Traditional strong spirit similar to tsipouro

Rakomelo: ‘Raki’ blended with honey, served warm.

Retsina: Traditional wine flavoured with pine resin.

Local colour

Kamaki: Flirting, literally to ‘hook’.

Havale: Having unadulterated fun, leaving one’s worries behind.

Magia: An achievement brought about by a courageous act / The quality of boldness.

Palikari: Positive designation of someone who possesses integrity, courage and virtue.

Filema: Offerings of food/sweets/drink given to visitors as part of traditional hospitality (‘filoxenia’).

Kerasma / Kerasmeno: On the house/ complimentary.


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