The Greek cuisine surprises with its unique tastes and you will be surprised to discover that it does not only consist of mousaka, souvlaki and Greek salad. It has, in fact, a great variety of dishes and satisfies both vegetarians and meat-eaters.

Greece has a culinary tradition of some 4.000 years; in 330 B.C the first cookbook in history was written here.

You should know, that Greek cuisine has four secrets: the fresh ingredients, the neat use of spices and herbs, the Greek olive oil and last but not least, its simplicity.

Due to the mild climate, vegetable, fruits and herbs grow naturally and are therefore full of aroma and taste. Taste the Greek tomatoes, lettuces, carrots, garlic, onion, parsely, oregano, rosemary, spearmint as well as grapes, peaches, prunes, watermelons, figs, oranges, lemons and, and, and... you will be really surprised how different they taste!

For the Greeks, eating is a kind of social affair; enjoy the relaxed and informal atmosphere in the typically Greek tavernas. They like gathering around a table, either at home, in a restaurant or in a taverna, enjoying the local mezedes (appetizers), the delicious lamb and goat meat or simply fresh fish, accompanied by a glass of ouzo (alcoholic anise drink) or the excellent local barrel wine.

Whether you enjoy octopus and ouzo near the sea, roasted goat in a turn-of-the-century taverna, or nouvelle cuisine in Athens's newest restaurants, dining in the city is as relaxing as it is everywhere else in Greece: waiters never rush you, reservations are seldom necessary, and no matter how tight the space is, the establishment can always make room for another table.

You might be interested in knowing the difference between a taverna and a restaurant - well, here we go: truly authentic tavernas have wicker chairs that inevitably pinch your bottom, checkered tablecloths covered with butcher paper or plastic film, simple tables that need some paper under one leg, and wine from the barrel served in little metal carafes. If a place looks inviting and is filled with Greeks, give it a try!!

Greek and foreign restaurants instead offer a more sophisticated selection of dishes than do tavernas, and they serve some international dishes, too. A few years ago the category of haute cuisine would not have existed, but Athens now has restaurants of international standard, in both preparation and presentation.

But the most obvious difference, of course, lies in the price. Regular tavernas vary from 15 to 25 Euro, restaurants from 20 to 40 Euro approximately per person.



    Greeks have a big variety of appetizers, the well-known mezedes. It is really worth doing without the main dishes and savouring different cold and warm mezedes!

    If you can not read the menu, just go into the kitchen and point at what looks most appealing to you!!!

    Do not miss the opportunity to try souvlaki pita. It is a very tasty, inexpensive snack, stuffed with meat (pork, veal or chicken), tomato, onion, lettuce and tzatziki

    PACIFIC TRAVEL: Athens International Airport, tel. 0030 210 3530 160, City Centre: tel. 0030 210 3241 007,