Greece, like many popular vacation destinations, is well-known for its spectacular dining experiences. Local chefs take advantage of fresh ingredients, amazing flavors and the healthy Mediterranean diet. But no matter how good the food is, if you don’t know the local dining etiquette, you just might find yourself feeling out of place.
On your next family travel to Greece, take the time to learn local dining behavior before you go so you can fit in and make the most of your trip. Not only will you have a better dining experience, but you’ll also get a taste of what dining in Greece is like for a local.
Don’t expect a big breakfast. Greek breakfast is a minimalist meal, usually consisting of coffee and a small bite of food, such as a biscuit or handheld pie like a spanakopita. You can definitely find traditional American breakfast in touristy areas, but just know you will be labeling yourself as a tourist if you order it!
Greek food is best when shared, and it is often served that way, so if you order something like a Greek salad, called a horiatiki, don’t be surprised when it is served family-style in the middle of the table. Don’t be shy, just dig in and enjoy!
For Greeks, eating isn’t so much about the food (although it really is amazing!); it’s a social experience. With that in mind, it isn’t just the diners who want to take their time at the table. The general rule of thumb is, if a restaurant is crowded, the food must be good. Restaurants want tables full, so not only is it perfectly acceptable to stay at your table and socialize after your meal, but you may have a hard time getting your bill. Don’t assume your waiter is being rude and ignoring you; just get their attention and ask for your bill when you are ready.
After a meal, many restaurants automatically serve a small sweet to round out the meal. These dishes are often seasonal, like fresh watermelon in the summertime or yogurt with honey and nuts in the winter, and they are occasionally accompanied by a digestif. It is complimentary, so don’t worry about it being added to your bill, but, if you want a full-sized dessert of your choosing, you will have to order one separately.
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