Top tips for dining in Athens' many restaurants and tavernas

Friday, 20 January 2012 9:56 AM

Booking Mediterranean cruises means that you will be able to travel around one of the most beautiful destinations in the world, while also having access to top restaurants and bars at your fingertips. However, you will still have a chance to explore local tavernas to sample traditional cuisines.

If you're planning a holiday around the Mediterranean that stops off at Greece, for instance, one of the biggest draws of the trip is likely to be the delicious cuisine the country is famous for.

Athens, in particular, is renowned not only for its scrumptious authentic fare, but also for its top restaurants and well-known chefs.

When looking for cruise deals, you might opt for ones that have all your meals included, allowing you to enjoy international cuisine cooked to a high standard. However, it is worth stepping off the ship when reaching the port and having a taste of local recipes as well.

In Greece, you can expect many menus to be packed with olive oil, vegetables and fresh herbs, as these are easily grown in the country, making them important ingredients in a number of traditional recipes.

The nation boasts a warm, pleasant climate, which helps to cultivate fresh fruit and vegetables, and much of its countryside is filled with olive groves, farms and fruit orchards.

In addition to this, goat's cheese is also produced widely in the country, so you might wish to sample its famous halloumi or feta cheese while on holiday here. Not only do they taste delicious on their own, but they add something to simple dishes, such as fresh, crunchy salads.

When looking around restaurants in Athens, make sure you pick one that looks as though it serves authentic cuisine, as it is well worth trying some of the country's most famous dishes while out here.

Traditionally, Greek meals begin with a platter of starters - after a sip of ouzo - which is shared among the table. Tzatziki, a cucumber and yoghurt dip, is likely to be one of the dishes you'll find as an appetizer, as is taramasalata, Greek meatballs called keftedes, grilled halloumi and plenty of pitta bread.

After you are left satisfied by the myriad of flavours you will encounter with the starters, you will be greeted with plentiful servings of rich, aromatic main dishes. You might want to sample Greece's most famous cuisines during your trip, including moussaka, souvlaki and kleftiko.

Or, you may be interested in trying some of its lesser-known cuisines, whether you want to tuck into a rich lamb stew or sample a tasty prawn kebab.

Indeed, seafood is one of the most delicious things to try while in Greece, with many of the coastal areas and islands offering barbecued or grilled fish, the aroma of which will leave your mouth watering.

However, the benefit of coming to Athens is that, as well as being able to indulge in scrumptious Greek fare, you'll also have the chance to do a bit of sightseeing. You may even want to work up your appetite by walking around the Acropolis and Pantheon before heading to a restaurant, where you can reward yourself with platefuls of food.

Eating out in Greece isn't just about the food though, but also about the fun, sociable atmosphere. Going for a meal is an entire experience, and restaurants make sure that patrons have a good time in their evenings, so don't be surprised if you witness some plate smashing or Greek dancing while tucking into your moussaka.

With so many delicious ingredients and dishes to taste in Greece, you might be tempted to book your cruise from Dover around the Mediterranean straightaway!


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