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Eating in Greece

We are planning a trip to Crete, Santorini and Athens. I do not like fish, lamb, goat cheese, beef, onions, tomatoes, peppers and most carbs. Is there anything safe for me to eat? I am kinda scared. I plan on packing some snacks with me and hope I can find some plain salads and chicken not cooked with lamb. Any restaurant suggestions?

Posted by
8016 posts

Greek food is incredibly fresh. Ask them to leave the slab of feta off the wonderful Greek salads and don't eat the green peppers. . Chicken is offered on menus. You don't like fish. What about grilled octopus? Delicious and fresh.

Posted by
3551 posts

Greek salad and chicken is everywhere and delicious.

Posted by
2951 posts

Greek salad consists of tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, green peppers, olives and feta cheese. I don't think that's going to work for you.

Restaurants post their menus outside so you can see what they have to offer before you enter. I think you won't have a problem finding beef steak or chicken. There are other delicious cheeses in Greece. Try Saganaki, which is kasseri cheese fried in olive oil and served with lemon and flaming Metaxa brandy. Potatoes oven-roasted with lemon and olive oil are also common.

Posted by
8868 posts

Hopefully you like eggplant. The Greeks have an almost unlimited number of ways to prepare it. That and chicken seem to be your "safe" foods.

Do not recall seeing lamb and chicken served as a single dish.

Plain salads ( i.e. lettuce) is by my recall not common. in Greece.

If you are able to find restaurant food at home that is 'safe', you will be able to find it in Greece

Posted by
1022 posts

Wow this is one of the few times we have not been able to assure someone that the food in Greece has such variety that everyone will be happy.
You have received some good feedback but there are some additional things you can try. you did not rule out Pork. Greeks can be quite creative with Pork and particularly so combined with Eggplant.
Look at the appetizer menu. There are sausages fried eggpant and fried corgetts (Zukini) While you say you don't say which carbs you can tolerate. There is something amazing about Greek Potatoes. It might just be dining outside in an ancient setting that makes them special but fried potatoes may work for you. Also rice is a regular item on the menu.

You might be able to persuade the taverna to whip up a cucumber and lettuce salad. That combined with one of the dipping appetizers such as Tazakziki, Melitzanosalata (eggplant salad) might do it as well.

How about giant Prawns?

Posted by
15072 posts

Tzaztiki - yogurt with cucumbers and garlic, available at every meal including breakfast. They eat pork. I got the idea that most gyro meat is pork, sometimes chicken. You can get it on a plate, or just eat the "inside" and toss the bread. You can get all kinds of snacks. Dried fruits and roasted nuts are available everywhere, excellent and inexpensive, and there are lots of fresh fruits too. Cooked vegetables - lots of eggplant, also lots of fresh and dried beans, artichokes, and more.

When you say safe for me to eat do you mean it literally - that it is unhealthy or dangerous for you? If it's just things you don't like, you should give at least some of them a try. Greek goat cheese, fresh (feta) or aged, may be quite different from what you've had in the US. I guess I'm just curious, but what do you eat?

Posted by
1117 posts

When you say safe for me to eat do you mean it literally - that it is
unhealthy or dangerous for you?

I was wondering the same thing. Are you scared of these food items because of health reasons, like you fear an allergic shock? Or is it that you simply don't like their taste?

If it's the latter, I would encourage you to try at least a bite or two of something unfamiliar at every meal (steal a spoonful from your co-traveler's plate ;-) ). If I may say so, my impression is that you are not very familiar yet with Greek cuisine. So its flavors may be quite different from what you expect, even with those ingredients that you usually do not like. You may be in for some pleasant surprises.

As a matter of fact, you will be missing out on half the joy of traveling if you only eat the same food you always eat. You won't want to spend your vacation living on plain salad and those snacks you brought from home... ?

chicken not cooked with lamb

I can't remember ever having seen chicken cooked with lamb. It's usually one or the other, but not mixed together.

On many menus, you will find different types of meat cooked in different styles. Like beef stifado, rabbit stifado or lamb stifado. So, if you don't like lamb, just pick the type of meat you like. And if you don't like onions, simply don't pick stifado style but some other style.

Can you be more specific what you mean by "most carbs"?

Posted by
16883 posts
  • You can probably also find or request a plain omelet, which is more of a lunch/dinner course than a breakfast item in much of Europe.

  • Most Greek waiters in touristy areas speak English. In addition to the posted menu, many Greek restaurants display their food in refrigerated cases for your inspection.

  • Souvlaki/kebab stands will usually offer both chicken and pork, maybe even more than they do lamb.

Posted by
1940 posts

I think you'll find that people in Greek tavernas will be happy to work with you to create meals that fit your requirements. Some small family-style places will have pans of pre-cooked foods available for you to choose from. You can talk with the cook and find out exactly what is in each dish, and choose what sounds best for you. Many menus are similar, so after a few days, you'll have a good idea of what will fit your needs.

I agree with Stanbr, the appetizer menu can be your friend. In Greece we often make meals of just appetizers, getting a nice assortment. I also suspect you'll be eating a lot of chicken souvlaki (cubes of chicken on a stick)!

And although I guess it's a carb, I hope you will at least try Greek french fried potatoes. I almost never eat french fries in the US, but in Greece, they are so absolutely delicious. Fried zucchini and eggplants are also a wonderful treat. Zucchini pie is like a quiche.

Of course, there's wonderful Greek yogurt for breakfast, and tzatziki with any meal.

I'm getting hungry just thinking about eating in Greece!

Posted by
1022 posts

I hope the OP is still out there he/she hasn't posted since the beginning.

We have been providing lots of information with no feedback
I just remembered horta. They are cooked mountain greens. Delicious

Posted by
106 posts


Plenty of food to choose from in Greece even if you don't eat everything for several reasons.
Vegetables, Greens (like horta, cabbage, lettuce etc) and fruit are your best option.
There are many bio-product shops that you can get snacks from, don't worry!

Also, you can find vegan menu's in the most touristic places. Try anything with eggplant, courgette balls (kolokythokeftedes), tomato fritters (tomatokeftedes), legumes, yoghurt and honey, spinach pie, eggs in any recipe, grilled or marinated octopus, grilled or fried shrimps (I suggest the last too cause I don't eat fish either but these cuties were delicious... )

Posted by
45 posts

I am not allergic but it is a mental thing from when I was a child. I physically get sick if I come across an onion and then I can't eat anything, the same with fish. I just can't do it. The goat milk is a personal dislike. I can eat salads all day. :). "Safe" means, that I can eat it and enjoy it with out getting sick. Not having an allergic reaction.

Posted by
45 posts

I also will not eat eggs unless it is in something like bread but then I do not eat bread because it has too many carbs. I have some food issues I know. I used to be a vegetarian but I have added chicken back into my diet and some steak. If someone comments on it while I am eating it, if I see one, hear one etc. then I lose my appetite and no longer can eat it. I try to eat mostly protein, veggies and some fruit. I do like tofu depending on how it is cooked. I do love sweets but again, they are fattening so I try to avoid them. I never had a weight issue until later in life and trying to stay healthy and not gain weight is very hard. I had back surgery and gained 30lbs and have been unable to lose that so I am trying very hard to eat what my Dr. has advised me to eat. :)

Posted by
1117 posts

You certainly don't have to justify yourself!

But it helps us understand what you need. There are so many reasons why people don't eat certain things, and some of them work differently from others. Like if you are heavily allergic to something, even a small trace of it can basically kill you. If you only dislike something, well, the worst that can happen is that you'll have a bad taste in your mouth and feel uncomfortable for a moment. If you don't eat something for religious reasons, you don't care if someone else tells you it tastes great - you just have made the decision not to eat it.

Posted by
45 posts

I normally won’t eat it unless I know what is in it. I will read the ingredients and if I can’t, then I just don’t eat it. I normally always find or can tell if there is an onion, I do get sick. I’m sure one has slipped by and I lived but I doubt it has happened very often if at all. I kinda know what to avoid and what not to eat. I even use my own dressing or use oil and vinegar. I can look at them, I have a hard time cutting them up but I can touch them, I just can’t eat them. I have a hard time with cooked celery and garlic because it also reminds me of onions so I avoid that as well.

Posted by
8293 posts

All things considered, avoiding restaurant food altogether seems to be the only safe solution. Buy what you can eat or tolerate in grocery stores and eat in your hotel room or on the fly. I see no alternative given all the restrictions and dislikes you have described.

Posted by
2747 posts

In your situation I would familiarize myself with location of grocery stores and stock up on things you like. Air bnb or other apartment rental with a kitchen will be very helpful. You can easily find basic ingredients (chicken, vegetables, fruit, etc) and prepare meals. Or just snacks, but having the fridge will help.

Not to say you can’t find food in restaurants - you can but it might ease your mind to not have to worry every day. If one day you have a hard time finding something, you can still eat!

Posted by
2903 posts

On the islands, virtually all studios/rooms include a small fridge. In athens, you should inquire specifically if your room has none.

Posted by
262 posts

Chicken is on every menu as is pork which you do not mention. Every restaurant has salad and you can request what you do or don't want in your salad. I do not eat lamb or cheese never did my chicken ever taste of lamb. Never had a problem. Santarini has a good Italian restaurant where I had pasta It was called Da Vinci in Firostefani. Go eat and enjoy

Posted by
45 posts

Thanks for the suggestions. I think I’ll starve lol. I don’t eat pork, eggs, eggplant or octopus. Nothing from the water. We postponed the trip a little for my daughters schedule, I think. I’ll eat fruit and chicken! The cucumber and yogurt will work I think. As long as there are no onions. :) thanks again!!

Posted by
21327 posts

I'm pretty sure there are sometimes onions in the cucumber/yogurt mixture, which I assume is prepared in advance.

Back in the 1980s one could get a plate of plain sliced cucumber (probably called a "cucumber salad").

Posted by
45 posts

I will figure it out. thank you. If they have chicken on a stick, fruit, cheese and olives, I will make it! :) I love sweets and I could lose a couple pounds if I skip the sweets. HAHA. It looks like a wonderful place! I can't wait to see it all!

Posted by
4535 posts

I do think you will have problems, and I don't say that lightly as most people think the worst and it's not really that bad. But from your descriptions, you will struggle to find restaurant food you can eat and not lose your appetite. And it's not just what you or your companions order; seems you might be affected by neighboring tables too.

Fruit is very common so that will help.

Greeks do commonly have a salad option that is not "Greek" salad but it has tomato and as I recall, onion on it.

Roast chicken and fried potatoes will be commonly found. That will be about all you can eat based on your descriptions.

Seafood is extremely common, and often served with the head still on, so you may not find seeing others eating fish tolerable.

Most appetizers (mezedes) will have something in them that you list you can't/won't eat.