Thursday, December 6, 2012

Greek Chic - Food Trends in Athens, Greece

Relative to the rest of Greece, Athens tends to be a somewhat cramped city with many people packed into a relatively small area. In fact, over 40% of the Greek population resides in Athens. The upside of that fact is that many who live there actually hail from another region of Greece who brought their family cooking traditions and recipes with them. This makes for Greek restaurants that offer more eclectic cuisine than you might realize.

Over the years, adaptation has been the name of the game in Athens. European influences swung into style during the 90s but more recently, Greeks have gone back to their roots. At heart, they never quite embraced any food other than that served in the families that raised them. Today, Greek tavernas offer a modern spin on the old-fashioned, smoke-filled venues of the past, paired with creative Greek cooking. Popular cuisine trends heavily emphasize healthy Cretan inspired offerings. Fun fact: Greece’s largest island, Crete claims the country’s highest life expectancy!

The recent financial crisis definitely played its part in this return to traditional eating. Tavernas offer tapas-style appetizers, and the Athenian custom is to order plenty to share around. But Athenians are still open to trying new things! The latest food craze in Athens is frozen Greek-style yogurt. Frozen yogurt bars are springing up like mushrooms. The taste is a bit like ice cream but with more character and flavor.

Here are a few bonus tips if you're planning a trip to Greece any time soon. The Greek capital is easy to navigate by foot or the metro; the upside of being a traveler in a country that lives on tourism is that most locals speak English and they are usually happy to help. When dining, beware of opening and closing times, as Athenians eat late lunches and dinners. Most places open for lunch at 1 p.m., although most locals don’t eat lunch until 2 or 3:00. Dinner time is very late: Athenians usually go out for dinner after 9 p.m. and most restaurants serve food up to 11 p.m. or midnight. And if there’s one last piece of culinary advice for Athens, it’s this: explore the downtown area where the locals eat. You will not be disappointed.

Don't have a trip to Greece planned? Come on down to Zizikis! Our menu is full of traditional Greek cuisine favorites!

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