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Food & Drinks

(updated January 8, 2008)

Like most other Mediterranean countries Crete generally has no breakfast tradition. The people from Crete mostly take a cup of coffee and a cigarette in the morning. The first real meal of the day is lunch. This lunch is consumed about halfway the afternoon. The Cretans often take diner from half past 9 in the evening. Of course, exceptions are made for tourists. Most hotels have a buffet which consists of a continental and English breakfast. Many restaurants are opened from half past 5 to serve dinner.

Given the location of Crete it is of course not surprising that many fish and other sea animals are eaten. One of the best known dishes are the mezzes. This dish consists of fingerfood, or a kind of tapas. On the menus in the restaurants you often find the courts that are served in Greek restaurants around the world. In many restaurants it is also possible to eat pizzas or pasta.

Dinner is a social event. Usually whole families and friends eat together. Cooking for over ten persons is not strange in the kitchen of an average Cretan home. Another social event is the visit to the kafenion. These are a kind of traditional coffeehouses that still exist in most villages. The men of the village meet there daily to exchange the latest gossips. During this event they often drink Greek coffee.

Greek coffee is different from the coffee people drink in the rest of the world. Percolated coffee is hardly known in Greece. The coffee the Cretans drink consists of Nescafé for the biggest part. It is boiled in a small saucepan together with water and sugar. It's served in a small cup. Most tourists do not like to drink it.

The local drink on Crete is the raki. This strong distillate is offered to tourist everywhere on the island. Originally it was mainly served in the so-called mezedopolion or ouzeri. Except for the raki the Cretans also drink beer. The best sold local beer on Crete is called Mythos.

The small local restaurants in Crete are called taverna. Here you can enjoy food from the region, such as the mezzes. Mostly the dishes are prepared on the grill. The normal restaurants are called estiatorion on Crete.

On the website of Matt Barrett from the USA you'll find a lot of information about the dishes from the Greek cuisine. You can reach his website by clicking (here).