Basics of Reading a Menu in Greek

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While visiting Greece, the meals that you have in cafes, restaurants, and tavernas will truly be memorable. The country is known for its delicious and fresh cuisine, and it’s easy to find a great meal no matter where you are. However, like most experiences with dining out, it all starts with your ability to order exactly the food that you want. In Greek, it starts by being able to read a menu.

Learn the Basic Vocabulary on a Greek Menu

The first vocabulary you should learn related to menus are the food categories that you might find. In fact, this is so important that you can actually get away with only learning the categories and not memorizing anything else. Here are the categories you should know:

  • ψωμιά – psomia – breads
  • ορεκτικά – oretika – appetizers
  • μεζέδες – mezethes – small plates
  • ποικιλία – pikilia – means “assortment” and usually has to do with mezethes or appetizers
  • σαλάτες – salates – salads
  • σούπες – soupes – soups
  • χορταρικά – hortarika – vegetable dishes, usually leafy greens
  • λαχανικά – lahanika – vegetable dishes (all other types of vegetables besides leafy greens)
  • πρώτα πιάτα – prota piata – first courses
  • κύρια πιάτα – kiria piata – main courses
  • κρεατικά – kreatika – meat
  • πουλερικά – poulerika – poultry
  • κυνήγια – kinigia – game
  • λαδερά – lathera – dishes cooked in oil (usually vegetables)
  • ψάρια – psaria – fish
  • θαλασσινά – thalasina – seafood
  • ζυμαρικά – zimarika – pasta
  • μακαρονάδες – makaronathes – spaghetti
  • επιδόρπια – epithorpia – desserts
  • γλυκά – glika – sweets
  • πάστες – pastes – pastries
  • παγωτά – pagota – ice cream
  • φρούτα – frouta – fruit
  • πωτά – pota – drinks
  • λικέρ – liker – liquor
  • κρασιά – krasia – wine
  • ροφήματα – rofimata – non-alcoholic drinks
  • αναψυκτικά – anapsuktika – soft drinks

The next group of words that you should know are the specific Greek names for each of the dishes. If you know the Greek alphabet and are familiar with Greek cuisine, you might be able to get away with not memorizing any other words. This level of familiarity will help you figure out the names of the dishes.


The Learn Greek section on GreekBoston.com was written by Greeks to help people understand the conversational basics of the Greek language. This article is not a substitute for a professional Greek learning program, but a helpful resource for people wanting to learn simple communication in Greek.

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