The cuisine of Greece is part of Mediterranean cuisine and is heavily influenced by various Middle Eastern cuisines. Greek foods make substantial use of olive oil, vegetables, herbs, dairy, bread, fish and various types of meats.
The most definitive ingredients of Greek cuisine are olive oil and oregano, both of which Greece is a major producer of. Both are used in most dishes. Local vegetables are also used, including tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes, green peppers and onions. Lots of herbs and spices are also used in addition to oregano like mint, dill, bay leaves, basil, and thyme. Various types of cheese are also produced in Greece, including feta, graviera, metsovone and mizithra. Lamb is the predominant meat and its milk is used to make milk products like yogurt and cheese.
Appetizers are called mezes and may be offered either in special types of restaurants called mezedopolio, as a complement of drinks or as appetizers at a taverna (small restaurant). Opa!
Notable Dishes Dakos (dried bread with tomatoes and feta cheese), Dolmadakia (rice-stuffed grapevine leaves), Horiatiki (Greek salad), Kalamarakia (deep fried squid), melitzanosalata (eggplant dip), and Tzatziki (dip made of yogurt, cucumber and garlic) Soupa Avgolemono (chicken soup in egg-lemon sauce and rice), Gemista (stuffed peppers with rice and minced meat), Bamies (okra with tomato sauce), htapodi (grilled octopus), Keftedakia (fried meatballs), Soutzoukakia (elongated spiced meatballs boiled in tomato sauce), Souvlaki (lamb slices in pita bread), Pastizio (baked macaroni and bechamel), Moussaka (baked layers of ground meat between eggplant slices, topped with bechamel), Baklava (filo layers filled with nuts and drenched in honey), galaktoboureko (custard-filled filo pastry drenched in lemon-honey syrup), halva (a nougat of sesame with almonds), rizogalo (rice pudding), tsoureki (traditional sweet bread for Christmas and Easter).