Food and drink Walk and Cycle in Crete
In busy tourist resorts the restaurants and tavernas are well used to catering for western European tastes and serve a selection of meat and fish dishes, often with chips and salad. Food is usually well prepared and presented and a good selection is often available. Dishes may arrive in an unexpected order, as and when they are ready or the waiter has time to bring them, and if you are in a group don't expect everyone to be served at the same time. If you want dishes to come in sequence then order the first only, and wait until it arrives before you order the next dish.
A Greek family will order a selection of dishes which they will then share between the group, rather than each person ordering one dish for themselves.
The Greeks traditionally eat their main meal between 13.00 and 15.00 and this is often when cooked food is freshest. Stews and moussakas are often cooked in large trays and then kept warm until sold, which may be several days. It is wise to avoid such dishes unless they are freshly cooked.
Many restaurants are arranged so that customers can easily see the food being cooked. If you are in any doubt ask to see what is on offer. You will often be shown the fresh meat and fish in the fridge as well as the food cooking in pots and pans.
Only a few tavernas serve sweets or coffee. These are usually sold in the Zaharoplasteon - cafes that specialise in cakes and coffee.
In rural village tavernas there is often less meat on offer but a much bigger selection of vegetable stews served with bread.
Local wines in Crete are not resinated and are usually inexpensive but the quality is not always high. This wine is distilled to make Raki, a colourless strong spirit that will often be offered to visitors to drink as a gift in out of the way places.
Greek coffee (never ask for Turkish ) is prepared by boiling the fresh grounds in a small pan on the stove and is served in a small cup or glass that is often half-full of grounds. It is always served with a large glass of cold water.