Best Souvenir from Greece – Easy, Authentic Greek Salad

Athens, Greece

By Jeff

July 26, 2023

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The flight from Minneapolis to Athens, Greece takes about 12 hours so it’s probably not realistic to travel to Athens and back on a regular basis. It was almost exactly one year ago that Angie and I were in Athens and, by random chance while I was researching places to eat, found Delicious Souvlaki.

Take a Trip to Delicious Souvlaki Athens

Delicious Souvlaki was within quick walking distance from our Moxy hotel in Athens which was one of the criteria for picking it. And a second criteria I’m always keen for is finding places with one $ sign instead of three $$$ or four $$$$ dollar signs if we can find value and make our money last longer.

We tried the souvlaki and gyros at Delicious Souvlaki and liked it so much we went back on a different day to eat there again. I think I might be here weekly if I lived in Athens.

Delicious Souvlaki is not fancy. It is a restaurant that is only about 10 feet wide and the kitchen area takes up more than half of that space.

Jeff with a gyro from Delicious Souvlaki.
Jeff with a gyro from Delicious Souvlaki.

The ordering line starts at the outside sidewalk, you make your way in to place your order and pay at the register, then make a U-turn and walk past the cases full of delicious marinated meats and wait out front to receive your food when it is ready.

When it’s busy you’ll be passing by the line of people on their way in to place their order as you make your way out to wait for your food.

Jeff with souvlaki from Delicious Souvlaki.
Jeff with souvlaki from Delicious Souvlaki.

There are tables out on the covered patio-like sidewalk for you to sit and eat at. Delicious Souvlaki has the feel of being invited to someone’s backyard barbeque; being invited to join the celebration of great food.

That is part of the charm of this place. When you go to Athens make sure to get to Delicious Souvlaki.

A closeup of the gyro from Delicious Souvlaki.
A closeup of the gyro from Delicious Souvlaki.

Lycabettus Hill Athens Athens

Another wonderful place to go in Athens is Lycabettus Hill. It is a fantastic place to see the vast expanse of the city, gaze at the Acropolis across the way, and an especially nice place to see the sunset in Athens and see the lights come up on the Acropolis at dusk.

Angie and Jeff at Lycabettus Hill close to sunset in Athens, Greece.
Angie and Jeff at Lycabettus Hill close to sunset in Athens, Greece.

After sunset on Lycabettus Hill, we stopped into one of the deli shops as we walked back to our hotel and bought picnic dinner. I recommend trying the cheese straws. They are very good.

Cheese Straws and other amazing breads.
Cheese Straws and other amazing breads.
Our picnic dinner after visiting Lycabettus Hill.
Our picnic dinner after visiting Lycabettus Hill.

Remembering Your Travel Through Food Made at Home

Angie and I try to remember our travels through our food at home. Although it’s not gyros or souvlaki or the delicious cheese straws, an easy dish to make that is Greek is Greek Salad. And making Greek Salad ties our thoughts back to our Athens trip every time we make it and we get to remember that wonderful trip to Greece again and again.

It was on this trip to Athens that we learned what we often see in the United States labeled as Greek Salad is not the same as what one typically serves in Greece. Most notably, there is not any lettuce in Greek salad in Greece. We enjoyed Greek salad many times during our nearly two weeks in Greece last summer and I was inspired to recreate that recipe at home.

The original Greek salad we had in Athens, Greece.
The original Greek salad we had in Athens, Greece.

We Found Our Ingredients at Costco

Our Greek salads usually start with a trip to Costco. There we buy Kalamata olives, grape tomatoes, feta cheese (As a funny aside, saying feta cheese is actually saying “cheese cheese” which is a bit odd because feta means cheese in Greek.) crumbles, and English cucumbers (they are less watery and don’t get mushy).

Costco has great prices on these items. You can also get the olive oil needed for the salad. From these items at Costco, I have enough ingredients to make this Greek Salad about four times for an approximate cost per time of $6. Each round makes about 8 servings so the cost is about 75 cents per serving.

Grape Tomatoes.
Grape Tomatoes.
Kalamata olives.
Kalamata olives.
English cucumbers.
English cucumbers.
Feta.
Feta.

The salad is simple. I don’t even use a recipe. You just need a mixing bowl and put equal portions of the four ingredients into the bowl. Think of the bowl as having four quadrants and we are going to put each ingredient into one of those quadrants.

The four main ingredients to make a true Greek salad.
The four main ingredients to make a true Greek salad.

How to Make My Greek Salad

Place the grape tomatoes in a strainer and give them a quick rinse with water to remove any dust or dirt left on them. Then cut each grape tomato in half or into fourths if the grape tomato is really big.

Place the cut tomatoes into one quadrant of your mixing bowl.

Next use a slotted spoon to get some of the Kalamata olives out of the jar. The olives from Costco are already pitted so you won’t have to take out the seeds if you get the jar from Costco.

Slice each olive crosswise so that you end up with a little olive doughnut shapes; they look nice in the salad. Place the cut olives into the next quadrant of the mixing bowl.

Next, give the cucumber a quick rinse with water to remove any dust or dirt. Then cut the cucumber into ¼ inch thick round slices, and then cut each of those round slices in half and then in half again so that each round slice becomes four pieces.

Place the cut cucumber pieces into the next quadrant of the mixing bowl.

Last, scoop out some of the feta cheese crumbles and add them to the last unfilled quadrant of the mixing bowl.

Now that all our ingredients are cut and in the mixing bowl, the last step is to add just a tablespoon of olive oil and mix the ingredients together. The olive oil gives the salad a nice shine and really makes the colors of the vegetables pop.

If you want, you can also add a tablespoon of the Kalamata olive brine to the salad. As the salad sits there is usually plenty of liquid to keep the salad tasty so I often skip adding the additional brine.

The finshed Greek salad ready to eat and enjoy.
The finished Greek salad ready to eat and enjoy.

This healthy and delicious Greek salad is an inexpensive way for us to remember our Athens trip again and again and it makes the memory of this trip stronger and more vibrant for us. I hope you enjoy this Greek salad as much as we do. And remember, you can take some of your own trips all over again through enjoying foods that you’ve discovered on your journeys while at home.