The Language of Greek Restaurant Menus

Seaside Restaurant in Santorini
Seaside Restaurant in Santorini. Ed Freeman / Getty Images

OPA! Who doesn't love heading out to the local Greek restaurant for dinner? Sure you can wait for the yearly Greek fest, but sometimes you want some tasty Greek food more than once a year (hopefully many times a year!).

Enhance Your Experience in a Greek Restaurant

While most Greek places will have everything translated in English, it may be fun to read the Greek words and maybe even throw one or two out to your server.

Taking in the culture of the foods’ location can make you connect with it and even appreciate it more.

Being able to read some of the common words may also give you a way to connect with the food and get more involved in the process. Plus, your Greek server will love you for it!

So go ahead, read some of these, write them down, or bring this up on your mobile phone.

Adding to an air of authenticity, many Greek restaurants use the English spellings for Greek words on their menus. What do they mean? Here are the most commonly used words for the types of foods, dishes, and drinks you might find.

Let's start with the word for "menu." It's katalogos, in Greek: κατάλογος, pronounced kah-TAH-loh-ghohs

Language of Greek Restaurant Menus

The listings below are ordered like this:

  1. Greek word
  2. English
  3. Pronunciation
  4. In Greek letters

Psomia
Breads
psohm-YAH
ψωμιά

Orektika
Appetizers
oh-rek-tee-KAH
ορεκτικά

Mezethes, mezedes
Little plates of tasty tidbits
meh-ZEH-thess
μεζέδες

Pikilia (or Poikilia)
Assortment (usually of appetizers or mezethes)
pee-kee-LEE-yah
ποικιλία

Salates
Salads
sah-LAH-tess
σαλάτες

Soupes
Soups
SOO-pes
σούπες

Hortarika
Vegetables (generally leafy)
hor-tah-ree-KAH
χορταρικά

Lahanika
Vegetables
lah-hah-nee-KAH
λαχανικά

Prota Piata
First Courses
PROH-tah pee-YAH-tah
πρώτα πιάτα

Kyria Piata
Main Courses, Entrees
KEE-ree-yah pee-YAH-tah
κύρια πιάτα

Kreatika
Meat dishes
kray-ah-tee-KAH
κρεατικά

Poulerika
Poultry dishes
poo-leh-ree-KAH
πουλερικά

Kynigia
Game
kee-NEEGH-yah
κυνήγια

Lathera, ladera
Cooked in oil (often vegetarian)
lah-theh-RAH
λαδερά

Psaria
Fish
PSAHR-yah
ψάρια

Thalassina
Seafood
thah-lah-see-NAH
θαλασσινά

Zymarika
Pastas
zee-mah-ree-KAH
ζυμαρικά

Makaronathes, makaronades
Spaghetti dishes
mah-kah-roh-NAH-thess
μακαρονάδες

Epithorpia, epidorpia
Desserts
eh-pee-THOR-pee-yah
επιδόρπια

Glyka
Sweets
ghlee-KAH
γλυκά

Pastes
Pastries
PAHS-tess
πάστες

Pagota
Ice cream
pah-gho-TAH
παγωτά

Frouta
Fruit
FROO-tah
φρούτα

Pota
Drinks (alcoholic)
poh-TAH
πωτά

Liker
Liqueurs
lee-KAIR
λικέρ

Krasia
Wines
krahs-YAH
κρασιά

Rofimata
Drinks (non-alcoholic)
roh-FEE-mah-tah
ροφήματα

Anapsyktika
Soft drinks
ah-nahp-seek-tee-KAH
αναψυκτικά