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6 Cretan Foods You Must Try

Cretan foods are some of the healthiest and most delicious in the world. Check out our list of 6 must-try foods!

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6 Cretan Foods You Must Try

Cretan foods are some of the healthiest and most delicious in the world. The Cretan diet is based on fresh, locally-grown ingredients, including plenty of fruits, vegetables, olive oil, and seafood. Cretan cuisine is also known for its healthy lamb dishes and its wide variety of cheeses. In addition to being incredibly tasty, Cretan food is also incredibly good for you.

Food in Crete is some of the best food you will ever have in your life. The food here is a mix of Greek and Mediterranean food, and it is absolutely delicious. There are so many amazing things to eat in Crete, from starters to main courses to desserts.

💬Are you travelling to Crete? Read our Discovering Crete: Your Ultimate Crete Travel Guide 


cretan dakos salad | GreeceFoodies

Cretan cuisine is world-renowned for its healthy, delicious dishes. One of the most popular Cretan foods is ntakos. A super simple traditional dish (could be also described as a salad) that you can make it in a minute without any cooking skill, but still it will be super delicious. Dakos is a combination of a big rusk, tomatoes and feta or mizithra. In order to make dakos, you top up a big rusk with chopped tomatoes and crumbled cheese and you flavouring it with some oregano. Simple as that! Put some olive oil in the top of everything, so the rusk can absorb some of the oil and you are ready to go.


Hohlii Mpourmpouristoi

fried snails cretan dish | GreeceFoodies

The word “hohlii” means snails. the word “mpourmpouristoi” comes from the Cretan word “ampoumpoura” that means with the face down. For this traditional Cretan food you will need to clean the snails first. Then put them face down in a pan that is covered with salt. When you start hearing the boiling sound, you add olive oil. Then the rosemary and in some minutes you will be ready to enjoy one of the most famous Cretan appetizers!

Read more: Best Crete Restaurants in Chania

Makarounia sioufixta

Again, two words that are describing the food that we have here. “Makaronia” is the word pasta in Greek. “Sioufixta” is again a Cretan word that comes from the word “skioufizo” that means twirling. To make this kind of pasta you need flour, water and olive oil and give them a twirled shape. You can find this kind of pasta served with “athotiro” cheese. You can also find different recipes with small pieces of meat inside.



gamopilafo | GreeceFoodies
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This is one of the most popular and well-known Cretan foods that should also have a warning of “highly addictive”. For all the fellow foodies, please try this amazing dish and you will see how good it is. This is a dish that is normally served at feasts in Crete and especially weddings.

The name is a combination of two words. “Gamos” that means wedding in Greek and “pilafi” that means rice that is cooked in broth in order to be aromatized. So, the gamopilafo is rice as we explained, cooked in goat broth flavored with lemon a quite generous amount of butter. Serve it with cooked meat on the top and some lemon wedges on the side, if you want to add a sour taste.


antikristo crete Cretan Foods

We are moving on to the most famous cooking method of Crete. Antikristo is a cooking method. When you hear that in Crete most of the times, they mean cooked lamb meat with this method. We are going to explain the cooking method which is really simple by explaining the name of it. Antikristo means across the fire and it is widely used as a cooking method in the mountain villages of Crete because its super easy to prepare the meat and cook it.

So, in order to make antikristo, you need a fire, some lamb meat, salt and some foothold for the meat to stay across the fire. When you have the fire ready, just make sure that you add some salt in your meat, place it across the fire, wait some time while drinking some raki and voila!



Sfakiani pita

sfakia pie | GreeceFoodies

Last but not least is the famous desert that has its roots in Sfakia. One of the most famous places in Chania region in Crete. The name of it means pie of the area of Sfakia. To make it you combine flour, salt, olive oil and water for the dough. But it needs also a Cretan note! So for the dough you have to add also some raki, the Cretan water of fire! Then you add some mizithra cheese in between the dough and you fry it. In the end you add some thyme honey in the top and you have the most famous food in Crete as a dessert to make your day extra sweet!

Tips for Trying Cretan Foods: A Gastronomic Adventure on the Island

Embarking on a culinary journey through the flavors of Crete is a delightful experience that will undoubtedly leave your taste buds satisfied and your heart full. To make the most of your exploration of Cretan cuisine, here are some practical tips and suggestions to ensure an unforgettable gastronomic adventure on the island.

1. Embrace Local Markets and Tavernas: When in Crete, one of the best ways to experience authentic Cretan foods is by visiting local markets and tavernas. Head to the bustling markets where vendors proudly display an array of fresh produce, aromatic herbs, and locally produced olive oil. Engage with the friendly locals, ask for recommendations, and discover seasonal specialties. Likewise, tavernas (traditional Greek eateries) offer an excellent opportunity to savor homemade Cretan dishes prepared with love and care.

💬Read more: 5 Best Restaurants in Crete

2. Start with Mezedes: Mezedes, the Greek equivalent of tapas, are small dishes meant for sharing and are the perfect introduction to Cretan cuisine. Order a variety of mezedes, such as dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), tzatziki (yogurt-cucumber dip), and fried calamari. This way, you can sample a range of flavors and textures in one sitting.

💬Read more: Cretan Spirits: Raki vs Ouzo

3. Indulge in the Olive Oil: Crete is famous for its high-quality, extra virgin olive oil, a fundamental Cretan cooking component. Try dipping freshly baked bread into a rich, golden olive oil dish, or drizzle it over salads and grilled vegetables. The distinct taste of Cretan olive oil will undoubtedly enhance your culinary experience.

4. Seek Out Local Specialties: Each region of Crete boasts its own unique specialties. In Chania, try the renowned bougatsa, a pastry filled with sweet semolina cream or savory cheese. In Heraklion, savor the succulent lamb dishes seasoned with aromatic herbs. Venture to the southern coast for a taste of freshly caught seafood, like grilled octopus or shrimp saganaki. Exploring the diverse flavors across the island will be a delightful adventure in itself.

5. Don’t Miss the Cheese: Cretan cheese is a must-try for any food enthusiast. Graviera, a hard cheese made from sheep’s milk, is a local favorite and pairs perfectly with honey or fruit preserves. Taste the crumbly and tangy mizithra cheese, often sprinkled over dishes for an added burst of flavor.

6. Be Adventurous with Greens and Herbs: Cretan cuisine places great importance on wild greens and herbs, which add unique tastes to various dishes. Try horta, boiled and seasoned wild greens, as a healthy and flavorful side dish. Sample dishes infused with oregano, thyme, and rosemary, bringing the scents of the island’s mountains and fields to your plate.

7. Savor the Sweet Endings: Cretan desserts are a delectable treat to conclude your meals. Treat yourself to a slice of kalitsounia, a sweet cheese pastry, or enjoy a bowl of yogurt topped with local honey and nuts. For a refreshing option, opt for watermelon or grapes during the warmer months.

8. Join in Festivals and Food Events: If you have the chance, time your visit to coincide with local festivals or food events. These celebrations offer an immersive experience into Cretan culture and culinary traditions. Participate in traditional dances, listen to live music, and taste a variety of specialty foods prepared for the occasion.

Food Tours in Crete

Experiencing a food tour in Crete is a delectable adventure that indulges your taste buds and immerses you in the island’s vibrant culture. From savoring authentic Cretan dishes at local tavernas to discovering the secrets of high-quality olive oil and traditional cheese-making, each moment offers a delightful culinary revelation. Whether you’re exploring bustling markets or tranquil countryside, the essence of Cretan cuisine shines through in every bite. Joining a food tour in Crete is a must for food enthusiasts seeking an unforgettable journey through flavors that have stood the test of time.

Recommended Food Tours in Crete:

Heraklion Market Food Tour

This is the perfect way to learn about the city’s rich history and cultural influences while sampling some of the best local foods. You’ll wind your way through hidden alleys and old city walls, seeing parts of Heraklion that only locals know about. Along the way, you’ll stop at various food stalls to taste traditional Cretan dishes and drinks. And of course, no visit to Crete would be complete without trying the strong raki and tsikoudia drinks! We hope you enjoy your tour and leave with a greater understanding and appreciation for Cretan culture.

View Heraklion market food tour

Chania Olive Oil Tour and Cretan Wine

This is a truly unique experience that will allow you to sample some of the finest olive oil in the world. We’ll take you on a tour with wine and olive oil tastings. You’ll be able to sample a wide variety of flavors and learn about the production process. This is a rare opportunity to taste pure, unadulterated olive oil. We only use the highest quality olives, picked at the peak of ripeness. The result is a smooth, flavorful oil that has won numerous awards. Join us for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

View Chania Olive Oil Tour 

Chania: Old Town Highlights Guided Tour with Street Food

Discover the wonders of Chania’s historic Old Town on a guided tour. With a local, explore Chania’s charming streets, learn about the area’s history and culture, see famous landmarks, and enjoy traditional Cretan street food.


If you want to learn more about food in Crete, I highly recommend read the Crete Food Guide blog.There you will find everything you need to know about food in Crete, and it will help you find the best places to eat while you are here. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!

And if your plans do not include Crete as a destination, but you are visiting Athens, no worries because you can find some of the best Cretan food in an amazing restaurant, called Rakopaignio in the area of Glyfada! Treat yourself with a proper Cretan meal, and enjoy a shot of raki! Cheers!


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