Best Food in Crete: Our 18 Favorite Things to Eat & Drink

Food in Crete

Itโ€™s hard to really comprehend how good the food in Crete is until you’ve tried it for yourself. Cretan cuisine has all the traditional Greek meals that you love with their own special flavors and twists. These include dishes local only to the island that act as a staple in the Cretan diet, and so much other food that you’ll be able to enjoy all over the country. We may have only had 10 days to explore this island, but we had the opportunity to try some of the best restaurants in Crete! 

Greece Travel Inspiration

Travelers Guide to the Best Crete Food

1. Greek Salad

Crete Food Cost: 3-6 Euros
Eat this Meal At: Special Ierapetra

I don’t think there was a single day that went by during our visit to Crete that we didn’t have a fresh salad. This style of salad is not just a favorite of the Cretan diet, but also very popular throughout Greece. I know what you may be thinking… How good can a salad really be?

Unless you’ve had a REAL Greek salad though there’s no way you’ll understand how good it truly is. First, tomato, cucumber, bell peppers, onions, and olives are piled onto each other in a large bowl.

A generous chunk of feta cheese is added and topped with Cretan olive oil and fresh herbs. There’s a reason this is not only found at the best restaurants in Crete but all over the world. Yum!

Cretan Food Tip: The difference between Cretan salad and a traditional Greek is that Feta is swapped for a soft cheese made on the island. Despite being in Crete, we typically went for the Feta anyway because the local cheese was used in many other dishes.

Greek Salad

2. Dolmades

Crete Food Cost: 4-6 Euros
Eat this Meal At: Akrogiali Taverna, Kato Zakros

If you’ve never had dolmades you’re sorely missing out! It’s essentially seasoned rice wrapped in grape leaves, but there are many different variations too how these appetizers are served. They can be warm or cold and with meat or just rice.

Some dolmades come with a side of yogurt dipping sauce, or even just a squeeze of lemon. No matter how they’re prepared, this popular part of the Cretan diet is hands down one of our favorite. Not to mention they make the perfect afternoon snack to go with a large glass of Mythos beer!


3. Saganaki

Crete Food Cost: 3-6 Euros
Eat this Meal At: To Pareaki, Agios Nikolaos

We had never heard about Saganaki before visiting some of the best restaurants in Crete, but quickly became fans of this cheesy dish. Hold on though cheese lovers… If you thought Cretan Cuisine was all about the feta, think again!

Saganaki is a large chunk of Cretan cheese that’s masterfully breaded and fried. That’s right, it’s just a scrumptious, gooey, plate of fried cheese!

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4. Dakos

Crete Food Cost: 4-6 Euros
Eat this Meal At: Mikio Taverna, Chania Town

Dakos is a specialty Cretan food and can be found on nearly every menu on the island. The fun thing about this plate is that each of the best restaurants in Crete really has its own take on it. The Dakos below is one of the most unique versions that we had. Made of bread, crushed tomatoes, olives, and a mountain of Cretan cheese, this is a heavy but yummy start to any meal.


5. Kolokithokeftedes

Crete Food Cost: 3-6 Euros
Eat this Meal At: Mikio Taverna, Chania Town

I won’t even pretend to know how to pronounce Kolokithokeftedes, but I’m happy that didn’t stop us from ordering them. Our waitress at a small cafe in Chania told us that Kolokithokeftedes was their house specialty and made fresh daily.

So how could we not give this Cretan food a shot? Small balls of zucchini and spices are pressed and fried, leaving the inside soft with a crunchy exterior. I think we made the right choice!

Cretan Diet

6. Gyro

Crete Food Cost: 2-4 Euros
Eat this Meal At: Special, Ierapetra

Now for one of the most well-known items of the Cretan cuisine and Greek food in general. The world-famous gyro! After arriving late at night on a flight we took to the streets of Heraklion around 11pm to find a gyro.

I will proudly say that within an hour of being in Greece we were sitting at a small cafe enjoying one of our favorite foods. If you’ve never had a traditional gyro it consists of a thick warm pita, shaved meat from one of the wheels above, tomatoes, onions, tzatziki, and a handful of french fries!

You can also order a gyro as a plate when searching for Cretan cuisine. It basically comes as a deconstructed gyro with the meat, veggies, and fries separate.


7. Moussaka

Crete Food Cost: 5-9 Euros
Eat this Meal At: To Pareaki, Agios Nikolaos

I know I say this a lot… but Moussaka is one of my favorite dishes in the world! I’ve had it at home in the states and even tried to make it before myself when I had a craving.

However, it’s just never the same as eating at the best restaurants in Crete. Eating traditional Moussaka in Greece is beyond delicious. The meal combines a layer of sliced potatoes, eggplant, seasoned ground meat, all topped with a thick cream sauce. So good!

Greek Moussaka

8. Beef Stifado

Crete Food Cost: 8-12 Euros
Eat this Meal At: Stochos Tavern, Asia Galini

Beef stifado is essentially stewed beef with onions. This popular part of the Cretan diet has many variations such as lamb stifado, goat stifado, and even octopus stifado.

Make sure not to overlook the onions, which explode with flavor and really make the dish! Served with a very generous portion of crispy fries, this is one of the heaviest meals we had in Crete.

Food in Crete

9. Stuffed Tomatoes

Crete Food Cost: 5-8 Euros
Eat this Meal At: Nikitas Tavern, Keratokampos

Any vegetarian or vegan travelers looking for a go-to meal in Crete? Here’s something that should be on your list! On the menu, they are labeled as tomatoes but often come with stuffed peppers and wedged potatoes.

They are cooked all together in a thin tomato sauce. Filled with seasoned rice, this veggie Cretan cuisine is actually quite filling.

Stuffed Tomatoes

10. Pastitsio

Crete Food Cost: 6- 9 Euros
Eat this Meal At: Stochos Tavern, Asia Galini

Think of Moussaka mixed with mac & cheese and you’ll have the perfect image of pastitsio. Cooked in a big sheet pan or individual bowls, this was our favorite guilty pleasure out of all the new Cretan food that we tasted!

It’s typically baked with seasoned minced meat and consists of the same thick cream topping as Moussaka. Honestly, it may be worth a trip to Greece just for this!


11. Stewed Lamb 

Crete Food Cost: 6-10 Euros
Eat this Meal At: Agapinis Tavern, Chania Town 

When I think of all the food that we ate in Crete, this stewed lamb in a wine sauce with mountain greens might have been the most flavorful. Lamb is commonly found in Cretan cuisine and I am still regretting that we waited till our last day to try it! Learn from our mistakes and order this amazing meal on your trip to the island of Crete.

Stewed Lamb Crete Food

12. Stuffed Eggplant

Crete Food Cost: 6-10 Euros
Eat this Meat At: Agapinis Tavern, Chania Town 

If you’re an eggplant lover like us this dish is a must-try, and stacks up against any other Cretan food. The inside of the eggplant is cut open and stuffed with large chunks of Feta cheese before being cooked together in a light sauce.

It’s best eaten with a side of local bread to scoop up the sauce, or to smush the eggplant on like a sandwich! Is a Cretan diet starting to look good to you yet?!

Stuffed Eggplant Crete Food

13. Boureki 

Crete Food Cost: 5-10 Euros
Eat this Meal At: Panorama Restaurant, Elafonisi Crete

The Cretan food specialty of Boureki is a MUST TRY when on the islands. The one we ordered was filled with potatoes, onions, zucchini, and amazingly soft Cretan cheese. Baked in a large pan, this heavy vegetarian meal is packed with layers of flavor.

Chaniotiko Boureki Crete Food

14. Fried Honey Balls

Crete Food Cost: Free-5 Euros

What would a Cretan diet be without something sweet? Nothing like finishing a meal with a little dessert! Fortunately, our fried honey balls came complimentary after our meal. So what is the best part of it? The globs and globs of local Cretan honey dripping across the top!

Creten Food

15. Freddo Espresso 

Crete Drink Cost: 1.50-3 Euros

When ordering a regular (or iced) Greek coffee get ready for a big jolt in a small cup. The Freddo can be seen at cafes and the best restaurants in Crete in summertime and is basically an iced espresso.

Even every small convenience store we went into had a high-end coffee maker, so you won’t have any issues finding your morning drink. The only thing you’ll have to question is with sugar or not!

Cretan Cuisine

16. Mythos Beer

Crete Drink Cost: 2-4 Euros

Mythos, the beer of the gods! I actually have no idea if that’s a saying. However, I do know that drinking Mythos while overlooking the beach will make you feel the same way. This beer is light and refreshing, making it perfect for a summer day in Greece!

Mythos Beer

17. Crete Wine

Crete Drink Cost: 3-5 Euros

To completely indulge yourself in the Cretan diet you’ll have to drink at least one glass of wine a day. Local wine cost only a few euros for a half craft, and pairs with almost any part of the Cretan diet. Pick from the red or white house wine, sit back, and enjoy your meal!

Crete Wine

18. Raki

Crete Drink Cost: Free After Meals

Raki is HUGE in Cretan cuisine and typically drank after every meal. Don’t worry, you won’t have to go out of your way to find it. Raki is often brought out as a gift from the house once your meal is finished.

Many locals slow down and sip the Raki, but it was so strong we were forced to take ours as a shot. You’ve been warned!

Raki Crete

Have any questions on Cretan Cuisine or want to share your thoughts on the best restaurants in Crete? Let us know in the comments below!

Safe Travels,
Brigitte & Jake

Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar

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Travelers Guide to the Best Food in Crete Greece

Greece Travel Planning 

 Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials!

When island hopping use FerriesinGreece to compare different routes, prices, and companies. 

 Flights: We always check Skyscanner and Kayak to search for cheap flights. That’s how we got from Crete to Athens for under $50 USD!

 Accommodation: Compare multiple sites to get to the best deal such as and Agoda! Also,  Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget. 

 Rental Car: You can book a rental car for around $20 a day in Greece! We use Discover Cars to explore the larger islands with a vehicle.

 Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for activities in Crete Greece. You can find everything from taking a boat cruise to Balos Lagoon, to a guided tour of Knossos Palace, and Trekking Samaria Gorge.

 Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without protection. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.

Greece Travel


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