One of the simple pleasures in life is indulging in a long, leisurely lunch of mezes in the delicious shade of a Greek taverna’s vine covered courtyard.
Mezes is a wonderfully social way of getting to sample lots of bite-sized examples of Greek cuisine in the one sitting and just has to be accompanied by a chilled bottle of retsina, a couple of glasses of ouzo or, at very least, some bottles of beer. For that perfect mezes experience, a taverna overlooking one of the Greek Island’s multitudinous ‘too beautiful to be believed’ beaches is pretty hard to beat.
Depending on where you stay in Greece, what appears on the mezes platter in front of you can vary
from island to island. You can almost guarantee that tzatziki (Greek yoghurt dip of cucumber, garlic and mint), taramasalata (smoked cod roe dip) and olives will figure. After that it can be a variation of octopus salad, tuna salad, dolmades (stuffed vine leaves), saganaka (grilled cheese), spanakopita (feta and spinach in filo pastry), meatballs, sausages, aubergine dips and, on the islands closer to Turkey, hummus and falafel-like patties. The list goes on.
Often the best way to order mezes is simply to ask the waiter to bring a selection of the taverna’s best mezes dishes. You can usually trust waiters to advise on how much is suitable for however many are dining. If anything, I often find that they tend to be conservative rather than bring too much food but then maybe I’m just greedy.
Over the years I’ve had loads of perfect mezes lunches, however stand out ones have been a simple selection of dips with Amstel beer outside Alexis’ in Lindos on Rhodes (great for people watching) and the mainly fish focussed mezes at the taverna on Nanou beach on Symi (probably due to an exquisite location which tends to add extra flavour to any meal). But my overall favourite mezes were at the Remataki Taverna overlooking the beach at Pythagorion on Samos. Every time we visited, the personality waitress would check what ‘grandmother’ was making that day and bring us a selection of whatever that happened to be. The selection of freshly baked bread, dips and fried patties never disappointed…even if by the end of that holiday we had grown whale sized. Still what are holidays for if not to over indulge your passions and enjoy yourself?
Buzz Trips’ Perfect Mezes Lunch
Taramasalata, Tzatziki, Hummus, saganaka, spanakopita, Greek salad and a crisp bottle of retsina…served with an intense blue Greek sky and the lapping of the Mediterranean.