When traveling in Greece, or simply in Europe, one can expect to be assaulted with streets upon streets boasting tavernas, restaurants, bars, and even kiosks that hawk everything from wine in plastic bottles to an impressive array or photography. It is difficult, however, to be in this situation when one has a salary built on a summer of pushing slushies to small children at a convenience store at the beach, and enough student loans to sink a Navy Regulated Battleship. The following is meant to be an elementary guide to feeding one's self under these condictions while still enjoying what delightful tastes the Grecians have to offer the pallet.
Greek food is centered around one vital component. Olive Oil. A meal of bread and a 1 euro bag of pasta is suddenly transformed into a culinary revolution worthy of that high strung guy on Iron Chef America. So remember, when dining in, or out for that matter, olive oil is an essential that can make or break any meal.
Since traveling the Greek islands for the past ten days, I have had a plethora of experience in dining out on a budget. With the picturesque scenery, stunning beaches, and shopping to put any Wal-Mart (yes even the Rindge) to shame, it's no wonder that the Greek Isles are an incredibly popular destination for tourism. That being said, restaurants take all sorts of pleasure in jacking up the prices witht he clear and full knowledge that we Americans enjoy our food. Luckily for all my fellow European travelers, I, with the help of some of my peers on the trip, have developed a few sure fire methods for the appraisal of price at a Grecian Restaurant.
First, shy away from the "touristy" areas whenever possible. Although it may boast a sunset view and be conveniently located, said restaurant will also ask for a down payment of organs and precious stones before bringing out the first bottle of outrageously overpriced tap water. Stray away from the predictable and take a left at the first sketchy alley way you stumble upon. When a restaurant emerges from the collection of dumpsters and stray cats there are a few things to take into consideration. Can you hear the dulcet tones of the English language? If so, you may want to move on and find somewhere a little more authentic where a UN translator is necessary to find out if that is chicken or fish you're eating.
Next, check the menu to see if a second mortgage is necessary on the house before you commit to that big fish. Take a peek at the price of a Greek Salad. With a quick glance, you'll be able to gauge the entire price range of the menu by only one item. Personally, I like my Greek salad to be no more than 5 euro and have enjoyed some of the tastiest for 3. If the salad is around 8 you better believe you'll be leaving there with your change purse feeling rather lighter.
Another good indicator of general price is how expensive a liter of house wine is. Anywhere around 6 euro is perfect and becomes even more fiscally responsible when you share. 1/2 liter for 3 euro is a great deal and won't leave you praying for a quick death in the morning.
A final word concerning dining out in Greece. A fancy floor, and swanky music usually mean Big Money.
Hopefully this little blurb will help you save your euro for more important things whilst traveling in Greece, like a bar tab. And if worse comes to worse I know a good place to get a cheap gyro and a kiosk open late that sells beer for one euro. We are college students after all.