cretan food

Cretan Food – A Way of Life

Cretan food is truly special and its magic bewitches all! The traditional cuisine boasts in authentic flavors that feed both mind and soul. Simple but incredibly tasteful, Cretan cuisine is born from old traditions that trace back to the Minoan times. Additionally, it falls under the Mediterranean diet which is among the healthiest in the world. Whether you’re a vegetarian or omnivorous, you will love the numerous available and delightful dishes of this cuisine. One bite is enough to make you understand that Cretan food is a way of life.

local food in crete
Robert Anasch

What makes Cretan food so special?

Did you know that Cretans eat the largest quantities of vegetables and fruits in the Western side of the world? The fertile lands and mild weather are the perfect combination to grow delicious agricultural products. Specifically, the authentic taste and rich aroma of the local ingredients is hard to miss, even in their raw form. It is no wonder that agrotourism in Crete is popular and it’s easy to understand why.

The Cretan cuisine is a continuation of a tradition, starting from the Minoan times. According to research, the Minoans consumed almost the same products with modern Cretans. Basic ingredients such wild herbs and spices, fish, meat and organic vegetables/fruits have been part of the diet since ancient times. And let’s not forget about virgin olive oil, Crete’s liquid gold. In fact, it is the basis of the traditional cuisine and it replaces butter almost exclusively. Hence, it’s no wonder that all visitors fall in love with the cuisine and succumb to the culinary temptations!

Another matter that distinguishes Cretan cuisine is the fact that it connects people. It is an experience through which you communicate with others and create lasting bonds. You enjoy the unique flavors, drink the local wine or raki and laugh to your heart’s content. This is the magic of Cretan food.

Top 5 Cretan Cuisine Dishes

The list with the best Cretan dishes is endless. However, we are going to make a special mention to five of them that you just have to try!


This fantastic Greek meze is so simple to make and yet so tasty! It is made from barley rusks and is topped with grated fresh tomato and myzithra, the creamy milk cheese. Then, the rusks are drizzled with olive oil and dusted with salt, pepper and oregano.


Delightful cheese or spinach pies that are quite addictive! Top them with a spoonful of honey and you’ll realize how great this combination is!

Lamb Stamnangathi

Lamb is among the most popular meats in Crete. This dish incorporates stamnagathi, a wild green with a unique taste that grows in the Cretan lands. The lamb is sautéed in hot olive oil and oregano, followed by stamnagathi and avgolemono (egg and lemon-based) sauce.


Smoked pork infused with herbs and spices, promising a delicious tasting experience! The perfect dish for all meat lovers that you shouldn’t miss.


No Cretan wedding is complete without gamopilafo! This rice dish is served at traditional weddings, but you can order it at any local tavern. It is prepared in a rich meat broth made from a lengthy simmering of goat, rooster or lamb, lots of lemon and stakovoutiro.


Cretan food is easily at the top, in terms of varied and healthy eating. The excellent health and longevity of locals is all thanks to the Cretan cuisine. But remember, the Cretan way of life does not consist only of its food, but also the hospitality of the people.

If you are enjoying your holidays in our luxurious villa in Apokoronas in Chania, then you should definitely try out the local cuisine. Book you villa here and we will be happy to provide you with any information you may need.