Living in Greece

A practical guide to moving, living, working & traveling in Greece, plus musing and misadventures from an American in Athens

Taste of America in Greece

greek-mac.jpgPhoto ‘Physiar’ on virtualtourist.com

A long time ago, McDonald’s came up with the idea of providing consistent and familiar food no matter where or when someone was hungry. For better or worse, they achieved that goal and others followed.

Whether you’re an American looking for a taste of home or a world citizen in search of something different, there are franchises and American-like options in Greece to satiate such needs and desires.

All links lead you to an official site, company page or store locator for Greece. Kali Orexi!

*Article last updated July 18, 2014. However, information in ‘Comments’ reflects whatever was true at the time.

American franchises/products in Greece

The economic crisis has forced many shops to close without advance notice, and company websites are rarely updated to reflect this.

A location you visited or saw listed a few days ago can shut down and be gone in less than a week. Keep this in mind if you have a credit or customer loyalty card. There may not be a sign on the door to notify customers, and the new owner could gut a location and reopen with no hint of the previous.

Many island locations only open in summer.

© Photo by Sebastiaan Kroes, used with written permission

American-ish places

*Rude service when eating in restaurant.

Once in Greece but now gone

  • Baskin-Robbins
  • Burger King — Was here in 1990s, and there was talk about a return to Greece. However, BK was sold for 3.26 billion on September 2, 2010, and they intend to concentrate on growth in Asia and Latin America.
  • Dunkin’ Donuts — Pangrati, Piraeus and Glyfada all shut down. To see why it failed, see my comment on August 29, 2008 at 22:21.
  • Hooters — The only franchise location in Greece had been located at the Mall of Athens. Not sure when it closed, but its website was taken down early 2012 and the Facebook page disappeared soon after. It had a string of bad reviews for terrible food and service long before. Official Hooters website doesn’t list Greece amongst its international locations.
  • Kenny Rogers’ Roasters – Only in California and Asia
  • Papa John’s
  • Taco Bell at the Athens Metro Mall opened November 30, 2010 and closed August 2012, though its website is still active. Like so many other franchises that fail, it needed to charge a lot of money for small portions to be profitable, did not attract local Greeks and disappointed people who tasted the real thing in America.
  • Taco Time
  • Wendy’s — Franchise said it may come back after a 10-year absence in 2009, but the crisis hit and management shifted focus elsewhere.

Name-brand fast food chains have seen significant losses since the start of crisis in 2009, as offering are considered niche items and overpriced — often more expensive than wealthier nations — and out of reach of most consumers suffering from record-high unemployment and austerity.

Please note the following

1. The American way of food service does not apply

2. Prices are higher and vary by location

– Since these establishments are offering something unique, it’s normal to pay more and get less
– There is no price standardization, so franchisers can charge whatever they want. For example, a McDonald’s apple pie can cost 1.20 in Marousi but 0.99 in Syntagma

3. Menu options will be limited and/or customized to the local culture

– Greek Mac (or other version of stuffed pita), Money Bags and Fanta are offered instead of the Southwestern Chipotle Snack Wrap, Minty Mudd Bath Triple Thick Shake and Hi-C
– Regular BBQ chicken wings are sometimes and erroneously called Buffalo wings
– There is no popcorn chicken at KFC in Greece and Extra Crispy only appears on two items as Blazin’ and Zinger as of 2011. Otherwise, it’s only Original Recipe and it tastes different.

4. Freshness standards are often not followed

– Many places have no qualms about serving day-old, precooked, wilted or stale food.
– Employees at Cinnabon have been seen burning and making buns explode in the oven, then attempting to sell them.

5. Quality of food not only varies between the American and Greek versions, but also between locations in Greece

– Inconsistency is due to the variation of raw ingredients, the decisions of a particular franchiser, staff, lack of quality control at the local and corporate level
– There are three different versions of blue cheese dressing at the Hard Rock Cafe, depending on the day you go; Domino’s in your current neighborhood may be OK, but moving to another area may be oily and disappointing.
– Some owners swap ingredients to save money or appeal to local tastes, but then disappoint people who know the original

6. Beware of product interpretations

– Bagels from Greek bakeries are often doughnut cut-outs of regular bread and taste/look as such. A reader says that plain, garlic and everything bagels can be found in restaurants of some IKEA locations; the Marriott in Athens serves them at breakfast
– Caesar salad often has honey mustard dressing, corn and no croutons or anchovies.
– Croutons are toasted stale bread cubes that are neither crispy, nor tasty
– Everything with peppers and onions tends to be (wrongly) called Oriental
– Everything with curry tends to be (wrongly) called Indian

7. Grocery chains and mom-and-pop stores sell American items, but they’re grossly overpriced and sometimes expired

– If you’re desperate for a taste of the USA, you can pay outrageous prices of 2 euros per can of soda (ginger ale, root beer, cherry Coke, cherry 7up) or 15 euros for a box of cereal. A friendly warning: Soda may sit around unsold for awhile and be flat when you purchase it, and look at the expiration of items since many owners do not adhere to them.
– There are things that never come to Greece simply because the majority of residents and store owners have no clue what it is, are nationalistic and/or not open to new things
– There is no such thing as an American supermarket in Greece; there are only Greek supermarkets in Greece that carry American products (many manufactured in the EU). The rest are considered ethnic food markets or suppliers.

* I cannot give a list of stores for two reasons: a) Availability is highly individual to location, not chain-wide, and can suddenly be discontinued without notice or reason — it’s impossible to keep information current; b) I believe it’s wrong to give free advertising to stores that practice price gouging and tax evasion.

8. There is a worldwide tendency to rip off names or logos of establishments without any actual association with the original brand or concept.

– Big Boy is a pizza place, not a hamburger joint
– Lick’s BBQ in Athens is a not an official Lick’s Homeburgers but rather a bad copycat started by a Greek from Canada who ripped off the logo and menu.

9. Some items are seasonal or appear sporadically.

– Cotton candy, also called cotton floss and old lady’s hair, is available at street fairs, children’s events, the pazari (flea market/bazaar) and panayiri for name days of a church/neighborhood/municipality.

10. Ethnic food is dumbed down

– The majority of Greeks are adverse to certain flavors, so any non-Greek food you know as hot, spicy, fishy or exotic will be toned down or omitted entirely. In a word, bland.
– However, there is Tabasco, Louisiana pepper sauce and kerato peppers (light green horn peppers) at the supermarket, and plenty of ethnic food markets in Greece selling Asian, African, Mexican, Indian and other ingredients so you can prepare them at home.

One must ultimately choose whether it’s worth the extra money and compromise in taste if there are no plans to leave Greece and eat the real thing. I choose to do without or make clones at home from scratch, which takes longer but tastes better.

* Special thanks to McKroes, my foodies, readers and Greek-American posse for their valuable input

FAQ

Is there a Pollo Loco, Red Robin, Outback Steakhouse, Tony Roma’s, Krispy Kreme… in Greece?

No.

Is it true that Wal-Mart is opening a store in Greece?

On November 16, Naftemporiki reported that Wal-Mart has agreed to a joint venture with a Thessaloniki entity. No details on when or where a store might open. Don’t assume it will be in Athens, as a northern location could easily attract cross-border retail shoppers.

Note to all commentators

Please limit advice to facts and specifics. Rumors, guessing or cloudy recollection of what you might have seen many months ago is not helpful to other people, as things change rapidly and without warning in Greece. I will edit comments accordingly.

*The option to comment is now closed due to infighting, name-calling and spiteful notes left on this post, Facebook and online forums.

Related posts

American fast food the world loves” — Forbes
Crazy American things
Corn dogs in Athens?
Συρρικνώνεται ο κλάδος μαζικής εστίασης” — To Vima
Where to get a turkey for Thanksgiving and Christmas in Greece

σως γιαουρτιού (sour cream)

http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite6_1_18/08/2013_514260

110 Comments

  EllasDevil wrote @ September 9th, 2007 at 00:38

I constantly hear that McDonalds isn’t doing that great here in Greece. You know I’m old enough to remember what life was like before all these chains came along. Hell, I remember life before the private channels came along and we were stuck with only government crapola.

Anyway back to the important stuff. I remember my cousin used to take me to Wendys in Kifissia when I was a kid (mainly because her high school boyfriend worked there and she wanted to sit there and look dreamingly at him).

I could kill a subway sandwich right about now but I dunno where my nearest one is. Help!

PS: Kalo mina :-)

Kat Reply:

ED – Yeah, I remember Wendy’s in Syntagma and in Rhodes, and Baskin in Syntagma. You know what’s funny — I saw a ton of chain restaurants in India, even in remote places.

Find the location nearest you with the link I provided and kill the sandwich my hungry friend! :) (The addresses are hosted on my site now to avoid the Subway website mishaps). *As of Sept 2009, all Subway locations are closed.

  PIC wrote @ September 9th, 2007 at 09:14

Great article. What I really wish they had was a “Noah’s Bagels” or other type place. That’s one of the things I miss the most. Authentic Bagels.

  John Tsevdos wrote @ September 9th, 2007 at 10:39

Another lovely post dear !!! I have to admit that in eating habits, I’m probably more American than you (ok, I’m eating souvlakia as well, but burgers are my favorite!). I’m looking forward to visiting the US one day and trying some real American burger houses like In ‘n Out! C u around…

Kat Reply:

JT – Very possible. I never sought out American things while here because they’re usually a good distance away & I have no car, and it usually doesn’t taste the same, which I find disappointing for the high price. I’ve always cooked and eaten international, so I’ll only make “clone” copies of American things I really miss — Cinnabon, corn dogs, Orange Julius, potato skins, Hooters buffalo wings (taught the butcher’s wife when she saw me buying wings). It’s cheaper and tastes better.

Don’t forget Carl’s Jr., Nation’s hamburgers, Quarter Pounder, White Castle, Chili’s and Outback Steakhouse. They all make very different burgers with different tastes — all worth trying once. But I believe ED was the first to sign up for the food tour. ;)

  arammos wrote @ September 9th, 2007 at 16:48

Great post Kat.

Kat Reply:

Arammos – Thanks agape mou

  yiannos wrote @ September 11th, 2007 at 08:27

one of the more ‘interesting’(re:humourous) ways that Greeks express their anti-american sentiment, IMO, is through bypassing mcdonald’s, burger king, and other such franchises in favour of Goody’s, when Goody’s is little more than a loose amalgam of various American fast food chains anyway. they seem to think because it’s Greek owned, that makes it ok, as it means they are putting their own ‘spin’ on it. whatever ;-)

i was very surprised to hear that a Hooters opened in Athens though because as far as American ‘pop-culture’ goes, that’s really scraping the bottom of the defective barrel isn’t it? considering the hostility to U.S culture in general there, they have certainly made enough inroads over the years.

Kat Reply:

Yiannos – I suppose anyone could justify going to these places because they’re ALL Greek-owned franchises. And regarding Hooters, the people who go there only care that it’s boobs with a side of food — it’s no more “bottom of the barrel” than any club, commercial, magazine or TV program in GR, really.

  A wrote @ November 12th, 2007 at 06:28

I thought of your site yesterday, as we had dinner at “Opa” in Astoria, on 31st street (excellent souvlaki) and finished with a trip to Titan Foods, where we acquired two cases of nBn portokalada (my children called this “en-bee-en” – they can only handle one foreign alphabet at a time). Having spent time in NY, you must be familiar with Titan or Mediterranean (which has spawned a second outlet) – these are the stores where you can go and buy many of the same brands you find in AB. For my mother, who lived in Greece full time for one year, this is a true walk down memory lane. My children are delighted by the bakery section, and we stock up on Nescafe (gotta have the Nes – it tastes different in the Greek version), energy7, sour cherry juice, nBn and helios pasta makaronia No. 1 (a family friend’s pasta)). My mother visits the 14 kinds of olives and 6 kinds of feta, and I visit the magazine rack and peruse the Louky Louk books – bringing back memories of my summers in Greece as a child. My mother was reminded how easily the unique memories of Greece return when you are in Astoria.

The Alma Bank atm doesn’t work; the pay phones don’t work; the line at kyklades and uncle george’s and omonia is out the door, but the pastries and olives and cheese and yogurt and filo at Titan are as fresh as the little store around the corner from our friend’s house in Agia Pareskevi.

Something about nBn is special, however – reminds me of the days when every summer was measured by a lemonada, portokalada or gazoza every two or three hours, when we made “epno” (which for us, meant stayed in the rooms and read comix), and watched reruns of the Saint (which was the only English language show we could see). A glass of nBn over ice is the perfect cure for a NY rate race life.

(i have turned my non-Greek friends on to Titan – the best olives, of course, but they are also stocking up on nBn – as a drink mixer – it makes a wonderful mimosa).

Kat Reply:

A – You really took me back for a minute. I know all of the places you named, as I lived in Astoria about 2 blocks from Titan and one block I think from Opa. There is an older gentleman next door making olive bread in a stone oven, and occasionally I’d stop at Zodiac for a drink. Every Saturday, I’d go early to the manabis and speak Greek with the family who owned the store, and they’d bring stuff out from the back for me.

nBn is good for mimosas if you don’t like pulp.

I liked Astoria because the whole world was in that neighborhood and barely anyone could speak English, thus giving me the opportunity to stay up on my Greek and Spanish and learn some Arabic. It was also cheaper for some reason to buy imported Greek products in America, than it was to buy the same thing in Greece. But that’s a comment for another post.

The point is, just as America can be found in Greece, Greece can be found in America as well.

  Yianni wrote @ December 28th, 2007 at 13:36

I wish there was a Taco bell. They have pizza hut and KFC you would figure they would have Taco bell since all 3 franchises are owned by the same company.

Oh yeah and where could I get a nice 16oz New york steak? Like a good grade “A” steak ? I miss steak damn it! Funny, when I was in Toronto I missed seafood and now I’m here and I miss Steak.

Kat Reply:

Taco Time is on the list of defunct franchises in the post. There is a restaurant with delivery called Taco Bueno that is run by a fabulous woman, and Dos Hermanos (although one hermano returned to the USA last year) run by a Greek-American that is also good. Otherwise, I make my own Mexican food.

  The Scorpion wrote @ December 29th, 2007 at 08:42

Yianni: There is a wonderful meat market in Voula that has all the U.S. Cuts, and also wonderful U.S. style cuts from New Zealand. You can get NORMAL rib eye steaks, T-Bones, NY Steak etc. Apparently, a Greek Ship owner gets all his meat there as well. So for those Greeks who don’t just go to a taverna and order a steak without knowing that there are several ways you can order one (rare, m-rare, medium, m-well, well done), this place is for you. It’s Spiros’ meat market, located in Voula on Digeni 17, and their phone number is 210-895-1471.

Also, regarding Taco Bell. They had a taco time (similiar to taco bell) in Glyfada in the 1990s, but it did not do well.

Remember, Greek taste buds are generally used to bland food, so something spicy like Mexican food just doesn’t go over well here.

Kat Reply:

I can vouch for Scorpion’s meat market suggestion. If you go to a restaurant such as the one we visited on my fiance’s birthday, you’ll pay an exorbitant price for someone to serve you that same slab of beef that is already overpriced. But if you really want it, have at it.

Personally, I always wait until I take a trip outside Greece for a proper steak, prime rib or filet mignon. In the meantime, I remind myself that red meat is full of free radicals and GR is actually saving my health. ;)

  Nikos wrote @ January 19th, 2008 at 21:41

Where can I get REAL pastrami here? No, not the turkey thing at AB… Any input will be great.

Kat Reply:

I’ve never seen pastrami, not even at the “special” store you mentioned (I’m sorry I had to delete the name). I normally just wait until I’m in NY and go to the deli to get a stacked up sand. Certain things I learn to live without after a decade, as well.

  Vasiliki wrote @ June 13th, 2008 at 00:52

No one mentioned “Goodies”. They have what they call a “pink sauce” which is the same as 1000 island dressing (without the islands).

Kat Reply:

Actually, Yiannos mentioned Goody’s above in his comment. It’s not on the list because it’s not American. Plus, as you point out, they use substitutions that are a bit disgusting. In addition to pink sauce, ketchup is used to make “pasta red sauce.” Brrrrr.

  dimitris wrote @ July 3rd, 2008 at 14:47

I think you should try the “American Burger” in Glyfada, its owned by Greek Americans and it has the best burger in town. Its also one of the few places in town you can actually get a DR.Pepper

  Nick wrote @ July 7th, 2008 at 16:19

Where can you get Welch’s in Greece?

Kat Reply:

N – In my 11 years, I’ve never found Welch’s jam at any of the stores selling American goods, even for a hefty price. But as of June 2009, select Alfa Vita locations sell Welch’s grape juice in 1-liter paketos for 2 euros, but it’s only the sugar-free Lite version, which in my opinion isn’t the same taste as the full-on sugar. My American posse says the only places they’ve found them are at the American Embassy and the Souda Bay Navy exchange that is only accessible to U.S. military personnel and retirees. I buy a few in the USA when I’m there and bring them back. Otherwise, I live without.

  Mark wrote @ August 28th, 2008 at 06:34

My pregnant wife had a craving for Dunkin Donuts so I drove all the way to Glyfada. I discovered it was closed and my wife was sooo sad. I talk to a Greek co worker and he told me there were several locations in Athens. I went to google earth and looked them up. I spent last sunday driving all around town and never found a one. Did they all close?

  Christopher wrote @ August 28th, 2008 at 13:52

Hi there! Long time no talk! Just wanted to say that as of the end of July the Piraeus Dunkin’ Donuts appeared to still be open (I happened to being walking by, but didn’t actually stop to go in as I utterly despise DD).

Kat Reply:

C – Hey!!! Good to hear from you and thanks for the heads up about Dunkin’ Donuts in Piraeus. (Talk soon, OK?)

  kostadamosta wrote @ August 28th, 2008 at 19:29

Does anyone know why Greeks haven’t discovered ranch dressing? If they have, where can I find some?

Kat Reply:

K – Greeks who have been to my house know about it because I’ve got a stash of Hidden Valley Ranch packets from the USA that I use for spinach dip, chicken wings and salad. ;) I’ll check into that for you or perhaps one of my commentators can holler.

  Mark wrote @ August 29th, 2008 at 11:50

Thanks for the info on the Dunkin Donuts. We will make a trip to Piraeus and reprt back to the site on our findings. I wish I had found this site before I made the trek last Sunday. It was frustrating to drive around for so long and find nothing, but my pregnant wife had to have donuts. Is the DD right across the street from the port like google earth says?

Kat Reply:

M – Hi there. You could have saved yourself some gas if you’d checked my site first, since I mentioned above that Pangrati (end of 2005) and Glyfada (early 2008) were closed. Your Greek colleague is misinformed — Pangrati, Glyfada and Piraeus were the last ones. Someone who was at the Piraeus location earlier this year (April) said it was still open. (*Note that all Dunkin’ Donuts locations are closed as of November 2008).

I don’t know why the Glyfada one closed, but the Pangrati location closed because the American business sense behind Dunkin’ Donuts was Greekized. What do I mean by that? Instead of making it a small establishment catering predominantly to takeaway/to go orders to save on rent as in the USA, huge multi-floor cafes with dozens of tables were built, thereby making it impossible to be profitable with skyrocketing expenses and low earnings on donuts/coffee.

  Renee wrote @ August 29th, 2008 at 12:09

hi, I’m heading to Greece next week and staying at Westin Astir Place.. from what I can see from this site, Ruby Tuesday, Applebees and Dominos are close in Gylfada. Do you know if Dominos delievers??? I’m an expat who is craving some western food.

thanks..

Kat Reply:

R – Of course they deliver. The majority of eating establishments do. Just be warned that it may not be exactly the same and will cost more than you’re used to, as I say in my article.

  The Scorpion wrote @ August 31st, 2008 at 09:05

I’m very disappointed with Greek pizza, even Dominos and Pizza hut lately. They are SO stingy with the pizza sauce. I literally have to order Triple sauce to get a decent pizza that actually taste like it has sauce on it. After returning a pizza at Pizza hut only to get the same thing, I gave up.

I’m really sad Papa Johns closed in Athens. It was truly the only one lately (for me) that tasted like true American pizza.

Can anyone help. Chicago style is my type…

Kat Reply:

The S – We don’t order Domino’s anymore due to the greasiness and stinginess of toppings, i.e., We pay extra for mushrooms, and there’s probably 2 tiny pieces; we complain, and they give us 4 pieces (LOL). Plus, it’s a little depressing to know we pay 4 euros more in Greece for the same pizza being sold in Germany (and the one in Germany has actual sauce and mushrooms without begging or complaining).

I’ve never found Chicago style here, in fact most people don’t even know what that is. I make my own pizza from scratch (regular, cheesy crust, pan pizza and Chicago style), and I’d be happy to give you the recipe for anything of interest.

  Shawna wrote @ November 4th, 2008 at 12:49

Hi Everyone,

I found that IKEA sells plain and everything bagels in their restaurant. They are very tasty!!!

Kat Reply:

S – Really? I never eat in the restaurant, and I’ve never found bagels for sale in the food shop in the front of the store. Thanks for leaving that tip. I’ll check it out the next time I’m there.

  Tinkerbell wrote @ November 23rd, 2008 at 16:45

Hi
does anybody know where we can have a proper thanksgiving dinner in Athens? Thanks!

Kat Reply:

Please see “Thanksgiving in Greece.” The word “proper” isn’t applicable since we’re in Greece, not the USA.

  CL wrote @ November 25th, 2008 at 11:16

-Does anyone know of a good Mexican restaurant in Athens? A good Japanese or Chinese restaurant?
-Where are some of the best supermarkets for American-type groceries?
-Has anyone found a good “sports bar” type place where I could see some American football or basketball games?

Kat Reply:

I already named a few Mexican restaurants above in previous comments. Take another look. We haven’t addressed Chinese or Japanese because the name of this post is “Taste of America in Greece,” not taste of China or Japan.

In any case, all ethnic restaurants in Greece will not be “good” because all of the spices have been removed to suit Greek tastes — aka, nothing hot, nothing spicy, nothing fishy, nothing “xeni.” So Mexican food won’t have jalapenos or chili, Japanese food will often not have wasabi and Chinese/Vietnamese/Thai food won’t have white pepper, red chili, dried shrimp or fish sauce. That’s how things are here. Bland. If you want something authentic, you need to get the ingredients and cook it yourself as I do, or visit someone’s house.

As I state in the article, I do not list stores that sell American groceries because I refuse to advocate price gouging or provide free advertising for greedy owners. And why would I give free advertising to help others earn money when I don’t use ads on this website to generate income for myself?

There are a number of bars/pubs in Athens and other popular tourist centers on the mainland/islands that have satellites, which play games from the UK, USA and Australia.

  Terra wrote @ December 2nd, 2008 at 21:00

I went to Greece last year and found a drink (sort of like some kind of soda, not alcoholic) that I love, but I can not find it on the internet to get it imported to the US, nor can I find them in imported stores in my area.

It is called nBn and there are several flavors, but I love the orange flavor.

Does anyone know where I can get this?! Any websites? Help please.

Kat Reply:

It’s called portokalada in Greek. I don’t know where you live, but normally a Greek market (even a small one) will carry it. Orange is the most common flavor, so you’re more likely to find it. When nBn is transliterated to Latin, it’s called “Ivi.” If you cannot find Ivi, Fanta comes a close second and is available at regular supermarkets nationwide. It’s difficult to give you a list of websites because selection varies widely, and the item can be discontinued at any time, which would require me to keep updating this comment.

  maria wrote @ December 6th, 2008 at 00:42

Hi I just happened to come across this site which by the way is great. I wanted to say to all the people who are searching for a good donut store (well not American but Canadian) try Coffee Time. Many locations around Athens. There is even one at the gas station on Kiffissias.

Kat Reply:

Maria – Thanks for the tip.

  Nikoz wrote @ December 11th, 2008 at 15:45

Hello there!

Actually Big Boy used to be a very American standards burger place (I grew up in Halandri and was going next door for my English classes), but it ended up serving low quality pizzas.

Kat Reply:

N – Too bad. But I think sometimes restaurants adjust themselves to the area and customer demands to stay in business.

  Mark wrote @ January 24th, 2009 at 00:36

Has anyone noticed there is a Baskin Robbins in front on the Carrefour in the Avenue Shops but it has no ice cream? The logo is just like in the states. Did they used to have a Baskin Robbins there but forgot to take down the sign?

Kat Reply:

M – There’s no actual store, it has to be an old sign. Baskin Robbins has been gone for a long time.

  dora wrote @ January 31st, 2009 at 13:29

does anybody know where i can buy dr. peppers, cherry cokes and other american goodies like marshmallows besides the supermarkets in kifisia? i live in glyfada and going there is out of my way?

Kat Reply:

D – There are several private stores in Varis and Voula, but I have a policy against giving names of price gouging markets.

  A wrote @ February 28th, 2009 at 01:06

Unbelievably, Titan is not selling nBn any more – costs too much for the distributor to import, apparently. There is a replacement portokalada but its not the same, and there is no lemonada replacement yet. On the plus side they are carrying the blackberry juice mix now, plus sour cherry, peach nectar, pear nectar and good old energy7.

We have had to rely on orangina, which is no where near as good as the nBn. Tried “stala” brand Limonada & portokalada from Mediterranean Foods II. Not bad, but not enough carbonation.

Kat Reply:

That is sad :( Orangina is a completely different formula and flavor, and not really comparable. Fanta is closer but still different.

  Zack wrote @ March 4th, 2009 at 20:55

Many thnx for the post but i have one question. You mentioned a Lick’s Homeburgers in Agia Paraskevi..
Does it still exist? And if it does, where exactly is it? I live in Agia Paraskevi and i’ve heard of it and i cant seem to find anything on the internet about it.
Thanx
Zack

Kat Reply:

Spyros told me it’s off of Mesogion on Dimitras Street. They don’t have a website. Please be aware that this is not an official Lick’s location, so the food will not be the same either. It is a rip-off called Lick’s BBQ. The owner used to live in Canada, and all he’s done is copy the logo and menu.

  Sherry wrote @ June 2nd, 2009 at 22:10

Does anyone know where I can get sour cream in Athens? I’ve even considered ordering it “to go” from Fridays or HRC, because I know they have it, but would really like to find it in a plain, old, regular, non-gouging supermarket. Is there hope? (I’m sure I don’t have to tell you good people that sour cream and greek yogurt are NOT the same thing and yogurt is NOT appropriate on Mexican food!) Thanks!!

Kat Reply:

Hi Sherry, this is a question I’ve had before on another post, but I’ll answer it here also. There is no place you can buy sour cream in Greece at a non-gouging supermarket, just the gouging kind. LOL! AB sometimes has creme fraiche. You’re right, Greek yogurt (though really great) is not the same but not completely horrible as a substitute if it’s straggismeno with a bit of salt. May I encourage you to make some? I do this all the time, and the spring/summer weather makes it even easier.

Sour cream

Take a clean glass jar and put in:
1 cup of 20% or light cream
5 tsp cultured buttermilk (should have 1% acid) — I use Olympos, but any will do

Shake, then add another:
1 cup of 20% or light cream
1 tsp (or to taste) salt

Shake again, leave cover on and leave in a 75-80F (24-27C) place for 24 hours. After that, refrigerate another 24 hours. Do not over stir or subject to high heat. Easy, inexpensive and tastes better than store bought. Keeps for awhile, but mine disappears before it expires…or you can halve the recipe if you don’t want to tempt yourself.

  Demitris wrote @ June 19th, 2009 at 01:46

Well I have never had the opportunity to try any of the listed franchises in their home territory where I’m sure they do a decent job. Take McDonald’s for example, the quality varies from country to country ranging from really poor to mediocre at best. It’s like they can’t put together a great tasting burger even if their lives depended on it. I really don’t know if this is the level of quality they serve in the States (I certainly hope not!) but it certainly is not on the level when one tries the competition in other countries they do business in.

Burger King & Pizza Hut fare a lot better with BK vastly superior to McDonald’s by a stretch. KFC is pretty good, outside Greece at least. Starbucks & Haagen Dazs are sterling, top class! Though the best cup of coffee is made by a good Jewish Italian friend of mine. Subway I think are incredibly overrated and I’ve seen quite a few close down in recent years.

I have found over the years it’s best to skip the franchises and track down that obscure pizzeria that’s been around for years but never bothered trying them out. I’ve been pleasantly surpised to still find the little guy is still king of the culinary world if given a chance. Too often, due to lack of time and the branding power of franchise stores we sometimes forget we can get a better deal & better tastes elsewhere.

Kat Reply:

A good pizzeria in Greece is very difficult to find; it’s nothing like Australia, the USA or Canada in that respect.

The list is provided for those who (by personal choice) want to visit these franchises or are looking to invest in one. There is no advocacy or endorsement, and I do list the many pitfalls. I’ve heard people say, “Oh, just wait until you get home,” but the point is that Greece is our home and sometimes it’s strangely comforting to have a doughnut, no matter how stupid, horrible or overpriced it is.

  Stamatis wrote @ July 23rd, 2009 at 02:52

Why did they close Burger King? Actually I don’t remember at all having Burger King In Greece

Kat Reply:

It was here in the early 1990s and closed down rather quickly. Why? I suppose the population didn’t like/need another burger joint with McD’s being here.

  Tak wrote @ September 17th, 2009 at 10:01

There used to be dunking donuts in Athens (Pagkrati and Glyfada) and they have since closed down. I imagine the royalties are through the roof.

Kat Reply:

Thanks, but that info has been in the article above since 2008 under “American franchises once in Greece but now gone.” People should be able to read on their own without me having to spoon-feed answers.

  xxxxxx wrote @ October 9th, 2009 at 00:57

one of the more ‘interesting’ (re: humourous) ways that Greeks express their anti-american sentiment, IMO, is through bypassing mcdonald’s, burger king, and other such franchises in favour of Goody’s, when Goody’s is little more than a loose amalgam of various American fast food chains anyway. they seem to think because it’s Greek owned, that makes it ok, as it means they are putting their own ’spin’ on it. Whatever ;-)

I’m Greek (not anti-American), and i completely agree with you. I wish we had more American products and food-chains in Greece.

Kat Reply:

Interesting you should say that because when I first arrived in Greece, I remember a friend of mine telling me that McD’s tastes like cardboard, and “Goody’s is so much better because it’s Greek.” The ironic thing is, all of these food franchises are Greek owned, so there’s no real protest. Even Coca-Cola is owned by a Greek subsidiary.

It’s not that I think we need more American products in Greece. I think we need more products from everywhere for diversity and to compete on the Greek market to drive prices down, though I realize not everyone feels the same way depending on taste, their upbringing, exposure to the world and/or wealth. What’s wrong with having choices?

  vanessa wrote @ October 10th, 2009 at 23:00

Kostadamosta-they sell ranch dressing at LIDL.

The only thing I miss is a good Italian Sub Sandwich and Sunday Morning Breakfasts at the Diner! (You can take the girl out of Jersey, but not the Jersey out of the girl! lol)

Everything else, I think we can pretty much find here. PS. Re: Simply Burgers— the “Fun Burger” Kid’s burger, is actually almost identical to the classic DINER cheeseburger deluxes.

Kat Reply:

I understood that Kosta was looking for Hidden Valley Ranch, which is not available. The one at Lidl is a very bad version. Diner food is very easily done at home, but I agree that the atmosphere is irreplaceable.

I strongly disagree that everything else can be found in Greece. I can think of at least 20 things that can’t be found here at any price — here are 10+ off the top of my head: Monterey jack cheese, honeydew melon, barley, blueberries, honey graham crackers, tater tots, California olives, broccoli raab, pastrami, corn tortillas, Lawry’s garlic salt…

  mark wrote @ October 12th, 2009 at 02:14

here is some more stuff I can’t find here in Greece. This is just off off the top of my head.
Country time lemonaide, betty crocker cake frosting, peanut butter, kashi cereal, real tortilla chips, instant oatmeal, ready made pie crusts, condensed soup, barbaque sauce, hot wing sauce, and mountain dew.

Kat Reply:

American Betty Crocker cake frosting (white and chocolate), instant oatmeal (plain), Skippy’s peanut butter, El Sabor tortilla chips in three flavors & Doritos, and barbecue sauce can be found at AB, though I buy smooth PB from the Netherlands for 2 euros for 500g at an Asian/African food store because it’s made of only peanuts, salt and oil.

Mountain Dew is sometimes found at one of those price-gouging stores for 2 euros a can, Kashi for 10 euros, condensed soup for 3 euros and instant oatmeal in flavors (can’t remember the price because I never buy it). I never look for ready made pie crusts, lemonade in a can or hot wing sauce because I make my own from scratch.

Buffalo wing sauce is made with melted butter, Tabasco sauce and a dash of cayenne pepper, all ingredients found here.

  miracle whip wrote @ October 12th, 2009 at 16:58

Miracle whip is one illusive item, along with quality vlasic dill pickles that I miss. And of course real bagels and not the fake greek bread with a hole in it. Also I generally find that people who say you can find most things in Greece usually are not that picky and just eat what’s available, but others like me really enjoy USA products, even if it may be an emotional connection to the things we miss. For Christ sakes, we can’t be expected to eat oily, bland (read non-spicy) Greek food all the time.

Kat Reply:

One reader says that real bagels are found at IKEA. Like you, my partner likes Miracle Whip, and we’re lucky to have a jar right now thanks to a friend. And further to what you said, I find that many people (especially newbies) who say “Greece doesn’t have…” just don’t know where to look.

When you/we grow up with a plethora of choices, there’s nothing wrong with occasionally wanting those things. In the USA or UK, we don’t tell Greeks to abandon Greek things or stop Cubans from eating Cuban food. I was raised with international cuisine, so I’ve adapted the best I can by learning to cook from scratch with ingredients I import or can buy here. Otherwise, I just do without because the majority of ethnic restaurants here are ridiculously overpriced and/or a disappointment, which is not always their fault since they have to stay in business by dumbing down food to accommodate the population’s taste.

  Dylan wrote @ December 21st, 2009 at 05:25

theres also a bennigans in thessaloniki & it’s one of the few left in the world

Kat Reply:

You’re right. I meant to add that after my visit up north last year but forgot. Thanks for reminding me.

  Dimitrios wrote @ February 7th, 2010 at 16:26

Congrats Kat!
This is a really intresting site. Your effort is really commendable and I wish you keep on doing this excellent work of yours.

PS1: I really hope you like eating Greek food though, since I doubt you’d be able to survive on all this stale bread and questionable quality american food you say one can only find.

PS2: I’ve seen disappointed eaters before but…don’t you think you’re a bit fanatically exaggerating against all you’ve encountered?

Kat Reply:

People have a right to be informed and make intelligent choices. If they want lies and rumors, they can go to a forum.

PS1: If someone I know has gone through the trouble to purchase or cook something for me, I will eat it no matter what because it’s rude to do otherwise. However, I was raised to appreciate a high quality standard, so I don’t see the point of wasting money or calories on restaurants and stores selling fakes and garbage. These establishments deserve to go out of business.

PS2: No. Since many others agree with me across all nationalities, that should tell you I’m not exaggerating.

Don’t you think it’s a bit backhanded to compliment me and then proceed to question and accuse me of fanatic exaggeration, especially since you don’t know me or what I’m talking about?

  lapizz wrote @ February 16th, 2010 at 19:34

Hi, I am impressed with your work Kat! Especially in updating a 3 year old post..

I am Greek and last year I made my first trip to the US, Boston and NYC, and stayed for 15 days. Being a student, my meals consisted mostly of burger king, McD’s, DD, Subway and other food court candidates.
I had Wendy’s again ^^. Taco bell was fun too.
Being literally fed up with the above, the last 5 days I ate at those buffet type stores in New York.

I know I missed out on a lot of American tastes, but I do intend to visit again, with a bigger budget and, with this post’s insight, a better understanding at what is considered traditional over there.

Although, there was 1 thing I noticed and like to bring it up since I found no mention in the comments: TGI Friday’s is much better in Greece. Both in food quality, service and store appearance(cleanness and decoration). Prices were the same too, if you add the tip(when there, I tried to tip according to the 17% “rule”) that is.
Is this consistent across the US or did I just stumble upon a dirty, empty, low rated NY franchise store?

I enjoy Starbucks here more too. A bit more expensive, but our easy going, stay-4-hours-for-1-cup-of-coffee, attitude has blended well with the bigger stores and couches and semi-free WiFi they opted when Marinopoulos brought over the franchise.

Certainly, some American traditional products and habits don’t work in Greece, and of course vice-versa, but have you noticed American franchises that have better iterations in Greece? Like ηΒη being cheaper in Titan..

Kat Reply:

I wouldn’t say you ate American food; I would say you ate junk food. They aren’t necessarily the same thing.

The TGIF franchise varies by location and GM; there are corporate standards, but inspectors only come around once in awhile (I know this because I worked for them). Buffet type delis and food courts in NY aren’t the best places to eat; they’re places people go because it’s quick, local and convenient, not because the food is fresh or of superior quality.

Another thing is not all burgers, sandwiches and tacos are created equally, just as not all souvlakia, pastichio and feta are created equally. You need to know where to go, what’s good there, and how to order it. Fifteen days or a year isn’t nearly enough time to gain the experience to make these choices or judge quality, compared to 30+ years of eating, cooking and refining my palate from birth. People may not like what I say about Greek interpretations of American food, but I’m basing it on a lifetime of knowing how it’s supposed to taste.

As you said, there are national differences also. Coffee culture in America means you go in, get your coffee, sit/talk/work for awhile and leave because life is faster and people have things to do and plenty of choices; Wi-Fi is free in the USA, even at McD’s. Coffee culture in Greece means you go in, get your coffee and camp for hours, even if you’re doing nothing but people watching; Wi-Fi is not free at Starbucks in Greece. You may think Starbucks is better here in Greece because that’s what you’re used to. My American, UK, Swedish and Canadian friends don’t agree with you. One cup of coffee per four hours is also the reason Starbucks isn’t making money in Greece and has to charge more for a cup of coffee than the USA, where turnover is higher so prices can be lower. Marinopoulos had to go through a stringent application process and submit a business plan before Starbucks granted them the franchise; it’s not a coincidence that stores opened before Athens 2004.

Almost all Greek products imported to the USA are cheaper in the USA than Greece. Sad but true.

  Mike wrote @ March 8th, 2010 at 17:58

I used to work at Wendy’s in Kifisia for a while. Anyone else wanna share memories?

Kat Reply:

Although I can make a good clone, I miss the Wendy’s Frosty :(

  anthony wrote @ May 5th, 2010 at 00:56

Hello,

You have done a nice research.
But I have to comment that greek society is not fond of prepared sauses and in general prepared meals sold in supermarkets… they prefere cooked meals .(that’s why you can’t find what you mostly look for!)

Kat Reply:

First, I have no idea what you’re talking about since things like honeydew melon, barley, blueberries, broccoli raab, radishes, skirt steak and catfish aren’t prepared foods. They’re basic raw ingredients.

Second, if you’re trying to suggest that fast-food outlets and companies in Greece selling prepared and packaged items are surviving on the patronage of 1.2 million non-Greeks and none of the 10 million Greeks, I think that’s economically impossible. A lot of Greeks I meet don’t even know how to cook.

  Debbie wrote @ May 14th, 2010 at 18:53

Does Greece have regular Crisco shortening? I think the Greek pastries are too sweet, and the apple pies just don’t taste the same here.

Kat Reply:

Yes, I agree with you. Better to make your own.

I and friends I consulted haven’t seen Crisco at regular grocery stores or the expensive specialty store. However, a friend of mine recommended ‘Ariston,’ which comes in a red can and can be found near the bottles of oil. This is their website: http://www.aristonkitchen.gr

The can is a lot smaller and much more expensive than Crisco, but it’s shortening. I normally wait for someone to get me a can or bring it back myself. Or I use really cold unsalted butter.

Thank you for your question and for stopping by.

  Chris wrote @ May 21st, 2010 at 13:31

Does anyone know if root beer (Dad’s or Old Mug, etc.) can be purchased in Athens, Greece? It’s been a tradition in our family for a long time and it would be nice to find some before my daughter’s birthday. Thanks. Chris

Note from Kat: Answered privately.

  ted wrote @ May 21st, 2010 at 19:19

Hi Kat!!

I just found this site, you have done a great job!

I miss so much the food. Me and my ex-roommate we are searching all Athens for anything American and we have tried almost everything.

Our last discovery is a steakhouse in Glyfada, which I think is best steak house that ever opened in Athens. Great steaks, salads, fries and the best homemade onion rings.

For burgers the only place that has approached the original American taste is “Simply Burgers”. All other places put parsley, dill, basil etc in the meat, and it tastes like my mother’s mpiftekia!

Now, comparing the chain restaurants I would say that the ones in the States are 10 times better. Especially TGI and Applebees. First of all they are expensive with smaller portions here. That’s why the TGI in Kifisia is the most profitable in the world! Also KFC here sucks big time!

Anyway I never understood why Burger King hasn’t opened a store here yet. They would had a better chance than McDonald s …their burger would be more likable to Greeks.

I miss NY bagels and Pizza so much!

  Larry wrote @ May 21st, 2010 at 23:56

I was wondering if you know of any supermarket chain store, or any place that i can buy Root Beer bottles or cans? I have been unable to locate any so far. Thank you for your help.

Note from Kat: Answered privately.

  Jim wrote @ May 24th, 2010 at 13:12

Anyone knows if there is a Baskin Robbins store here? Or even a supermarket selling them? I’ve read above that BR used to do business here but not anymore….why??? i hope this is a mistake! I hope they still do business!

A BR Lover….

Kat Reply:

That’s true, Baskin Robbins hasn’t been here for years and never came back. The article shows when it was last updated, and corrections are always welcome.

Ice cream is largely regarded as a “summer only” item in Greece, so I assume the chain couldn’t survive when 10 million of the country’s 11 million people didn’t want it the rest of the year. Locations were mostly in the center and didn’t have a good selection of flavors, and it wasn’t incredibly easy for residents to get to them. So that leaves tourists who can enjoy more flavors and for cheaper when they get home. Are you starting to see why it failed?

Ben and Jerry’s only recently entered the market here in Greece and it’s twice the price and limited in flavors, so don’t hold your breath for BR in supermarkets.

  Nameless from NC wrote @ May 25th, 2010 at 05:18

Mr. Donut near the square in Sparti…awesome cinnamon buns, donuts, hot dogs & hamburgers. Very American style and open 24 hours a day. Makes picky, American children happy while travelling with parents. I also remember in the late 90s seeing “King Burger” and “McDoogles” in Crete which were ripoffs of the American chains and even copied the logos and building styles.

Kat Reply:

You’re right. What you said about ripoffs is something I pointed out in #8 of the article above.

Keeping kids happy while traveling is a challenge. It’s good you found something!

  Katharina wrote @ June 16th, 2010 at 18:29

I found this post when trying to figure out if I ought to choke up 40 GBP to ship some tamale corn flour from the UK. I live here in Greece and am desperate to make some tamales. :o)

Kat (or anyone else), do you happen to know of a Mexican/Central American market anywhere in Greece (preferably Athens)? Or a cheaper way to get masa harina flour (I like “MASECA” brand) besides ordering from the UK.

Thanks!

Note from Kat: I sometimes use polenta and grind it to a flour in the blender. At some AB Vasilopoulos locations, there’s also a kalamboki flour (not korn flaour, which is corn starch).

  Kat wrote @ June 29th, 2010 at 11:42

Jim,

Per the policy stated in the article, I am against enabling price-gouging businesses to earn profits by sending readers there via free advertising. If these businesses would like to pay me, and I am transparent with people on this point, no problem.

Therefore, I cannot publish your comment. Leaving it twice or three times and yelling by WRITING IN CAPS isn’t going to change my mind. (Follow-up: OK, no problem; it takes much more than that for me to be upset. I didn’t think it was an accident because it happened both times. My mistake).

I understand you were being helpful. Thank you.

P.S. They do not have Crisco shortening, which is what the commentator above was seeking. Oil isn’t the same thing.

  Jim wrote @ July 1st, 2010 at 02:35

Dear Kat,
I couldnt believe that writing in CAPS was very disturbing.. accidentantly it happened, and I didnt bother correcting it. I didnt shout at all.. I was just trying to give out some info that might help…
thanking you in adavance

  betabug wrote @ July 21st, 2010 at 12:10

Hey Kat!

Haagen-Dazs Greece has just opened its own website at haagen-dazs.gr. I’ve had a little bit of something to do with the site… OK, it’s a flash site, but the store locator is up to date, listing all current locations. The one on the .com site is outdated as far as I can see. The site is also available in Greek and English.

Great work on this article and I wholeheartedly agree on listing SimplyBurgers. It might not be original american, but they make some good burgers there… now if they would only open a store somewhere that delivers at our office :-)

Kat Reply:

Hey! Thanks for letting me know. It’s been updated, and nice work.

This article has changed a lot and gathered a lot of comments over the years. I’ll be breaking it off in pieces, so people can find what they need much easier.

  JShelton wrote @ August 27th, 2010 at 07:21

I found your web site and it is great. Lots of info and facts. Keep up the great work/info.
One suggestion as a Expat living in Greece[on Island] All of us want or miss American Type food/Mixs, Etc. Why not form a Coop of sorts among all the Expats living here to purchase and ship common foods here for all of us. Have a basic list of items by type, with case size and cost and everybody can put in thier order, prepay cost and when it comes in we divide it up so we all get what we want. By grouping together we can buy more items at a lower cost. It is a thought.
Please keep me on your email mailing list.
thanks
JS.

Kat Reply:

I had this idea 12 years ago, and many people have suggested the same thing. But I already have a career, and running a distributorship in Greece for U.S. products would require a full-time commitment because it’s time-consuming and heavily bureaucratic with very little or no profit after paying taxes, import fees and shipping costs. See #8 in “Common jobs for Americans and other foreigners in Greece: Myth vs. reality.”

Thank you for saying hello, and hope to see you here again.

  Christos wrote @ September 2nd, 2010 at 19:09

I find Goody’s way better than McDonald’s especially their plain old Goody’s cheeseburger. At least those certain McDonald’s that operate in Greece or France where I have lived. I loved Wendy’s though.

But the real fierce antagonism that all fast food chains face is from local kebab (souvlaki/gyros etc) stores. That’s why the burger market hasn’t developed much yet.

Please somebody open a decent sushi store with affordable prices! (6 euros a couple of sushis????)

Kat Reply:

I respect your opinion. Unfortunately, I think you’re out of touch with facts. According to the most recent market stats published in Ta Nea, the most popular fast foods in Greece are:

Burger 36.5%
Sandwich/snack 29.5%
Pizza 23.9%
Souvlaki/kebab/ethnic foods 7.8%

There’s a reason Simply Burgers tripled the number of franchises it opened in the last 3 years. And sushi isn’t popular amongst the greater population, which is why it isn’t cheap and smart businessmen avoid opening such a restaurant.

  Lisa wrote @ September 10th, 2010 at 14:44

Talking with my husband, we realised that the real American food chains are a minority. I say real, and I wonder if even there u can feel the original american taste. We are thinking of opening – franchising Dunkin’ Donuts…. What’s your opinion about it? What would be your advise and which could be the possible risks or “risks” of such an operation? Thank you in advance!

Kat Reply:

As a potential franchisee and business owner, it’s your job to research the market, assess risks and investigate if Dunkin’ Donuts is a match to Greece.

When ___ doesn’t exist in Greece, people assume that it’s needed or wanted. Investors and businessmen know that’s not necessarily the case, especially when history shows it failed previously.

  Pan Kai wrote @ September 17th, 2010 at 04:12

Hi there!
Where I can find Cherry Coke in Athens?

First of all,you have to know that I respect your point of view on free advertising, and I totally agree with you! But, could you suggest me a -if it’s possible, and if you wish- a couple of stores? Please?

I’d be grateful to you, if you could help me, Kat! You see, I first tried it 2 years ago, in France (and 10 years ago I tasted Wild Cherry Pepsi, in Russia).

Well… you have my email address!
Thanks for the hospitality!

Pan Kai

PS1. Great site!!! Keep up the good work!
PS2. Yep… I’m greek!

  John Panos wrote @ September 18th, 2010 at 15:24

If you want or are in the need for bagels {plain & Garlic/Onion] American style then go to either the athens airport or athens [national road] IKEA to thier resturant. They have them for .65 each!!!!! They are great and fresh daily. Do not know where they come from but they are the real deal folks… Enjoy with Cream Cheese & Lox to your heart content.

Note from Kat: I get the feeling you didn’t read the article since this information is already available above and has been for quite some time.

  Anthony wrote @ October 2nd, 2010 at 20:03

Hey there. As an American living in Greece I was really surprised by a rumor that Taco Bell will be / has opened a restaurant in Athens (Aghios Dimitrios). Can anyone confirm this?

Kat Reply:

Hi Anthony,

I called Taco Bell in the USA to verify that a franchise opened in Greece, and they were confused. But today I confirmed that Taco Bell is open at the Athens Metro Mall.

  Lew wrote @ October 8th, 2010 at 13:44

Hey Kat,

I’ve been here since march of this year and still haven’t found anything resembling a steak! Eating hours are extremely different, fast food, well, let’s just say you’d never catch me at any of the chains.

Just recently I decided to start searching for certain items and finding that they are either seasonal or virtually non existent. I was raised in the states but being Portuguese I was raised on portuguese food. My Mom never had a problem adapting in america. Here, there is just so much bland food, whether at restaurants or visiting my Greek friends homes.

Kids don’t eat breakfast, then they eat after school and by what I see, cereal for dinner. Takes a lot to get used to! I’ve been looking for oatmeal and even there I’ve hit the wall. I live in Thessaloniki and I’m sure the international taste is not the same as Athens. There is McDs and as I read on here Bennigans with ikea across the street, but other than that…I stick to chicken, no red meat. Fish is outrageous in price so that’s a special treat.

Please keep up the great work…we all (most of us) appreciate it!

Kat Reply:

Hi Lew,

Places like the States and UK are unique in that a great variety of foods are readily imported, popular and affordable, so one never needs to give up what they ate in another country. Diversity in Greece is greatly lacking, though bland food is supposed to be good for your health.

I’ve seen two brands of oatmeal here — one is Quaker (pronounced ‘kwacker’ here) and the other is Texas, which is imported from the USA. Both can be purchased at Alfa Vita (AB Vassilopoulos). And if you know a good butcher, he can usually get you a nice steak.

Thank you so much for saying hello and leaving a comment and compliment. It’s always good to hear from new readers. Please visit again :)

  leann wrote @ October 17th, 2010 at 03:20

In sep of 2010 ,we visited paralia -katerini and had visited many times in the past and now mcdonalds is gone in both places .

  Ilias wrote @ October 17th, 2010 at 14:56

Calling greek food bland is surely a joke. I always admired american humour- it’s so frank, open and witty. Of course Greeks are not even close as clever as the Americans in order to fill their food with sugar, salt and artificial flavors, so yes, there is a chance you may find our plain yogourt bland, our freshly made food bland, our fresh orange juice bland.

And yes, I found the website searching for Dunkin and Krispy Kreme myself, but in comparison to most people who write here, I tend to feel a little bit guilty a like this crap food that’s full of fat, sugar and preservatives.

Greek food is bland. Get a life.

Kat Reply:

If you look, you’ll find people complimenting Greek food and Greek yogurt, including me. Fat, sugar, salt and preservatives are used in Greece, and freshly made food and fresh orange juice are all over the world, so I don’t know what point you’re trying to make.

To Vima reported that Greeks lowered their pre-crisis spending on fresh produce, a recent survey found that the majority didn’t follow the Mediterranean diet or know how to cook — though the recession is helping people return to it — and the most popular fast “crap” food in Greece is burgers, with souvlaki ranking dead last.

Being sarcastic and having a knee-jerk reaction hardly shows you’re more clever, especially since you admit you’re searching for the things you claim to loathe. Funnier yet, you’re not even in Greece. Here’s a link for you: http://www.krispykreme.co.uk Good luck.

  Goldi wrote @ October 19th, 2010 at 15:43

Finally, someone who points out with no fear how bad the quality of food is in Greece. The Greeks live in some kind of fantasy land that their food is tasty and wholesome.

The quality of the raw ingredients is terrible! Tomatoes taste like water. Zucchinis like cardboard. Meat is always stinky and tough and generally disgusting, and their damn liver and guts is also disgusting. And the coffee is just gross.

Greeks stuff their faces with terrible food and then criticise Americans?! I have seen many fatter people here than in the States.

I also lived in Turkey for awhile and I can say their food is even worse. Then international school in Milan and I don’t know WHO said Italian food in Italy is better than the States.

  Kat wrote @ October 19th, 2010 at 20:00

Comments are taking an ugly turn, so I’m going to step in a say a few things. Listen up.

The article was created because:
a) Newbies to Greece wrongly assume something is not here if they can’t find it or don’t know what it’s called;
b) Longtime residents and tourists kept asking “Does Greece have ____?”

The purpose of this article is to help guide people in search of American or Americanish food in Greece, IF — let me say that again — IF they want it for whatever reason. No judgment, no advertising, no popularity contest between Greek and American food, no worries. If you don’t want it, move on.

If you reside outside Greece and want to pass judgment on me or my readers, I dare you to come live here for several uninterrupted years with access to only 25 percent of the fresh, raw ingredients in which you’ve become accustomed. If you’re under 35 and eaten your mama’s food for the majority of your life, perhaps you need to open yourself to the world, learn to cook and expand your palette.

Embracing diversity and wanting food that reminds people of ‘home’ or a vacation/stay in the U.S. isn’t a crime, especially in a country full of corruption. If you want to stay on your high horse, that’s fine but do it somewhere else. There are a million blogs extolling the glory and beauty of Greek food. Go there.

In the article, I say that ETHNIC food in Greece is bland. Why? Because it is. Why? Restaurants were forced to alter their recipes and menus to stay in business because a majority rules. The Thai place told me that Greeks don’t like fish sauce, dried shrimp or chili peppers, so they don’t use them. The Mexican place says that Greeks don’t like jalapenos, red chili or hot salsa, so they don’t use them. Domino’s took buffalo wings off the menu because Greeks didn’t order them. Therefore, someone looking for authentic non-Greek food in Greece will be disappointed, and the warning in the article is for them. OK?

A ‘bland’ recap:
– Nowhere do I say, in the article or in comments, that Greek food is bland.
– Scorpion says that “Greek taste buds are generally used to bland food.” Note the word ‘generally.’ It does not say ‘all,’ nor does it refer to Greek food.
– Miracle Whip refers to “bland (read non-spicy) Greek food.” Let’s be honest. Compared to Indian, Cuban, Mexican, Thai and other types of food, Greek food is bland. It’s a fact.
– Lew says that “Here, there is just so much bland food.” He does not specify what kind, just all food he’s tasted so far.

So based on one comment from Miracle Whip, Greeks are mad, accusing me of spreading lies and encouraging people on FB and forums to attack me until I shut down the website. Wow, am I that powerful? Aren’t there bigger fights in the world?

No one said bland was bad, in fact it can be delicious and I said that it’s considered to be healthier. If you’re offended, ask yourself why since ultimately you’re responsible for interpreting something as good or bad.

When/if I decide to reopen ‘Comments,’ I hope people can behave like adults and be respectful. If not, they will remain closed.

Sorry, comments are closed at this time.