Greetings from Greece: My Guide to Greek Salad

by Sam Turner (Brooklyn)

At Takis Taverna, right before ordering their delicious rendition of the Greek salad.

It may sound predictable (and even a little meta), but my favorite thing to eat while on vacation in Greece is both the simplest and the most common: horiatiki salata, aka Greek salad. Although its ingredients are fairly standard (tomatoes, red onions, cucumbers, bell peppers, feta, Kalamata olives, oil, salt and oregano), the secret to its success lies in the subtle differences.

So basically, I went on a mission to devour as many Greek salads as I could and find my favorites. Without further ado, my top four:

1. Ponns Family RecipeMy boyfriend’s parents grow their own vegetables, so the tomatoes in this salad were truly spectacular, making it an obvious choice for #1. The other secret ingredient is a sprinkling of throubi, an oregano-like dried herb that happens to grow wild in the hills behind his house!

2. To Ouzeri TiKalisThe finishing touch of delicious red peppers on this rendition adds a perfect slightly spicy sweetness.

3. Takis Taverna: It’s a lot like Cyclops’ version (below), but the addition of capers and oil-cured olives introduces a really pleasant brininess.

4. Cyclops Taverna: This follows the basic formula but replaces feta with local Myzithra (a fresh ricotta-like goat’s-milk cheese), lending the salad a creamier flavor. Perfection.

Kalí óreksi (that’s Greek for bon appétit)!