The Greek Sunday Dinner Table: A Tradition

The Greek Sunday Dinner Table: A Tradition

While Americans may associate Sundays with football and time to catch up on work and chores, in Greece Sundays are reserved for family. Generations of family members will gather together for hours to drink and dine, reminisce, and even share local gossip. While every family may be different, the tradition of the Greek Sunday dinner is alive and well in Greece and in many Greek American homes. After all, who wouldn’t want to spend the day enjoying delicious Greek cuisine? 

Starting the Greek Sunday Dinner

The first course on a Greek Sunday dinner table typically features a variety of starters. Every family has their favorite and signature dishes, but you can never go wrong with these Greek staples: 

Dakos

Greek Dakos

This Crete delicacy is often referred to as a Greek bruschetta, but it has distinct characteristics that make it an original Greek dish. Authentic recipes use Cretan barley rusks made with whole grain barley flour, water and salt. These rusks are not only delicious, but healthy due to high levels of soluble fiber (which can help lower cholesterol.) Then on top you have olive oil, tomato, olives and crumbled cheese (typically feta.) Fortunately, the recipe is simple and quick – ensuring you can feed those hungry mouths right away!

Dolmades

Greek Domades

And what would a Greek table be without a plate of dolmades? Many Greeks can attest their Sunday dinner memories include preparing these stuffed grape leaves. The leaves are usually served with rice, ground meat, and herbs. However, they are sometimes prepared without the meat to provide a vegetarian option. You can choose to serve dolmades as an appetizer or a side dish for the main course. No matter when you eat them, they’re a delicious Greek staple. They are also found on the menu at Go Greek! If you’re short on time, pick some up to supplement the dishes you cook at home. 

Saganaki

Greek Saganaki

Technically the Greek word saganaki refers to a variety of dishes prepared in a small frying pan. The word is derived from the Turkish word “sahan,” which means “copper dish.” The best-known saganaki is an appetizer of fried cheese. The type of cheese used typically depends on the region it is being prepared. However, the most popular cheese include graviera, kefalograviera, halloumi, kasseri, kefalotyri, and sheep’s milk feta cheese. Once prepared in the frying pan, the fried cheese is usually served with lemon juice and pepper. Bread also makes a delicious companion for this starter. 

Gigantes

Greek Gigantes

Americans know baked beans as a common side dish a barbeques and other outdoor gatherings. The Greek iteration is commonly served as a starter dish at Greek Sunday dinner. The dish consists of “giant” beans baked in a tomato sauce with fresh herbs. With a lengthy cooking time, the beans come out creamy and tender. Spread them over your favorite bread and you have yet another scrumptious appetizer. 

A Meaty Main Course

Greek Main Course

The main course at Greek Sunday dinner is typically a meaty affair. Common choices include lamb, goat, or chicken. The meat is usually roasted, grilled, or served as a stew. According to multiple authentic recipes, the ideal outcome is a crisp exterior and a remarkably tender interior. With such a large cut of meat, many Greek families enjoy leftovers for days afterwards. And don’t forget your side dishes! Roasted lemon potatoes and Horiatiki salad (also known as Greek Village Salad) are great choices. Like dolmades, they are also featured on Go Greek’s menu – chock full of authentic Greek cuisine.

Finishing it Off

Greek Coffee

There is no better way to round off a Greek meal than enjoying a cup of Greek coffee. Theirs is a strong brew served with foam on top and grounds on the bottom. It is prepared in a special pot called a briki, which is much smaller than American pots. The coffee is brewed to taste so it may take some experimenting with different amounts of sugar to find the right balance for your preference. 

Greek Halva

A plate of Greek halva is also a great way to end a Sunday family dinner. Greek halva is a semolina pudding sweetened with syrup and filled with nuts and raisins. There are no eggs or dairy in the recipe, making for a great vegan option. The pudding is typically given shape by a cake mold or ramekin. Sprinkle some cinnamon on top and you’re all set!

However, a trip to Go Greek can save you some time. Serve a delicious dessert of homemade, authentic baklava or kourabiedes for a sweet treat. 

No matter what you serve at your Sunday family dinner, the true Greek way puts the emphasis on family above all else. Although delicious food is an added bonus, there is nothing more priceless than conversation and laughter with family. 

Consider serving a Go Greek feast at your next Sunday family dinner and order take-out using our online ordering service. Or bring the whole family to the restaurant – we’d love to see you and hear about your traditions!