Taverna refers to a small restaurant
A restaurant is an establishment which prepares and serves food and drink to customers in return for money. Meals are generally served and eaten on premises, but many restaurants also offer take-out and food delivery services...

 serving Greek cuisine
Cuisine of Greece
Greek cuisine is a Mediterranean cuisine, sharing characteristics with the cuisines of Italy, the Balkans, Turkey, and the Levant. Contemporary Greek cookery makes wide use of olive oil, vegetables and herbs, grains and bread, wine, fish, and various meats, including poultry, rabbit and pork. Also...

, not to be confused with "tavern
A tavern is a place of business where people gather to drink alcoholic beverages and be served food, and in some cases, where travelers receive lodging....

". The Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 word is ταβέρνα and is originally derived from the Latin word taberna
A taberna was a single room shop covered by a barrel vault within great indoor markets of ancient Rome. Each taberna had a window above it to let light into a wooden attic for storage and had a wide doorway....

('shed' or 'hut', from tabula 'board', possibly by dissimilation from traberna, from trabs: beam, timber). As Greeks
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

 have migrated elsewhere, tavernes (plural) have spread throughout the world, especially countries such as the USA and Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

. The taverna is an integral part of Greek cuisine and of Greek culture.

The taverna has become an integral part of Greek culture and has become familiar to people from other countries who visit Greece and through the establishment of tavernes overseas by expatriate Greeks. Taverna is also a chain of restaurants in the USA which specialize in a lively atmosphere, napkin tossing and table top dancing.


A typical menu for a taverna would usually include many if not all of the following items:
  • Bread, usually loaf bread, sometimes flat bread
    Pita or pitta is a round pocket bread widely consumed in many Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and Balkan cuisines. It is prevalent in Greece, the Balkans the Levant, the Arabian Peninsula and Turkey. The "pocket" in pita bread is created by steam, which puffs up the dough...

  • Salads such as Greek salad
    Greek salad
    Greek salad is a summer salad in Greek cuisine.Greek salad is made with pieces of tomatoes, sliced cucumber, green bell peppers, red onion, sliced or cubed feta cheese, and Kalamata olives, typically seasoned with salt and dried oregano, and dressed with olive oil...

  • Appetizers or entrées like tzatziki
    Tzatziki, tzadziki, or tsatsiki is a Greek meze or appetizer, also used as a sauce for souvlaki and gyros. Tzatziki is made of strained yoghurt mixed with cucumbers, garlic, salt, usually olive oil, pepper, sometimes lemon juice, and parsley. Tzatziki is always served cold...

     (yogurt, garlic, cucumber dip), melitzanosalata (eggplant dip), tirokafteri
    Tirokafteri ; ; is a cheese spread from Greece and surrounding Balkan countries. The preparation of the dish may vary from region to region, but ingredients most commonly include feta cheese , hot peppers , roasted peppers, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, yoghurt, or...

     (whipped feta cheese, with hot peppers and olive oil dip), spanakopita
    Spanakopita or spinach pie is a Greek savory pastry in the burek family with a filling of chopped spinach, feta cheese , onions or scallions, egg, and seasoning...

     and dolmades or dolmadakia - (rice mixture with fresh herbs such as mint and parsley and sometimes pine nuts-and in some regions minced meat is added-tightly wrapped with tender grape leaves and served with a thick and creamy, lemony sauce);
  • Soups like fasolada (bean
    Bean is a common name for large plant seeds of several genera of the family Fabaceae used for human food or animal feed....

  • Pasta such as spaghetti napolitano; pastitsio
    Pastitsio , sometimes spelt Pastichio, is a Greek and Mediterranean baked pasta dish including ground beef and béchamel sauce in its best-known form...

     baked layers of thick pasta (Greek pastichio noodles) and minced meat mixture topped with a thick béchamel sauce);
  • Fish and seafood dishes such as baked fresh fish, fried salt cod served with skordalia
    Skordalia or skordhalia/skorthalia is a thick puree in Greek cuisine made by combining crushed garlic with a bulky base—which may be a purée of potatoes, walnuts, almonds, or liquid-soaked stale bread—and then beating in olive oil to make a smooth emulsion. Vinegar is often added...

     (garlic sauce); fried squid
    Squid (food)
    Squid is a popular food in many parts of the world.In many of the languages around the Mediterranean sea, squid are referred to by a term related to the Italian "calamari" , which in English has become a culinary name for Mediterranean dishes involving squid, especially fried squid...

     and baby octopus
    The octopus is a cephalopod mollusc of the order Octopoda. Octopuses have two eyes and four pairs of arms, and like other cephalopods they are bilaterally symmetric. An octopus has a hard beak, with its mouth at the center point of the arms...

  • Baked Dishes (magirefta) such as a wide variety of seasonal Vegetable dishes); moussaka
    Moussaka is an eggplant based dish of the Balkans, Eastern Mediterranean, and the Middle East. The best known variation outside the region is the Greek one.-Names and etymology:...

     (eggplant or zucchini, minced meat, béchamel sauce);
  • Grilled dishes such as souvlaki
    Souvlaki or souvlakia is a popular Greek fast food consisting of small pieces of meat and sometimes vegetables grilled on a skewer. It may be served on the skewer for eating out of hand, in a pita sandwich with garnishes and sauces, or on a dinner plate, often with fried potatoes...

  • Wine including retsina
    Retsina is a Greek white resinated wine that has been made for at least 2000 years. Its unique flavor is said to have originated from the practice of sealing wine vessels, particularly amphorae, with Aleppo Pine resin in ancient times. Before the invention of impermeable glass bottles, oxygen...

    , mavrodafni
    Mavrodafni is both a black wine grape indigenous to the Achaia region in Northern Peloponnese, Greece, and the sweet, fortified wine produced from it.-Winemaking:...

     and other Greek red/white wine varieties;
  • Beer
  • Spirits such as ouzo
    Ouzo is an anise-flavored aperitif that is widely consumed in Greece and Cyprus, and a symbol of Greek culture.-History:Traditionally, tsipouro is said to have been the pet project of a group of 14th century monks living in a monastery on holy Mount Athos. One version of it is flavored with anise...

    , tsipouro
    Tsipouro is a pomace brandy from Greece and in particular Thessaly , Epirus, Macedonia, Mani Peninsula, and the island of Crete . Tsipouro is a strong distilled spirit containing approximately 45 percent alcohol by volume and is produced from the pomace...

     and Metaxa
    Metaxa is a Greek distilled spirit invented by Spyros Metaxas in 1888. It is a blend of brandy and wine made from sun-dried Savatiano, Sultana and Black Corinth grape varieties. It is then blended with an aged Muscat wine from the Greek islands of Samos and Lemnos. It is exported to over 60...

    Brandy is a spirit produced by distilling wine. Brandy generally contains 35%–60% alcohol by volume and is typically taken as an after-dinner drink...

  • Fruit


Tavernas usually open at noon, with dinner hours starting at 8.30pm and reaching a peak around 10pm As tourism has grown in Greece many tavernas have attempted to cater to foreign visitors with English menus and touts or "shills" being employed in many tavernas to attract passing tourists. Similarly, tavernas in tourist areas pay commissions to tour guides who send business their way.

Tavernas in literature and art

The lead character in the play and film Shirley Valentine
Shirley Valentine
Shirley Valentine is a one-character play by Willy Russell. Taking the form of a monologue by a middle-aged, working class Liverpool housewife, it focuses on her life before and after a transforming holiday abroad.-Plot:...

written by Willy Russell leaves her husband and family in Liverpool for a vacation where she has an affair with a waiter at the taverna and ends up working in the taverna

External links

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