Street food in Thessaloniki is something of a rite of passage. The philosophy around it is different from other major European cities. It even differs from the capital of the country itself, Athens, as there are chronic conflicts even in the… name of the food. But let’s not go down such paths because it will take a lot of time and we will miss the point.
Thessaloniki offers countless choices for lovers of street food, from sweet to savory, from breakfast to dinner, and from light to… sending you to the hospital with a stomachache! If you ever find yourself in Thessaloniki, make sure to try some or all of the following you will read below to live a day like a… regular citizen of Thessaloniki!
So, let’s see which is The Best Street Food in Thessaloniki, Greece!
Table of Contents
The Best Street Food in Thessaloniki, Greece
Koulouri of Thessaloniki
We start with the most characteristic snack of the city, the “Koulouri of Thessaloniki”. It is essentially a crispy on the outside and soft on the inside kind of bread, in the shape of a ring with toasted sesame seeds around it. The people of Thessaloniki usually eat it for breakfast and it is sold all over the city by street vendors and in all bakeries.
You can enjoy your “koulouri” either on its own or with some feta cheese and tomato, while there are bakeries that have… enriched the classic recipe by adding herbs or local products, giving a new taste to the most classic snack of Thessaloniki.
We move on to the second and equally characteristic morning pastry of the city, “Bougatsa”. Bougatsa is Greek custard pie with phyllo, sprinkled with icing sugar and cinnamon. The golden, crispy pastry with the creamiest custard is the king of breakfasts in Thessaloniki and is never missing from a Greek bakery.
There are several variations of bougatsa, in which cheese, minced meat, or even spinach are used instead of cream. A suggestion for eating some of the best bougatsa in Thessaloniki is “Bougatsa Giannis” in the city center, just a few meters from the White Tower.
Greek pie (pita)
The Greek pie (called “pita” in Greek) is, in essence, similar to “bougatsa”. Golden phyllo filled with cheese, minced meat, spinach, pumpkin, chicken, and anything else you can think of. These are recipes that originated primarily in Asia Minor after 1920 and evolved into what they are today.
The secret to eating good pita is to try pies with homemade phyllo and not factory-made. If you find yourself in Thessaloniki and want to try the most delicious pita (according to the author of this article) you should visit the bakery shop “Vlasti“, on the east side of the city. With 30 years of experience, it is the ideal choice for your breakfast, with a variety of flavors from sweet and savory pies.
Panorama Triangles (Trigona Panoramatos)
Let me start my reference to this sweet with a disclaimer: it is the best sweet ever created by man on earth. And after that modest statement, let me address what the Panorama triangles are. Panorama is a northern suburb of Thessaloniki and triangles are syrupy sweets in the shape of a triangle that started from this place. They are phyllo triangles filled with cream. Thin sheets, syrupy, joined in a triangular shape and filled with thick cream cause an explosion of flavors in the mouth of anyone who tries it.
The best choice you can make, if you are in Thessaloniki, is to try one of the “Elenidis” shops in the city center, or if you are in Panorama you can visit the main patisserie. You will remember this taste forever. The author guarantees it.
Pita Gyros – Souvlaki
And last but not least we left the famous “pita-gyros” or “souvlaki”, as people in Athens call it. But since we are referring to the best street food in Thessaloniki, we will refer to it as pita-gyros because that’s the right thing to do! It is the most common food in all of Greece along with moussaka and tzatziki and it is pieces of meat, mainly pork, wrapped in a pita. What makes Thessaloniki’s pita-gyros stand out from all other cities is its size. It is quite large and satisfying with a unique taste.
Inside the pita-gyros, there are usually fried potatoes, tomato, onion, ketchup, and mustard and you can add some sauce, with the most famous Greek sauce, tzatziki, being the most common choice.
Instead of gyros, there are many other meat options to add to your sandwich, with “souvlaki” being the most popular choice after gyros.
As for where to eat the best pita-gyros in town, there are literally countless options that are hard to pick out. The two that I would recommend, however, are “Giok Balik” in the city center, with excellent flavors and plenty of choices, and “Giotis” in eastern Thessaloniki, with top-notch gyros and great service!
A piece of advice for Street food in Thessaloniki
These are my picks for the best street food in Thessaloniki. If you want to listen to me, in fact, with the right plan and… managing your hunger you can try them all even in one day. If I were you, I’d start the day early in the morning with a “koulouri”, have a “bougatsa” before a “pita-gyros” for lunch, a “trigono Panoramatos” for dessert in the afternoon, and a slice of “pita” for dinner to end the day properly! And believe me, no one, apart from your dietician, is stopping you from repeating the same “diet” for as many days as you are in Thessaloniki!