Greece is the country where appetizers can constitute a full meal. Mezedes (a selection of small appetizer dishes), shared by the whole table, is a fun and relaxing way to eat; you simply have as little or as much as you want and keep ordering until you have had your fill. Tavernas have no qualms about taking orders for "appetizers only" meals. Most popular mezedes are tzatziki, a yoghurt dip flavoured with garlic, cucumber and mint; dolmades, vine leaves stuffed with rice and vegetables, sometimes meat, which can be served hot (with avgolemono sauce made of eggs and lemon) or cold (with yoghurt); olives; tarama, cod roe paste blended with breadcrumbs, olive oil and lemon juice; gigantes, large beans in tomato sauce; kalamari, deep-fried squid; pastourma, a kind of garlic sausage made with mutton or beef; and keftedes, small meatballs flavoured with coriander and spices.
Saganaki is a slice of feta cheese coated in breadcrumbs and then fried, but you can also have feta wrapped in foil with garlic and herbs and cooked in the oven -delicious! Cretan specialities include tiropitakia (small pastry packets filled with goat and ewe cheese) and salingaria (snails). Greek salad or horiatiki salata (literally translated as "village salad") of tomato, cucumber, onion and olives topped with feta cheese, can be taken as a meal in itself or can accompany any other dish. When adding salad dressing (bottles of olive oil and wine vinegar are found with other   condiments on the table) add vinegar to the salad first followed by oil. This is done to taste so start with a little of each and take it from there. Soups are a staple of the diet in winter but availability is more limited in summer. Fish soup, psarosoupa, is a standard on many seafood restaurant menus along with kalamarakia (spicy squid and tomato). Avgolemono, chicken broth with egg, lemon and rice, although delicious is now less common, and magiritsa (tripe soup) is served exclusively at Easter time.