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A traveler to Greece soon discovers eight types of eateries; The most essential contemporary distinction deals with the type of food and drink being served, vis-a-vis the primary reason for visiting there in the first place.

1. Restaurants (Estiatoria), (They serve a very wide variety of precooked food & casseroles. The food is displayed in long cases and customers can mix and match)
2. Tavernas (They have an exceptionally limited menu with most of its food comprised of fresh meat, poultry, and fish, cooked to order upon a customer’s request)
3. Clubs (Places usually frequented by youth enjoying contemporary European House-Techno Music while socializing and sipping Frappes (Iced Nescafe coffee with Milk)
4. Bouzoukia (Very similar to Tavernas – in terms of food and menus - ) but also ready to provide live entertainment, belly dancers, and traditional plate-breaking.
5. Ouzeris (Greeks may go there, late at night to enjoy some ouzo, or wine, with traditional ourderves, and samplers.)
6. Zacharoplastia (Pastry shops specifically catering to people out for the ultimate pleasure of the most exotic and deliciously aroma-filled cookies and pastries.)
7. Kafenia (Places usually frequented by men enjoying a game of backgammon while drinking coffee, or ouzo with tid-bits of Octapus, olives, feta-cheese. Now days, Kafenia are contemporarily furnished gathering places where people sit to relax, socialize and sip Frappes in the peaceful ambiance of the Greek Ports, sidewalks, Greek squares, and Streets. Please note that American-Type Bars, are neither known, nor in existence in Greece, since the Greeks will not drink just for the sake of drinking ! They view drinking as part of a social or family ritual incorporating fun, food, celebration, and bonding, over music and dance.
8. Tavernas are the common folk eateries, and the gathering places for families who may wish to have some fresh food over a glass of wine, and celebrate each other. To that extent, Tavernas, have traditionally been laid-back places where guests are not only accustomed to long waits for their food, what more; they might feel insulted, rushed, and unwelcome if the service was too fast, or too efficient.
The word ‘Taverna’ derives from the Latin taberna and the Greek taverna, whose original meaning was a shed or workshop. The distinction of a tavern from an inn, bar or pub, varies by location, in some places being identical and in others being distinguished by traditions or by legal license.
Gathering in a tavern to eat and drink is a longstanding social tradition dating at least to Sumer (3500 BC); in Sumer the tavern keeper was traditionally a woman but in other places and times women could be completely excluded from tavern culture.
Name of an Eatery : Taverna Opa.
A Greek that is constantly inebriated : "He lives in a Taverna"
Let's go to a Taverna !
by Michael Kasdaglis, DCSW February 28, 2008
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