Skip to Content

The Mediterranean food: The 30 Best Mediterranean dishes 

Sharing is caring!

Food in the Mediterranean is on your mind? Searching for the best Mediterranean food and best Mediterranean dishes? Perfect! Here’s the Mediterranean food everybody needs to know about

The Mediterranean food breakfast table

The Mediterranean food guide

Mediterranean food encompasses the ethnic cuisines of people living along the Mediterranean Sea. 

The Mediterranean food includes food from Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Croatia, Greece, Albania, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, and North African countries: Egypt, Libia, Tunis, Algeria, and Morocco. However, UNESCO inscribed the Mediterranean diet of seven countries (Portugal, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Greece, Cyprus, and Morocco) on the list of Intangible World Cultural Heritage.

Mediterranean food stands for an abundance of fresh flavors and healthy ingredients. 

Some of the typical Mediterranean herbs and spices used in the Mediterranean cuisines are parsley, garlic, black pepper, oregano, basil, mint, bay leaf, cloves, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel, lavender, marjoram, paprika, rosemary, sage, thyme, saffron, savory, sumac, tarragon, and turmeric.

The Mediterranean diet is famous as one of the healthiest diets in the world. It uses lots of healthy vegetables and juicy Mediterranean fruits.

Typical Mediterranean fruits are grapes, figs, pomegranates, apricots, peaches, quince, plums, cherries, dates, grapefruits, melons, nectarines, and lemons, oranges, clementines, tangerines, apples, pears, strawberries, avocados, olives, and tomatoes. 

Staple ingredients of Mediterranean cuisine are olive oil, fresh vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, garlic, onion, eggplants, zucchini …), fresh herbs (parsley, rosemary, oregano, basil, mint, marjoram…), nutritious legumes (beans, peas, and lentils), bread, pasta, and rice. 

Not to forget to say, a glass of wine accompanies a typical Mediterranean dinner.

The Mediterranean food everyone needs to try once in their lifetime

The Mediterranean food recipes for the Mediterranean diet 

The Mediterranean food list

1. Paella from Spain

Seafood paella is a popular food in Spain
Seafood paella in Spain

Paella is one of the most famous Mediterranean dishes. 

This savory Spanish rice dish belongs to the list of the most famous foods in the world.

Paella originates from Valencia in Spain. Probably the most popular type of paella is seafood paella. The original Valencian paella is a paella dish made with mixed meat chicken, sausage, rabbit, and even snails. However, nowadays seafood paella Valenciana is famous, too.

Nevertheless, Spaniards savor different types of paella: meat paellaseafood paella, vegetable paellaand mixed paella (meat, seafood, and vegetables). 

But no matter what type of paella somebody prefers, paella is undoubtedly one of the tastiest Mediterranean dishes. 

READ MORE: Traditional Spanish food

Authentic Spanish Paella mixta recipe

2. Risotto from Italy

Risotto is a famous traditional Italian dish
Italian risotto with shrimps

Risotto is a famous Mediterranean rice dish from Italy. 

This traditional Italian dish is made with rice (Arborio rice or Carnaroli rice), meat, fish, and vegetable broths with onion, Italian olive oil (sometimes butter or even lard), white wine, and Parmesan cheese.

There are various types of risotto dishes: seafood risotto, shrimp risotto, beef mince risotto, mushroom risotto… 

Rice is the Mediterranean food highly appreciated in Mediterranean cuisine. Italian risotto is unquestionably one of the most popular Mediterranean dishes. 

READ MORE: Traditional Italian food

Authentic Italian risotto recipe

3. Crni rižoto from Croatia 

black risotto is the mediterranean food from coastal Croatia
Crni rižoto from coastal Croatia

Crni rižoto (black risotto) is an iconic Mediterranean dish from Croatia. 

This seafood rice dish is a dish made with cuttlefish. The dish is black because of the cuttlefish ink.

Crni rižoto is known for its strong seafood flavor. Pescetarians love it! It is a must-try seafood Mediterranean dish on the Croatian Dalmatian Coast for seafood lovers.

Crni rižoto is a dish also prepared on the Montenegro coast. But also in the Veneto region in Italy, and in Valencia, and Catalonia in Spain. With some slight regional modifications, of course.

But if you want to order black risotto, ask for crni rižoto in Croatia and Montenegro, risotto al Nero di seppia in Italy, and el Arroz negro in Spain. 

Croatian black risotto recipe

4. Pizza, the Mediterranean food from Italy

Pizza isthe mediterranean food from italy everyone needs to try
Italian pizza

Italian pizza is unquestionably one of the most popular Mediterranean dishes. 

It is one of the most popular dishes in the world. This traditional Italian dish is prepared in almost every corner of the world today.

Some of the most popular types of traditional Italian pizza worldwide are Margherita pizza (cheese and tomato-based pizza), Marinara pizza ( tomato-topped pizza), Quattro Stagioni pizza (pizza with four sections with diverse ingredients), Quattro Formaggi pizza (with four types of cheese), and Siciliana pizza (a rectangular pizza with sauce and cheese).

Italian Neapolitan pizza recipe

5. Pide from Turkey

Pide is the Mediterranean food from Turkey
Turkish pide

Pide is a famous Turkish pizza. 

It is a popular Turkish dish made of baked flatbread stuffed with various fillings like spiced meat (typically lamb meat with the Baharat spice mix and garnished with parsley), Turkish kasar cheese (aka Turkish mozzarella), spinach (mixed with salt, pepper, and cumin), and Turkish beef sausage (sujuk). 

Turkish pide dough is softer than Italian pizza dough. It is also one of the healthiest dishes from the East Mediterranean. 

Turkish pide recipe

6. Shakshouka

Shakshouka is a traditional Israeli food
Israeli Shakshouka

Shakshouka is a delicious dish made of eggs poached in a spicy tomato pepper sauce and flavored with paprika, onions, chilies, cumin, zataar, and coriander.

Shakshouka originally comes from the Maghreb region of North Africa, precisely from Tunisia. 

But, Maghreb Jews brought Shakshuka to Israel and modified it to make it ‘pareve’. Israel has become the country where this tasty dish has been brought to the next level.

Today, Shakoushouka is a synonym for an Israeli dish. However, Shakshsouka is one of the must-try Mediterranean dishes!

READ MORE: Traditional Israeli food

Israeli shakshuka recipe

7. Menemen from Turkey

Menemen dish is the Mediterranean food from Turkey
Turskih menemen

Menemen is a popular Turkish dish.

It is similar to Shakshouka. And it is also eaten for breakfast, just like shakshouka. 

Menemen is a dish prepared with scrambled eggs, fresh tomatoes, green peppers, and sometimes even onions and garnished with parsley, green onions, mint, or dill. There is also a version of menemen with whole eggs instead of scrambled eggs. 

The dish got its name after the town of Menemen in Izmir. Turkish menemen is one of the best breakfast dishes in the Mediterranean. 

Turkish menemen recipe

8. Gyro, the Mediterranean food from Greece

Greek Gyro is one of the most famous foods around the world
Greek Gyro

Gyro is a national food of Greece.

Gyro is a famous Greek sandwich of pita bread and meat. It is similar to Turkish döner kebab or Middle Eastern shawarma.

Typical Greek Gyro is a sandwich made with pork and chicken, but modern gyro could also have lamb or beef meat. It comes with tomatoes, onions, and cold tzatziki sauce.

Gyro is a must-try Mediterranean food from Greece. 

Greek gyro recipe

9. Tagine, the Mediterranean food from Morocco

Moroccan tajine is one of the most famous foods around the world
Moroccan tagine

Tagine or tajine is a famous Mediterranean dish hailing from Morocco. 

Even though couscous is the national dish of Morocco, tagine is the dish most associated with Morocco. 

And with good reason, it is one of the tastiest Mediterranean dishes. It is known for the mix of sweet and sour tastes. It is one of the juiciest Medditerean dishes that gourmands adore.

Tagine is a meat-or fish-based stew with lots of juicy vegetables or fruit, dried fruits, and aromatic spices (turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, cumin, saffron, chili) 

Traditionally it is prepared in a dome-shaped clay pot.

Moroccan chicken tagine recipe

10. Muhammara, the Mediterranean food from Syria

Muhammmara is the Mediterranean food from Syria
Syrian muhammara

Muhammara is a famous Mediterranean spread from Syria. 

It is a tasty walnut-red pepper spread that you cannot stop eating once you have started. 

Muhammara is a dish made with roasted red peppers from Aleppo, walnuts, pomegranate molasses, and Mediterranean spices.

Muhammara is a staple dish of Syrian and Lebanese cuisines. It is one of the most delicious vegetarian dishes of Mediterranean food. 

Syrian muhammara recipe

11. Kibbeh from Lebanon

kibbeh is the Mediterranean from Lebanon
Lebanese kibbeh

Kibbeh is a national dish of Lebanon. But also a national dish of Syria. 

Kibbeh is a Levantine dish made with soaked bulgur, lamb meat (most typically), toasted pine nuts, and herbs formed into balls. 

There are also vegetarian versions of kibbeh made with potatoes, tomatoes, and pumpkins. 

Syrian kibbeh balls can be raw, baked, or fried.

Delicious Kibbeh is a must-try Mediterranean dish in Lebanese and Syrian restaurants across the globe.

Lebanese kibbeh recipe

12. Falafel

Falafel is the Mediterranean food from East Mediterranean countries liek Lebanon and Israel
Falafel balls

Middle Eastern Falafel is a popular dish of Mediterranean cuisine too, thanks to the Middle East countries on the Mediterranean Sea. 

Falafel is a staple of Egyptian cuisine, Lebanese cuisine, Palestinian cuisine, Israeli cuisine, and (Jordanian cuisine). 

Falafel originates from Egypt. It is called tameya in Egypt. 

Egyptian tameya is a dish made with fava beans. Unlike in other countries, where falafel is made with chickpeas or chickpeas and fava beans.

Today falafel is popular street food in the world.

READ MORE: Traditional Egyptian food

Egyptian falafel recipe

13. Koftas from Turkey  

Kofte are the Mediterranean food from turkey
Turkish bulgur Köftesi

Koftas are famous grilled meatballs from Turkey.

Turkish koftas originate from ancient Persia. Küfta means ‘to beat‘ or ‘to grind‘ in Persian.

Traditional Turskih ciğ köfte are made with raw meat. Ciğ means raw, and köfte means meatballs in Turkish. 

Koftas are made with raw ingredients: ground meat (beef, pork, chicken, lamb, or mutton), bulgur, tomato paste, garlic, onion, and spices (like cumin and black pepper).

There are also vegetarian versions of ciğ köfte. Vegetarian ciğ köfte are made with only bulgur and even scrambled eggs.

Koftas are popular street food in Turkey sold by street vendors. 

Turkish kofta recipe

14. Garlic soup from France

French garlic soup is the Mediterranean food everyone needs to try
French garlic soup

Creamy garlic soup from France is one of the healthiest Mediterranean dishes. 

Traditional French garlic soup is a Mediterranean dish made of smashed garlic, salt, pepper, cloves, thyme, sage, bay leaves, olive oil, egg yolks, shredded cheese, and toasted rounds of baguette. 

Cloves, thyme, sage, and bay leaves are the Mediterranean spices that make this soup hardly irresistible! 

French garlic soup recipe

15. Gazpacho soup from Spain

gazpacho soup is the mediterranean food from spain
Spanish gazpacho soup

Are you interested in more delicious Mediterranean soups? Try Spanish gazpacho!

If you like savory tomatoes and soups, you will love gazpacho. 

Gazpacho is a tomato-based soup originating from southern Spain. But unlike typical soups, gazpacho is enjoyed cold, not warm. Gazpacho is also traditionally drunk from a glass or a gazpacho bawl. 

Gazpacho is a refreshing Mediterranean soup. It is a perfect refreshment for hot summer days. 

Spanish gazpacho soup recipe

16. Molokhia soup from Egypt

molokhia soup and mahshy are the mediterranean food from Egypt
Egyptian Molokhia soup and Mahshy

Want to try a unique Mediterranean soup? Go for green Egyptian molokhia soup. 

Molokhia is a thick and slimy Egyptian soup made of finely chopped green leaves of the vegetable called jute or Jew’s mallow. Jute looks like mint, but it has larger leaves than mint. 

 This exceptional soup is a dish made with cooked Jute leaves and aromatic spices (bay leaves, cinnamon, rosemary, coriander, cumin).

Molokhia soup is a part of the cuisines of the Levant (Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Syria, Jordan) and North African cuisines (Egypt, Tunisia).

Egyptian Molokhia recipe

17. Caldo verde soup from Portugal

Caldo verde soup is the Mediterranean food from Portugal
Caldo Verde

Caldo Verde is a famous collard greens soup from Portugal.

Traditional Portuguese collard greens soup is made with sliced collard greens (sometimes kale), potatoes, chouriço sausage (sometimes meat), onions, and garlic.

Caldo Verde is worldwide known as Portuguese green soup. It is the most popular soup in Portugal. Caldo Verde soup is a comfort food in Portugal. It is served everywhere in Portugal, from Portuguese homes to upscale restaurants.

Portuguese caldo verde soup recipe

18. Bouillabaisse from France

Bouillabaisse soup is the mediterranean food from France
Bouillabaisse soup

The Mediterranean is a synonym for fresh fish and seafood. 

The Mediterranean diet is a synonym for healthy fish and seafood dishes. 

Bouillabaisse is a famous fish and seafood soup from France. Some would argue that it is more a stew than a soup. 

Nevertheless, it is a yummy and healthy Mediterranean dish made with fish (sea robin, sea bream, monkfish, mullet), seafood (mussels, octopus, spider crab, sea urchins), and vegetables (tomatoes, onions, potatoes, celery, leek).

Traditionally bouillabaisse is served with a special mayonnaise called rouille and grilled bread.  

French bouillabaisse soup recipe

19. Bacalao Al Pil Pil from the Basque Country

Bacalao Al Pil Pil is one of the most famous Spanish seafood dishes
Bacalao Al Pil Pil © World Travel Connector

Bacalao pil pil, or cod in pil-pil sauce, is a famous dish from the Basque country.

It is a cod dish with a special pil-pil sauce. The dish is made with salt cod, garlic, and olive oil.

The ingredients are quite simple, but the secret of preparing great pil-pil sauce lies in the emulsification of the ingredients. The cooking pot needs to be constantly simmered to emulsify the ingredients. It is a simple cooking procedure, but only Basque people know how to do it properly to get one of the top Mediterranean dishes.

Basque cod in pil-pil sauce is one the best Mediterranean dishes you could ever try!

READ MORE: Basque food

Basque bacalao al pil pil recipe

20. Mousaka from Greece

Mosuaka is the Mediterranean food from Greece
Greek moussaka

Moussaka is a traditional dish of Eastern Mediterranean cuisines.

Moussaka is a staple dish of Greek cuisine, Levant cuisines, Turkish cuisine, and Egyptian cuisine. Moussaka is assumed to originate from Arab countries. 

But Greece is the country with which moussaka is the most associated. Greek moussaka is a baked and layered dish. 

Moussaka is made with eggplants, potatoes, and minced meat, and topped with béchamel sauce. 

There are vegetarian versions of moussaka, prepared without meat. But the main ingredient is always eggplant. For instance, Levant moussaka is a vegetarian-friendly dish with chickpeas, while Turkish moussaka is not layered.

Authentic Greek moussaka recipe

21. Lasagne from Italy

Lasagne pasta is the Mediterranean food from Italy
Italian lasagne

Are you interested in more layered Mediterranean dishes? 

What about Italian lasagne? Lasagne is a famous layered Mediterranean dish from Italy. 

Lasagne is a dish made with wide and flat lasagne pasta sheets, ragu, vegetables, and Italian seasonings (garlic, basil, oregano ..). The dish is topped with grated cheese and baked. 

It is one of the must-try Mediterranean dishes in Italy! 

Authentic Italian lasagne recipe

22. Mezze

popular israeli food by I popular Food in Israel I famous Israeli Food I Traditional Israeli Food I Food from Israel I Israel Food I Israeli Cuisine I Israeli Diet
Turkish bulgur Köftesi

Mezze refers to small dishes served as appetizers. 

Sometimes mezze dishes are a full meal. Traditional mezze dishes can be cold and warm.

Mezze dishes originate from ancient Persia. The word mezze means ‘to taste’ in Persian. But the custom of serving mezze dishes has spread thanks to the former Ottoman Empire.

Mezze dishes are a staple of the Mediterranean cuisines of Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Palestine, Greece, Cyprus, Albania, southern Croatia, and Montenegro. 

How to make mezze platter

23. Tapas from Spain

Tapas are the Mediterranean food from Spain
Spanish tapas

Tapas are a synonym for Spanish cuisine. 

Spanish tapas stand for delicious Mediterranean appetizers from Spain. Tapas are cold or warm small snacks typically served with drinks in Spanish bars.

Some of the most common cold tapas in Spain are pan con tomato, membrillo con queso, gazpacho, and jamon, queso y chorizo con pan

And some of the most popular warm tapas in Spain are gambas al ajillo, boquerones fritos, pimientos de padron, and caracoles snail tapas

Madrid is especially known for its delicious tapas. So, don’t forget to check out the best Madrid food tours when in Madrid!

How to make Spanish tapas platter

24. Antipasti from Italy

Antipasti dishes are the Mediterranean food from Italy
Italian antipasti

Antipasti dishes are famous appetizers from Italy. 

Traditional Italian antipasti include cured meats, various types of cheese, pickled vegetables, anchovies, olives, artichokes, and pepperoncini.

Antipasti differ in regions in Italy. Antipasti include more seafood in southern Italy and more meats in Northern Italy. 

However, Italian antipasti dishes belong to the most palatable Mediterranean food. 

How to make Italian antipasti platter

RELATED READ: Best Traditional Food in Rome, Italy

25. Bruschetta from Italy

Bruschetta is the Mediterranean food from Italy

Bruschetta is one of the most famous Italian antipasti.

Crispy bruschetta is a grilled slice of bread scrubbed with garlic and sprinkled with olive oil and salt. 

Some types of bruschetta are topped with cheese, salami, vegetables (most commonly tomatoes), and prosciutto. 

One of the tastiest is bruschetta with garlic, tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, and fresh basil.

Italian bruschetta recipe

26. Pan con tomate from Spain

Churros with chocolate are one of the most popular food in Spain for breakfast
churros with chocolate, and pan con tomate

Pan con Tomate is a mouthwatering Spanish tapa. 

Pan con Tomate means bread with tomatoes. But this fabulous Spanish tapa dish represents a perfectly toasted bread with fresh grated tasty Spanish tomatoes. Finally, it is all sprinkled with salt and Spanish olive oil.

Pan con Tomate is also called pan tumaca. Crispy pan con tomate is favorite Spanish breakfast food. 

Spanish pan con tomate recipe

27. Caprese salad from Italy

Caprese salad is one of the most famous traditional foods in Italy
Caprese salad in Italy

Insalata Caprese is a famous Mediterranean salad from Italy. 

This celebrated salad is a dish made with fresh sliced tomatoes, Italian mozzarella cheese, Italian olive oil, Aceto balsamico (Italian vinegar), and fresh basil leaves. 

Obviously, Caprese salad from Italy is one of the all-time best Mediterranean salads!

Italian Caprese salad recipe

28. Greek salad

Greek salad is the Mediteranean food everzone should try
Greek salad

Traditional Greek salad is called Horiatiki.

The salad is named after a Greek village called Horiatiki. Greek Horiatiki is undoubtedly one of the most famous Mediterranean salads. 

Greek salad is a dish made with sliced Mediterranean veggies (cucumbers, tomatoes, green bell pepper, red onion, Greek kalamata olives), chopped Greek feta cheese, Greek olive oil, and vinegar. It can be seasoned with oregano or fresh mint too. 

Authentic Greek Horiatiki salad

29. Tabbouleh salad

Tabbouleh salad is the Mediterranean food from Lebanon
Lebanese tabbouleh salad

Tabbouleh is a healthy Eastern Mediterranean salad originating from Lebanon. 

Lebanese tabbouleh is a dish made of finely chopped vegetables, parsley, bulgur wheat, olive oil, and lemon juice. This refreshing and healthy salad is served cold.  

Tabbouleh is a staple salad of Lebanese cuisine, Syrian cuisine, Israeli cuisine, Jordanian cuisine, and Egyptian cuisine. 

Lebanese Tabbouleh salad

30. Couscous from Algeria

Algerian couscous is one of the most famous foods around the world
Algerian couscous

Coscous is the nation dish of Alergia.

But it is also a staple dish of North African cuisines: Tunisian cuisine, Moroccan cuisine, Lybian cuisine, and Mauritanian cuisine.

Traditional Algerian couscous is made of cooked durum wheat semolina with meat, vegetables (tomato, green beans, chickpeas, carrots, zucchini), and various spices (nutmeg, black pepper, paprika, bay leaf).

Algerian couscous is one of the all-time healthiest and yummiest Mediterranean dishes.

Algerian couscous recipe

Follow me