The Best Greek Food in Baltimore, MD for Holiday Traditions

December 15, 2020 at 10:30 PM
The best greek food in Baltimore, MD, for pickup or outdoor dining.

If you haven’t before experienced Greek food traditions for the holidays, you’re missing out on decadence that’s rich with tradition. Baklava often appears at holiday dinner parties, Greek and otherwise. The flaky pastry, nutty texture, and sweet honey are perfect with coffee and spending time with family. But Greek food offers a rich tradition of holiday foods, from soups to main courses and desserts.

Living in Baltimore, we’re lucky to be in one of the nation’s most vibrant restaurant cultures. Flavors and traditions from around the world surround us. The holidays are the perfect time to explore new cultures through their food or find new restaurants to become family favorites.

At The Black Olive in Baltimore, MD’s historic Fells Point, we share our family’s long tradition of holiday foods with you.

Dishes familiar to every Greek holiday–chicken soup and cabbage rolls.

Across Greece, chicken soup is the traditional meal to have after returning from church on Christmas Eve. One traditional holiday recipe, chicken soup avgolemono, uses egg to thicken the chicken stock and adds brightness with acidity from lemons.

Cabbage leaves stuffed with pork and cauliflower represent the infant Christ and appear throughout Greece around the holidays. The cabbage is often brined for weeks ahead of the holidays in preparation for making the dolmades.

At The Black Olive, we serve a Rascas fish soup with saffron and tender chunks of rockfish. Our dolma is grape leaves stuffed with mild sheep’s cheese and cooked with olive oil. They’re perfect appetizers for your holiday meal.

In Greece, instead of turkey, there’s pork and other symbolic foods.

Winter is the traditional season for hog slaughter in Greece, so pork makes an appearance at many holiday tables in various forms. In western Thrace, they make msoura, a combination of pork, beef, and chicken braised with vegetables and rice. On Christmas Eve, families boil spiced pork sausages overnight to eat for breakfast when they return from church the next morning. In Northern Greece, they serve their pork with sauerkraut or offer fried pork with pickles.

You’ll find many tables across Greece with traditional foods like honey, wine, and apples. Holiday feasts will often feature a set number of dishes to represent the abundance of the season.

Finally, everyone’s favorite, these traditional holiday desserts from Greece.

We already mentioned baklava, but it’s just one of the traditional desserts that Greeks serve around Christmas. Flavors that are probably already familiar to you from the holidays, like cinnamon, clove, and orange, are typical in desserts, from cookies to sweet bread.

Melomakarona cookies get dipped in a lightly sweet syrup after baking and then rolled in nuts, for that same combination of flavors you find in baklava, sweet, nutting, flaky–delicious. Even if your family isn’t Greek, chances are you’ve encountered the shortbread cookies, kourabiethes, which are made with toasted nuts like almonds, walnuts, or hazelnuts and then rolled in powdered sugar. They’re infamous for the way every bite melts in your mouth.

Celebrate the holidays with The Black Olive in Fells Point, Baltimore.

We’re offering pickup and outdoor dining throughout the holiday season for your favorite Greek dishes. They’re perfect for socially distanced holiday gatherings. Whether you’re planning an entire feast or just appetizers for grazing, we have mezzethes to main courses. In response to COVID measures, we offer outdoor dining Tuesday through Saturday, or our full menu available for pickup.

We craft every dish, every meal with a focus on simplicity and tradition. Our heritage goes back over a century, to the shores of the Black Sea, where our ancestors had a town-wide reputation for their skill at preparing seafood. We bring that tradition to The Black Olive today, offering the best traditional Greek food in Baltimore.