Greeks started coming to Australia during the gold rush of the 1850’s and later during the World Wars, eventually making Melbourne’s Hellenic population the largest outside of Greece. Who knew, right?
For travelers and Aussie’s alike, this of course means one thing—epic Greek food in Australia. And while the diaspora might have initially relied on imported feta cheese, olive oil and halva, there are now plenty of local artisans catering to the country’s excellent local Greek restaurants, which are thriving today more than ever.
My most recent trip up to Queensland brought me to Hellenika in Nobby Beach, a few blocks from the gorgeous Gold Coast shore. Here owner Simon Gloftis keeps customers coming back to his chill eatery with streams of ouzo. The mezes are undoubtedly the restaurant’s forte: try the dolmades (veal and rice stuffed vine leaves) and the spanakopita, which are my personal faves.
In Melbourne, the cozy atmosphere at Philhellene makes it a go-to place for great family meals. The focus here is on hearty provincial Greek cuisine. Think beyond robust meat and seafood sharing platters—the house’s specialty—and some of the best moussaka you’ll ever eat.
For a tip-top Greek meal in Sydney, one must head to the stylish Medusa Taverna, conveniently located right near the theaters on Market Street (ideal for pre- or post-show dining). Aside from yummy traditional-with-a-twist plates like kalamarakia yemista (whole baby calamari filled with rice and sultanas on a chili spiced tomato salsa), the Medusa has one of the most comprehensive selections of sweets, which are often tough to come by in Greek restaurants. I love their Bougasta, crisp filo pastry filled with semolina custard and lime syrup, and their loukoumades, delicate dough puffs smothered in honey and nuts.