**Ioannina's Local Cuisine: Dishes, Restaurants, Recipes**

Discover Ioannina's local cuisine with top dishes, must-visit restaurants, and authentic recipes in this culinary guide.

**Ioannina's Local Cuisine: Dishes, Restaurants, Recipes**

Ioannina's Local Cuisine: Dishes, Restaurants, Recipes

Ioannina, the historic city located in the Epirus region of northwestern Greece, is renowned not only for its rich history and breathtaking landscapes but also for its delicious local cuisine. The gastronomic delights of Ioannina reflect the region's cultural heritage, blending flavors from the Ottoman period, local Greek traditions, and influences from neighboring regions. This comprehensive guide will take you on a culinary journey through Ioannina's local dishes, renowned restaurants, traditional recipes, and fascinating historical context.

Historical Context of Ioannina’s Cuisine

The cuisine of Ioannina has a long and storied history, deeply rooted in the various cultures that have influenced the region. Throughout its history, Ioannina was under Ottoman rule, which brought an infusion of spices, techniques, and dishes. This blend of cultures is evident in the rich and diverse culinary traditions that have been preserved and evolved over centuries.

Signature Dishes of Ioannina

Ioannina's cuisine is known for its hearty, flavorful dishes, often featuring locally sourced ingredients. Below are some of the most celebrated dishes from the region:


A sweet pastry made of layers of phyllo dough filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey. It's a popular dessert often enjoyed with a cup of strong Greek coffee.

Zagorian Pies (Pitas)

The mountainous Zagori region near Ioannina is famous for its pies (pitas). These can be sweet or savory, with fillings ranging from pumpkin, cheese, greens, and wild herbs to sweet varieties like sugared pumpkin or custard.

Bakaliaros Skordalia

A dish featuring salted cod (bakaliaros) served with a thick garlic potato puree (skordalia). This dish is typically enjoyed during religious holidays and festivals.


A traditional meat dish prepared by marinating large pieces of pork, lamb, or chicken in a mixture of spices and then slow-cooking them on a spit over an open flame. The result is tender, juicy meat that is often served with pita bread and a side of tzatziki sauce.


A savory pie made with thin layers of dough, filled with a mixture of local cheeses, ground lamb or beef, and rice. It is usually seasoned with various herbs and spices, giving it a unique and aromatic flavor.

Famous Restaurants in Ioannina

The vibrant culinary scene in Ioannina boasts several renowned restaurants where visitors can savor authentic local dishes. Here are some top recommendations:

To Magazaki

This small eatery is popular among locals for its authentic and affordable Greek meals, including a fantastic boureki and hearty meat dishes.


Offering a modern twist on traditional Greek cuisine, Mazi serves innovative dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. The menu often changes to reflect seasonal availability.


This restaurant features a scenic view of Lake Pamvotis and is known for its fresh seafood dishes, including bakaliaros skordalia and grilled octopus.

Theopetra Restaurant

Known for its delectable Zagorian pies and a wide variety of traditional Greek specialties, this restaurant offers a rustic and cozy ambiance perfect for family dinners.

Tavern Karolos

Located in the heart of Ioannina, this traditional taverna is famous for its authentic Greek dishes, particularly its lamb kontosouvli and freshly caught fish.

Traditional Recipes from Ioannina

For those who wish to bring a taste of Ioannina into their kitchens, here are some traditional recipes:

Recipe for Boureki


  • 1 package of phyllo dough
  • 500g ground lamb or beef
  • 2 cups of crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 cup of rice
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large skillet, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the ground meat to the skillet and cook until browned. Stir in the rice, parsley, oregano, salt, and pepper. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, then remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
  4. In a greased baking dish, place a layer of phyllo dough, brushing each layer with olive oil. Add the meat mixture and sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese.
  5. Cover with another layer of phyllo dough, brushing each layer with olive oil. Repeat layers until all ingredients are used, ending with phyllo dough on top.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and crisp.
  7. Let the boureki cool slightly before cutting into squares and serving.

Recipe for Bakaliaros Skordalia


  • 4 fillets of salted cod
  • 1 kg potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Flour (for dredging)
  • Vegetable oil (for frying)


  1. Soak the cod fillets in water for 24 hours, changing the water several times to remove excess salt.
  2. In a large pot, boil the potatoes until tender. Drain and mash them in a large bowl.
  3. In a food processor, combine garlic, olive oil, and vinegar, blending until smooth. Add this mixture to the mashed potatoes, stirring well to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Dry the soaked cod fillets with paper towels and dredge them in flour.
  5. Heat vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Fry the cod fillets until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels.
  6. Serve the fried cod with the garlic potato puree on the side.

Local Anecdotes and Interesting Facts

  • Ioannina is famous for its Lake Pamvotis, which has inspired numerous local dishes featuring freshwater fish such as trout and eel.
  • The city's long association with silver and gold craftsmanship has influenced local culinary presentation, with some traditional dishes being served in ornate, hand-crafted utensils.
  • The annual Ioannina Food Festival celebrates the city's rich culinary heritage, offering visitors a chance to sample a wide array of local dishes and meet the chefs behind them.