The "meze" (or “mezedes” in plural) are appetizers served to accompany the consumption of alcohol (ouzo, tsipouro, wine, beer etc).
Typical meze dishes of Greek cuisine are olives, pickled peppers, salads such as tzatziki, cheese salad, eggplant salad, fish roe salad (“taramosalata”), grilled octopus, various salty cheese, sardines, etc. A meze dish is usually salty, to encourage drinking.
The Greek meze is actually part of a social gathering, loose, without formalities nor shyness. It could be served before regular meals, but it may even be considered as regular meal. A meze gathering can happen at a restaurant or “ouzeri”, but also at home, in a planned or sudden encounter.
The meze dishes are served in the middle of the table, available to everyone. A bit of everything for all the guests around the table.
The Greek meze is not just food. It is the expression of companionship, friendly gathering, hospitality and sharing.