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Meze vs. Mezze — What's the Difference?

By Maham Liaqat & Fiza Rafique — Updated on May 18, 2024
Meze refers to a selection of small dishes in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines, while mezze is an alternate spelling of the same concept, often used in English.
Meze vs. Mezze — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Meze and Mezze


Key Differences

Meze, originating from the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions, encompasses a variety of small dishes served as appetizers. These dishes can range from simple olives and cheese to more elaborate preparations like grilled meats and dips. Mezze, on the other hand, is simply an alternate spelling of meze, used interchangeably in English-speaking contexts.
In Turkey, meze includes dishes like hummus, baba ghanoush, and dolmas, typically served with drinks. Similarly, mezze in Lebanese cuisine features items like tabbouleh, kibbeh, and falafel, highlighting the culinary diversity within the same meze concept.
While the spelling meze is prevalent in Turkish and Greek contexts, mezze might be more commonly seen in English menus or in regions with a significant Middle Eastern influence. Despite the spelling differences, both terms celebrate the tradition of communal eating and diverse flavors.
Both meze and mezze are integral to social gatherings, emphasizing the cultural importance of sharing food. The slight variation in spelling does not alter the core idea of enjoying a variety of small, flavorful dishes together.

Comparison Chart


Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
Mediterranean, Middle Eastern

Common Regions

Turkey, Greece, Balkans
Lebanon, broader Middle East

Spelling Usage

Predominant in Turkish, Greek
Common in English contexts

Typical Dishes

Hummus, baba ghanoush, dolmas
Tabbouleh, kibbeh, falafel

Cultural Significance

Social, communal eating
Social, communal eating

Compare with Definitions


Small, flavorful dishes enjoyed with drinks.
We ordered a meze to go with our ouzo.


Small, shareable dishes often served as appetizers.
We enjoyed a mezze of hummus, pita, and stuffed grape leaves.


A traditional part of Mediterranean cuisine.
Meze is often enjoyed in Greece before the main meal.


An alternate spelling of meze, denoting the same concept.
The mezze platter was filled with Middle Eastern delicacies.


Shared small plates emphasizing variety.
The meze offered a taste of different regional specialties.


A variety of small dishes served together.
The mezze included spicy meatballs and fresh salads.


A selection of small dishes served as appetizers.
The restaurant served a delightful meze platter with various dips and cheeses.


Culinary tradition emphasizing communal eating.
Mezze brings people together over delicious small plates.


Appetizers or snacks in Turkish cuisine.
The meze included grilled vegetables and olives.


A staple of Middle Eastern dining.
Mezze is an essential part of a Lebanese meal.


Meze, mezze, or mazza () is a selection of small dishes served as appetizers in much of West Asia, the Balkans and North Africa. In predominantly Muslim regions where alcohol is less common, meze is often served as a part of multi-course meals, while in Greece, Turkey, and the Balkans, they function more as snacks while drinking or talking.


Small, savory dishes served as appetizers or accompaniments to alcoholic drinks in Greek or Middle Eastern cuisine.


Variant of mezze.


Pl. mez·zes or mezze or meze A dish of this type.


Small portions of starters typical of Turkish, Greek and Levantine cuisine (equivalent to Spanish tapas or Hawaiian pu pu) often served as a light meal with pita.


Alternative spelling of meze

Common Curiosities

What dishes are commonly found in a meze?

Common dishes include hummus, baba ghanoush, dolmas, and various cheeses.

How is meze traditionally eaten?

Meze is traditionally eaten in a communal setting, where everyone shares the dishes.

What is the origin of meze?

Meze originates from Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines, particularly in Turkey and Greece.

Why is mezze popular in Middle Eastern dining?

Mezze is popular because it emphasizes communal eating and a variety of flavors.

Is mezze vegetarian-friendly?

Yes, many mezze dishes are vegetarian, including dips, salads, and vegetable preparations.

What is the cultural significance of meze?

Meze represents social and communal dining, often enjoyed with drinks.

What are some typical meze dishes in Greece?

Typical dishes include tzatziki, grilled octopus, and feta cheese.

Is mezze different from meze?

No, mezze is simply an alternate spelling of meze and refers to the same concept.

Can meze be considered a meal?

Yes, a large selection of meze can be enjoyed as a complete meal.

Is mezze served differently than meze?

No, both are served similarly as small, shareable plates.

How do you pronounce mezze?

Mezze is pronounced as "MEH-zeh."

Are there regional variations in meze dishes?

Yes, dishes can vary significantly between regions like Turkey, Greece, and Lebanon.

What drinks pair well with meze?

Meze pairs well with drinks like ouzo, raki, or wine.

Do restaurants distinguish between meze and mezze?

The distinction is usually in spelling preference, not in the dishes served.

Can mezze include meat dishes?

Yes, mezze can include meat dishes like kebabs and meatballs.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Maham Liaqat
Co-written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.

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