The Meaning Behind Philoxenia and Why It’s Our Motto

Philoxenia, in its most basic meaning, is the act of hospitality and being friendly and welcoming to guests and visitors. Literally translated, this word means “friend of a stranger.” At Saloniki Greek, we’ve sought to bring the flavor and quality of the Greek kitchen to the US and have built it on the concept of “philoxenia” meaning legendary Greek hospitality.


Philoxenia can be seen as an attitude that can be encountered in local hostels, restaurants, and luxury resorts. With entrepreneurs and business owners always looking to give travelers the best experience, this word has encompassed all things Greek tourism. With that being said, this word has many layers that the traditional translation does not convey. Continue reading below to learn more about the meaning behind philoxenia, and why it is our motto at Saloniki Greek.

Code of Values

Philoxenia is not just an act of kindness and good service. For many Greek business owners, this s a code of values with deep roots that stretch to mythology and religious beliefs. This is a state of mind and a warm way of life. Greek communities have fostered this state of mind and way of life behind philoxenia, and have built a tourist industry from it. Due to this code of values rooted in philoxenia, it has become a subject of anthropological study. Many follow the notion that philoxenia is part of the Greek DNA, and this has been continuously challenged. With that being said, in Ancient Greek times, there was great virtue bestowed upon a host and the guest.


Closely related to philoxenia is Philótimo, which often moves, inspires, and baffles travelers. This concept is closely related to philoxenia because it signifies strong personal honor. Having the ability to go above and beyond for someone – dictated by both personal and professional obligations. A word that truly signifies doing anything for someone without the need for something in return – something that I think we can all see in Greek hospitality.

Our Greek Generosity

Philoxenia is also related to geneodoria, basically a word for Greek generosity and yet another key trait in the character of Greek people. This concept of geneodoria can be seen in many different shapes and forms. It doesn’t have to be as extreme as visiting a luxury resort on one of the Greek islands. Expressions of generosity are everywhere, like smiling at a stranger, cooking a meal for someone experiencing homelessness, or even inviting someone over for coffee.

Visit Us at Harvard, MIT, or Fenway!

You can find philoxenia close to home at Saloniki Greek. We strive to bring feelings of community and culture to each location, allowing you to feel right at home whichever you choose to visit. With locations at FenwayHarvard, and MIT / Central Square, you can really find us anywhere!