Corfu Food and Drink
Corfu food and drink is, for the most part, similar to that available anywhere else in Greece, but it does have two specialties which appear on almost every restaurant menu.
The Ubiquitous Greek Salad
Sofrito is a veal casserole served with a white sauce of garlic, onion, pepper, wine vinegar and anything else the chef puts in to produce his version of the dish. Some serve a beef sofrito, though strictly speaking it is a veal dish.
So too is pastitsáda, another island speciality – veal served in a tomato sauce with pasta. However, the veal might be beef, the pasta might be any kind and the sauce depends on the whim of the chef, so try it in different restaurants.
Slightly less common, but well worth eating if you come across it, is bourdéto, a flavour-filled casserole of white fish, onions, olive oil and spicy red peppers.
Corfu Food and Drink is More International
Another feature of dining on Corfu is its international nature. The vast numbers of tourists have created a range of restaurants to cater for them, including Italian, Chinese, British, French and Indian. Most of the chefs are Greek or British, and as adept at producing a chicken vindaloo as a plate of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding.
A Corfu Menu
Photo by Mike Gerrard
Greek Restaurants or Tavernas?
There are several types of Greek eating establishments. Best known is the taverna, a casual place where it is usual for the diner to wander into the kitchen to see what’s cooking, rather than to order from the menu: not all the menu’s dishes are necessarily available, while the kitchen might conceal some daily specials.
Another feature is the paper or plastic tablecloths which are changed after each meal, and the little tumblers which serve as wine glasses. If all the tables are occupied when you arrive, simply wait: another table will probably be produced from somewhere and set out for you. Greek tavernas are surprisingly expandable.
Some Cool Corfu Souvenirs
Paleokastritsa Luggage Tag
Corfu Cypresses Capri Leggings
A restaurant (estiatório) is more upmarket: you should find a proper wine glass on the table, a linen tablecloth and a surprised expression if you try wander into the kitchen. Restaurants are more likely to take bookings, whereas at a taverna you generally turn up and take pot luck.
In addition to regular tavernas and restaurants, there are places serving only fish (psária), and grills (psistariés), where the menu is generally limited to freshly grilled meats – chops or kebabs – and sometimes fish.
The Greek equivalent of cheers when
raising a glass is yammas, and the
custom is to chink the glass of everyone else at the table. This can take some
time, especially as the Greeks like to do it whenever their glasses are
refilled. Make sure you always touch the top of your neighbour’s glass with the
top of your glass – to use the bottom is wishing a curse on the other person.
Another drinking custom is the refilling of glasses whenever they are less than
about half full. To drain a glass looks like greed, and to allow a glass to be
empty is a slur on the host’s hospitality.
Greece is not noted for its puddings. A restaurant may have a small dessert menu, but in a taverna the only choice is likely to be fresh fruit (usually watermelon) or ice cream. It is common practice to eat your final course elsewhere, at a café which serves coffee, Metaxa (the Greek version of brandy) and sticky Greek sweets such as baklavá.
Metaxa: the Greek Brandy Liqueur
Photo by Mike Gerrard
The Greeks, generally, are not great drinkers and are likely to accompany a meal with no more than a can of beer or a soft drink. The pre-dinner favourite drink is ouzo, an aniseed-based drink similar to Pernod, which is served with a tumbler of water. You can drink the ouzo neat, taking an occasional sip of water, or you can dilute it by pouring water into the glass, which turns the ouzo milky. This brings out the flavours more, and you can dilute it to the strength you like. See our more detailed page on Greek Alcoholic Drinks, and our special page just on ouzo.
Photo by Mike Gerrard
The cheapest wine available is retsina, an acquired taste – which many visitors never acquire. The white wine is flavoured with resin, originally from the wooden casks in which it was stored, but today the flavour is more likely to be added artificially. Not only is retsina cheap and available everywhere, it is in fact a good accompaniment to the oil-rich Greek food. Many tavernas serve it from the barrel, and a request for house wine may well produce a metal jug of retsina. In it you have the authentic taste of Greece.
Where to Stay on Corfu
Other Corfu pages
Greece Travel Secrets’ pick of where to stay in southern Corfu including hotels in Moraïtika, Paramonas, Messonghi, Agios Georgios, and near Benitses.
Greece Travel Secrets picks where to stay in northern Corfu with budget and luxury hotels in Sidari, Daphnila Bay, Kontokali, Ipsos, Barbati and more.
Greece Travel Secrets recommends where to stay in north-west and central Corfu including luxury mansions, inexpensive rooms, and resort hotels.
This is the Greece Travel Secrets selection of where to eat in northern Corfu, from classy restaurants and traditional tavernas to beachside fish tavernas.
Greece Travel Secrets has its list of favourite places where you can eat in north-west Corfu, including in Paleokastritsa, Pelekas, and Ayios Stefanos.
Donna Dailey of Greece Travel Secrets visits Albania by boat from Corfu Town, staying overnight and seeing archaeological sites with Sipa Tours.
The main two Corfu saints are Saint Spyridon, the patron saint of Corfu who saved the island four times from disaster, and Saint Theodora Augusta.
From Nero to Nicolas Cage, the invasion of Corfu goes back to Roman times and through to Hollywood today!
The Corfu Trail runs from the southernmost point of Corfu at Cape Asprokavos and winds for 220km (137 miles) to the northernmost point near Andinioti Lagoon.
Southern Corfu has busy beach resorts like Benitses, historical buildings like the Achilleion Palace and Gardiki Castle, and wildlife at the Korision Lagoon.
This Southern Corfu drive starts and ends in Moraïtika, taking in hill villages, secluded beaches, lovely views, and a visit to Gardiki Castle.
This guide to southern Corfu’s beaches and villages includes busy resorts, quiet beach, hill villages and the southernmost tip of Corfu at Cape Asprókavos.
Northern Corfu is the most diverse part of the island, with Corfu's highest point, Mt Pantokrator, and beach resorts like Sidari and Palaiokastritsa.
If you want to tour northern Corfu in three days you can see busy resorts, quiet fishing villages, Mount Pantokrator, and the Andinioti Lagoon.
There are two sides to every Greek island, the tourist and the traditional, and this drive from Corfu Town through northern Corfu shows the two faces of Corfu.
Northern Corfu’s beaches and villages include busy resorts and secluded beaches, with several hill and mountain villages well worth visiting.
North-West Corfu’s beaches and villages include busy resorts, quiet beaches, hill villages, and places ideal for watching the sunset,
These fun facts about Corfu include how the island got its name, who wrote the Greek National Anthem, and the eccentric Englishman, the Earl of Guilford.
Corfu or Kerkyra is the main island in the Greek Ionian islands with Corfu Town being one of the most attractive of Greek island capitals.
Corfu writers and artists inspired by the island include both residents and visitors, like Gerald and Lawrence Durrell, Edward Lear, and Henry Miller.
Corfu’s wildlife includes rare and colourful birds, snakes, lizards, fireflies, and insects, with plenty of places to watch the wildlife like lakes and lagoons.
Corfu Town is the capital of Corfu and of the Ionian Islands and has museums, two forts, several museums, churches, and many other attractions.
Corfu Town’s Old Fortress is the town’s most striking landmark, standing east of the Old Town on top of a rocky promontory.
Corfu’s special cuisine includes dishes like sofrito and pastitsade and the chance to try ginger beer and kumquats.
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