Where To Eat In Corfu – An Island Itinerary From Food Writer Anastasia Miari

Cookbook author Anastasia Miari takes us on a food-fuelled tour of her home island, with tips on dishes to try, restaurants to book and tucked-away bars for midnight dancing

Corfiot by birth, Anastasia Miari spent her childhood running
between the island’s olive groves and visiting the kitchen of her
grandmother to taste-test the matriarch’s sugo sauces. “My yiayia
cooks all the classic Corfiot dishes,” says Miari. “My favourite
memories are Sundays in her kitchen as she cooks up a rich
pastitsada, the scents of the spices mixing with the twang of the
bouzouki on the radio.”

With historic influences from Venice, the island’s cuisine takes
surprising jumps into Italian-style cookery. You’re as likely to
find sugo on a taverna menu as you are spanakopita.

Anastasia Miari

Despite the ubiquity of Greek salads across the islands (and
mainland), Corfu’s cuisine differences aren’t as uncommon as you
may think. Miari – who continues to visit Corfu every summer – was
inspired by her grandmother’s cookbook, and the variance of the
Greek cuisine, to create a record of these unexpected flavours.
Yiayia, which is out now, is a nostalgia-filled, ravenous romp
through Greek food, told through the recipes of the country’s
senior citizens. Visiting Balkan villages, Cycladic coastlines and
Ionian homes, Miari peered behind the beaded curtains of
traditional Greek households to find more black-clad,
headscarf-wrapped yiayias, and record their instinctive knowledge
of local gastronomy.

Here, the writer shares her love of her home island and its
distinctive cuisine, with recommendations on dishes to try and
restaurants to visit.

Editor’s Note: Wildfires have been, and continue to be,
affecting Greece this summer, including the island of Corfu, but
the message reverberating loudly around the region from authorities
and communities affected is that visitors are still welcome, and
needed. This piece is published in that spirit.

Anastasia Miari’s food-fuelled guide to Corfu

Why visit Corfu in late summer?

The island is less crowded and the heat cools off, allowing for
some great hikes and adventures into the deep green forests and
olive groves of the island.

Describe the island

Corfu is different to any other Greek island, owing to its
proximity to Italy and the island’s complex history. In the past
400 years, it has fallen under Venetian, French and British rule,
so its architecture, food and people are a little different to the
rest of Greece. It’s also lush and green, and dense with wild

Where should we stay?

I love the old town for the real flavour of Corfu’s unique
attributes and rich cultural history.

What’s the food like?

Corfiot cuisine stands out from the usual moussaka and tzatziki
of the Hellenic region. Pasta and spices feature heavily. The
conquering Venetians put Corfu on the spice trail, so nutmeg,
cinnamon, cloves, hot chilli powder, paprika and Cayenne pepper are
firm favourites.

Corfu, Greece

Any dishes we can’t miss?

Bourdeto (“brodeto” in Italian), a rich, scorpion fish stew;
stifado (“stufato”), slow-braised meat with shallots; pastitsada,
pasta topped with braised meat in a spicy sauce; octopus; and
rabbit or beef cooked in thick sugo and served with pasta.

Somewhere for a lazy, late summer lunch

Fisheye on Marathias beach, in the south of the island. They
have an incredible seafood offering. I always go for the
taramosalata, which is served with smoked chilli oil – an ingenious
touch. Also, the homemade fries, a Greek salad and the butterflied
grilled sardines in lemon and olive oil.

The best spot for dinner, al fresco?

The Venetian
in Corfu town is a firm favourite. The food is Corfiot but
with a fine-dining twist.

Somewhere to drink and dance the night away?

Head to Old Buoy (El Venizelou 28, Kerkira) for great cocktails,
and then to Polytechno (Scholemvourgou 39, Kerkira) for dancing and
good DJs.

Tell us something we don’t know about the island

People on the island speak in a sort of sing-song-sounding
dialect, which features many Italian words. Often, other Greeks
find it difficult to understand when Corfiots speak in full

The best beach days are at…

Palaiokastritsa. It has some of the best water on the island and
is a great beach to visit at the end of the summer season.

Any favourite shops we should check out?

I love Muses, La Poupée and Koryfo Concept in Corfu town. Muses is great for a
curated selection of Greek designers, La Poupée for fun, colourful
collections of ready-to-wear, and Koryfo for high-end resort

What local businesses do you love?

Too many! Visit Cake Boutique in Corfu town if you have a sweet tooth.
They make the best desserts with a flavour of the island, using
native produce.

If you’re in search of a farm stay, I would recommend Dr Kavvadia’s Organic
. You can enjoy farm-to-table cooking and see the olive
harvest in action.

A book to bring with us?

Forget the Durrells; it’s The Colossus of Maroussi by Henry
Miller for me, every time.

The Lowdown

Yiayia: Time-perfected Recipes from Greece’s Grandmothers by
Anastasia Miari is published by Hardie Grant Books (£27). It is
available to purchase at bookshop.org

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