The Venetian rulers of Corfu played a decisive hand in the island’s collective cookbook. Be selective about where you sample local dishes, such as suffered (veal with garlic and parsley), white (fish stew) and pastitized (beef, veal or rooster casserole) and look for lesser-known dishes. In the heart of Corfu’s Old Town there are mezedopoly (where meze is served), traditional restaurants and upscale restaurants where inventive chefs make Corfiot cuisine differently. In spring and early fall, vivid edible flowers color the culinary palette at the island’s hottest spots. On the coast, seaside taverns specializing in fish and seafood naturally reign supreme. Inside is where you’ll find no-frills eateries focused primarily on meat.
For more Corfu inspiration, check out our guides to the island’s best hotels, beaches, nightlife and things to do.
Corfu Old Town
Aristotelis Megoulas is not a formally trained chef, but he was drawn to the profession while studying in Bologna, where he sneaked into restaurant kitchens. He now cultivates his Corfiot roots in the cozy Pomo d’Oro, a testament to his dedication and imagination tucked away in historic Skaramanga square. In close collaboration with small producers, Aristotelis creates delicate creations such as octopus terrine with smoked eggplant cream, pine nuts and raisins, referencing the classic Greek pickled version of the clam. French sensibility and Italian delicacy affect his visionary vision of island recipes, like the rarely found orange salad and olive oil, which he enhances with beets, almonds, chives, olives and saffron mayonnaise.
best table: Those who look at the square
Marina Beska has always enjoyed cooking for family and friends, so it was a natural progression for her to open her own tavern. With a broad smile, she welcomes customers to sit at one of five tables on the cobblestone sidewalk, or inside the salmon-colored building situated on a quiet street. kantouni (alley) in the old Jewish quarter. Not always faithful to tradition, Marina prepares the local fish dish bourdeto with shrimp and sweet potatoes. In addition to the local specialties, made with a lighter touch, their spicy eggplant casserole is a must. Better yet, let Marina place the order.
Contact: tavern marinas
Reservations: It is not necessary
best table: In summer, any outdoor table
the venetian well
This romantic bistro-restaurant in the dreamy setting of Kremasti Square is named after the Venetian marble well around which its outdoor tables and wrought-iron chairs are arranged. Magenta bougainvillea dot its tangerine exterior. Inside, velvet-backed chairs and chandeliers in jewel colors add a regal air to a pea-green backdrop. Chef-owner Yiannis Vlachos creates imaginative Mediterranean dishes like slow-roasted lamb with smoked eggplant cream and fig chutney and Sardinian fregola noodles with wild mushrooms and summer truffles. Pay a visit to the 700-label strong cellar, which offers top-notch Greek selections and rare French and Italian wines.
best table: Anywhere outdoors
northeast of corfu
A series of hairpin turns lead to picture-perfect Agni Bay, where spruce and cypress trees cover the surrounding hills and the still waters beckon yachts to linger for a while. Toula’s has been around since 1982. Back then, it was a simple seaside tavern frequented by locals who arrived by boat and often stayed overnight on the beach. Today, Valentino and Armani sail in search of contemporary dishes from the warm, wild herb lover Toula who still holds the fort. It remains one of Corfu’s most atmospheric coastal dining spots. The lobster linguini and spicy prawns are legendary, while Toula’s aromatic Sweet Secret will remain just that.
Contact: toulaseaside. with
best table: Any table next to the beach
The White House
Even if you don’t choose to stay at the White House, the Durrells’ former home available for rent, the elegant, laid-back beachfront restaurant adjacent to the village is well worth a visit. The airy, stone-built open-air restaurant offers 180-degree views of Kalami Bay. Lefteris Lazarou, chef-owner of the first restaurant in Greece to earn a Michelin star, creates inspired menus with refined Mediterranean cuisine. Expect dishes like weever fish ceviche with local kumquat in citrus broth and veal rump with truffle mayonnaise, pickled mustard seeds, aged graviera cheese and smoked paprika oil.
Reservations: Recommended, especially in peak summer
best table: A corner table with uninterrupted views of Kalami Bay
RR – Rodostamo Restaurant
RR is poolside in the luxurious, adult-friendly Rodostamo Hotel & Spa overlooking the calm Kommeno Bay and the twinkling lights of Gouvia marina. Dress up for an intimate evening at this upscale restaurant offering true five-star dining just a short drive from Corfu Town. Soft lighting enhances electric blue, white and gray furniture and marine-themed driftwood sculptures. While the menu may seem understated, it’s actually exquisitely good. Highlight for the glazed octopus with honey, garlic, potato rösti, wild turnip greens and grilled octopus and lamb emulsion with topinambur purée, grilled carrots, lamb and rosemary sauce. Leave room for yogurt mousse with white chocolate, strawberry sauce and seasonal fruit ratatouille.
best table: by the pool
Italian-Greek chef Ettore Botrini, whose restaurant in Athens boasts a Michelin star, doesn’t sit still for long. A perfectionist by nature, he insists on constant evolution in Etruscan, which he inherited from his Tuscan father. The restaurant laid the foundations for Greek haute cuisine. Etruscan’s creative Mediterranean style is not only an Epicurean homage to the island’s culinary traditions, it also references memories of places where Ettore lived, including Spain, where he worked alongside the renowned Martin Berasategui. Seating is on the patio of a peach-hued villa, whose garden generously offers vegetables, fruits and flowers. Tasting menus offer a holistic experience, underscoring family ties to Corfu and Italy, while a la carte highlights include kataifi crusted prawns with strawberry vinegar and reimagined sofrito.
best table: In the courtyard
south west of corfu
When travel agent Nikos Bellos lived in London and hosted dinner parties, he would call his mother in Corfu, asking her to share her island recipes. In 1997, he decided to open an unassuming tavern in a narrow, high-ceilinged late 18th-century building in the seaside village of Benitses. The bet paid off and Klimataria is now considered one of the best fish taverns on the island. Together with Irish wife Deidre and son Kostas, Nikos lovingly prepares local soul food dishes such as bianco, a lemon and potato fish stew particularly suited to scorpion fish. Save the village bread to get the garlic dyed sauce.
best table: Outdoors, to catch the sea breeze
Aside from lounging on the beach and marveling at a sublime sunset, there’s not much else to do in the sleepy settlement of Boukari. The real reason you need to do the trek there is the Spiros Karidis fish tavern. Build a serious appetite for Corfu’s famous bourdeto, a spicy fish casserole with onions, peppers and potatoes, usually made with scorpion fish or grouper, and served steaming in your pot. The regulars, who arrive by boat, pair with the red Zitsa table wine. The juicy grilled whole squid, dipped in fresh olive oil and lemon, is also excellent.
Reservations: Recommended in the height of summer
best table: closest to the beach
North West of Corfu
If you’re craving Corfiot-style slow food, head northwest to the village of Doukades for dinner at the much-loved stone-built Elizabeth Tavern. There are just a handful of outdoor tables facing the village square and a few more inside, amid lime-green walls, one of which is adorned with vintage bottles of ouzo and Metaxa. Elizabeth’s granddaughter has taken over the reins of this old-fashioned place, serving up iconic traditional dishes like pastitized, a rich, tomato-based, spiced casserole – once reserved for Sunday family lunch – usually made with beef, veal or, if you’re lucky, rooster and served with macaroni and grated cheese. Show up hungry.
Contact: 0030 2663 041728; facebook.com/tavernaelisabeth
Opening hours: May-October, daily from 12pm to 11pm; Nov-Apr, daily from 2pm to 10pm
Reservations: It is not necessary
best table: Outdoors, to observe village life
At Evdemon, the whiteboard menu is in a constant state of flux. Chef Elia Vita lets the seasons, smallholders and her organic garden dictate the half-dozen health-conscious Mediterranean dishes she serves daily. One day, there may be a sea bass fillet roasted in the oven in basil oil and aged vinegar. The next, bright green spot turned into a rose, topped with diced tomatoes and framed with marinated anchovies. Elia’s kitchen is as deliciously unpretentious as it sounds. Add in the wine expertise of her husband Giannis Goudelis, his gracious hospitality, and a peaceful beachfront location with views of Diapontiana Island and you’ll understand why the restaurant has amassed a devoted following.
Contact: 0030 698 032 9903; facebook.com/evdemonrestaurant
best table: The tables closest to the edge of the terrace facing the sea