Traditional greek food is an enticing array of colourful and appetising dishes. You will find aromatic stews of tender meat, charcoal grilled meats and fish, tempting pies and brightly coloured salads. Each greek island has their own signature dishes, but olive oil is always a key feature and is combined with fresh herbs or spices to create mouthwatering dishes. For those preferring not to eat meat, there is a wide choice of tasty vegetable dishes, often incorporating local feta cheese, mozzarella or parmesan. It is usually a good idea to order a selection of starters (mezze) as your main meal. This will ensure you sample a range of flavours and textures and is actually the ‘Greek way’ of eating.
In Corfu, eating traditional greek food is a rewarding experience. You will receive a warm welcome from taverna owners and sometimes invited into the kitchen to survey the contents of bubbling pots or trays of fresh fish. Don’t expect fast food, as the food will be cooked fresh. Greeks also consider meal times to be social events, often lasting several hours. Wine will traditionally be served in a jug and is usually local and delicious, often made from the owner’s own grapes. If you are after a real greek experience, it is best to avoid the busy tourist resorts and search out village tavernas where the locals eat. Here the experience will be more rustic but the prices will be cheaper and the quality very good.
Near Villa Petalutha, there are many excellent tavernas where we have enjoyed the most delicious traditional greek food. Turning right at the bottom of our drive will bring you to the village of Strinilas – a high mountain village en route to the summit of Mount Pantokrator. Here you will find two excellent tavernas. The first is ‘A La Palaia’ where you can choose to sit under a covered terrace with sea and sunset views, or inside if the weather is cooler. Food here is locally sourced – most grown in their own extensive vegetable gardens. Home- baked rustic bread is served warm with garlic butter and the menu offers a range of mouth-watering pies, greek specialities and grilled meats. If you order a fresh orange juice, it will be the juice of a least six oranges – no added water. A meal here is certainly a traditional greek experience and one to be savoured.
Further along the road into the centre of Strinilas, you will find the family run Oasis taverna. Enjoy your meal sitting under the canopy of an enormous elm tree overlooking the village square. Again the emphasis is on traditional greek food and the ingredients are locally grown and freshly cooked. This is a wonderfully peaceful and authentic setting for a memorable meal. If you are lucky to be there on a festival day, you will be rewarded with live music and traditional dancing.
Driving from the villa in the other direction, at the T junction where the Strinilas road meets the road to Sgourades, you will find the ‘Oros’ cafe. Here you will find tempting home made pizzas, grilled meats, salads and greek delicacies all made from local ingredients. If you like, you can call in to order you meal and the owner will deliver to the villa.
In Spartilas village itself, the large and airy ‘Asteras’ cafe bar serves a range of snacks. It has a huge TV screen for those who desperately need to watch a football match! Further down the village road there are two traditional greek bars, one each side of the road. This is where the locals like to sit and watch the world go by. In ‘Mouretto’ bar you can sit and admire the view whilst sipping your ouzo. Small plates of food are complementary with each drink.
On the lower bends of the village road is ‘Taverna Agnadio’. Commanding stunning views of the south east coastline, this taverna offers an interesting menu of mediterranean dishes. It is more pricy and more refined than other tavernas but the service is friendly and it is a lovely location for a special meal.
If you wish to self cater whilst on holiday, good quality fresh food is abundant. There are numerous fruit and veg stalls and markets. The large butcher shop on the outskirts of Dassia has a beautifully presented selection of local meats. He can cut any joint for you and has home made burgers (the best you will ever eat) and ready made kebabs for the BBQ. Minced beef is cut from a large piece of lean beef and minced in front of you. In Corfu town there is an excellent fish market beside the new fort. Get there early for an incredible selection of fish and shellfish.
However you choose to eat you will have access to fine ingredients and friendly helpful service from proprietors. However, we recommend that you eat out as often as possible and sample the traditional greek food that is such an important part of their wonderful culture.