The north-eastern part of Corfu is one of the most beautiful Greek islands. Its steep slopes are covered with wizened, old olive trees interspersed with imposing cypresses, and the views as you drive around the sharp bends are stunning. From the winding main coastal road (which runs from Corfu Town), there are lots of narrow bendy roads that descend to the picture postcard azure blue Mediterranean bays where you will always find a pretty taverna and a welcoming ouzo. If you are going to Corfu, these are some of my top places to try.
Old Foros came into the spotlight when Rick Stein featured it in his ‘Mediterranean Escapes’ TV series. It’s in a deserted village, Old Períthia, and even though you have to take a death ride (round perilous hair pinned bends, way up in the mountains) to get there, it is always packed to the gunnels. The owners, Thomas and his wife, Vasso haven’t let success go to their heads and still serve themselves, and know their regulars by name. The day we ate there, Thomas was constantly turning people away – there are probably enough seats for 25 people max. And customers preferred to wait two hours than go to the other empty Tavernas surrounding Old Foros. The menu has a lot of grills, and he makes a delicious baked vegetable (for 24 hours) – Briam, which I washed down with ample good village wine, stear clear of the Retzina or local (lethal) wine.
Taverna Eucalyptus is in a beautiful pebble beach setting (under a Eucalyptus tree) at Agios Stephanos (on the east coast). The fish is so fresh it swims on to your plate. The waiters are very knowledgeable about the fish (wild and fresh, not farmed) and where it come from. I tried Octopus for the first time, it was an interesting starter and not as rubbery as I was expecting but on balance I will stick with the Tzatziki. The sardines are a speciality. The Taverna’s setting on the beach has a Shirley Valentine quality about it, I was half expecting Tom Conti to turn up!
My Favorite for just a good old fashioned Corfu equivalent of meat and two veg is Harris’ (locally know as Harry’s) in New Perithia, his souvlaki, Sofrito (beef) and stuffed peppers, are all freshly cooked by his Mum and sister. Friendly Harris even remembered that I don’t eat meat (with at least a couple of years between visits). To finish he gave us complimentary slices of apple, drizzled in pine honey with cinnamon and an ouzo. And if you eat in Old Perithia you are just two minutes walk from the best ice cream parlour on the Island- Iced Dream. I’ve never seen so many flavours, and you can see the chef ice cream maker making the ice cream in the back. DE-LISH-SHUS.
My final recommendation is To Kyma in Kassiopi, it’s perfect for a final night of the holiday, romantic dinner for two. The restaurant is raised above the harbour, just beneath the ancient fort so the view is beautiful, particularly as the sun sets. The steamed mussels and sardine bourdéto are a speciality, and we had the grilled salmon and sole too- they were all excellent. As a final treat when you ask for the bill they always bring three home made deserts ‘on the house’.
If you’re going to N.E. Corfu and want some recommendations please email me.
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