7 traditional dishes from the Ionian Islands

Seven islands on the west coast of Greece, including Lefkas, Kefalonia, Zakynthos and Corfu, with a very traditional cuisine.

The Ionian islands are made up of Kerkyra (Corfu in English), Paxi (Paxos), Lefkada (Lefkas), Ithaki (Ithaca), Kefalonia (Cephalonia), Zakynthos (Zante) and Kythira (Cythera). If you’re sailing from Lefkas, you will probably visit some of those islands with their beautiful coastline and colourful landscapes. Do not miss to try out traditional dishes to get a real taste of the Ionian life.

1. Pastitsada

Pastitsada is a classic Sunday dish. The tomato-based stew is usually made with beef or chicken. It is aromatic, comforting, and so flavourful. It is then topped over pastitsio noodles (bucatini pasta). When visiting Corfu, don’t miss the change to taste Pastitsada, the most traditional dishes that you can have on this beautiful island.

2. Sofrito

If you have ever been at Corfu you can’t have missed this incredibly tasty traditional dish of juicy and tender, melt-in-the-mouth veal with a delicious intense garlic and vinegar based sauce. Simply amazing! Because the term sofrito stems from the Italian language, meaning to sautée, and the whole island was under the Venetian rule for centuries, it is believed that the dish was inspired by traditional Venetian cuisine. Sofrito is typically accompanied by rice, or potatoes.

3. Bourdeto

We love pastitsada, we love sofrito, but what would we not give for a Bourdeto dish: fish (usually cod, cuttlefish or scorpion) and cooked in a pot with tomatoes, potatoes and onions. Delicious with local dry white wine.

4. Kefalonian meat pie

This luscious meat-filled phyllo pie is one of the most beloved dishes of the Ionian island of Kefalonia. Three different ground meats, Greek cheese, and warm spices turn this phyllo classic into a rich, filling pie that can be served as easily as a Greek meze as it can a main course.

5. Corfiot ginger beer (Tsitsibirra)

Surprisingly, one of the best known Corfiot products and another trademark of the island is ginger beer (in Corfiot tsitsibirra!). It was introduced by the British and became very popular with the locals. So popular that when the British left, they went on making their own tsitsibirra! It’s very refreshing and has a unique taste.

6. Lefkaditiki ladopita (Oilpie)

This desert is made in the island of Lefkada. It is made by grannies on villages in large batches and then given away as presents to family and friends. It is olive oil based and it is usually served at weddings, celebrations or any social events.

7. Aubergines skordostoubi

This Zakynthos recipe is made with eggplants and one hundred cloves of garlic. Skordostoubi is usually made with meat around the rest of Greece, it is the eggplant that makes it unique in Zante (aka Zakynthos).

8. Sofigado

This dish comes from the beautiful island of Lefkada. Sofigado is a rich, sweet and sour beef stew with quinces and petimezi (grape-must syrup) and it’s history, much like pastitsada, is rooted in the times of Venetian occupation.

Looking to book your next Greek sailing vacation in the Ionian eating the best traditional dishes? Contact us to find the best charter yachts for you and your group!

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