Corsica Restaurants and Dining

(Corsica, France)

Photograph of al fresco tables and chairs in AjaccioA vast variety of dining options is spread all over Corsica, from upscale restaurants in the capital and tourist area hotels, through local standalone town restaurants serving traditional dishes and family run eateries in the villages.

Street stalls are great for an impromptu bite and in the touristy areas of Corsica are fast foods with a difference, as well as the usual offerings. Italian food is popular here, as is French cuisine, but for the original mountain-dwellers of the island, hearty, simple dishes made using local olive oil and herbs are favourite.

view of the Calvi waterfront eateries

What to Eat, and Where

Meat, particularly wild pigs with their natural diet of fallen chestnuts, is often smoked, as are pork sausages with strong, herby flavours. Veal, game, lamb and goat feature high on dining menus in Corsica, served in flavourful sauces with plain vegetables.

Seafood is good around the coast, especially lobsters in the Cap Course area, but tends to have been frozen in inland eateries. Local cheeses are a delight, made from goat or ewe's milk and served with fresh figs. Beware, however, the very strong, mature varieties, which make overripe blue cheese seem like baby food!

Different image of Calvi eateries, lining the waterfrontDining out is a major pastime on the island of Corsica and is taken very seriously by all involved, from the chef to the hungry customers. Freshly-prepared, natural dishes accompanied by delicious local wines are the norm here, with the large number of small farmers guaranteeing the quality of the ingredients.

Using seasonal ingredients is a point of pride, and the time of year you visit will influence the restaurant dishes on any Corsican menu, as well as at the food stalls in the many country fairs.

Picture of waterfront dining in BastiaIn the capital and the larger towns, look out for 'tianu' (a slow-cooked game stew), 'becasse' (roast woodcock), 'cabri de lait' (kid), 'prisutu' (smoked ham) and 'veau aux olives' (veal with olives). The real treat for meat-eaters, though, is 'sanglier' (wild boar), served with polenta or pasta. Fresh trout caught in the inland rivers is a good alternative to meat.

On the coast of Corsica, the seafood dining is especially fresh and good, with east-coast oysters particularly delicious. Crayfish, lobsters, red mullet and stewed mussels are here, but prices in restaurants are high because of overfishing in the Mediterranean. For dessert, try 'fiadone' (a flambéed soft cheese tart) or one of the delicious desserts featuring chestnut puree.