Taverna By The Sea by Jennifer Barclay

4 out of 5 stars

A copy of this was provided free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review.

We went to Greece for the first time this year, not on the mainland, but rather on the beautiful island of Corfu. We loved it and want to explore another part of this country at some point in the future. Jennifer Barclay has lived there for a number of years and this is her fourth book about the place.

A chance meeting with a Greek-American hotel owner whilst walking on the island of Karpathos gives her an opportunity to work on the island for a summer. She offers to help him with running his beach taverna. She heads back to Tilos to collect her dog, Lisa and a tent and returns to the remote bay to begin working.

Getting down to the beach involves driving down, what sounds a heart-stopping trackway. But the beach is beautiful and well worth the effort to get down there. She helps in the kitchen and waitresses for the customers that are coming for food and drinks. A rival taverna opens up next door and the people that run that establishment are not particularly pleasant, taking some of their customers and occasionally threatening them.

It is hard work, especially having to clean and sort the guests in the rooms that Minas has in the village. But she enjoys it, learning how to cook some of the dishes and fitting in her regular paying job as an editor whenever she can. Before it gets really busy in August she has time to go swimming each day and to absorb the atmosphere of the island and make friends with some of the locals.

I really liked this latest book from Jennifer Barclay. It is different from her earlier books as this is about her time spent over the summer working for Minas in his taverna alongside what sounds like a heavenly beach. These types of travel books are more about the people rather than the place and the host of characters that she comes across working in the kitchen do not let us down in this book. I like her writing style too, it is a nice blend of conversation coupled with moments of beauty as she describes what she sees on her time off. If you want to spend a few hours on a Greek beach, without leaving your armchair, then I can recommend this.

Spread the love


  1. Liz Dexter

    I’ve only been to Kos and really liked it there. We also had a good balance where Matthew as an ex-scientist could read the Greek letters and I as the good-at-languages one could work out what they meant! This sounds like a fun book, esp with the author being an editor (I used to combine my work with buying books for a university library, not such a contrast!).

    • Paul

      I think that you’d like all her books. I am hopeless at languages, but find them endlessly fascinating

Leave a Reply