Cyprus is a country with a high-quality gastronomical identity. With Mediterranean vegetables, spiced meat, freshly grown olives and locally produced wine, it’s no surprise that Cyprus allures people to its dinner tables. Wherever your looking to stay in Cyprus, a villa such as those listed on Oliver’s Travels, puts you in the heart of the local attractions. Enjoy visiting the local restaurants and eateries and immerse yourself in the local culture.
Blending their Greek and Turkish heritage, Cypriot cuisine is flavoursome and full of spiced meats, grilled vegetables and salads. You’ll find that eating is a social affair with friends and family sitting around the table sharing platters of food. A meze is a mix of hot and cold plates that are spread out across the table and shared. It’s similar to a Spanish tapas style of dining. Dinner is often served later than most countries and the socialising continues well into the evening.
When you dine in Cyprus you’re treated to a full menu of skewered marinated meat and homely aubergine moussaka dishes. Souvlaki is sliced lamb, pork or chicken served with pita and picked salad with an assortment of dips. Enjoy chickpea falafel, goats cheese halloumi and homemade kebabs. Made from rice and minced pork or lamb, koupepia is a traditional appetiser that’s wrapped in steamed grape leaves which carry a sweet flavour.
Some of the delicious traditional dips you can try are hummus made from pureed chickpeas and tahini. Tzatziki made from yoghurt, garlic and cucumber or taramasalata which is a fish roe mixed with pureed potatoes and lemon. These dips are often served with homemade pita bread.
For desserts, some of the more refined are found in pastanes. These are essentially bakeries that serve up traditional treats such as buttery biscuits called koulourakia and baklava made from filo pastry.
Coffee is blended locally in Cyprus and a popular drink to have at the end of a meal. It can be served black (sketo) or with milk (metrio). If you don’t fancy dessert, enjoy a hot cup of extra sweet coffee called glyko. If you’re after something stronger, sample the local tipple, ouzo. With a strong anise taste and served with ice, the best way to enjoy ouzo is to sip it slowly with friends.
Where to eat
A taverna is a casual eatery that you’ll find throughout small villages and large resorts. If you’re staying in Limassol on the south coast, visit the popular Meze Taverna Restaurant, just off of the promenade. With its simple decor and generous sharing platters, it’s a great place for a relaxing family feast. For an atmospheric evening meal, reserve a table in the shaded garden of Dionysus Mansion. With lights hanging from trees and a traditional Greek menu, it’s perfect for an intimate dinner for two.
Staying in the vibrant Paphos resort, The Windmill is a family run restaurant with a huge menu of Cypriot and international food. This is a great choice if everyone in your party fancies trying something different. Seven St. Georges Tavern is popular for its traditional decor, outside terrace and famous meze style menu.
There are a fantastic array of authentic tavernas in Larnaca. But, for fresh seafood, head to Ocean Basket Larnaca on Finikoudes Beach. Enjoy a menu of large seafood platters, salads and rice dishes.
There you have it. All you need to know about delicious Cypriot cuisine and just some of the places you can try it. No matter which part of Cyprus you visit, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to sampling culinary delights.