Travel Guide: Restaurants in Cyprus
As a Mediterranean island nation, Cyprus offers a wonderful mix of diverse cultures and mouth-watering cuisine. This guide will take you on a culinary journey through the best restaurants on the island, while giving you insider tips and suggestions to make your experience truly memorable. Let’s dive in!
1. Introduction to Cypriot Cuisine
Cypriot cuisine is an intriguing fusion of Greek, Turkish, Middle Eastern, and other Mediterranean influences. The island’s rich culinary heritage can be attributed to its storied history and strategic location, which made it a popular stopover for traders and travelers. Cypriot food is characterized by the use of fresh, local ingredients and an abundance of herbs and spices. Key staples include halloumi, olives, and various mezze dishes.
2. Top Restaurants in Nicosia
a. To Anamma
To Anamma is a must-visit for those seeking an authentic taste of traditional Cypriot cuisine. The restaurant is located in the heart of Nicosia, offering a cozy atmosphere and warm, friendly service. From delicious meze platters to hearty meat dishes, To Anamma is the perfect place to indulge in Cypriot food at its finest. Don’t miss out on their moussaka, kleftiko, and afelia.
b. Zanettos Taverna
Established in 1938, Zanettos Taverna is an iconic Nicosia institution. This historic taverna offers a unique dining experience, complete with live music, traditional decor, and delicious homemade food. The menu is based on a daily selection of dishes, allowing guests to enjoy a wide range of flavors and ingredients. Be sure to sample their signature souvlaki and sheftalia, as well as their tempting array of meze dishes.
3. Top Restaurants in Limassol
a. Ta Piatakia
Ta Piatakia, meaning “The Little Plates,” is a popular Limassol restaurant that combines traditional Cypriot cuisine with a modern twist. Chef Roddy Damalis showcases his creative flair through an ever-changing menu of innovative dishes, all made with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. Must-try items include the halloumi ravioli, stuffed zucchini flowers, and tender octopus with ouzo.
b. Pyxida Fish Tavern
If you’re a seafood lover, Pyxida Fish Tavern is a must-visit in Limassol. Located near the city’s marina, this cozy taverna offers an exceptional selection of fresh fish and seafood dishes, paired with stunning sea views. The menu changes daily based on the catch of the day, ensuring the freshest, most flavorful options. Don’t miss their divine seafood pasta and grilled calamari.
4. Top Restaurants in Paphos
Laona is a charming family-run restaurant located in the heart of Paphos, known for its delicious Cypriot cuisine and warm hospitality. The restaurant offers an extensive selection of traditional meze dishes, as well as a la carte options. Favorites include the koupepia (stuffed vine leaves), loukaniko (Cypriot sausage), and tava (slow-cooked lamb or pork with vegetables).
b. Fytos Souvlaki
Fytos Souvlaki is a local favorite in Paphos, known for its mouth-watering souvlaki and other grilled meat dishes. This casual eatery is perfect for a quick and satisfying meal, featuring a laid-back atmosphere and friendly service. Along with their signature souvlaki, be sure to try their juicy sheftalia and a side of their crispy, golden fries.
5. Top Restaurants in Ayia Napa
a. The Deck – House of Fusion
For a unique dining experience in Ayia Napa, head to The Deck – House of Fusion. This stylish restaurant offers a blend of Asian and Mediterranean flavors, served in a stunning seaside setting. The menu features a diverse range of dishes, from sushi and sashimi to succulent grilled meats and seafood. Be sure to try their crispy duck rolls, as well as their refreshing cocktails.
b. Isaac Tavern
Isaac Tavern is a traditional Cypriot taverna located near the picturesque harbor of Ayia Napa. This family-run establishment offers a warm atmosphere, accompanied by live music and traditional Cypriot dancing. The menu features an extensive selection of meze dishes, with highlights such as the kalamari, grilled halloumi, and tasty kebabs. Don’t forget to finish your meal with a glass of local zivania, a potent Cypriot spirit.
6. Vegetarian and Vegan Options in Cyprus
While traditional Cypriot cuisine is heavily centered around meat and seafood, there are still plenty of vegetarian and vegan options available. Many restaurants and tavernas offer a selection of plant-based meze dishes, such as hummus, tahini, stuffed vine leaves, and grilled vegetables. Additionally, cities like Nicosia and Limassol are home to dedicated vegetarian and vegan establishments, ensuring that everyone can enjoy the island’s culinary delights.
Cyprus is a true food lover’s paradise, offering a diverse and flavorful culinary experience that caters to all tastes. From traditional tavernas to contemporary fusion restaurants, there’s something for everyone on this beautiful island. Be sure to sample the local meze, indulge in fresh seafood, and discover the unique flavors of Cypriot cuisine as you explore the island’s incredible restaurant scene.