Cypriot cuisine consists of modern and traditional cooking methods. While the cooking methods and styles used in Cyprus are quite unique, it is undeniable that Cypriot cuisine has been influenced by its Greek, Turk and Arab neighbors. Typical Cypriot dishes are combination of rice along with meat (like lamb, chicken or fish), salad and onion, and different kind of yogurt side dishes and beverage. Cypriot cuisine is not limited to one or two sort of food but to different styles and ways of cooking. Each of these styles have many different dishes inside them. Here are some of the more known styles:
cooking methods of fish dishes in Cyprus are classical: roasting with olive oil, grilling and deep fat frying. Calamari, Oysters, Catfish, and king shrimps are also part of sea food platter of Cyprus.
Like many other neighbor countries, meat has a special place in the culture. In this meal barbecued Chicken or lamb meat is usually served with Pita bread and rice.
Cypriots have variety of dolma dishes using minced meat, rice, onions, tomatoes and a mixture of herbs. This filling is then carefully wrapped in fresh vine leaves. A village favorite, this dish can be found commonly throughout Greece, Turkey and the Middle East.
Stew dishes: sort of chicken or meat stew that is served with white or brown rice.
Appetizer Dishes (Meze)
A diverse variety of salads, pastries, and drinks specific to different parts of Cyprus. Meze dishes are large selection of dishes with small helpings of varied foods, brought to the table as a progression of tastes and textures. These dishes usually include black and green olives, tahini, skordalia (potato and garlic dip), humus, and halloumi (salty flavor and rubbery texture cheese), all served with chunks of fresh bread and a bowl of mixed salad.
Cyprus cuisine also has a lot of special sweets and desserts. Loukoumades (fried doughballs in syrup), loukoum, ravani, tulumba and baklava are well-known local desserts of Cyprus.
5 Main Types of Restaurants You Will Find in Cyprus
Fast Food Restaurants
Like many other countries around the world in these restaurants food is cheaper, ordered at a counter, and paid before the food is presented. Typical fast food establishments serve hamburgers, pizza, and fried foods. Fast food restaurants are known to serve their food quickly, typically between 3 to 5 minutes of placing an order. With such fast service, at affordable rates, it is not surprising that these type of restaurants are popular the world over. However in north Cyprus, there is no sight of big fast food franchise like McDonald’s, Burger King, and KFC; but only small ones such as Popeyes, Burger city, SFC and Johnny rockets.
Family style restaurants follow a table service/full service model. In these restaurants a cold meze display may be paraded on a trolley and you can select your desired morsels. You’re more likely to find pirzola (chops), biftek (steak) and ‘international’ meat dishes like schnitzel and spaghetti at a restaurant. Many restaurant also offer traditional Turkish dishes like Iskender Kebap, Doner and different types of Kebab. Look out for seasonal vegetable dishes, which are delicious with garlic yoghurt. There will always be pilav available, either rice, bulgur or both.
Kebabç & Köfteci and Doner Restaurants
Although many restaurants offer kebab and doner in their menu, we suggest to try these kind of food in their own restaurants. There are more than 30 different types of kebabs in Cyprus restaurants but the most popular is Doner kebab. These restaurants are focused on grilled or roasted meat, but usually offering soup, simple salads, cold drinks and Aryan. Don’t expect tablecloths or waiterly flourishes – these are quick-fire joints, specializing in high turnover and no-frills nourishment.
We really suggest that you try Meyhane restaurants in Cyprus because you won’t find such experience and joy in any other place of the world! Meyhane literally means ‘drinking place’ from old Turkish. So people go to Meyhane to drink but in Cyprus alcohol is closely linked to eating and they cannot be thought of separately. A Meyhane is a restaurant that serves a selection of cold mezes (small dishes mostly vegetarian) choices of main courses and desserts in an informal environment, to be consumed with alcohol, mainly raki (the local strong anise favoured spirit) or sometimes wine, sometimes with musicians in a relaxed and noisy atmosphere. It can be very expensive high end, or very cheap in a small shop in a side street, the essence of a meyhane does not change. You usually see large tables of family and friends chatting, singing, eating, and socializing with other tables and waiters. After the cold mezes, come the hot mezes. At this point you may have a choice but the choices are told to you by the waiter. The table chooses, 2 or 3 hot starters. These could be small kebab, fried calamari or mussles, borek, small meatballs depending on the meyhane. All of Meyhanes have their own specialties.
There are many good coffee shops in Cyprus. Café Restaurants in Cyprus primarily serves Turkish Coffees and other hot coffee like (café latte, cappuccino and espresso), tea, and other hot drinks. Some coffeehouses also serve cold drinks such as iced coffee and iced tea. Many cafés also serve some type of food, such as light snacks, muffins or pastries. However the most favorite coffee in Cyprus is Turkish coffee. Turkish coffee means so much to Cypriot people. It’s much more than a drink; it’s a lifestyle!
Often called Mediterranean cuisine, seafood in Cyprus is so popular because it is widely available. The country is surrounded by Mediterranean Sea so it’s no surprise that it offers an abundant of Fish and Seafood restaurants. In many Cyprus fish restaurants, the catch of the day is sold by weight. Choose your fish, check its weight and onto the grill it goes. Enjoy prawns, crab and lobster, or mussels, oysters, octopus and squid.
In conclusion there are many types of Cypriot food which you can try in Cyprus. Whether your meat lover, healthy eater or even vegetarian, there are always large variety of food that you can enjoy it in Cyprus. From traditional stew dishes to oily kebabs and heartwarming soups, Cyprus has all to offer. A visit to Cyprus yields a stunning variety of culinary delights.