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  4. National cuisine of Cyprus: what is worth trying

From the extensive offers of Cypriot restaurants, you can get confused. Cypriot cuisine is deservedly considered tasty and healthy, as it is based on traditional Mediterranean flavors, with natural spices, seasonal fruits and vegetables, fresh meat, fish and a variety of seafood.

Book a hotel in Cyprus and go on a gastronomic journey.


Features of Cypriot cuisine

Rich in nutritious ingredients, Cypriot cuisine is an extraordinary blend of several culinary trends. This is due to the history of the state, which for many centuries was subjected to conquests by different empires. In different periods, Cyprus was under the rule of the French, Venetians, Ottoman Turks and the British. The close relationship with Greece also left its mark on the gastronomic preferences of the Cypriots. So, during the Middle Ages, oriental, European and Greek tastes mixed in the Cypriot national cuisine. This is the main feature of the cuisine of the Mediterranean island.

Anna Filozova
Anna Filozova

Key ingredients of Cypriot cuisine

  • Olive oil. Cyprus is famous for its olive groves and natural oil production. It is used in almost all recipes, and tourists often purchase a local product as the main household stock.
  • Fruits and berries. Of those that grow in Cyprus - pitahaya, avocado, several varieties of orange and tangerine, kiwi, strawberries, figs, grapes, exotic momordica and carambola.
  • Vegetables. Be sure to try dishes with artichoke, wild asparagus and fragrant Cypriot fennel.
  • Meat. It forms the basis of Cypriot cuisine. It is usually marinated in wine, smoked, cooked over a fire using a variety of spices, in particular cumin and coriander.
  • Fish and seafood. The variety is quite large. If you want to try fresh seafood, and not delivered to Cyprus in a frozen form, order sorkos, gopa, orphos, laurel or tsipura. Fish is usually served fried, with or without herbs, sauce. From fresh seafood, you can be offered shrimp, mussels and oysters.
  • Cheeses. Cypriot cuisine includes three main types of cheese: anari, somewhat reminiscent of Italian ricotta, traditional kefalotiri hard cheese and the Cypriot halloumi cheese known throughout Europe.
  • Spices and condiments. In the national dishes of Cyprus, you can often catch notes of certain spices that are characteristic of the Mediterranean region. Mint, cumin, basil, coriander, cinnamon, oregano, marjoram, lava leaf and lavender are used in the preparation of many traditional goodies.

Antony Trivet
Antony Trivet

National cuisine of Cyprus

Cypriot cuisine is very diverse. In the menus of restaurants and taverns you will find many kinds of meat dishes, soups, colorful salads, seafood delicacies, fish and unusual desserts with carob and exotic fruits. Consider dishes that are worth trying for real gourmets, based on the main ingredients.

Traditional meat snacks

In Cyprus, they mainly cook chicken, lamb, pork and beef. The choice of meat delicacies is very impressive, the process of preparation of which takes place using several old methods - salting, smoking and marinating in wine.

  • Pasturmas. Cypriot salted beef sausages with aromatic spices.
  • Posirty. Traditional bacon, which is prepared on the basis of ancient recipes.
  • Luntza. National pork delicacy.
  • Zamarella. Meat snack from goat meat. It is an integral ingredient of the famous Cypriot meze.
  • Hiromeri. A piquant meat delicacy made from pork ham marinated in wine. It takes several months to prepare chiromeri.
  • Lucanica. Smoked over wood pork soaked in red wine.

Main dishes

Cypriot meze
Traditional Cypriot taverns, especially in fishing villages, treat tourists to amazing meze. This is a kind of set of dishes, in fact a whole menu in small portions. The composition of the meze may depend on the season or location. For example, in a restaurant near the coast, it can be a meze made from the freshest seafood and fish. There are two main types of Cypriot meze - fish and meat. Meze is the best way to get to know Cypriot cuisine on a fast track.

Souvlaki or souvla

Or Cypriot barbecue . The main meat dish of the local cuisine. Souvlaki options can be a great variety. It all depends on the marinade. It is prepared from lamb, pork or chicken. The meat is usually soaked with Greek yogurt, lemon juice and aromatic spices, served with sauces.


A simple but very tasty Cypriot dish. Kleftiko has been cooked here since the times of the Ottoman Empire. The dish consists of leg of lamb meat and potatoes, with the addition of fresh herbs and spices. The original uses traditional furno clay ovens for cooking.


A traditional Cypriot cheese made from a mixture of goat and sheep milk. Its original texture and taste make you love from the first bite. Halloumi is considered the gastronomic highlight of Cyprus. It is an appetizer, main course or ingredient. Fried and fragrant cheese with a crispy crust is added to salads, soups or served with vegetables. It can also be baked, grilled, or eaten raw. In each cooking method, halloumi will retain its unique taste, which you will appreciate.


E is another dish, with an indefinite recipe, but always an original taste. Moussaka is fried minced pork with the addition of additional ingredients as desired. It can be potatoes, eggplants, mushrooms, tomatoes and always grated cheese.


And whether Macaroni tou fournu. A kind of vegetarian version of moussaka, made from pasta. Right pastitsio resembles an airy casserole with the taste of béchamel sauce.


A traditional Cypriot meat dish made from pork marinated in red wine for a long time, with the addition of coriander. The finished meat is usually served with bulgur. Ideal for a hearty lunch.


A Greek dish that has firmly taken root in Cyprus. Stifado is made from meat with the addition of a large amount of fried onions. Traditionally, stifado is made from rabbit meat, beef, chicken, or octopus. Wine marinade, tomato juice, honey, garlic and spices serve as the basis of taste and aroma.


Originally Greek, but incredibly popular in Cyprus, chicken soup with egg and lemon juice. It is considered a warm, autumn-spring dish. It can be found on the menu of all authentic Cypriot taverns.


Sauces and appetizers

Snacks and sauces that are prepared in Cyprus have interesting taste qualities. Usually they are served with meat and fish, as well as at the beginning of the meal with fragrant arcatena or other bread.

  • Tahini. Sesame sauce of thick consistency, well seasoned with spices. It looks like thick sour cream. This appetizer sauce will be remembered for its unusual taste, and useful minerals that are part of tahini will be a nice bonus.
  • Tzatziki (talaturi). Unsweetened sauce based on Greek yogurt. Slices of cucumbers, garlic and mint are added to it.
  • Taramasalata. One of the most delicious sandwich snacks of Cypriot cuisine. Prepared on the basis of smoked cod caviar, with the addition of lemon juice, garlic and olive oil.
  • Thirokafteri. Spicy sauce, harmoniously combined with vegetable and meat dishes. Thirokafteri is made from soft feta cheese, with the addition of bell pepper, chili and olive oil.
  • Hummus. Chickpea puree is quite a popular ingredient in Cypriot and Greek cuisine. Sesame, lemon juice and olive oil are added to it. A hearty appetizer that can be attributed to the vegetarian menu.

Ludovic Avice
Ludovic Avice

Desserts and sweets of Cyprus

Sweet tooth in Cyprus will have something to profit from. A huge variety of natural sweets in a wide variety. What sweets are definitely worth trying in Cyprus?

  • Mahallebi. The dessert comes from Turkey. Reminds me of pudding with berries or fruit. The main components are milk, sugar, rice or corn flour.
  • Baklava. Classic puff pastry with honey or sweet syrup and nuts. Easy to prepare, but incredibly tasty delicacy, especially with a cup of Cypriot coffee.
  • Pastelaki. A useful delicacy similar to marshmallow. But in Cyprus, pastelaca is brewed not only from fruits, but also from carob. Additional ingredients in the dessert can be sesame seeds, peanuts, almonds and honey.
  • Lukumi. The same Turkish delight, which is made from the simplest ingredients - starch, sugar and water. A variety of fruit and nut syrups are added to Turkish delight for flavor and color. This famous delicacy often acts as a souvenir, as it does not deteriorate during transportation.
  • Glyco. Delicious and healthy sweet based on fruit and nut mixes in sugar syrup.
  • Loukoumades. Cypriot donuts in honey or sugar syrup flavored with cinnamon.
  • Dactyl. Hearty and delicious walnut dessert with honey and almonds.
  • Shushukkos. Hazelnuts, almonds or walnuts dried in grape juice.
  • Kataifi. One of the most unusual desserts in Cyprus. The thinnest protracted dough with sugar syrup, nuts and confectionery spices.

Lisa Fotios
Lisa Fotios

Baking in Cyprus

The traditional pastries of Cyprus include several interesting options that are worth noting on the list of goodies:

  • Cattimery. Delicious cakes with honey and cinnamon are popular for breakfast, with a cup of coffee. A simple and tasty dish is made from flour, water and olive oil.
  • Tachinopita. Sweet bun with carob syrup and tahini. Unusual but common pastries that every small bakery has.
  • Eliopita. Bun with green or black olives. A popular bread product for a quick and satisfying snack.
  • Burekya. Something like sweet pies. For cooking Cypriot bureki use soft anari cheese, sugar and cinnamon. It turns out quite unusual and tasty!
  • Kouluri. Traditional Cypriot bread with cumin, anise and sesame seeds.

Nicholas Demetriades
Nicholas Demetriades

Cyprus is a great place for a gastronomic journey through the Mediterranean. Check it out for yourself! Book a hotel in Cyprus and enjoy a rich and delicious holiday.


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