While the beaches are some of the best features of this lovely Island, the food in Cyprus is pretty amazing too. A blend of Arabic, Turkish and Greek flavors makes exploring the different dishes and best places to eat in Cyprus a lot of fun, whether you’re a foodie or not.
Table of Contents
- Best Food in Cyprus
- 1. Souvlaki (Most Famous Food to Try in Cyprus Overall)
- 2. Halloumi
- 3. Kleftiko
- 4. Sheftalia
- 5. Moussaka
- 6. Koupepia
- 7. Pilafi Pourgouri
- 8. Makaorionia Tou Fournou
- 9. Stifado
- 10. Tzatziki
- 11. Tirokafteri
- 12. Tsoureki Bread
- 13. Spanakopita
- 14. Baklava
- 15. Loukoumades
- Food Tours in Cyprus
- Cyprus Food FAQs
- In Conclusion
I traveled around Cyprus as a digital nomad for around 4 months, and I loved trying all the best food in Cyprus. From sheftalies (meatballs) and souvlaki (grilled meat) to delicious cheeses. Cypriot food is truly amazing, and tasting the traditional dishes in Cyprus is definitely one of my favorite things to do whilst there.
Best Food in Cyprus
I was fortunate enough to have my friends, who were raised in Cyprus, show me around all the best places in Cyprus and recommend different dishes to me during my time on the island.
From this, I got a great insight into the common dishes in Cyprus, as well as what the locals cook at home.
They provided some excellent recommendations for what to eat in Cyprus and where to go. So, let me share what I learned below. Note: you’ll probably want to check out some of these top hiking trails in Cyprus after eating all of these amazing foods!
1. Souvlaki (Most Famous Food to Try in Cyprus Overall)
Souvlaki is one of the most popular foods in Cyprus. Souvlaki comprises cubes of meat, of which chicken and pork are the most popular, that are marinated and grilled on a skewer.
The meat is usually tender and spiced to perfection and the most popular way to eat it is in a pitta, with lots of salad and lemon. You’ll almost certainly be served souvlaki if you order a meat meze too.
Souvlaki is different from souvla which is another popular dish consisting of larger pieces of meat cooked over a charcoal barbecue. The difference between the dishes is the size of the meat, the length of time it’s cooked, and the distance from the grill. Essentially, souvlaki is the mini version of souvla!
You’ll find souvlaki everywhere – it’s probably the most popular dish in Cyprus. For lunch, my favorite place to eat souvlaki is Souvlaki.GR in Larnaca. It serves delicious tender souvlaki (along with other local dishes), at affordable prices, and in large portions. You really can’t go wrong.
Address: 67 Archiepiskopou Makariou Street, 7550 Larnaca, Cyprus.
Phone: +357 24 650670
Operating Hours: 11 am – 11.30 pm (Mon-Fri)
Average Cost of Dish: €7
Website: View their Facebook page here
Halloumi is popular in much of Europe but originated in Cyprus. It’s a cheese made from a mixture of goat and sheep’s milk, and sometimes cow’s milk too. Halloumi is often called squeaky cheese because of its texture.
It’s made locally in Cypriot villages, and taking a tour to watch the locals making the cheese, having a go at making it yourself, and all importantly tasting some samples, is a really fun way to spend a day.
In terms of where to try it, it’s another one of those foods in Cyprus that you’ll find in every restaurant or taverna serving local dishes as it’s another of the most popular ingredients on the island.
While it’s usually grilled and best eaten as part of a meze, I once had it in pasta at Forsos Tavern in Limassol. It was super delicious – I’d definitely recommend adding it to your order!
Forsos Tavern Information
Kleftiko is a traditional Greek recipe that involves marinating lamb in olive oil, onion, garlic, and lemon and then cooking in greaseproof paper to make sure the meat takes all the flavor and moisture from the liquid.
Cypriots make Kleftiko using a leg of lamb, which is very tender. Often, you’ll find that the dish comes with potatoes that have been cooked together with the meat and soaked up the delicious aromas and flavors from the cut.
If you’re staying in Nicosia, you must try the Kleftiko at Kyriacos. It’s one of the most famous places in Cyprus to eat Kleftiko and is a popular place in the city. It’s close to Famagusta gate, their meats are melt-in-your-mouth, and the potatoes are undeniably delicious.
Sheftali or sheftalia (singular) or Sheftalies (plural) are a must-try food in Cyprus. Sheftali goes perfectly with souvlaki and is best served with a fresh salad.
The sheftali is a simple but tasty sausage made with pork or lamb shoulder, or sometimes a bit of both. What really makes this dish special and different from a normal sausage, is the herbs and spices used.
Usually, they feature parsley, cinnamon, and mint which makes for a very aromatic and flavorful sausage.
The secret to eating sheftalies, is to sprinkle a little salt and a good squeeze of lemon on them. This cuts through the oil and really brings out the flavors.
Again, you’ll find sheftalies in most taverns and local restaurants, but the best sheftalies I’ve ever eaten were from Aristos & Kikis. I recommend that you get a pitta, with souvlaki and sheftalia. They’re crispy but juicy and they have just the right balance of herbs.
Aristos & Kikis Information
Moussaka is a casserole or lasagna-type dish that’s made of layered minced meat and eggplant. The dish became very popular in Greece after the chef Nikolaos Tselementes topped moussaka with a layer of béchamel sauce, which is now considered the Greek way of making it. It’s absolutely incredible.
In Cyprus, the minced meat is usually ground pork which is cooked with salt, pepper, and cinnamon. Halloumi or anari (another local Cypriot cheese) is also added to the béchamel too to give it a slightly cheesier, saltier taste.
Moussaka is one of the most popular foods in Cyprus, and you’ll find it everywhere, whether in tourist restaurants or local taverns. If you’re staying in Paphos, Argo serves a fantastic Moussaka. The serving is absolutely huge so be sure to arrive with an appetite.
Koupepia are similar to dolmades, stuffed vines, or cabbage leaves. However, the Cypriots have changed the recipe slightly.
In addition to the rice, minced meat, and spices that you find in dolmades, tomato paste, lemon juice, and onions are often added to make Koupepia. Koupepia are often served cold too, unlike dolmades which are usually served warm.
If you go for meze at a local tavern, you’ll be served Koupepia. They are a very popular food in Cyprus, which often feature in a Sunday lunch with family in Cyprus.
If you want to try Koupepia, and you’re in Larnaca, head to To Sieradiko. It’s a fantastic tavern that serves incredible Koupepia as well as other meze dishes.
To Sieradiko Information
7. Pilafi Pourgouri
I love this dish. It’s really simple, but also quite difficult to get right – (I speak from experience!). This dish is made from bulgar (wheat), tomato purée or sauce, and onion.
It’s usually a side dish that goes well with souvlaki or sheftalies, and you’ll find it in many mezes. It’s a common food in Cyprus and one that locals make often.
A less common way to find it cooked is as a breakfast cereal. Sometimes it’s boiled with milk to form a kind of oatmeal and eaten with honey or sugar.
You’ll find the tomato version of this dish in most local tavernas. One that sticks in my mind for this particular dish in Cyprus is Militzis Tavern in Larnaca. You can get this on the side of some delicious grilled meat or choose it as a starter with some yogurt dip.
Militzis Tavern Information
8. Makaorionia Tou Fournou
Makaronia tou Fournou, or Cypriot Pastitsio, is one of my favorite traditional foods in Cyprus.
It’s made from macaroni pasta, minced meat, spices, and béchamel sauce. It’s an oven-baked dish that looks a little like moussaka when it’s done.
The Cypriot version differs from the Greek version due to the use of halloumi cheese and mint which gives it a fresh and creamy taste. It’s a hugely popular food in Cyprus and forms part of a typical meal during the week.
At restaurants, it’s often part of a meat meze, which is an excellent way to order this alongside a variety of other delicious and traditional dishes in Cyprus.
If you’re exploring the incredible Cypriot village of Omodos then pop into Ambelothea Tavern to try Makaronia tou Fournou. It’s located just off the main square and is an authentic taverna to try this typical food in Cyprus.
Ambelothea Tavern Information
Address: E601 a1 Omodos 50225, Omodos, Cyprus
Phone: +357 2542 1366
Operating Hours: Every day, 12 pm to 10.30 pm
Average Cost of Dish: €10
Stifado is an incredible beef stew cooked in a red wine and tomato sauce. It’s a popular and famous main meal in Cyprus and it’s easy to see why – it’s delicious.
The stew usually includes potatoes, chunks of beef, whole, small onions, vegetables, spices, red wine, and cognac. The red wine is often Maratheftiko, which is a local red wine from Cyprus. There’s often a sweetness to the sauce from the use of cinnamon and cloves.
Originally, it’s believed that Stifado was brought over to Cyprus by the Venetians. The Cypriots then added tomatoes to perfect their take on this hearty dish.
Stifado is traditionally served in a clay pot, straight from the oven. It’s served with rice or bulgar wheat and is a delicious staple food of Cyprus.
It’s a great option in the winter and shoulder months in Cyprus, when the temperatures are a little cooler; it’s sure to warm you up and keep you satisfied.
If you’re in Paphos, try this dish at any of the local, Cypriot tavernas. Hondros, (claimed as the oldest traditional taverna in Paphos), offers this delicious specialty down by the harbor.
Address: Apostolou Pavlou Ave, Paphos, Cyprus
Phone: +357 2693 4256
Operating Hours: Every day, 12 pm to 9 pm
Average Cost of Dish: €15
When I think of typical Cyprus food, Tzatziki is top of the list. It’s popular around the world and especially so in Cyprus, where it’s served with most meals.
Tzatziki is a must-try dish in Cyprus if you haven’t tried it before. It’s a deliciously light yogurt dip combined with cucumber, garlic, salt, oil, and usually lemon juice.
In Cyprus, it’s served with pitta bread and makes a delicious starter or even a bar snack if you’re feeling puckish. If you’re ordering a meze, there will almost definitely be Tzatziki as part of the procession of traditional Cypriot food brought to your table.
You’ll find Tzatziki on every menu of every Greek and Cypriot restaurant in Cyprus. I loved it as part of a large meze in the excellent Meze Taverna Restaurant in Old Town Limassol.
Meze Taverna Restaurant Information
Address: Agiou Andreou 209, Limassol 3036, Cyprus.
Phone: +357 2536 7333.
Operating Hours: Monday to Saturday, 12 pm to midnight, closed on Sundays
Average Cost of Dish: €2 – €4
Another common food in Cyprus, and another dip. Tirokafteri is one of my favorite snacks in Cyprus and it’s delicious with some pitta bread and a cold beer.
Tirokafteri is a cheese dip or spread made from feta cheese, yogurt, garlic, chili pepper, and olive oil. It has a certain level of spice to it which is probably why I like it so much.
Tirokafteri is commonly eaten on its own as a snack with pitta bread, or as part of a meze meal. It’s best when spread on warm pitta bread and has become one of my favorite foods in Cyprus.
If you’re in Protaras, I’d recommend the classically named, Traditional Cypriot Taverna Protaras which serves Tirokafteri as a starter or as part of a meze.
Traditional Cyprus Tavern Protaras Information
Address: Leoforos Ksenodoxeion 26, 5289, Protaras, Cyprus.
Operating Hours: Every day during summer, 10 am until 11 pm
Average Cost of Dish: €2 – €4
12. Tsoureki Bread
Tsoureki is a sweet bread, like a brioche, that’s flavored with ingredients like mahlab, cardamom, and vanilla. It’s a delicious, soft bread that’s traditionally eaten at Easter.
It’s also called Lambrosomo or Lambrojouloura with Lambri meaning Easter. It’s absolutely delicious and if you’re visiting around Easter, you’ll be able to find it easily in all the bakeries.
I tried Tsoureki bread at Pier One in Limassol. It’s served as a breakfast dish with feta and scrambled eggs. While I wouldn’t have put it together myself, I’m so glad they did, as it’s incredible. I wholeheartedly recommend a visit if you’re in Limassol and fancy a delicious brunch.
Pier One Information
Spanakopita, or spinach pie, is a delicious, baked delicacy in Cyprus. This pie has been inspired by Greek cusine and is made from layers of buttery filo pastry with a spinach and cheese filling.
The traditional Greek recipe uses feta cheese whereas the Cypriot version, of course, uses halloumi together with feta.
Both are widely available in Cyprus and are often found in bakeries and coffee shops. They come in either squares or rolls and are delicious with coffee as a mid-morning snack.
One of my favorite things to do in Limassol is to visit La Croissanterie for a frappé coffee and a slice of Spanakopita. There are lots of Croissanterie cafes in Cyprus, but my favorites are along the beach road in Limassol. Take a drink, and a slice of pie, and enjoy some people-watching.
La Croissanterie Information
Address: Vasileos Georgiou, 95 Germasogeia, 4048, Cyprus, (and many others available across Cyprus).
Operating Hours: 6 am – 11 pm daily
Average Cost of Dish: €3
Baklava is a hugely popular food in Cyprus, often eaten at the end of a meal accompanied by Cypriot tea or coffee.
It’s a really sweet dish, made from layers of filo pastry and crushed nuts (usually pistachios) that are then soaked in syrup or honey. It sets to make a delicious, sticky bite. Baklava is often served in small squares for just the right amount of sweetness.
Baklava is popular throughout the Middle East and dates back to Roman times. Most countries add their own flair to this tasty dish and in Cyprus, you’ll find a lot of baklavas have cinnamon and lemon juice added to give it its own unique flavor.
If you’re in Limassol, you can try a range of different and delicious flavors of baklava at the incredible Zorbas Bakery. This local chain has a great selection of all kinds of sweet treats which will keep you coming back for more.
Zorbas Bakery Information
Address: Georgiou Griva Digeni 109, Avenue 3101, Cyprus, (but also found all over Limassol).
Phone: +357 2536 0031
Operating Hours: Open 24 hours a day, every day
Average Cost of Dish: €1 – €6 (depending on whether you’re in a restaurant or a bakery).
Loukoumades are small round doughnuts served with honey, syrup, cinnamon, nuts, or just plain in Cyprus. It’s one of my favorite dessert foods in Cyprus. A sign of good loukoumades is when they have a hard exterior and a soft, doughy inside.
They’re usually served as a dessert in local tavernas, but there are also shops and bakeries that sell them across Cyprus. My favorite is My Sweet’s Loukoumades in Limassol.
They top them with all sorts of delicious toppings including melted chocolate, ice cream, pâtisserie cream, cinnamon sugar… really any treat you could imagine. You have to try this place if you have a sweet tooth.
My Sweet’s Loukoumades Information
Address: Kitiou Kyprianou 51, Limassol 3041, Cyprus
Phone: +357 25 762555
Operating Hours: 2-11 pm (Mon-Sun)
Average Cost of Dish: Between €3-€8 (depending on topping and quantity).
Website: View their Facebook page here
Food Tours in Cyprus
One of the best ways to try the incredible food of Cyprus is by taking a tour. These incredible day trips take you into the heart of Cyprus to experience truly traditional foods and wine that perhaps you wouldn’t find otherwise.
Troodos Village Food and Winery Tour
Quite possibly the best way to try some of the best popular foods in Cyprus, as well as some local wine. An incredible 1-day mountain tour in which you’ll visit traditional Cypriot villages.
You’ll try homemade halloumi, honey, village bread, and wines, and you’ll enjoy a full meze lunch too.
Halloumi Making Tour
This is the ultimate traditional food tour for those wanting to get back to basics and truly understand the art of making what’s quite possibly the most famous dish in Cyprus.
The fantastic local Cypriot hosts will guide you into the Troodos Mountains and to a cheese-making workshop. You’ll make your own cheese as well as stopping at various other places for olive oil, honey, traditional sweets, wine, and more.
Green Line Food Tour
If you’re visiting Nicosia, then this incredible 3-hour food tour along the Green Line is a unique and unforgettable experience. Guided by the excellent Eleni, you’ll learn about life in this divided capital city and the unique combination of cultures and foods it produces.
You’ll try Armenian street food, visit one of the oldest bakeries in Nicosia and enjoy lunch in a traditional Taverna. A highly rated and excellent tour.
Taste of Cyprus Tour
If you want to combine trying some traditional local food in Cyprus with an introduction to Cypriot art and wine, then this 1-day cultural tour from Paphos is an excellent way to experience local traditions.
You’ll visit a local smokehouse for home-smoked meats, a chocolate factory in Platres, stop at some of the best local villages in Cyprus, and go wine tasting at a local winery – the full works and an excellent cultural experience!
Cyprus Food FAQs
Here are some commonly asked questions about Cyprus food.
Halloumi, olives, and souvlaki are some of the most traditional (and delicious) foods in Cyprus.
Cypriots, like many in the Mediterranean, tend to eat dinner later once the sun has set. Expect restaurants to open from around 7 pm and to get busy from 8 pm onwards.
Lunch is generally served and eaten between midday and 2.30 pm. It can either be a lighter snack, due to the heat, or a full meal.
Breakfast is taken anytime between 7 am and 10 am in Cyprus.
As with many parts of Europe, tipping is appreciated, but it’s not obligatory. Generally, a tip of 10% for a restaurant meal is the norm and is greatly appreciated by the staff.
Grilled kebabs such as souvlaki are arguably the most popular food in Cyprus, together with their famous halloumi cheese, stifado beef stew, and delicious baklava desserts.
A traditional cooked Cypriot breakfast includes eggs, halloumi cheese, lountza meat (pork), cucumber, and tomato. You may find figs and jams on uncooked variations of breakfast.
Cyprus has incredible food. For me, Cyprus food is some of the best in the Mediterranean thanks to its unique geographical location which offers a combination of fresh Med seafood and Middle Eastern influences.
There’s some amazing food in Cyprus to be tried, tested, and devoured. Cyprus cuisine is diverse with lots of amazing flavors, and my favorite thing about it is that you have tastes from all over the world.
There are so many different dishes to try; my advice is to order a few different mezes from some local tavernas. It’s a fantastic way to try lots of the different foods in Cyprus that feature in this list in one sitting. Different tavernas will include different dishes and takes on each plate, so they’re great fun to try out.
I hope this helps you decide what to eat in Cyprus and gives you a starting point on where to begin with all the delicious food!