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The ten foods you must try in Cyprus

When we think of a holiday in Cyprus, we invariably begin to pat our bellies with contentment. Even if it wasn’t a stunning island famous for amazing natural beauty, a fascinating historical blend of cultures, and almost perfect year round weather, we would still go just for the food. Here are some of our favorite Cypriot dishes:


Made from feta cheese, garlic, yoghurt, chili pepper, and olive oil, this spread is often served in local taverns where you can top fresh bread with it and munch on it as a wonderful appetizer as you take a shot of Zivania (a brandy produced from the distillation of a mixture of grape pomace/marc and local dry wines made from Xynisteri and Mavro grapes).


Generally grilled outdoors and often served for special occasions, This chicken, pork, or lamb dish is marinated overnight and then grilled on an open flame. You can often find this from street vendors where they will likely place it in an open pita dn then slather it with “tzatziki”, a yoghurt and cucumber sauce.

Ofton Kleftiko

A savory blend of meat from the leg of the lamb that has been marinated in olive oil, lemon, garlic and onion. What makes this different from the Greek Souvlaki you ask? Instead of grilling it over naked coals, the Cypriots have chosen to bake it in small paper packets that concentrate all the flavors and aromas. So tasty!


This is as iconic to Cypriot cuisine as lasagna is to Italian cuisine. It consists of meat (beef or lamb), potatoes, and aubergine. All of this is topped with a béchamel sauce and then baked in a oven until golden and bubbly. A real comfort food.


A blend of minced meat, onion, rice, and spices is rolled into little grape leaf packages and then cooked in an oven with olive oil and water. If you are not a fan for the pronounced flavor of grape leaves, try “Gemista” which has the same stuffing but in a tomato or pepper.


A healthy dish mainly consists of black eyed beans, and is served with boiled courgettes or Swiss chard, oil, salt and lemon. This is often served with cucumbers, tomatoes, and tuna on the side. This is traditionally eaten on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Pilafi Pourgouri

This savory dish made from bulgur (cracked wheat), vermicelli noodles, and aromatics is often served as a side dish with various meats but is alos enjoyed as a siple breakfast as well.


No trip to Cyprus is complete without at least several servings of this unique cheese. The most famous product of Cyprus is a truly unusual cheese. Made from a combination of goat and sheep cheeses and rennet. The process reduces acid-producing bacteria and results in a cheese with a very high melting point. This means the cheese can be fried or grilled without falling apart. Often served warm with fresh fruit like sliced watermelon.


Served in small clay pots designed to keep the food warm, this stew of meat, potatoes, and red Maratheftiko wine is sure to please the hungriest of diners. The stew cooks all day and is finished off with cognac and bay leaves to add a dioticnt aroma.


These delightful little doughnuts are flash fried and then coated in local honey. A wonderful way to end any meal or a perfect mid-day snack for anyone with a sweet tooth. The legend is that the recipe goes as far back as the seventh century BCE where they were served as a reward for the heroic. Treat yourself!

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