Cyprus for gourmets – You might be more familiar with the gourmet delights of Paris or Milan, but Cypriot cuisine is famed around the Mediterranean for its succulent flavours and colourful combinations. A fusion of Turkish, Arabic, Greek and even English influences, food in Cyprus is central to the culture as well as being the centrepiece of both family gatherings and evenings out.
Any gourmet overnighting in Cyprus should head straight to the local taverna, where you’ll be able to sample the very best of Cypriot cuisine in the form of meze. Rather than tuck into one hearty dish, Cypriots prefer to graze on a range of tastes and flavours, enjoying meals that are both healthier and more satisfying to the palate than the traditional three-course British fare.
A good Cypriot meze will include halloumi cheese, produced by thyme-fed goats who are reared on the island itself. Other specialties to look out for include deep-friend cuttlefish rings; village salad with lettuce, celery, cucumber, tomato, olives and feta cheese; afelia, which is pork marinated with coriander; and of course, delicious chunky white bread. Dessert tends to be less healthy: Turkish baklava is widely available on the island and will be coveted by anybody with a sweet tooth, while a simple dish of Cyprus honey served with Greek yoghurt and almonds is a plain but delicious way to end a meal.
There are excellent restaurants scattered across Cyprus and most towns and villages have tavernas that serve good local food, but a small selection of eateries really stands out above the rest. If you’re staying in the popular Nicosia region, then make sure you book a meal at Pyxida.
Opened in 2008, this fabulous seafood restaurant has already established itself as one of the best in town and boasts a good wine list as well as an inspired seafood meze. The Syrian Arab Friendship Club in both Kato Paphos and Limassol is another popular foodie destination, while Zephyros in Larnaca does the best pre-party dinner on the island. Check out the Telegraph’s Cyprus guide for a more complete list of the island’s top restaurants.