Cypriot food has influences from the Greek and Turkish cuisines and offers delicious and fresh dishes with lots of flavor. Many of the local dishes in Cyprus are similar to the traditional dishes in Greece and Turkey, however, they add some local ingredients and prepare the dishes in a Cypriot way.
Cyprus might not be a country in Europe that’s known for its food, however, it still has a lot to offer. Down below you can read more about the Cypriot cuisine and its traditional dishes.
Makaronia tou fournou
This is a dish that got its inspiration from the Greek dish “pastitsio”. Pastitsio became very popular in Cyprus so the Cypriots decided to make their own version of the dish.
Makaronia tou fournou is made from halloumi with mint, pasta, béchamel sauce, tomato and minced meat. The only thing that really sets the dishes apart is the cheese.
This Cypriot food is cooked in a large pan in the oven and is usually served with some salad.
One of my favorite dishes from Cyprus is Cypriot souvlaki. Souvlaki actually comes from Greece but in Cyprus they have made their own version of the dish.
Cypriot souvlaki consists of grilled meat on skewers that they put in a Cypriot pita bread together with tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, parsley and cabbage. You can also have sheftalia in the pita bread, which are small sausages made from minced meat and various spices.
Cypriot souvlaki is one of the most popular dishes in Cyprus, so make sure to taste it during your next trip.
Koupepia is the Cypriot version of the dish dolma made from minced meat, onions, spices, rice and tomatoes wrapped in vine leaves.
It’s a delicious and tasty dish from Cyprus.
Halloumi is a cheese that’s known worldwide for its rubbery texture and salty taste. Something that many people do not know when they buy halloumi in the grocery store is that it comes from Cyprus.
The cheese is trademarked and is traditionally made in Cyprus – It’s only allowed to be called Halloumi if it’s made in the country.
In Cyprus, you eat grilled halloumi as a starter, as a side dish or in various salads. It’s really good.
This is a stew consisting of lamb, rice, cumin and potatoes. The dish comes from the village of Lefkara in Cyprus and is traditionally cooked in a clay pot.
Stifado is one of my personal favorite dishes when it comes to Cypriot food. It’s a stew made from beef, tomato sauce, garlic, onions and various spices.
The stew is cooked for at least 2-3 hours and is served with rice, potatoes and vegetables.
Resi is a dish from Cyprus that’s usually served during weddings, especially in the mountainous areas of Limassol and Paphos.
Preparing and cooking this dish is part of a traditional wedding ritual. Resi is made from wheat and cooked in a meat broth.
When you are in Cyprus, you have to visit a restaurant and eat meze. Meze is a meal consisting of several small dishes.
First you get some starters such as bread, tsatsiki, olives, salad and tahini. After that, the main dishes starts to roll in – usually consisting of halloumi, stifado, kleftiko and a variety of other local dishes.
It’s very tasty and also super filling as the portions are usually quite big. In my opinion, you can share a meze for 2 persons on 3 persons.
Kleftiko is a meat stew that’s cooked for several hours in a clay oven. The stew consists of lamb, red wine, oregano and bay leaves, and is served with potatoes.
The dish is cooked for several hours until the meat is tender. It’s one of the most popular dishes in Cyprus, so make sure to taste Kleftiko during your next trip.
Souvla is similar to souvlaki but has a slightly different taste since it’s grilled over charcoal. They also use slightly larger pieces of meat for this dish.
They put the meat on skewers and cook it for a long time on a grill called foukou. The meat used for this dish usually comes from the shoulder or neck of chicken, pork or lamb.
Kotopoulo me Kolokassi
This is a dish made with taro which is a tropical plant that tastes like potatoes. It’s an ingredient that has been used in the Cypriot cuisine for centuries.
Kotopoulo me Kolokassi is a chicken stew consisting of chicken, taro, tomato sauce, celery, onions and various spices. It’s really good and worth tasting.
Cypriot gyro is definitely one the best things to eat in Cyprus. It’s a type of street food that comes from Greece, but is just as popular in Cyprus.
In Cyprus you can eat traditional Greek gyros and also the Cypriot version of the street food. The Cypriot version is similar to the Greek, but served in a Cypriot pita bread.
The pita bread is usually stuffed with meat, fries, tsatsiki, lettuce and tomatoes. But you can choose whatever you like from the ingredients available.
More about Cypriot food
The Cypriot cuisine is inspired by the Greek and Turkish cuisine, but it also has influences from the Italian, Catalan, and Ottoman cuisine – as well as several different cuisines from the Middle East.
Common ingredients in Cypriot food include meat, potatoes, peppers, okra, tomatoes, zucchini and various spices such as cumin, mint, coriander, parsley and oregano.
What’s a traditional meal in Cyprus?
A Cypriot dinner starts with starters and a salad. For the main course, it’s common to eat a dish with meat. After the meal, Cypriots like to eat something sweet and drink a cup of Cypriot coffee.
Do you have more questions about Cypriot food? Leave a comment below!