10 Traditional Foods to Enjoy in Cyprus

You will find that Cypriot cuisine takes its ingredients and flavors from signature Greek and Turkish fare.  A typical Cypriot dinner will start with appetizers, dips, and salads, followed by main dishes that are mostly meat-based, and end with dessert and traditional strong coffee that’s brewed right on the island.

1. Meze

A traditional selection of hot and cold appetizers, meze is basically Cyprus’s equivalent to tapas. A meze platter could include Mediterranean specialties like Tzatziki—a yogurt dip made with garlic, cucumber, and olive oil; Tahini, which is a paste of crushed sesame seeds, olive oil, lemon, and garlic; Taramosalata, a type of fish roe mixed with pureed potatoes, olive oil, lemon juice and onions; Hummus, a traditional pureed chickpea and tahini dip; and Haloumi, which is grilled and spiced soft goat or sheep’s cheese.

greek meze

2. Kebabs

A selection of homemade deliciously prepared kebabs is quite traditional fare in Cyprus. Kebabs are mostly chunks of meat—such as lamb, pork, chicken, and fish—that’s cooked on a skewer and seasoned with olive oil, oregano, and lemon. Kebabs are usually served with tzatziki and pita bread.

shish kebab

3. Souvaki

Or “souvla” as the Cypriots call it, is thin sliced meat pieces—traditionally lamb, pork, chicken, or sometimes beef—served on top of pita bread with a pickled salad, hummus and tzatziki.


4. Kleftiko

Kleftiko is a traditional lamb dish that’s prepared baked in a kiln and cooked for a minimum of 24 hours in the clay oven while it marinates in a mixture of lemon juice, and cinnamon.

Saltimbocca alla Romana

5. Stifado

This traditional and fragrant stew is made with rabbit (and sometimes beef) that’s simmered in wine, vinegar, onions, and popular Greek spices, like garlic and oregano.

Oxtail Stew

6. Moussaka

A widely enjoyed Mediterranean casserole, Moussaka is baked in layers of eggplant and lamb, covered in  béchamel sauce, which is a white sauce white sauce made with butter and flour cooked in milk.


7. Koupepia

These appetizers and Greek delicacies showcased minced meat (typically a mixture of lamb or pork) and white rice daintily wrapped in steamed grape leaves.


8. Ekmek Kadayif

A popular Cyprus dessert, one that’s similar to bread pudding is ekmek kadayif. Alternately, if honey satisfies your sweet tooth, a slice of kadeifi, baklava or galatopureko, all sweet cakes made with honey and nuts, will certainly do the trick.


9. Ouzo

Ouzo, the famous and traditional Greek and Cypriot drink, is created through the double distillation of selected dry wines blended with seeds of anise. You may also be offered Raki on the island, a local aniseed alcoholic beverage that is often mistaken for ouzo.


10. Cypriot Coffee

The traditional coffee of the island is strong due to the fact that it’s made from fresh, finely ground Brazilian coffee beans that are boiled to form a frothy cream known as “kaimaki” on the top. Most locals drink it in small cups with dissolved sugar (called sweet “glikis”) or take it medium sweet (or “metrios”); while a brave few drink it “sketos” (or unsweetened).