I often say I travel just for the food. Cypriot food is a great example. I would happily fly to Cyprus just for a meal there. So what makes it so good?
Local Specialities at the Militzis Traditional Tavern
My first big meal on the island was a bit of a splurge as I was trying to stick to a budget. My Airbnb host recommended the restaurant, and I was meeting up with fellow blogger Sarah Funk and her fiancée (now husband) so I figured it would be a good place to try good Cypriot food. Well, good is a massive understatement.
Militzis has a very short menu, which is the best kind of restaurant in my opinion. Kleftiko and tavas were the top options, so we ordered both the beef and lamb platters with a few side dishes. Kleftiko and tavas are two traditional dishes slow-cooked in their two giant brick ovens outside. By slow-cooked, I mean for hours. I’ve rarely had meat that tender, where it just melts apart as soon as it enters your mouth. The tavas was similar to the Moroccan tajine, and I’d have a really hard time determining which one is better. You can see the lamb and beef kleftiko with potatoes closer to me, while the tavas is the stew-like dish in the center of the table.
We also had a plate of grilled halloumi. I’ll admit I hadn’t had a lot of halloumi by the time I tried theirs, but they set the bar impossibly high and I’ve yet to find a comparable dish of halloumi anywhere else in the world.
A Little of Everything at Mezedokamomata Sotiris – Tasoula
A couple nights later, my Couchsurfing host in Limassol brought his girlfriend and me to the small village of Pyrgos. There, we found a tiny restaurant with a lady who was just tickled that a foreigner would come to try her food. We got the sample platter – basically a little of everything she had to offer. There were about eight different types of grilled meats and sausages, grilled mushrooms, more grilled halloumi (just as good as the other place) and sides of a salad and fries. It was way more food than all three of us could eat, but we loved every bite of it.
Ice Cream at E Pygra
There’s no way you can go to a Mediterranian island in the summer and not get ice cream, which is exactly what I did the following day…and the day after that. Actually, I had ice cream every day I was in Cyprus, but those two really stand out. I found a place in Limassol called E. Pygra on the beach that made all their ice cream from scratch with local ingredients. The Cypriots actually make several flavors you would be hard-pressed to find anywhere else, such as halloumi and watermelon, or loukoumades (a Greek honey dessert). Check out this full list of crazy Cypriot ice cream flavors.
Suffice to say, I thoroughly enjoyed my meals in Cyprus. I did try to avoid the over-priced restaurants for the tourists and went to where the locals frequented or recommended. It also wasn’t always easy to find budget-friendly options, as the tourist culture there caters to the upper class. However, you can always grab a gyro for $5. Just make sure you get some extra halloumi inside. The Cypriots really know to make it best!