Discover my all time favourite taverna plus other secret Cyprus restaurants, hidden away in mountain villages or on quiet back streets.
NEW What's your favourite Cyprus taverna?
While you can find some great places to eat on the coast, the tastiest and best value food in Cyprus can really only be found in a traditional Cypriot taverna usually located in a mountain village
WHY? Because it is only in the traditional villages that you find the most authentic local "home-cooked" food, rather than the mass-produced meals that always come with chips found in most restaurants in the main resorts.
I'm not saying there is anything wrong with the "fast food" in some of these places, if that's the kind of food you like, but the Cypriot way is to take time over a meal...try lots of different dishes...and relax.
The best place to do this is to find your own special little Cyprus taverna up in the hills where the locals will welcome you with open arms and where you will eat like a king for a pauper's price.
Well, it's not quite as cheap as it used to be even in the village tavernas, but you can still get a main course for well under €10 euros - you will be hard-pushed to find anything that low in price near the coast.
Our favourite Cyprus restaurants are situated mainly on the WEST of the island as that is where we live, near Polis. It happens to be the most unspoilt part of the island,"far from the madding crowds" as Thomas Hardy would have said, so I will admit we are a little biased in our opinions...but all of the Cyprus restaurants mentioned on this page here are unique in one way or another so please DO give them a try on your next villa holiday to Cyprus.
Before revealing my favourite Cyprus taverna secret, I have to tell you that we are SO lucky here in Cyprus.
When you take a trip up into a mountain village, don't expect white table cloths or fancy cutlery AND don't expect to be offered a huge menu.
In fact, don't even bother to ASK for the menu!
In our first few days on the island, we were told to avoid the local village tavernas by a local Cypriot as he didn't think their food was fresh due to the fact that many of them do not have a regular flow of customers. If you are unsure of going into a place with very few customers, take our tip and forget the menu...
TIP: Just ask the taverna owner what they are cooking that day and what is available for you to try. Whatever they are cooking, they will be eating themselves so you can be SURE it will be fresh.
They will also be using seasonal fruit and vegetables so you can be certain you will never have the same meal twice.
NB: Most of the village tavernas in the hills don't have fresh fish on the menu as they are not near the sea.
Well, we've tried lots on the island and have many we return to again and again but our first Cyprus restaurants favourite village taverna is :
KOUPPAS STONE TAVERN
run by Andreas.
The taverna is situated opposite the co-op supermarket in the traditional stone village of Neo Chorio (pronounced Nay-oh Hor-ee-o) on the Akamas peninsula. In the summer you can sit outside and watch the world go by while you enjoy a mouthwatering meal.
That will usually include the wonder of regular traffic jams as delivery vehicles go head to head with cars, jeeps and the school bus just after mid-day. In the winter just sit inside the stone tavern itself where the locals hang out.
Andreas has all the usual Cyprus specialities on his menu (beef stifado, afelia, sheftalia and wonderful kleftiko on special nights), but we usually just ask him to bring us a small meze (a variety of mixed dishes). We say small for a very good reason - you only have to look at Andreas to realise that small actually means very large!
November 2011 update - Andreas is half the man we knew 7 years ago! And by that I mean he has lost a HUGE amount of weight. After nagging him for years to get a bike and come riding with us, he has taken the plunge, bought a spanking new mountain bike and now rides 3-4 times a week over 25km. He's now slim and healthy, but his food in the best of our Cyprus restuarants still tastes just as good:)
July 2020 Update - Kouppas tavern is now run by Mina, Andreas's wife as Andreas has moved to manage the Y&P taverna in Latchi after his dad sadly passed away in February 2020. Still the same great food and service though!
Depending on the season, Andreas/Mina will tempt you with a variety of unusual dishes - over the years we've had beans with wild "grass" (freshly picked by his grandma - only she knows which grass to pick), wild rabbit Kouppas-style, kleftiko slow-cooked over carob leaves and even snails (when it rains in November here, the snails come out in their thousands and you can just scoop them up in a bucket!).
His Cyprus restaurants specialities are the best we've tasted too, especially the Afelia (slow cooked pork in red wine with coriander seeds).
TIP: Warning - DON'T order the full Meze unless you can eat a 32 oz steak and still have room for more. We did order it once (the Meze not a steak) and couldn't believe how much food we had to leave - now we always make sure we ask for a "small" meze!
Our SECOND favourite village taverna is in Kathikas close to our home. It's called Imogens and is run by Apostolos and Marina. They do AMAZING mainly vegetarian food with a Lebanese twist.
As I've become mainly vegetarian, Imogens is THE place to go to in the Polis area for delicious veggie food including Imam Bayildi and Spanokopita.
These are just some of my favourite tavernas and I'll keep adding to the list as hubby and I find new ones.
If you have found a special Cyprus restaurant, maybe one that does exceptional mezes too, please share it with our visitors via the form below and create your very own webpage about it!
If, like me, you like to cook great food at home for family and friends, you probably have high standards as far as eating out goes. So good restaurants have to have fresh food packed with flavour via careful use of herbs and spices or simply to serve food in a unique way.
We have our favourites but we'd love to hear about your favourite restaurants too and so would all our visitors.
So why not tell us about your best Cyprus restaurant here?
Click on the links below for best Cyprus restaurants all written by those who've been on this page.
NAMASTE Kato Paphos near Cross Roads Cava
Brilliant atmosphere authentic dishes great service and decent prices
Traditional cyprus taverna ,serving good quality food at a reasonable price in polis
Kamares Taverna is located in Lofou Village, Limassol. We are an authentic Cypriot Taverna, delighting our customers with traditional Cypriot dishes …
Fikardos restaurant, Paphos
Fikardos in Paphos is amazing. My wife & I got married there in September 2008 & return twice a year on holiday. We held our wedding reception in this …
PANERI TAVERN, MESOGI, PAPHOS
Always the highlight of our visit to Cyprus, this tavern was originally the home of the owner's wife's family and Georgia and Chris transformed it into …
Meze Meze, Kathikas
Friendly service, reasonably priced and above all great food.
Smigies Tavern, Neo Chorio
This is very nice food indeed. Simple, fresh and well-cooked. The simplicity of the place, with its real feeling of rural Cyprus village life, was overwhelming. …
Phuket (Chinese & Thai), Paphos
Phuket restaurant has a lovely appropriate Thai ambience & service, if you can accept the Greek Waiter service. But the choice of food and tastes are absolutely …
Tzoumerka (Kakopetria area on the way to Troodos)
We passed this place a number of times as it is on the main road from Nicosia (via Kakopetria) to Troodos, and one day decided to have a look inside - …
Seafare restaurant by the Marina in Latchi
Have been going to the Seafare restuarant in Latchi for a few years when we go to Neo Chorio for our holidays in Cyprus. The Seafare has an excellent choice …
Arsinoe Fish tavern Polis
My wife and I have been visiting Cyprus since the 1970s and found Polis years ago when other places got too touristy for us. Polis has some fine restaurants …
Periyiali Fish Tavern, Latchi
Delicious Fish and many other dishes overlooking the sea. Amazing sunset views from the beachside part of the taverna. Located next door to the Souli …
La Maison Fleurie - French Restaurant Limassol
A fantastic place to be....actually the best place to visit Cyprus to enjoy a fantastic dinner in a great atmosphere and with very tasteful and delightful …
The best kleftiko we ever ate in our lives . People from other countries come only to eat the food at this Cyprus restaurant
Dasonia Restaurant Protaras
I come here every year and I enjoy the tasteful steaks and the beautiful atmosphere, along with the view from the first floor of the restaurant. I …
Melitzia Taverna, tala, Paphos
A traditional Cypriot Taverna serving a traditional menu including a village meze of 7 or 8 courses. The view of the sunset from the terrace is well …
Neon Phaliron, Limassol
They have the most amazing choice of fish, expertly cooked either grilled, steamed or fried. We recommend lunchtime as it gives you chance to have a leisurely …
The Farmyard at Kathikas
A friendly family run restaurant, we have used this restaurent since we came to live in Cyprus 6 years ago. Excellent value for money - a must to try.
Hideaway Restaurant in Pissouri, Cyprus
This tiny little restaurant is a real treasure. Tucked away down a flight of stone steps it is located BEHIND the rest of the tavernas in Pissouri square …
The Windmill restaurant ,Paphos
This is a MUST when you visit Paphos. The food is amazing and the family makes you feel like home. Their MEZE is gorgeous and each dish had a really nice …
Melania Restaurant, Paphos
Why go to the Melania Restaurant? Here are my reasons why I go there so often. 1.Meals cooked by the owners Elli and Matthew 2.Chips from organically …
Jo's Diner, Anarita, near Paphos airport
Jo's Diner is hidden away in the small village of Anarita, a 10 minutes drive from Paphos airport. It's a great place to eat Cypriot food with a European …
Best Meze in Protaras Cyprus
If you're traveling to Cyprus, one of the things you must try whilst you're there is traditional Cyprus Meze. A little like Spanish Tapas (but better!) …
Anatolia restaurant Protaras
The owners and staff at the Anatolia restaurant in Protaras, Cyprus are always very friendly and make you or the party you are with very comfortable. …
Lenya's restaurant in Asgata, Cyprus
The restaurant is run by a husband and wife team that hail from Zygi. However, they stress that they like to cook meat rather than fish and after a spell …
Its simply the best restaurant on the island (Nicosia), great food innovative cuisine, top level service, incredible music and an excellent interior design, …
Sienna Restaurant, on road to Coral bay
First of all the food is absolutely brilliant, service is perfect, surroundings are beautiful and the staff are lovely! The Sea Bass is to die for - they …
Makrinari tavern in Omodhos (Troodos mountains)
Makrinari is a traditional restaurant in Omodhos. This old house has been restored carefully keeping it's old charm and character. It has everything to …
Oliveto Stone Grill Dining, 96 Tombs of the Kings Avenue, Paphos
An up-market restautant, so one for a special occasion (i.e. pricey but worth it). If you haven't had the Stone Grill experience then it's one to look …
Gourmet Taverna, Kato Paphos
The menu offers a range of Local Cypriot dishes as well as other classic food. Their Soutzakakia Smyrneica are to die for and my wife's favourite is the …
Mystery Tavern, Polis
My husband and I recently returned from Cyprus (Feb 2009) and often ate at the Mystery Tavern. The food and atmosphere was great. Best calamari ever! …
Flavours of India Restaurant in Pissouri Bay
We recently went for an Indian meal to the Flavours of India Restaurant in Pissouri Bay, which we can highly recommend. Very pleasant and efficient …
Apomoro Taverna Kato Paphos (Ikarou and Palepaphou St)
An authentic Taverna, just at the back of the tourist areas, run by two Cypriot brothers and their Chef is also a partner. Both local Cypriots and visitors …
Petradakis Tavern, Kathikas
Bambos the chef/owner and wife Niki are charming and courteous. The food is always delicious, the decor is lovely, (just a little 'cut above the rest') …
TAO Chinese and Japanese restaurant in Kato Paphos
Best decor, food is very different from the other Chinese restaurants and they also serve Japanese food. The location is perfect in the centre of Kato …
RAJ Indian restaurant, Kato Paphos, Cyprus
Finding a great Indian restaurant in Cyprus is not that easy. There are a lot of mediocre places in Paphos where the Indian food on offer tastes more like …
AMBELOTHEA TAVERN, OMODHOS VILLAGE
I have been in Omodhos and I could never forget a great place from where I have met people from all over the world. At this restaurant I had the pleasure …
Aliceland Restaurant, Paphos
First of all, the amazing view at Aliceland separates it from many--if not all-restaurants that I've seen in the Paphos area. There are few things better …
Classic Car Inn Restaurant at Skarinou, Larnaca
After being on holiday in Cyprus for nearly 2 weeks we were a little fed up of Meze, this restaurant was recommended to us by some locals. Great english/european …
No menu, just a list of food barked at you from the gruff owner! Nevermind him or the dated decor, the food is fantastic.
TAO Restaurant, Kato Paphos
The TAO restaurant is a Chinese / Japanese kitchen with very delicious food and very good service. I can highly recommend it.
Worst Cyprus restaurant - Ferios in Troodos square
Avoid the Ferios restaurant in Troodos square. Most restaurants in Troodos square are expensive and the menu is poor. On a cool windy day in Troodos …
Smygies tavern, Neo Chorio
Very small traditional tavern. The food was lovely, try the Pork Kebab. The hospitality was great, prices reasonable. Would definately recommend it!
Jin Ciao Chinese Food
Small and cosy , very good prices and the food is excellent. We met Marinos Tsiorvas (the owner) and he offered us a Chinese tea set for home. One of the …
Lavezin tavern Deryneia on the road to Sotira. Not rated yet
At the Lavezin tavern in Deryneia, the food is really great with plenty of choice on the menu for Cypriot food or more European choices like steaks etc. …
Gourmet Taverna in Kato Paphos - up from the Harbour front, Not rated yet
From the first mouthful of food at this amazing Taverna, freshness, quality and excellent service stands out above the rest. The food is of amazing quality, …
The Mojito restaurant, Pernera, Cyprus Not rated yet
I/We have been visiting Cyprus for the past 12 years and have dined all over the island. We have never had a bad meal ,but some stand out from the others. …