Eating out in Cyprus restaurants is definitely one of the most enjoyable things to do on a Cyprus holiday! The variety of food on offer ranges from local specialties to international favourites, such as Chinese, Italian, French, Lebanese, Mexican and Japanese.
Most restaurants on the island are family run and so you can usually expect fresh, home cooked food. Most restaurants also offer outdoor eating space, which is perfect for enjoying a hot summer night.
The national cuisine on both sides of the border is very similar. You will find a unique fusion of Greek and Turkish dishes and those from Middle Eastern influences, so look out for popular dishes from a typical Turkish or Greek menu such as moussaka and lahmacun – not to mention of course, the kebab!
A wide range of meats from lamb to snails is often available in Cyprus restaurants, but pork is extremely uncommon in North Cyprus as the majority of Turkish Cypriots are Muslim. Steak is usually of a very high quality on the island and many visitors claim the steak they eat in Cyprus is the best they have eaten in the world. Check our guide to restaurants serving Cypriot cuisine in Cyprus.
Meat and fish dishes are usually the most common thing on the menu, but vegetarians like me can still eat very well, especially in the smaller Cyprus tavernas that are more likely to serve traditional dishes which don’t include meat. Try restaurants around the coast for fresh seafood, but be aware that many of the restaurants away from the coast serve frozen fish. Japanese restaurants in Cyprus serve some of the best seafood dishes you can hope to sample on your Cyprus holiday.
Most vegetable dishes are served as a side dish, but are very filling so these are a great opportunity (even for the carnivores!) to sample some of the local produce of the island. Fresh salads are also popular and there are sometimes vegetarian versions of popular dishes such as moussaka available.
The best desserts on the island can be found at Petek’s in the old town of Famagusta (not to be confused with other places of the same name, this is the best one!).
It serves all kinds of great cakes (our favourite of which is chocolate and banana) as well as traditional sweets like a huge range of Turkish delights that can be boxed to take home. Another great place to find unique Cyprus desserts is at the Platres Chocolate Factory in the Troodos mountains.
It is only in recent years that we have eaten out in restaurants when on the island, because as children our relatives insisted on cooking for us at their houses. So we still have many restaurants to get through, and the best tip we can give you is to take your time to discover the little hidden gems that are often located away from the main tourist strips.
The cost of eating out in Cyprus varies greatly, and you will find both restaurants with top-end prices to those that make you wonder how they survive charging so little, and everything in between those two extremes.
In the major resorts and towns of the south, you can find plenty of well-known fast food and franchise chains to satisfy children, fussy eaters and those on a tight budget including McDonalds, KFC, Burger King and Haagen Daz. In North Cyprus, the international chains cannot operate, but they have their own brands such as Burger City, which is similar to Burger King.
Don’t be put off by fast food chains in Cyprus, they do not take away from traditional restaurants and authentic culture of the island, they just add an extra convenience to those who want them.
Likewise, don’t be scared to try the smaller Cyprus restaurants as a low price doesn’t usually mean less quality food in Cyprus. Generally the most popular resort regions have the highest priced restaurants, although you can still find plenty of cheaper options, and also, international restaurants such as Italian tend to be more expensive than most tavernas offering local cuisine.