Cyprus visitors with a food allergy or intolerance need have no worries. Supermarkets and restaurants throughout the island are geared up to cater for all kinds of special diets.
As required by EU law introduced in 2014, restaurateurs are required to conduct a comprehensive audit of every ingredient within their dishes, which must then be displayed on menus to inform customers about any potential allergens, including nuts, milk, celery, gluten, soya and wheat.
The photographs on this page were all taken in the Papantoniou supermarket in Pissouri. Hopefully they show what a great range of free-from goods they carry.
Vegetarian and Vegan Choices
Vegetarian options have long been widely available, particularly as in the Cypriot culture there is an extended period of fasting every spring during Greek Orthodox Lent when meat is not eaten. In recent years it has become increasingly common to see a selection of vegan dishes offered.
We particularly recommend O’Vrakas in Pissouri village if you are looking for a good vegan-friendly restaurant.
‘Free-From’ Foods in Supermarkets
Pissouri’s main supermarket – Papantoniou – has a large section of ‘Free From’ foods. If you require a gluten-free diet, you will find loaves, different types of pasta, bread and cake mixes, along with a variety of sweet treats such as biscuits, cakes and cookies. They also sell a huge range of dairy-free milk including almond, soya, coconut, hazelnut, oat and rice milks.
Ever had the situation when you have a yearning for one type of cuisine while your loved ones want something different?
Usually dinner menus have enough options to satisfy everyone, but occasionally you find an establishment that goes even further.
Typical family-run restaurants tend to offer the traditional fare that Cypriots most enjoy. And surely it’s one of the pleasures of travel to sample the local cuisine during your stay.
Cypriot dishes to make your mouth water include the freshest of locally caught fish, Stifado – an intensely tomatoey beef stew, Kleftiko – super-tender slow-cooked lamb, Moussaka, charcoal barbecued kebab skewers or halloumi.
As an appetiser, what beats dipping slices of pittas in tahini, tzatziki and olive tapenade, and a tasty village salad topped with salty feta?
We also recommend seeking out a traditional restaurant away from the tourist traps to sample an authentic Cypriot meze during your stay. As these can consist of more than 20 small dishes, remember to skip breakfast – or ask for a doggy bag if you can’t manage it all!
Other Cuisines Found in Pissouri Bay
For a small resort, there’s an amazing array of restaurants within walking distance…
Our fav haunt is Pissouri Bay Cafe Bar whose fresh Mediterranean menu includes imaginative salads, tasty pasta dishes and risottos, along with curries and a variety of burgers.
Also well worth a visit is Pizza Venetto serving home-made cheesy pizzas and great value family favourites.
When you fancy something a little more spicy, book a table at Saffron whose menu offers contemporary Indian cuisine, including authentic dishes, traditional curries and tandoor specialities.
West to Mandria
Close to Paphos airport, the compact centre of Mandria village has some interesting restaurants. We recommend booking at any of these options to ensure you have a table reserved…
Il Vesuvio is a good quality Italian trattoria and pizzeria where you will find plenty of choice on the menu and indulgent desserts.
Kentroikon has a unique offering with an extensive menu including Cypriot, Mediterranean and – surprise, surprise – Chinese dishes, meaning this restaurant could be the perfect answer to your dining dilemmas. And it’s not a case of jack of all trades, master of none… as you can see from their online reviews, satisfied customers confirm that all the cuisine options are good, making this restaurant well worth a visit.
No visit to the area is complete without dinner at Mandria Fish and Chips. Great service, generous portions, quality ingredients and always perfectly cooked. We love it!
Quite a lot of Greek and Cypriot food and drink specialities were happy accidents, and here’s another…
In 1957, Nestle representative Dimitris Vakondios – attending a conference in Thessaloniki – found himself without access to a kettle to make himself a fortifying coffee. After seeing his boss demonstrating a shaker for mixing milk and chocolate powder to make the Nesquik drink for children, Dimitris borrowed the device. He wondered whether he could use it to blend instant coffee with water. When this successfully created a foamy mixture, he added more water and a few ice cubes to create a tall cold coffee drink – the first Frappe.
Now 7 October has been designated Frappe Day. If you’ve never tried one of these Greek / Cypriot iced coffees, we recommend adding them to your holiday wish list. Somehow although they’re easy to make at home, they never taste quite the same.
Mix 1-2 teaspoons of Nescafe instant coffee granules, a little sugar and water to a foam in a cocktail shaker or with a whisk. Add ice cubes and top up with water or a water and evaporated milk mixture. Serve with a straw.
We like adding a little cocoa powder to make our own mocha version. For an even more creamy version, add a little Greek yogurt – yum!
Photo taken at Muse in Paphos… one of our firm favs. One frappe with milk, the other without.
You will find plenty of souvenirs offering a taste of Cyprus, whether it’s a treat for yourself, or a gift for someone at home. If you have a sweet tooth, or a penchant for an alcoholic tipple, here are our top tips about what to pack for the homeward journey…
For Brandy Sour: Cyprus Brandy and Lemon Cordial
Produced by double-distilling the local Xynisteri white wine in oak barrels, Cypriot brandy is the alcoholic element of the traditional Cyprus cocktail known as Brandy Sour. For an authentic recipe, you also need to take home local lemon cordial as it’s just not the same made with other brands.
Devised in the 1930s heyday of the Forest Park Hotel in Platres, Troodos, this tall golden cocktail allowed the Muslim King of Egypt to indulge in a tipple whilst entertaining local dignitaries. By creating a drink resembling iced tea, Stelios, head barman, enabled King Farouk to enjoy his reception without anyone uncovering his secret!
As time passed, the recipe spread to drinking establishments and restaurants throughout the island, becoming a firm favourite with both locals and visitors. Today it is regarded as THE Cyprus cocktail.
Filfar | Orange Liquer
The recipe for Filfar was developed by Takis Philippou as he worked for the British Army in Famagusta during the 1940s. His cookhouse role involved preserving local fruit in jams and marmalades. Having seen his grandmother make an orange liqueur using an ancient recipe from the monks at Kantara, he started experimenting with quantities and ingredients, using his army friends as tasters. Demand quickly grew, and before long he was making the drink commercially.
After losing everything in the Turkish invasion in 1974, Takis gave up his business. Fortunately Filfar production was revived in 1991 when Demos Aristidou, another Cypriot drinks maker, persuaded an Takis to sell his precious recipe. Still a closely guarded secret, up to 20 oranges of two varieties and three different herbs are used to make each bottle. Production is seasonal – beginning in early December with the orange harvest in Fasouri near Limassol – and continuing for four months – with much of the process still completed by hand.
Count yourself an honoured guest if a hospitable taverna owner serves a freebie at the end of dinner.
This 45% proof firewater is also produced from Xynisteri dry white wine. The high alcohol content, and ready availability has led to a variety of medicinal uses, including treating wounds, massage, a cold and toothache remedy, or as a winter warmer.
Dating back to Venetian rule of the 14th century, this fiery concoction is still made in the traditional way. Grape pomace (remains such as pulp, peel, stalks and seeds) is mixed with high-quality dry wines, which are then distilled and matured. Usually drunk as an aperitif, Zivania is best served ice-cold straight from the freezer.
για μας ! | gia mas ! | cheers !
Glyka | Spoon Sweets
Fruit such as apricots, oranges, lemons and cherries, but also vegetables or nuts in syrup traditionally served on a spoon at the end of a typical Cypriot blow-out meal. Perfect for when you haven’t got room for a full dessert, but you just fancy a little sweet with your post-dinner drink. Our fav is walnuts which are picked green and soft and preserved whole.
Soft, jelly-like sweets made with sugar, cornstarch and flavouring, plus sometimes nuts, finished with a dusting of icing sugar. The main traditional flavours are rose, lemon, mastic and bergamot, with chocolate as a more modern addition.
The island’s main factory is Aphrodite Delights at Geroskipou in Paphos where visitors can taste samples before buying, and watch the production process. For more information, check out these Trip Advisor reviews.
Soutzoukos | Grape Roll
A chewy sweet made from boiled grape juice in the wine villages of Troodos and Paphos. Almonds are threaded onto long strings, dipped into the hot juice and flour paste mixture, then hung to dry. The dipping process is repeated several times until the desired thickness is reached, then the soutzouko is dried over the period of a week and stored. Cut into slices, it is a treat served at traditional festivals and celebrations such as Christmas and New Year.
Pastelaki | Nut Brittle
Making use of locally grown nuts such as almonds and peanuts, along with a topping of sesame seeds, this is an early Cypriot version of a cereal bar. The traditional recipe uses another native ingredient – carob honey – to bind the nuts together.
Maybe it’s because we’ll be travelling to Cyprus soon, but thoughts have turned to some of our favourite Cypriot dishes and tipples. Mouth-watering prospect! This led to thinking about the restaurants and tavernas we prefer, and why. It’s always a dilemma when you’re only on a short visit about whether to go for tried and trusted, or to brave somewhere new. Guest recommendations are not only useful for fellow guests, but they keep us up-to-speed too. Summaries of this feedback appear in the website guestbook, with printed versions in the villa.
Muse Café Kitchen, Paphos
It’s no secret that we are big fans of Muse in Paphos. So many things combine to make a good (or bad) experience, including expectation, that it’s tricky to recommend places. Having said that we’ve thoroughly enjoyed every meal we’ve had at Muse (and there have been quite a few!) But our enthusiasm for Muse is not just about the food… we love the decor, the terrace, the lighting, the amazing views, the prices, and the service – phew! As it is a little tricky to find, we supply a map route and directions for our guests.
Dining in Pissouri Bay
Not that you need to venture to Paphos for a great dining experience. In Pissouri Bay we are incredibly lucky to have so much choice close by… something regularly mentioned by new visitors. At the last count there were 15 places to dine in the bay itself, not including the hotel’s restaurants. You can see a complete list of the resort amenities on our maps page. Plus there are more restaurants up the hill in Pissouri village too. How many other places this size have so many dining options?
There’s plenty of interest in Cypriot cuisine. Our Cyprus Food and Drink G+ board is by far our most popular, having amassed a staggering 41,000 followers. And learning the stories behind Cypriot favourites such as Kleftiko and the Brandy Sour cocktail is fascinating.
With 51 wineries, if you’re interested in doing a behind-the-scenes tour, along with a tasting, there are lots of options. This newly launched winery website has lots of useful information about what each winery offers.
The CTO has also published a series of seven wine-routes taking you on scenic country drives around Cyprus’ wine-producing regions.
Our Top Ten Suggestions
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This article was originally posted on our old website blog by Nikki 13/3/2017