Where (& What) to Eat in Cyprus When You Don't Want Chips.

One of my favourite things to do on holiday is eat out but in many venues in Cyprus the menus can be quite meat 'n chips based. I mean, I do love the island's ginormous pork chops, tender lamb chops or skewered pork or chicken, usually griddled over coals, served with a pile of chunky chips but even I can get sick of them.

Cyprus giant pork chip at Klimataria Tavern, Mandria, Paphos

Luckily you dont have to wander far from the tourist traps to find delicious food, often locally sourced which will give you a treat for your taste buds and your heart.

You could opt for a freshly prepared Greek-style "Village Salad" instead of chips to accompany your barbecued meat. Expect it to contain tasty local lettuce, tomatoes, slivers of white onion, locally grown olives and chunks of salty feta. Often served family style or as an optional extra side at most traditional tavernas.

Many places offer fish options but check if it's fresh or frozen and opt for griddled rather than fried or battered if you'd prefer your excess weight in your baggage rather than round your waist.

Maybe it's not a concern for health or weight driving you to find alternatives to yet another plate of fries, just that you are a bit sick of chips.

Here's a few alternatives in the Paphos area where I regularly eat out:


1, Agias Marinas Street, Anarita 8502, Cyprus

Olivios is a great option for a Mediterranean-style chip free meal with rice, Cyprus style roast potatoes, vegetables and salad on offer with a great selection of meat and fish dishes. There are excellent pizzas and pasta dishes too. 

On my most recent visit I enjoyed whole sea bream dressed with olive oil and lemon served with roast potatoes and cauliflower, carrots and courgettes. 

Sea Bream at Olivios, Anarita, Cyprus

My husband had seabass fillet in a creamy saffron sauce and my mum chose a Moroccan style lamb skewer.

It's one of the few places away from the expensive harbour restaurants where you find starters and puds - we could not resist the creme brûlée.  We didn't have a starter but did enjoy a couple of the excellent cocktails at bargain prices Brits will not believe!

Little man had a huge home made pepperoni pizza and ice cream and we were able to take his leftover slices home.

You can sit inside or out (shade/shelter available) and enjoy a more sophisticated night than your average Taverna trip - perfect if you fancy a dress up night or for a celebration.

We paid less than 20 Euros each for two courses plus drinks.

Gabriel's Tavern

Michalaki Christodoulou 1B, 8500 Kouklia

Gabriels is a great option any time of year with seating inside or out overlooking Kouklia's  ancient village square, stone-built buildings and church. The square is pedestrianised at night and the atmosphere is beautiful on a balmy evening with locals and tourists enjoying a meal or drinks.

The menu is fairly typical taverna fare but with a slightly larger selection than many. Try their grilled halloumi which is delicious or go for stuffed vine leaves with pork, Moussaka or a slightly less Cypriot Chilli con Carne.

We enjoyed their mini meze recently which came with dips (tahini, tzatziki, hummus and taramasalata), toasted pitta, lamb, chicken, pork, sheftalia, village salad, olives and halloumi. It does come with chips though!

You always seem to get a free dessert ranging from grapes and figs from the owner's farm to the orange polenta cake made to his mum's recipe. Ask Gabriel nicely and he will give you the recipe.

Orange polenta cake and figs at Gabriel's, Kouklia, Cyprus

We also went along to an all you can eat buffet meal there recently during one of the village's regular Cypriot nights because our youngest loves to watch the men dancing and balancing glasses on their heads.

The buffet was exceptional with a variety of imaginative salads, roast potatoes, meatballs, chicken, bread, dips and more including vegetarian options. There were desserts including ganache-topped chocolate cake, orange polenta cake, grapes, figs and jelly - the menu varies week by week throughout the season. We paid 15 Euros each (8 Euros for children)

The staff make this place extra special. Gabriel is a lovely larger than life character and his wide Sophia, son Theo and the lovely Lisa are friendly and attentive. They were exceptionally considerate of our autistic son and went out of their way to make sure he was happy and comfortable. 

Gabriel's Kouklia

Klimataria Tavern

Mandria, Paphos 8504

I'll confess this taverna (known locally as "Yiannis" after the owner Spiro's father Yianni who originally ran it) is one of my faves and always gets a mention in my Cyprus foodie round-ups.

Situated in the centre of Mandria village just minutes from Paphos airport Klimataria has recently been renovated and now manages miraculously to embody both the traditional taverna feel outside with a cosy sophisticated large indoor area. There's a separate sports bar in the venue too."Yianni's" is my husband's fave place for a Cypriot KEO beer and generally the first place we head to when we get out of the airport.

KEO beer, Cyprus

Expect typical Cypriot taverna food generally including the best pork and lamb chops I've ever had in 15 years of visiting the island but for something different book the Sunday lunch barbecue there.

Klimataria Taverna Sunday Lunch BBQ, Mandria Paphos

Dips, soft warm pitta, huge chunks of chicken and pork, village salad and roast potatoes you will fantasise about during the cold winter months back in Blighty. Skip breakfast and wear stretchy clothes!

I managed to persuade the beautiful co-owner Christina to share her mother-in-law Evroulla's recipe and now take ALL the credit when I prepare them for friends.

The village is currently undergoing lots of work and when the new village square is finished Klimataria Tavern will have the best view for any events going on.

There are of course lots of varied eateries in Cyprus and you can eat all cuisines from Indian to Italian but after many years of visiting the island and doing my best to live like the locals I would recommend eating fresh, locally sourced food prepared in traditional ways.  Try a meze - many places offer fish based or even vegetarian meze now if you don't fancy the traditional meat-based version.

If you are self catering, head to one of the larger bakeries or supermarkets where there is often a hot takeaway section with lots of wonderful options from stews, vegetables, rice and traditional Cypriot dishes at very reasonable prices.