Restaurants & Bars

Cyprus Jun 2015 review - rather long....

lecker | Jun 18, 201503:43 AM     1

10 days just isn’t enough to try all the dining options available in Cyprus, and if you order a mezze meal, it’s enough food to last a day or two. In no particular order, these are the places we tried.

Neon Phaliron in Lemesos - Big restaurant with fresh fish on display. My husband and I split a regular village salad and then he had the lamp chops and I had the fresh grilled fish. The fish was delicious, light and well cooked. The portion sizes are pretty large so it’s definitely a place that is ideal for a table of four diner who are open to trying different things and sharing dishes. I originally wanted to order the grouper but there was no way that my husband and I could have managed the grouper on our own.

Art Cafe -Polis -Stopped here for a cake and coffee after driving through the Akamas National Park. Plenty of outdoors seats in the shade of the garden, quiet, English and German magazines to peruse, a fun little section dedicated to the little diners in families. Did not try the lunch options as we were still full from our meal at Viklari the last castle, but someone next to us was eating a salad that looked fresh and tasty.

Tried to dine at the Argakiko Cafe & Grill on a Sunday but they were closed, as was the Art Cafe, so we stopped at the only open restaurant on the coastal road just outside Polis. I can’t remember what it was called but it was full of British diners eating their Sunday roast. My husband had one of the roasts. When it’s so hot and humid outside, the thought of eating a roast does not entice me, so even though I was rather hungry, I had a salad and dessert. I felt a bit rueful that we had driven to Polis instead of into the hills. Oh well.

In Polis, I wanted to try Old Town, but we just didn’t have more meals available.

7 St. Georges Tavern - Paphos. Lovely courtyard and very friendly owners/son, who explained everything including the mulberry trees in their courtyard and the bats that feed off the plum tree adjacent to it. Because there is no menu, we just told him that we didn’t have any allergies and he proceeded to bring out endless amounts of food. Because this was one of our early meals in Cyprus, we weren’t prepared for so much food. Everything was thoughtfully prepared and delicious. But at one point, we said we couldn’t eat anymore and he insisted that we had to try the goat. He promised to bring us only a small portion but when he brought it out, it was big enough to feed a family of four. Of course, we buckled down and ate it. I’m not a big goat meat fan, but if I were, I would probably have liked it. My husband loved it. We washed everything down with couple carafes of their red and white wines. Throughout the meal, we were easily entertained by the family of cats roaming between the table legs looking for scraps. The son indicated that the cats keep the snakes and rats away. Our tab came to about 34 Euro. What a deal! Our meal for two with drinks was cheaper than many places in London for one and the quality was so much better too. Bear in mind that if there are lots of full table, it can take a bit for the food to arrive. If you're in a hurry to eat and run, this isn't the restaurant to try.

Muse-Paphos. This restaurant is more scenery than food focused. It sits on a prominent hill overlooking the city and sea beyond. It’s a gorgeous setting and crowded with a healthy mix of locals, tourists, expats. The food was average, nothing earth shattering. I’d probably go there for drinks or a cocktail and then head elsewhere for food. Service is very quick and fast.

Viklari the last castle - about 20 min north from Paphos, enrollee to Akamas National Park. We arrived around 11:00 after a brief sojourn down to the gorge. The chicken and pork were roasting on the spits but they told us they wouldn’t be ready for another hour. When an elder gentlemen came out to welcome us, we opted to have a Cyprus coffee while enjoying the breeze under the grape wines shading their terrace. He spoke a bit of English and we talked a bit of the gorge, the view and the grapes. The view from there to the coastline was worth an hour’s wait. And when the meal was finally served, I was pleasantly surprised at how juicy, simple and delicious the meats and salads were. My husband ordered the pork and I ordered the chicken and both were delish. The tangy village salad that accompanied it was probably from their own big garden by the side of the restaurant. If you go, be sure to get there after noon or get there early like us and enjoy the quite view and serenity before the other diners arrive. Many of the tables were already booked for 1 or later so if you’re going with a big group, it might be worthwhile to call ahead and book a table. There is plenty of parking so you don’t need to park below and walk the last few hundred meters in the scorching sun, unless of course, you have been eating too many good meals and think that a little bit of walking will help you feel less guilty about eating another meal so soon. We drove and I refuse to feel guilty about it.

Two Friends Tavern Pissouri - We tried this one because it got such ‘amazing’ reviews on Tripadvisor. I didn’t think it was anything resembling amazing. It’s just a tavern with a view, geared for expats or tourists. Food was edible but nothing of special note. Wine was fine and drinkable. When we got there, the restaurant was packed and the servers were running around crazy. After it settled down, the owner came over and apologized for the hasty service and then when we asked for the bill, he offered us some luscious libations for the road. We thought that was very generous and sweet. I guess that allowed us to walk out with a sweet taste.

Kastro Restaurant-Pissouri Bay - The food, service and wine here was great. Although we were tempted to try the daily fish, we opted for meats and they did not disappoint. We liked the red house wine so much that we asked for the name and decided to visit the winery. The restaurant is located in the quiet, sleepy bay, away from the main drag of the bay.

Cleopatra Lebanese -Lemesos. I thought I could eat Greek food everyday, but after a few days of it, I needed a break. We went here for lunch and ate hummus with lamb, fatoush, tabouli, shish, and lamb with rice. Everything was delicious. I am still thinking about the delicious fatuous salad with the sumac/pomegranate dressing. I loved it, but my husband preferred the tabouli.

George Chris Restaurant - Lefkosia. This is a local meat place. We were the only table of foreigners. The rest of the tables were full of local business men in suits in groups of three of four eating shish, souvla, etc. When we first drove up and saw all the large, high end cars parked out front, I thought it would be an upscale place, but it wasn’t. I guess all the cars belonged to the business men inside. It’s an open kitchen on one side and dining tables on the other. One waitress spoke a bit of English and she helped us with the order. Food was fresh and tasty, but it was primarily dishes of meat, bread, village salad, plate of cut lemons.

We only had time for one meal in Lefkosia so after lunch at George Chris we were heading back through the city to the motorway when I spotted a cute little shop selling macarons. I drove around the block so we could grab a few for the trip back to our hotel. It’s called ak mAKaron on Mpoumpoulinas. Certainly not the best, but I was shocked that a dedicated macaron shop would exist in Cyprus so, if you’re there and craving a bit of sweetness and you’re wanting a change from the Cyprus donuts and sweets, it’s certainly an edible option.

Ariadni -Vasa. We did a smallish mezza for dinner. Lots of cats scurrying around under an endless line of food. The food was well prepared and Ariadni was helpful and nice, but I wasn’t swept away by the food quality. If you go, bear in mind that Google Maps is wrong. If you’re following Google Maps, you’ll end up in the small village and the restaurant is definitely not there. The restaurant is not within the village of Vasa, it sits just outside of it. There’s graffiti on their sign so you may miss the signage. If you go during the day, maybe it’s easier to see. We went for dinner and had to phone them from Vasa so they could help us find it. They do not speak much English. Parts of the restaurant are inside/outside.

Pithari Tavern - Aphrodite Hills. We had dinner here one evening. This is what I don’t understand about ‘resorts’ that offer a local cuisine restaurant where the food is mediocre at best. I’ve had better Greek food outside Cyprus than at this restaurant. Staff was very nice. But, unless you are staying the Aphrodite Hills and on their halfboard plan, I wouldn’t make an effort to eat here.

Zimi Pizzeria - Aphrodite Hills. Because it’s the low season, the restaurants at AH alternate on which nights they are open. This was the only other restaurant besides Anoi pub that was open the evening we arrived. We had dinner here. The staff was very friendly and helpful. The lasagne tasted more moussake-ish, but it was well balanced and flavorful. The Zimi pizza was okay, but nothing that I would say you need to eat before you die.

Anoi pub - Aphrodite Hills. Again, no need to make a trip to eat or drink here. If you’re stuck here, then their Anoi burger is decent and edible (get it without the fried egg). If you order the Caesar Salad, ask for the dressing on the side, unless you prefer a little salad with your dressing. Otherwise it’s just caked in dressing. Great service, all the staff were very friendly, enjoy comical.

Clubhouse - Aphrodite Hills. Breakfast was blah. We tried it once and decided to buy our own provisions for breakfast or eat elsewhere. Their fresh squeezed orange juice, however, was fresh, delicious and a little addictive. Having grown up without any fruiting trees, seeing the ripe oranges everywhere we drove on the island was very cool.

Kolios Winery
This was the bigger of the wineries we visited. We booked the day before to have lunch and the food was surprisingly varied and delicious. If you want to make a day of it, book lunch with a tour of the winery. Lunch was 20 Euro per person which was on the more expensive side of the meals that we had had, but I guess they factor in the wine tastings and tour into the price. They claim to be the highest winery in the Paphos region and has a beautiful command of the valley and mountains around it.

Tsangarides Winery
Met the owner’s father who helped us sample their reds. He had quite a few organics and we ended up purchasing too many bottles of Maratheftiko, Mataro, and Muscat. This is a small winery, in a cute stone house.

Vouni Panayia -
This winery looks more commercial and modern. There is a restaurant attached but we did not go into that part of the building. We went into the reception portion and sampled their reds and a few whites. We ended up purchasing some of their Promara and Maratheftiko and another one that they just bottled and which had no labels yet. I can’t remember what the grape was. The friendly salesperson who helped us offered us coffee after our wine tasting and purchase. We sat outside in the sun, enjoying the view of the valley below, and she brought our our Cypriot coffee, some biscuits and fresh cherries. Very nice service.

Gala Art -on the B8 in TrimiKlini
As we were driving through the Troodes areas, which we found beautiful and a nice departure from Paphos, we stopped here for a break of Cyprus donuts, pastries and strong Cyprus coffee. It’s a largish bakery with a few other odds and ends, freshly squeezed carrot and orange juices, and some prepared foods that the locals stopped by to purchased. Fortunately the salesperson spoke a bit of English and we ordered a bunch of fresh pastries. Our favorite was the tahini pastry. Not sure what it’s called but who would have thought a tahini pastry would be so delicious and perfectly sweet, not to sugary. They have a shaded veranda where we sat outside, listening to the birds, enjoying the view and eating our post-break meal while the local Cypriot men, who were sitting at the next table, eyes us cautiously. Everybody in Cyprus seemed so curious to ask where we were from and the fact that they did not made me assume that they did not speak a lick of English. However, a smile is universal and that’s how we communicated.

Paphos Flower/Food market- It was watermelon season so we purchased our first of many watermelons here. The Cyprus melons are so big, juicy and delicious. I have never seen such big melons and round in my life. As we drove from Paphos up to Lefkosia, there were plenty of stands or trucks by the road selling watermelon and cherries. We ate watermelon and cherries everyday of our trip. Yum!!

Papantouiou supermarket - Large, big supermarket to pick up yogurt, milk, cereals and fresh fruits/veg. And any other provisions like sunscreen, shampoo, etc..that you may have forgotten.

Carrefour- great place to pick up ziplock bags and trash bags to pack up all the wine we purchased. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any bubblewrap.

If we were to return to Cyprus, we would probably revisit 7 St. Georges, Cleopatra Lebanese, Tsangerides winery, and Gala Art, and then try some other restaurants.

Fresh Fish at Neon Philiron

Chicken Shish at Muse

Roasted Pork and Chicken, salad and chips at Viklari

Lamb covered rice at Cleopatra Lebanese

A few mezzes at Kolios winery

Vouni Panayia wines

Lamb chops at Kastro Restaurant

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