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Food, Dining, & Drinks in Cyprus

Culinary Influences

Cypriot foot is essentially either Greek Food or Turkish Food. Southern Cyprus is primarily ethnic Greeks and the north is primarily ethnic Turks and the people of the island have done little to alter these already well-established cuisines.

As is expected for a Mediterranean country, more specifically, a Greek and Turkish Mediterranean country, the Cypriot diet has an abundance of olive oil, fruit, fresh vegetables, plenty of fish, plus dips and breads. For more information about the history and influence of Cypriot food roots, please read our pages about Turkish Food or Greek Food.

Staple Foods

Bread: bread is served with nearly every dish, typically a flat bread like lavash

Regional Variations & Specialties

Meze: many small dishes culminating with either seafood or meat dishes; generally included among the dishes are: sauces with bread, cheeses, light appetizers, vegetables, and grilled meats
Souvlaki: pork grilled over a fire

Dining Etiquette

Cypriot Food - Meze
Meze

Dining rules in Cyprus? Well there aren't many. In fact, it's so relaxed your host will most likely still be preparing for the meal when you arrive so offer to help out, it's a great way to start the socialization that is demanded while dining in Cyprus.

The best way to start off your visit is by introducing yourself to every person individually then wait to be shown your seat. The strictest rules are that you should not use your left hand to eat or pass dishes and you shouldn't discuss politics or religion. These topics are a great way to ruin a good conversation in the divided country of Cyprus. Other than these basic taboos to avoid, just relax and socialize; dinner may last well into the night.

Tipping is standard in restaurants in Cyprus. Some restaurants will include a service charge on the bill, but if not, about 10% is standard. In upper end restaurants that cater to foreign, primarily British tourists, tipping is standard and should be on the English tipping scales of about 5-10%.

Drinks

Ayran, a yoghurt-based non-alcoholic drink, is commonly found in Cyprus, Greece and other places in the region. This is among the most original of the beverages in the country as varieties on this drink can be found in both northern and southern Cyprus. Cyprus also offers all the common international drinks, including tea, coffee, juices, soft drinks, and milk.

On the alcoholic side, Cyprus is best known for their brandies and their brandy sours, which are traditionally served with meze. If you want something a bit more familiar, the country offers all the most popular international beers, wines, and hard liquors.

Generally speaking, the tap water is safe to drink in Cyprus, but doesn't taste good; you should still check with locals for any particular regional differences though. Also, many people may have troubles adjusting to the local tap water, as it will most certainly be different from what your system is used to.

This page was last updated: March, 2013