Not many places in Cyprus take you on a journey to the days of old quite as spectacularly as the island’s villages, and you certainly won’t get the chance to enjoy sumptuous feasts in traditional style anywhere better than the island’s quaint and rustic village taverns. Taking you back to the times when village folk flung open their doors and cooked over bubbling hot pots for travellers from near and far, My Cyprus Insider takes you on a journey to some of the cosiest village restaurants for a taste of yesteryear!
Located in the beautiful village of Pelendri on the slopes of the Troodos mountains, Symposio beckons crowds from around the country, serving delicious traditional Cypriot food in a warm, cozy environment, with a roaring fireplace to keep you warm in the colder months. The produce used is always as fresh as can be, and the owners take great pride in serving dishes with seasonal vegetables, grown from their own land.
The meze feast is typically Cypriot — be sure to try their homemade ravioli, their selection of mushrooms, and of course, the ever loved kleftiko: lamb or pork slow cooked in a traditional wood oven, served with oven cooked potatoes. Feeling lazy after the feast? Symposio also offers accommodation, right above the tavern. Stay the night and wake up to delight the palate all over again with a Cypriot breakfast. If you loved their cuisine and want to cook these dishes at home, you’re in luck as the Symposio gang regularly hosts cooking classes specializing in traditional Cypriot cuisine.
Where? Pelendri village, Limassol district. Tel: (+357) 99-404348
2. Ayia Anna Tavern
An otherwise unassuming village, the Larnaca-district village of Ayia Anna is best known for its fabulous namesake tavern. Within an old home, Ayia Anna Tavern boasts a real traditional Cypriot flair, with items that were used in everyday life 100 years ago hanging on the walls (from harvesting tools to bread making boards). And if that isn’t enough enough to convince you that you’ve travelled back in time, the owner greets guests dressed in the traditional ‘vraka’, while sporting a huge moustache.
The foodie feast is dished up in traditional style; one meze dish after another, until you’re about to burst. The feast always starts with a great bowl of soup (usually ‘avgolemoni’, an egg-based soup with lemon) to prepare your taste buds for what’s next. We love the way that all food is served in traditional clay bowls and house wine is served in a clay pitcher. After the soup, prepare for Cypriot staples: kebab, sieftalies, souvla, asparagus with eggs, and many other delights, including the traditional snails for the brave at heart!
Where? 1 Andrea Agnooumenou, St, Ayia Anna village, Larnaca. Tel: (+357) 22-532500
3. Takis’ Tavern
Heading out on a day trip in the Larnaca district? Make a beeline for the village of Vavatsinia and drive straight to Takis’ Tavern on an empty stomach — a family run business that dishes out traditional, quality Cypriot cuisine to those in the know!
Mr. Takis starts things off with a traditional Cypriot appetiser, toasted bread slathered with olive oil and oregano, followed by salads and a host of meze dishes, including pork kebab, souvla, lamb chops and thinly sliced fried Tarot — a perfect chips dish that complements all the condiments served. Takis always finishes off his feast by serving the traditional ‘pourekia’, small sweet fried pastries guaranteed to take you heaven.
Where? Vavatsinia village, Larnaca district. Tel: (+357) 24-342780