Cypriot Cuisine

Cypriot cuisine is a unique blend of Mediterranean flavors, influenced by Greek, Turkish, Middle Eastern, and other regional cuisines due to the island’s history and location. This gives it a part-island vibe with plenty of lighter plates to share as well as lots of traditional meals steeped in history.

About Cypriot Cuisine

Some key characteristics of the food culture in Cyprus include:

  • Fresh Ingredients: Cypriot cuisine places a strong emphasis on using fresh and locally sourced ingredients. Vegetables, fruits, herbs, and seafood are often picked at the peak of their freshness.
  • Olive Oil: Olive oil is a staple in Cypriot cooking. It’s used for cooking, dressing salads, and even in some traditional desserts. Cyprus is known for producing high-quality olive oil.
  • Grilled and Roasted Meats: Grilled and roasted meats, especially lamb, are prominent in Cypriot cuisine. Souvla (large chunks of meat cooked on a skewer) and souvlaki (small pieces of meat) are popular dishes often enjoyed at gatherings and festivals.
  • Halloumi Cheese: Halloumi is a unique Cypriot cheese that has a high melting point, making it suitable for grilling or frying. It’s a crucial ingredient in many Cypriot dishes and is often served as a standalone appetizer (absolutely delicious).
  • Meze: Meze is a style of dining in which a variety of small dishes are served, encouraging sharing and socializing. Meze can include a range of items, such as dips, salads, grilled meats, and seafood.
  • Dips and Sauces: Cypriot cuisine features a variety of dips and sauces, such as tzatziki (yogurt, cucumber, and garlic dip), tahini (sesame paste sauce), and taramasalata (fish roe dip).
  • Local Herbs and Spices: Herbs like oregano, thyme, and rosemary are commonly used in Cypriot dishes, adding depth and flavor. Spices like cinnamon, cumin, and coriander are also common.
  • Traditional Pastries and Sweets: Cypriot desserts often feature a combination of nuts, honey, and phyllo pastry. Some examples include baklava, which is a layered pastry with nuts and syrup, and loukoumades, which are deep-fried dough balls drizzled with honey.
  • Traditional Dishes: Some traditional Cypriot dishes include moussaka (a layered dish with eggplant, meat, and béchamel sauce), kleftiko (slow-cooked lamb with herbs), and afelia (pork cooked with red wine and coriander seeds).
  • Influence from Various Cultures: Due to Cyprus’ history and location, its cuisine has been influenced by various cultures, including Greek, Turkish, Middle Eastern, and Venetian. This fusion of culinary traditions has led to a diverse and flavorful cuisine.
  • Wine: Cyprus has a long history of wine production, and local wines are often enjoyed alongside meals. Commandaria, a sweet dessert wine, is one of the world’s oldest named wines and has been produced in Cyprus for centuries.

As an island in the Mediterranean surrounded by other food-loving countries, dishes from Cyprus are often a melting pot of delicious flavors.

Is Cypriot Cuisine Healthy?

Cypriot cuisine is known for its Mediterranean influence, which often includes a variety of fresh and locally sourced ingredients. Many elements of Cypriot cuisine can be considered healthy due to their emphasis on whole foods, vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins. But, like any cuisine, it also includes dishes that are less healthy if consumed in excess.

Here are some aspects of Cypriot cuisine that are generally considered healthy:

  1. Fresh Vegetables and Fruits: Cypriot cuisine often includes a wide range of vegetables and fruits, which are rich in vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber.
  2. Olive Oil: Olive oil is a staple in Mediterranean cooking, including Cypriot cuisine. It’s a source of healthy monounsaturated fats and antioxidants.
  3. Lean Proteins: Grilled or roasted meats, such as chicken, lamb, and fish, are common in Cypriot cuisine. These can provide quality protein without excessive unhealthy fats.
  4. Legumes and Beans: Dishes containing legumes and beans, like lentils and chickpeas, are part of Cypriot cuisine. They are good sources of protein, fiber, and various nutrients.
  5. Nuts and Seeds: These are often used in Cypriot dishes and provide healthy fats, protein, and other nutrients.
  6. Herbs and Spices: Cypriot cuisine uses a variety of herbs and spices for flavoring, which provide health benefits.
  7. Whole Grains: While white bread is consumed, whole grain options like whole wheat bread and bulgur are also part of Cypriot cuisine, providing more fiber and nutrients.

Here are some aspects of Cypriot cuisine that might be less healthy if consumed in excess:

  1. High Salt Content: Some traditional Cypriot dishes have high salt content, which could contribute to health issues if consumed excessively.
  2. Processed Meats: Certain traditional dishes include processed meats or cured meats, which can be high in sodium and saturated fats.
  3. Pastries and Sweets: Traditional desserts and pastries can be high in sugar and unhealthy fats.
  4. Fried Foods: While not a staple, some Cypriot dishes involve frying, which increases the calorie and unhealthy fat content.

Like all cuisines, Cypriot cuisine has both healthy and less healthy aspects. But enjoying the variety of fresh, whole foods, and typically more modern recipes provides a balanced and healthy diet.

Want to learn more about the Mediterranean diet? Check out this helpful guide with 10 Reasons Why the Mediterranean Diet is the Best for Your Health

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By Course

A bowl of greek tzatziki.

Dips & Sauces

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Appetizers & Sides

A pan of Greek chicken thighs with roasted vegetables.

Dinner & Mains

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Dips and Sauces

A bowl of greek tzatziki.


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Olive Tapenade

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Yogurt and Cucumber

Tapas & Sides

Lountza with Vegetables

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Kolokasi with Coriander

Halloumi Saganaki

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Dinner and Mains


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Cypriot Desserts


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Soutzouk Loukoum

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