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Mountain tavernas in Cyprus

By Natasa Georgiou

The snowy landscape and the flowing rivers make for a magical atmosphere in Cyprus’ mountains. There is no better season to plan a trip in our mountain villages, to enjoy tasty meze and local wine in authentic taverns.

Neraida

One of the oldest taverns in Foini, located next to Diarizos river. A comfortable, family environment with two fire place. It serves strictly Cypriot cuisine and rich meze such as starts, salads, cold and hot dishes and fresh legumes from the garden of Mr. Demetris, the owner. We really enjoyed the Foini tavas, cooked in a clay pot and the grilled trout with lemon and oil sauce and garlic. For dessert, you really have to try the Foini loukoumi. They also offer gluten-free options.

Demou Irodotou, Foini, 25421680, Monday-Sunday 12:00-17:00

Mezedes tis Marias – To Korineon

This tavern is located in one of the most beautiful wine villages of Limassol with a rich cultural tradition. It is a warm space, equipped with a fireplace and a nice view of the surrounding area. The owner is always friendly and happy. It serves food cooked on the grill on weekdays and Cypriot meze on Sundays. Among other dishes, you can enjoy tasty koupepia, afelia and juicy and crisp souvla. You will fight with your company over the incredible keftedes and the makaronia tou vournou with the velvety smooth cream and a distinct taste of cinnamon.

Koilani, 99608196, Monday-Sunday 13:00-22:00

John’s restaurant

A simple restaurant for meat lovers. The portions here are generous and the meat always fresh. Village sausages, juicy souvlakia and pork chops, tasty shieftalia, lamb chops and masterfully cooked chicken which can feed two people on its own. On Sundays they serve souvla and kleftiko accompanied by homemade chips or oven-baked potatoes. They also serve local trout and dishes of the day.

Faneromenis 103, Pano Platres, 22421840, Saturday-Sunday 12:00-19:00

Eleni’s restaurant

Chances are, if you haven’t eaten here before, then you’ve never heard of this place. Located in a beautiful location, between the pine trees in Troodos camping area, this restaurant can accommodate only 30 people, something that makes reservations necessary. The menu always changes depending on Ms. Eleni’s mood. The food here is not the usual tavern food as you will find avgolemono soup with trachanas, forest mushrooms with onions and wined meat with potatoes. In winter, the restaurant operates weather permitting, so it is better to call first.

Troodos camping area, 99349782, Saturday-Sunday, 12:00-16:00

Oraia Ellas

Located in a majestic 1763-built house in picturesque Vouni, for 22 years now, Oraia Ellas serves Greek seasonal meze. Besides the meze, on Saturdays you can try treats such as bouyiouri cooked in a clay pot, politiko kebab and salmon with herb sauce and cream. On Sundays they only serve meze, of which the highlights are the lamb with parsley, the fava, the spetsofai, the famous burger of Mr. Giannis and the pork with oven baked potatoes. They also serve a large variety of vegetarian and vegan dishes and cheese. No words can describe their orgasmic chocolate cake with ice cream and the ekmek kataifi. Reservations necessary.

Ellados 3, Vouni, 25944328, Saturday 12:30-16:00, 19:00-21:15, Sunday 13:00-17:00

Ariadne Taverna

Ms. Ariadne needs no introduction. Here it is guaranteed that you will enjoy a tasty and filling meal with all the meze “usual suspects” in a large, traditional space at the entrance of the village. Souvlakia, shieftalia, halloumi, sausage, keftedes, koupepia and souvla, as well as fasolaki with meat, potatoes with coriander, tavas, soups and legumes and of course the now-famous cheese-stuffed zucchini blossoms. Make sure you save some appetite for the pourekia with anari.

Vasa Koilaniou, 25944061, 12:00-20:00 (closed on Tuesdays)

Lychnos

The stable, the warehouses and the cellar of a traditional 200 year old mansion have been transformed into a super chic place, with the elegance of the past, ideal for Sunday lunches with your friends. Based on meze philosophy, with many small dishes, with no fixed menu, it gives its customers the opportunity to design their own menu. It offers traditional options with a twist such as baked halloumi with tomato, pork, lamb and beef pouches in the oven and village macaroni with wined mince and a sauce made with fresh seasonal ingredients. In their cellar they host a large variety of Cypriot wines.

Michail Koutsofta 1, Askas, Saturday-Sunday, 11:00-14:00

Agrino

An unusual gastronomic experience. A creative menu in a very classy environment. It offers set meze menu on weekends (differs between Saturday and Sunday) which is comprised by a bread basket, soup, 4 dips, 2 salads, 4 starters, 2 main dishes and dessert such as orange pie and apple kataifi with mastic ice cream. We really liked the avgolemono soup with giouvarlakia, the tachini with capers, the beetroot with walnuts, the fresh salad with rocket, apple and goat’s anari, the oven-baked ravioli with cheeses and the slow-cooked lamb with potatoes and rosemary. The vegetarian pastitsio with aubergines and mushrooms is a must. Reservations necessary.

Lofou, 25813712, Monday-Sunday, 13:00-21:00

To Palio Cinema

A friendly environment, with a rustic decoration and a big variety of well-cooked Cypriot dishes. The menu changes depending on day and season. You can try agrelia (asparagus) with eggs, stuffed vegetables, lamb liver with tomato and handmade ravioli. On Sundays, don’t miss out on it’s famous kleftiko. Also a must, is the chicken, marinated in olive oil and herbs and the lamb shank baked in a wood-fired oven which is only available for groups of 10+ people on pre-orders.

Markou Drakou 40, Kalopanayiotis, 99130275, Friday 13:00-17:00, 19:00-22:00, Saturday 19:00-22:00, Sunday 13:00-17:00

Ta fanaria tis Maroullous

Since 1973, Maroullou has been cooking Cypriot dishes with love. One of the island’s most famous taverns, with unchanging quality over the years. The menu is a la carte and contains options such as pilafi, artichokes stuffed with mince, mushrooms and zucchinis with bechamel. If you are feeling adventurous try the lamb’s head and the rabbit with onions.

Kykkou Nikiforou Avenue, Palaichori, 22642349, Monday-Sunday 11:00-24:00 (closed on Tuesdays)