The Best Local Foods to Eat in Paphos

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The Best Local Foods to Eat in Paphos

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As I explore Paphos’ enchanting byways, I’m immediately struck by the delicious scents from local kitchens. The city teems with culinary gems, such as the mouthwatering souvlaki skewers and the divine halloumi cheese. Paphos is a treasure trove for food lovers, offering a variety of mouthwatering local specialties that are sure to satisfy food connoisseurs.

Let’s delve into the culinary treasures of this seaside city and discover the local dishes that are the hallmark of Paphos’ cuisine.

In Paphos, each dish tells a story of tradition and flavor. For a true taste of the region, you must try the souvla, a dish where chunks of meat are cooked to perfection on a long skewer over charcoal. Another iconic dish is moussaka, a layered casserole with eggplant, minced meat, and a creamy béchamel sauce, which offers a comforting taste of local heritage. Don’t miss the meze platter, where you can sample a variety of small dishes, including tzatziki, taramasalata, and olives, allowing you to taste a spectrum of flavors in one meal.

The city’s proximity to the sea means that seafood is fresh and abundant. A visit to a local taverna for a plate of perfectly grilled octopus or a bowl of aromatic fish soup can’t be missed. For dessert, savor the sweetness of baklava, a pastry made of layers of filo dough filled with chopped nuts and honey. Each of these foods not only satisfies the palate but also offers insight into the region’s culinary history and local ingredients.

Paphos’ food scene is an exciting adventure for the taste buds, and I invite you to indulge in these specialties that represent the heart of Mediterranean cooking. Enjoy the journey through the flavors of this coastal town, where every bite is a celebration of local culture and gastronomy.


Souvlaki is a delight for anyone sampling the local fare in Paphos. This Greek culinary staple is made from skewered meats, often chicken, pork, or lamb, that have been soaked in a zesty marinade of olive oil, lemon, garlic, and aromatic herbs before being expertly grilled. Paired with soft pita, cool tzatziki, and crisp vegetables, it offers a harmonious blend of flavors and textures that consistently pleases the palate.

The charm of souvlaki lies in its straightforward preparation. The meats are marinated, enhancing their natural tenderness and imbuing them with a citrus-infused flavor that pairs superbly with the smokiness from the grill. The tzatziki, a traditional Greek sauce made from strained yogurt, cucumbers, and garlic, adds a refreshing contrast, while the vegetables provide a satisfying crunch.

Souvlaki is more than just a meal; it’s an experience that embodies Greek culinary tradition. In Paphos, the enticing scent of meat grilling over charcoal is common, luring both locals and visitors to indulge in this simple yet exquisite dish. It’s an essential taste of Greek culture and a testament to the country’s love for good food.

Enjoying souvlaki isn’t just about eating; it’s about embracing a moment of gastronomic joy, whether as a snack on the go or a sit-down feast. Its presence on the streets of Paphos is a vivid reminder of the city’s vibrant life and the timeless appeal of Greek cuisine.

Halloumi Cheese

Halloumi Cheese. Leaving behind the savory delights of souvlaki in Paphos, let’s delve into the captivating charm of Halloumi Cheese. Originating from Cyprus, Halloumi stands out with its distinctive chewy texture and briny flavor. Crafted from both goat’s and sheep’s milk, it boasts a full-bodied, creamy taste.

This Cypriot cheese’s adaptability shines in numerous culinary applications. Grilling or frying Halloumi until it achieves a golden crisp exterior and a melt-in-your-mouth interior is a crowd-pleaser, enhancing its inherent savory qualities.

Incorporating Halloumi into salads, sandwiches, and even sweet dishes adds a surprising twist. Take, for instance, a summer salad: combine slices of grilled Halloumi with juicy watermelon chunks, fresh mint, and a light olive oil dressing for a dish that balances sweet and savory notes beautifully.

For those in Paphos eager to sample Halloumi, local markets and grocers stock it, with the Paphos Municipal Market being a notable source for this and other regional specialties. Furthermore, the city’s dining establishments frequently showcase Halloumi in their menus, allowing residents and visitors alike to savor dishes starring this beloved cheese.

Meze Platter

The Meze Platter, a delightful selection of small dishes, captivates with its variety of tastes and textures. In Paphos, the heart of Cyprus, this assortment of appetizers is a celebrated staple. It embodies the Mediterranean’s bold and varied palate.

This platter encourages diners to share and discover together. The spread often features grilled halloumi cheese, creamy tzatziki, stuffed grape leaves called dolmades, smooth hummus, savory meatballs known as keftedes, and skewered meat or souvlaki. Each morsel delivers an explosion of flavor, thanks to the use of fresh herbs, olive oil, zesty lemon, and aromatic spices.

The charm of the Meze Platter lies in its age-old recipes and fresh, local produce. These authentic tastes celebrate Cyprus’s rich food heritage. The tang of tzatziki and the sizzling halloumi aren’t just food items but represent the island’s history and culture.

For anyone passionate about food or who appreciates a great meal, the Meze Platter is a culinary journey worth taking. It’s a chance to relish the core flavors of Cypriot cooking and the Mediterranean’s finest offerings. So invite loved ones to share in the joy of a Meze Platter in Paphos.


As we delve into Paphos’s regional cuisine, we encounter Stifado, the quintessential Greek beef stew that epitomizes the essence of Cypriot culinary traditions.

Stifado stands out for its robust taste, which comes from slow-cooking beef in a sauce enriched with red wine, ripe tomatoes, and a mix of spices that permeate the meat with their essence. The beef becomes fork-tender, and the sauce develops a complex, savory character.

The unique flavor of Stifado is largely due to the spices used. Aromatic elements like cinnamon, cloves, and allspice lend a sweet and warm fragrance that enhances the meat’s savory depth. This spice blend is key to Stifado’s distinctive appeal.

Paphos’s commitment to local sourcing is evident in Stifado, with beef procured from surrounding farms and tomatoes at their juiciest, ensuring that each ingredient contributes to the stew’s authentic taste.

Stifado isn’t just a meal; it’s a comforting experience. The slow simmering melds the flavors together, creating a dish that satisfies and nurtures. It’s perfect for cold nights or as a fulfilling repast following a day in Paphos.

To truly grasp the rich tradition of Cypriot cuisine, one must savor Stifado. This stew isn’t just a local specialty; it’s a testament to Paphos’s culinary heritage, where food is a celebration of culture and craftsmanship.


Sheftalia holds a special place in the heart of Paphos’s gastronomy, capturing the island’s culinary essence. This Cypriot specialty is sure to delight those eager to explore traditional flavors. When in Paphos, sampling sheftalia is a must for an authentic taste of local cuisine.

These delectable sausages consist of finely ground pork or lamb, blended with chopped onions, fresh parsley, and a proprietary mix of spices, all encased in a thin layer of caul fat. This not only imparts a distinctive texture but also keeps the meat moist as it cooks. Grilling the sheftalia transforms it into a juicy, aromatic indulgence.

For those preparing sheftalia at home, seasoning is crucial. Incorporating classic Cypriot seasonings such as cinnamon, allspice, and coriander will bring your dish closer to what you’d find in Cyprus. It’s also important to moisten the caul fat in water before use to ensure it wraps smoothly and doesn’t stick.

Enjoy sheftalia on its own, or enhance the meal with warm pita bread, creamy tzatziki sauce, and a crisp salad. This meal is a harmonious blend of savory meat, enticing spices, and the chargrilled crispness of the fat, creating a memorable dining experience.


Having enjoyed the robust taste of sheftalia, we can now turn our attention to another culinary gem from Cyprus, the loukoumades. These delightful Greek pastries are essential for anyone visiting Paphos, offering a variety of flavors that cater to different palates. Let’s explore four versions of loukoumades that are bound to delight anyone with a penchant for sweets:

  • Honey Loukoumades: Imagine biting into a golden, crispy dough ball, fried until it’s just right, then soaked in aromatic honey. The contrast between the crunchy shell and the tender center, paired with honey’s natural sweetness, makes this a classic favorite.
  • Nutella Loukoumades: Chocolate aficionados will appreciate this twist on the traditional dessert. Each dough ball is injected with smooth Nutella, fried, and then smothered with a rich chocolate sauce. This combination is a dream for those who can’t get enough chocolate.
  • Cinnamon Sugar Loukoumades: For those who enjoy subtler sweetness, these loukoumades are coated with a mix of cinnamon and sugar. The cinnamon’s warm notes enhance the fried dough, offering a simple yet satisfying alternative to the honey-coated variety.
  • Ice Cream Loukoumades: Combine warm loukoumades with a scoop of cold, creamy ice cream for an indulgent experience. The dough’s crispiness alongside the ice cream’s melt-in-your-mouth quality results in a delightful contrast in both texture and temperature.

Loukoumades, in any form, are an essential part of the Paphos food scene. Whether you prefer the time-honored honey loukoumades or decide to try innovative variations, these pastries are a testament to the region’s rich culinary heritage.


Exploring the culinary delights of Paphos, we encounter pastitsio, a standout dish that captivates with its depth of flavor and homey charm. As a staple of Greek and Cypriot gastronomy, pastitsio fuses pasta, spiced ground meat, and a creamy béchamel to create a comforting baked masterpiece.

The structure of pastitsio involves layers; the base is typically macaroni, which is boiled just until it’s firm to the bite. It’s then combined with a flavorful meat mixture, usually ground beef or lamb, sautéed with onions and garlic, and seasoned with a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg. These spices impart a unique taste that balances savory notes with a hint of sweetness.

The crowning feature of pastitsio is its rich béchamel sauce, a smooth concoction of butter, flour, and milk. When drizzled over the pasta and meat, it forms a delicious crust as it bakes to a golden hue. Each forkful of pastitsio melds the creamy sauce with the savory meat and al dente pasta, creating a symphony of taste and texture.

Pastitsio isn’t just a meal; it’s an experience that connects diners to the heart of Paphos’ culinary tradition. For those seeking the comfort of a hearty meal or wishing to delve into the authentic tastes of the region, pastitsio is an essential dish. Its popularity among both locals and tourists speaks to its status as a cherished component of the area’s food culture.

When visiting Paphos, indulging in this classic Greek pasta dish is an opportunity not to be missed.

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