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A taste of Cyprus cuisine: Top local dishes to try at MadeForTwo Hotels

Take a moment to think about your next holiday. What springs to mind? You’re no doubt longing for a setting that looks very different from home, where daily reality feels like a distant memory. A good dose of sunshine and easy access to the beach may be high on the wish list. And if you’re after total relaxation, nothing beats luxurious accommodation. But there’s also another intrinsic element to the ideal holiday: the perfect food! Little wonder that travellers gravitate to Cyprus year after year in search of warm local hospitality and the most delicious gastronomic delights served with love.

A riot of colours and flavours, Cyprus cuisine teases the taste buds with a fabulous blend of delicious Greek and Middle-Eastern influences. The culinary offering at the luxurious MadeForTwo couples-only havens in Ayia Napa and Paphos is no exception. Both hotels offer love birds the most authentic taste experience immersed in Cyprus culture, alongside gourmet international fare and flavours from all corners of the world.  And for local food with a twist, look no further than the breezy Fortolana terrace.

The Fortolana menu features an exquisite mix of meze appetizers, sumptuous mains, and an alternative take on traditional desserts. Suffice it to say, all ingredients are as fresh and healthy as can be, sourced from the best local producers and nearby villages.

“Fortolana is not a traditional tavern,” explains Dimitrios Gkogkas, Executive Chef at the Amavi. “Fortolana is about innovating tradition. It’s a hidden garden gem where guests can enjoy an innovative menu. We respect the ancient traditions of the island and give them a new twist.”

Here are some top local dishes to try for a new taste of Cyprus cuisine!

Trahanas with Halloumi

Tangy and irresistibly tasty, no taste of Cyprus cuisine is complete until you try halloumi cheese. Especially when paired with ‘trahanas’. A real local favourite, the sour milk wheat ‘trahanas’ soup is notoriously one of the oldest foods in the Mediterranean. And fascinatingly, it evolved as a way of preserving milk. Now’s your chance to dig into divine sour milk wheat soup mixed in with a few pieces of ‘Pissourkotiko’ halloumi. As the name suggests, it’s sourced from Pissouri village, famed for its cheesy produce. Add a dash of lemon and a sprinkle of black pepper to your soup for an indulgence to remember.

Pork ‘afelia’

Another prized local dish, pork ‘afelia’ is often served on a Sunday in households across the island. The melt-in-your-mouth pork dish cooked in red wine with plenty of coriander is also a foodie favourite. The hearty comfort dish is usually served with yoghurt and bulgur pilaf, but you can now indulge in a different Cyprus cuisine taste experience. Devour this age-old recipe with a real gourmet twist, enhanced with delicious kolokasi (taro) textures and cauliflower.

Ttavas lefkaritikos

Time for your ultimate treat; a melt-in-your-mouth hearty rice stew vegetables with marinated lamb chops served in clay pot. You may not be aware that Lefkaritikos ‘ttavas’ is associated with one of the most beautiful spots in Cyprus, the lovely Lefkara village famed for its lace and silverware.  Fascinatingly, the same ‘ttavas’ recipe has been passed down through the generations, although some Cyprus village folk prefer goat meat instead of lamb.

Beef stifado

If you’re a meat lover after a taste of Cyprus cuisine, beef ‘stifado’ is what dreams are made of. Cypriots have enjoyed a love affair with this slow-cooked beef in tomato sauce and onions for centuries. But the Fortolana chefs have added their own little magical twist. Forget about traditional stew and drive your taste buds wild with this divine fork-tender pulled beef with caramelised onions, served on a bed of new potatoes ‘antinaktes’. In true local fashion, savour the prized potatoes, fried and sautéed with wine and coriander.


You’ll often hear vegetarians rave about this Cyprus dish. The traditional recipe blends fresh local ingredients in perfect harmony to leave you speechless. Tender and flavourful zucchini is the star of the show, topped with a poached egg – a totally soft and creamy taste experience. As with so many local dishes, a final pinch of salt and pepper and a dash of lemon enhances the taste experience.

Anari cheesecake and baked siamisi

No taste of Cyprus cuisine is complete without a sweet treat. Not surprisingly, the Fortolana deconstructed ‘anari’ cheesecake served with orange cremaux is a guest favourite. And instead of cream cheese, it’s made with fresh local mild whey cheese. Light and low in fat, ‘anari’ is the ideal alternative Cyprus cheese for this dessert. Don’t forget to order the ‘siamisi’ either, a local sweet delicacy traditionally served as a soft deep-fried cream-filled pastry parcel. Offering a twist on ‘siamisi’ tradition, the Fortolana chefs have instead opted to bake the semolina-filled pastry in a clay pot. The final touch? A drizzle of syrup to satisfy your sweet tooth!  

Zivania sorbet

Don’t leave the dinner table before you cleanse the palate with an unusual sorbet infused with Zivania. After all, this is one of the island’s most celebrated spirits, made from the distillation of a mixture of grape pomace and local dry wines.Traditionally enjoyed as an ice-cold shot, the creative talents at Fortolana have made a refreshing and unusual dessert with this prized alcohol.  The perfect end to your Cyprus taste experience.

At Cyprus’ idyllic MadeForTwo Hotels, award-winning chefs and sommeliers are dedicated to the most creative gastronomy. Transforming every meal into an elevated dining experience, you can look forward to a culinary affair that surpasses all expectations. And at Fortolana, Cyprus cuisine enters the spotlight in the most satiating and alternative fashion to delight and inspire you. Bon Appétit, or as the locals say, ‘kali orexi’!

All local dishes mentioned above can be enjoyed as part of a signature dine-around experience and the MadeForTwo Hotels’ Half Board Premium programme. Find out more about the Fortolana dining experience today at the MadeForTwo Amavi and Amanti hotels.

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