Can you imagine holidays in Northern Cyprus without tasting traditional cuisine? For every holidaymaker this means definitely an inseparable adventure as tasty Cypriot food represents a part of the unique culture.
North Cyprus is literally studded with restaurants ranging from the authentic Cypriot cuisine serving, which offer very good value for money, to the fashionable restaurants like French, Chinese or Indian. In humble Çorbaci (Soup House) the visitors are served a truly ethnic cuisine. Prices in the restaurants vary accordingly.
Lying on the crossroad of the three continents, the Turkish-Cypriot cuisine has been influenced by different cultures throughout history, owing most of its heritage to Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influences. Many dishes vary from region to region making North Cyprus a marvellous place to eat. The finest restaurants are, however, found in and around Kyrenia.
Each dish has a specific taste and is well presented reflecting the Cypriot character. Molohiya, Arab in origin is a well developed dish appealing to Cypriot taste, preparation and presentation. A few Cypriot dishes: yalanci dolma (vine leaves stuffed with rice, onions, and tomatoes); shish Kebab (marinated lamb, skewered and grilled over charcoal); mousakka (layers of mince, potatoes, and aubergines baked in the oven with cheese topping).
Local dishes are delicious, particularly the meze. This is a specialty of Cyprus and consists of a large number of cold and hot hors d'oeuvres such as different salads, meats, vegetable, and fish dishes. It is taken either as an appetizer or a main course. Among the two most served meze dishes are grilled haloumi cheese and sigara borek (feta cheese rolled in filo pastry and deep-fried).
Turkish coffee, which is a part of everyday life across Northern Cyprus, has been introduced to the West by the Ottoman Turks in the fifteenth century. It is very popular all over the world today and is preferred as a delicacy in most fashionable circles. The secret of making Turkish coffee is that the coffee beans are ground into a fine powder and then it is cooked together with sugar producing a thick cream on top. Turkish coffee is served in small coffee cups in three ways, called sah-de, which is unsweetened, ortah, which is moderately sweet, and shekerli, which is very sweet. One is always asked before the coffee is brewed which of the three one would like.
It is mostly in bigger towns of North Cyprus, like Lefkosia, Kyrenia or Famagusta where fast-food and take-away restaurants are located, some of them also providing home delivery service.
Besides a long chain of restaurants, there is a wide range of bars in North Cyprus to suit all tastes, serving local beers, brandy, and also imported alcohol. When in North Cyprus make sure you taste raki, originally the Turkish alcohol flavoured with anise.
Some restaurants serving European dishes will show a service charge, if not 10% is common. Although not expected, hotel staff, waiters and guides do appreciate a small gratuity.