Experiencing meze in Cyprus is a must experience for anyone visiting this corner of the world. Here’s why…
Two waiters descended on our table at the Esperia Fish Taverna in Agia Napa, balancing full tray. I was about to try meze in Cyprus. In minutes, one little white plate after another was set down before us. Next thing I knew, there was hardly an inch of blue tablecloth peeping through.
Meze in Cyprus
Meze is a Mediterranean type of dish, small plates of savory dishes. I think it can be translated to small delicacies. That night in Agia Napa, I learned quickly that meze in Cyprus may have those small dishes but it is no small affair.
The Cypriot meze dining experience consisted 30 small plates of tasty dips, vegetables and a several small fish and meat dishes.
In contrast to hors d’oeuvres, Cypriot meze can be the main meal itself. It offers any traveler a taste of the Cyprus’ many dishes. Meze is a pretty good value too costing about €17.00 to €20.00 ($ 20.00- 25.00 USD) per order — to be shared by two to three people.
Meze in Cyprus: Those Plates
What will you find on those little plates?
Creamy dips, perfect for fresh bread or pita bread. Cypriots and Greeks actually call them salads:
- Tahini, a smooth and creamy paste made from sesame meal
- Talattouri, cool refreshing mint and cucumber flavored yogurt with a little hint of garlic
- Taramosalata, fish roe blended into a pale pink creamy dip and mixed with parsley, lemon juice and finely chopped onion
- Hummus, an Arabic influenced dish made of chick peas, sesame paste, olive oil, pepper and parsley.
- Eggplant Salad
Vegetable meze include:
- Potatoes in lemon and oil
- Pickled cauliflower
- Boiled beets in olive oil
- Greek olives
- Mixed salad
- Roasted red peppers
- Grilled mushrooms
Wait, there’s more! Check out the selection of meat, fish and cheese plates.
- Loukanika, Cypriot sausages
- Keftedes, Greek meatballs
- Sheftalia, sausage-shaped meat balls wrapped in caul
- Dolmades, vine leaves stuffed with minced meat and rice
- Loutza, smoked pork fillet marinated in red wine
- Grilled fish of the day
- Grilled halloumi, a special cheese from Cyprus – my absolute favorite!
- Feta cheese
The above is just a sample. Each taverna or restaurant should have other special little dishes they offer as well. What always remains the same is that this kind of meal is meant to be lingered over, which is how my friends and I enjoyed it, of course. Every bite was perfect and all shared over a bottle of Greek white wine. Kali oreksi!