Eat your way through Polis
Now as I mentioned in my Cyprus blog, we came across so much incredible food and stunning restaurants, cafes and bars that I decided to dedicate a whole blog to them, for all you foodies out there, enjoy.
So, as you may know, we stayed in Polis during our 3 weeks on Cyprus. Polis is a town on the North-west end of the island, sitting on the edge of the Akamas peninsula and is around a 45-minute drive from Paphos airport. I fell in love with Polis for so many reasons, it was such a cute, friendly, charismatic town and one of the very few places on Cyprus that still holds that traditional Cypriot feel.
I have to say that the people in this town were just lovely, we only met kind, happy and smiley people, it was such a warm, friendly place, we felt like we fit in right from day dot.
Saddles Cafe and Bar
Saddles feels like a warm hug, Nick and Helen welcomed us like family from the first night we stopped in. Nothing was too much trouble for them, as most nights there was 5 of us, as soon as we arrived, they would get us chairs all around a table and make sure we were happy and comfy. On cooler nights, the blankets would be passed out and it just felt so homely.
It was around the 3rd night that we stumbled into Saddles and it’s safe to say we spent every night in there for the rest of the 3 weeks. They do the most amazing cocktails – you have the try their frozen strawberry daiquiri and their strawberry pina colada. After a few nights, we didn’t even have to order anymore and Helen and Nick would already have our drinks on the table before we even sat down. Not only were they so hospitable but they were just so lovely, smiley and up for a chat.
The place just has a lovely feel about it, everyone that was in there were regular customers and the vibe was perfect. Everyone chatting, laughing and generally enjoying their time but I guarantee that is all down to Helen and Nick making it such a warm and happy environment that people don’t even want to try anywhere else, as you just know you’d be disappointed.
It was my birthday one Sunday we were there and it had been mentioned in passing, so on the Saturday night we were sat enjoying a few drinks and on the stoke of midnight Helen and Nick started singing ‘Happy Birthday’ and brought me out a slice of cake with a candle. I mean how cute is that, it just made my day extra special, plus the fact the cake was a huge slice of Passionfruit cheesecake, which was handmade by Helen and it was just amazing and so moreish.
Some days we walked along and had breakfast or lunch there, the food was just as incredible as their cocktails. One morning I had a full English breakfast and an iced caramel latte. Everything was spot on, hot, tasty and I just devoured it. My sister enjoyed a fruit, yoghurt and honey bowl and it was all so fresh and delicious.
We enjoyed lunch there also opting for a mojito and I had a halloumi and tomato pitta pocket, I became obsessed with Halloumi during this trip and Helens pitta did not disappoint.
Finikas was a gorgeous surprise, after a lot of taverna and traditional style meals (which we absolutely love) walking into Finikas was like walking into a cruise ship.. the outdoor patio, the water features, the floor to ceiling glass windows, the fine dining feel, even the smell just took me straight back to being onboard in the 5-star restaurants.
The décor inside was just beautiful too, classy and minimalistic instantly making you feel calm and relaxed. The staff there were smiley and kind and nothing was too much. We got to know the owner after a few visits, he was always friendly and on our last night offered us a drink and sat with us for a chat. We were made to feel very welcomed from the 1st night, hence why in our 3-week trip we visited 4 times. Even though the place was so upmarket the price was just as reasonable as all the other tavernas in the area.
The menu was just stunning, there was so much I wanted to try. From everything we tried nothing was a disappointment and the dishes were presented beautifully. I love when a plate looks too good to eat, it makes it even more delicious.
For starters we tried so many but my absolute favourites were the chicken ceaser salad, the spinach pie and the Tzatsiki with pita. Main wise I have so many recommendations as everything we ordered was stunning…. I had a beautiful sea bass dish which came in a thai red curry sauce with rice, it was cooked perfectly and the sauce was beautiful. We also loved the duck breast which came with crunchy vegetable and the most moreish cubed potatoes. Other dishes we loved was the homemade moussaka, spaghetti Bolognese, feta crusted chicken breast and the salmon. And you cannot pay a visit to this place without trying the mojito cheesecake!
The halfway house, me and Tjay visited twice during our stay, it was just a 30-minute walk along the beach from our villa and it was only open for breakfast and lunch. It was a rustic family run place and situated under gorgeous intertwining vine leaves.
The first time we went was actually for lunch on my 28th birthday! It was actually the first time I’ve ever been away for my birthday and spending it in the sun, by the sea, eating and drinking incredible food was the best way to spend it!
So on my birthday lunch we were greeted by a lovely lady who took our order and brought our food, she was so kind and had a lovely energy, very smiley and nothing was too much for her. After seeing some of the portions we decided on just some olives and garlic bread to start, which was the right choice as our meals were huge and my god, they were delicious. We couldn’t make a decision so we ordered the halloumi and sheftalia pita and the BBQ pork ribs and shared them between us. The pita was perfect so much so that when we visited again the following week, I ordered the same thing as I enjoyed it so much, it came with a huge fresh salad and was just so tasty. The BBQ pork came with salad and chips so we stuck a few chips into the pita and it was just the icing on top. There was so much more on the menu that we wanted to try, I can see why this place is so highly rated.
Pas to kima
Pas to kima was one of our favourites for many reasons. The first being its prime location right on the beach with a long wooden pier that seated you right above the water. We spent many nights there enjoying a glass of fizz, listening to the waves lap the shore underneath us and watch the sky turn from blue to a burning fire or orange and pink as the sun disappeared beyond the horizon. We’d then order and enjoy a delicious meal while the stars started to peek out and shine down.
The location was my favourite and so was the place I chose to spend the evening of my birthday and many nights after that! I think we ate here 5 times in total and each time it was just as perfect. We would order an array of starters ranging from pita and dips, halloumi, village salad and vine leaves and we were never left disspointed! I had 2 go too meals here – the freshly caught and grilled seabream which came with gorgeous vegetable and chips and the spaghetti Bolognese, simply stunning, I loved every bite!
The staff at pas to kima is what really makes it special though, another family run place where you can see they all put their heart and soul into making it a warm, friendly and happy place. The owner was local to the area and he was so lovely, always with a big smile and his family were all just as lovely. He always had time to stop and sit for a chat, even when they seemed really buys. One night he joined us for a drink and kept bringing us jugs of his home – brewed white alcohol (it was a kind of raki, but stronger – if that’s even possible) and he gave us a bowl of fresh raisins to eat after each shot.
On some Saturday nights they have live music and Greek dancing, we were desperate to go and it just so happened the night they were having live music was also the night Liverpool played Chelsea in the final. Meaning we would miss the start, the day before we asked if we could still come and eat and join in after the meal, of course he said it was no problem to arrive around 9pm…. Not knowing the game would go to extra time and penalties… we arrived running to the restaurant where he already had us a table ready and our favourite wine poured. We enjoyed another lovely meal and then he asked the man to play more live music for us since we were in high spirits from Liverpool winning, when Zorba the Greek came on, we just had to get up and dance. Well, we tried too, at least we provided some entertainment. We were so bad that he got his daughter to dance with us and show us what to do. I have lovely memories there, if you’re in the area you have to stop in.
Taverne Parea was another lovely place to eat in the village! We ate there our first evening as my parents had been out exploring the village that afternoon and the owner enticed them over with a free shot! As soon as we walked in the shots were lined up, poured and on your table before you’ve even settled, it warmed your core! The first trip to this place was a cooler evening and the large fire pit was lit in the middle of the restaurant, it was cosy and warm and I instantly felt at home! All of the staff were so lovely and smiley, just wanting you to be happy and have a good time.
My favourite beef stifado was in this place, it was so tender and the red wine sauce was just delicious, I could have eaten it every night but I love to mix things up. Also, I have to mention their Mezze, it was beautiful and just kept coming! We were first delivered a huge fresh village salad, with toasted garlic bread and an array of dips (tzatziki, hummus, garlic potato, olives and more) a picky starter like that is always my favourite but this was nothing compared to what we had to come. After came a plate of halloumi, sausages and a roasted ham slice’s, along with a. huge mountain of chips. On top of that they brought the most beautiful cous-cous and a plate of yummy meatballs. Afterwards we also received a plate of grilled vegetables mixed with a scrambled egg and some stuffed artichoke flowers. They were so different to what I’ve ever tried before but I absolutely loved them, they were oven roasted and stuffed with the same rice mix that they use for gemista! Just when you think you couldn’t eat anymore we were brought chicken souvlaki, pork ribs and also sheftalia meatballs. In my mind I was feeling Joey needing Phoebe’s ‘thanksgiving pants’ … “Here come the meat sweats”. For dessert we were served a plate of fresh fruit and a whole plate of the most lovely and light baklava. To say we were stuffed was an understatement, but we thoroughly enjoyed everything and chose a perfect place to enjoy T.jay’s last night on the island with us.
Platea meze house
In Cypriot meze means “little delicacies” and can consist of up to 20-30 different small plates of savory dips, vegetables, a wide range of fish and meat cooked in several different ways.
Now I know I’ve just told you how amazing the meze was previously but this place was just incredible! We of course went for their specialty here and all ordered the meze. We enjoyed beautiful red wine, in a warm and friendly atmosphere before starting our tastebud journey.
So, for starters we were brought a huge traditional Greek village salad, equipped with bread, olives and 5 different dips. It was fresh and the bread was warm, it was so perfect after our long day out exploring the island (more of that in my Cyprus blog)
Now what was brought next was one of the most delicious things I ate the whole 3 weeks we spent there…. Grilled Halloumi in a honey and lime dressing! It was sensational and spurred me to add honey every time I make halloumi now, the combination is something else! Along with the halloumi came stuffed mushrooms, now I’m not the biggest fan of mushrooms but my family could not get enough of them.
Pork souvlaki, chicken souvlaki, a mountain of chips and a plate of sheftalia followed, all were absolutely delicious and obviously by this point we were starting to get full, knowing there were a few more courses to come I opted out of the lamb kleftiko that followed and waited for the homemade moussaka. It was beautiful, I wish I had more room left in my stomach as I only managed a small piece but the food here was of a very high standard and you could tell everything was homemade and made with love. To finish us off we were bought a huge plate of fresh fruit and of course more wine.
One afternoon me and T decided to walk along from Polis to Latchi harbour, it was only around an hour all in all and was a lovely walk, mainly along the front. By the time we arrived we were more than ready for lunch so thought we’d stop to eat. We chose Restomare Latchi and were given a lovely table by the harbour’s edge, under a big parasol. It was such a lovely and romantic setting and is probably what attracted us in. Latchi being a bigger town with a harbour, obviously made it much more expensive than Polis but it was nice to try something different.
We ordered a bottle of lovely white wine from the local winery, which we liked so much we bought some from the supermarket to enjoy back at the villa. While enjoying our wine we watched the local fisherman come back to port and start to clean their catches.
The food for what we paid was a little disappointing. we opted for sardines to share for starters, they were lovely but only 4 on the plate.. in the past when I have ordered sardines we have had a whole plateful. For mains we had a vegetable ravioli which was nice and a chicken wrap with came with Dorito crisps. Considering the price we were expecting a nice salad with it and a bit more taste but to sit with a bottle of wine and relax watching the world go by, its perfect.
Island beach bar
The island beach bar was such a lovely experience, we had been on a boat trip to the blue lagoon (read my other blog – 3 ways to reach the blue lagoon) and after coming back we fancied a drink in Latchi before heading back to the villa. We were drawn in by the holiday vibes, reminding me of bars id been too in the Caribbean, with a nice wooden terrace, it seemed perfect.
We just stayed for cocktails but they offered food that looked nice too, wed had a huge bbq on our boat trip so were stuffed. I had a frozen mango daquiri and it was stunning, tjay had a bloody Mary and really enjoyed it too. All of our drinks were lovely and the staff were so nice and friendly, deffo a perfect spot for an afternoon cocktail or two.
Christos Karouzis restaurant
Now from the outside you wouldn’t know this restaurant was here. We came twice during our stay as the first visit we loved it so much. It’s kind of hidden away in a side street from the main strip of Polis but we had read about it and heard great things so had to go and check it out!
It was so quaint and typically Greek/Cypriot inside. It had such a friendly and family feel about it and the owners were so lovely straight away. The first thing I loved about this place was the wine came in big, beautiful crystal vases, I love little extra touches like that.. not to mention the wine was absolutely gorgeous.
We ordered a Greek salad, grilled garlic bread, olives, hummus, halloumi and warm divine pitta to share and start and it was so nice we ordered exactly the same the second time. I had my absolute favourite dish here (both visits) – Gemista!
Most places I’ve ordered this (except in Maki’s in Crete, where I discovered my love for it) I’ve been disappointed. But here the gorgeous rice stuffed pepper, tomato and aubergine were on a par with the dish that made me fall in love. Everyone else loved their dishes, ranging from souvlaki to moussaka – it was all delicious.