Ayia, Ayia, Ayia Foodin’ Napa!

My annual Cyprus vacation was a lot more interesting this year. For starters, my sister had two kids instead of one! My mom and dad were one year older than last year – that’s a lot of tolerance and patience lost at their age, compared to 2013! But instead of complaining with my never-ending negativity, I decided to share with you some of my dining highlights from the trip. (Apologies for the poor the quality of some of the images. The lighting conditions were quite challenging!)

1. Mangas (Ayia Napa coast):
This is your typical Greek/Cypriot tavern overlooking the seafront. Fresh fish and seafood are caught and supplied everyday. It was the night I first arrived, so the fish was all gone. Nonetheless, I managed to order some classic Cypriot tapas and meze to taste.

Arugula Salad with Pomegranate.
Vibrant, crisp, tart and the olive oil
drizzle just adds a whole extra virgin
level.

The Mousakka was really good.
A creamier version of the classic
Mediterranean dish (Mesa2a3a).

My Lamb Kleftiko was an absolute mass of juicy
tenderness. And the side vegetables were
cooked to absolute perfection.

2. The Brewery (Protaras coast):
By far one of the best places to dine and drink. The Brewey combines both; the good food of a fine restaurant as well as the hip spirit of a cocktail bar! Aside from the regular barbecue menu, they have a Klosterbräu menu; featuring a special barbecue sauce that is enriched with the famous Swiss beer.

Mido Eats! (More like Mido ‘stuffs his face!)
Another Arugula Salad with
sun-dried tomatoes
and Parmesan.
The family appetizer sampler.

And this… Is all I ever wanted to eat
every single day. Klosterbräu BBQ
Back Ribs.. Legendary!


3. Sage (Ayia Napa square):
The absolute and ultimate pinnacle of my gastronomic experience in Cyprus this year, will have to be Sage. One of the most sophisticated fine-dining restaurants I have ever been to. Again, apologies for the poorly lit images. The lighting was very atmospheric!

First, we were presented with a complimentary, silky smooth Cream of Mushroom Soup in an Espresso cup. That sure did set the tone for what was to come.
I ordered an oyster to satisfy my craving for this pristine shellfish, which I haven’t had in almost a year – since my last visit to Cyprus. It came on the most elegant of plates on top of some crushed ice with a muslin wrapped lemon wedge on the side. So sexy!
The Asian inspired ham-wrapped Confit Duck with Teriyaki sauce was sophisticated in both presentation and taste.
My main, was the gorgeously light seared tuna wrapped in fresh herbs and crushed pepper, on a bed 
of Wakame, baby spinach, pine nuts and sesame seed salad. Accompanied by a dollop of Wasabi cream cheese and soy ginger. The fish was slightly overcooked for my taste, but seriously, all in all, the dish was a spectacular medley of Japanese fusion delicatessen.
Last but not least, the Panna Cotta with Blackberry sauce was indeed the pièce de résistance for me. It was classically perfect. And again, the decoration on the plate was just like

I was eating off a Christmas tree. They even had a fork stencil of coco powder sprinkle on the edge of the plate. So much care and attention put into every drop of food that comes out of the kitchen.

While I never thought that Cyprus would be the world’s culinary capital, I was quite impressed with a lot of what I ate this time. Greek and Cypriot food is definitely a unique niche of Mediterranean cuisine worth exploring. If you go there, don’t forget to try some Greek yogurt, too. It’s an absolute delight, that will make you feel like you never had yogurt before the day you tasted it.

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