I was in Cyprus with my mum and sister last week for a weeks holiday – it was lovely but as always when travelling, the question of ‘what will I eat?’ was at the front of my mind.
The holiday was great in general, we were staying in Pissouri, about a half hour drive from the popular destination of Paphos and we rented a car so getting around the island was easy. We took day trips and went up the Troodos mountains which were lovely – I thought it was like being in Scotland but with the temperature about 100 times hotter!
Before going, I had looked up gluten free restaurants, and the only one which I found mentioned numerous times was one called Pinguino which is on the harbour front. When we went to Paphos we looked for this restaurant specifically so that I could see the gluten free menu I had read about – however we couldn’t find it at all, even after asking a local! It turns out, not finding this restaurant could have been one of the best things to have happened on the holiday as we ended up taking a bus up to the old market part of Paphos and stumbling across a traditional, genuinely authentic restaurant.
‘Laona’ was up a small slope in a cobbled street, with no overly-flashy signs and nothing which shouted ‘tourists should come here’. We sat down, and instead of being shown a menu, we were pointed towards a large chalk board with about 12 options on it, which our server preceded to read out to us, detailing every dish on it. I had downloaded one of the gluten free travel card apps, so I showed the waiter this, and he then listed everything I could have any the few dishes I couldn’t – he clearly knew the food very well which was so comforting. As it was only lunch time, we decided to opt for two main meals to share between the three of us; stuffed vegetables and chicken stew. We were brought bread (at which the waiter apologized to me as I couldn’t eat which showed they cared) and a bowl of salad. When the meals came, they looked fantastic – real food and definitely authentic. The stuffed vegetables were lovely and very fresh tasting, the meat in them was pork and the whole taste of the dish was great. The chicken stew was lovely with the chicken very tender – it was served with both rice and potatoes so we didn’t have to worry about going hungry!
After we had finished the meal, my sister and mum were brought a complimentary slice of cake which they said was delicious, and I was given a plate of watermelon. I really feel they cared for their customers and genuinely wanted us to enjoy our food as opposed to just being all about the sales. All the food came to 18 euros – which for three people is pretty great!
If anyone is visiting Paphos or this area, I would definitely recommend Laona, whether you are after gluten free food or not. They served real, fresh food, and really cared.