When we went to Paphos we made sure to make time for plenty of eating. You can't travel to a big city in a new-to-you country and not try all the food you can, right? Well, at least we can't! This stop was at a cafe right along the Mediterranean Sea!
We were nearing the end of day when we made it back down by the harbor and all the shops and restaurants around the area. We weren't super hungry but we didn't want to leave the city without trying at least one more new thing. When we turned the corner and spotted the Ideal Cafe, we couldn't pass up a place with such a great name. One quick glance at the menu and we knew what we were getting!
At first we wanted two things - the Halloumi appetizer (it's becoming a slight obsession of mine) and they had a crepe named after Aphrodite that sounded amazing. Unfortunately when we went to order we were told they were out of strawberries that day, apparently a key ingredient in the Aphrodite. So we switched gears and decided to try something under the "Cyprus Dishes" section - the grilled shieftalia with french fries and salad. The view from our seat was amazing (see above!) but we didn't get to enjoy it for too long because our food came quickly!
We started eating and it was pretty good. Turns out shieftalia is a sausage of some sorts. It's shaped into little rolls and cooked until it the outer part is crispy (something I love) and the inside is still tender. We were happily chomping away when our waiter came by to see if we needed any ketchup, mayo, brown sauce (can't remember what he said that was) or anything else. Instead of picking one, Joel asked the waiter how he eats shieftalia. His eyes lit up and he was super excited to show us. First he grabbed the olive oil on the table and doused the meat with it. Then he gave it a generous serving of salt and pepper. Then he told us to "Wait! Don't eat it yet!" and he hurriedly left the table. In no time he returned with lemon slices and squeezed those over the meat as well. Then with a flourish he told us to "eat!"
He waited expectantly to see what we thought of it... and it was so good! We thought the shieftalia was good to start with, but this just took it to a whole new level! The brightness of the citrus combined with the smooth olive oil and the extra seasoning, it was excellent. All of this leads me to one of my favorite travel tips...
Travel Tip: Eat Like the Locals Do (aka When in Rome)
A big temptation for many Americans when traveling is to find food that is familiar and stick to what we know. But if you are willing to expand your taste buds a bit and try something new, I promise you will have amazing experiences! One of the easiest ways to do this is to ask your server at a restaurant what they eat. Joel will often let the server completely place his order so he can be surprised by it. Even if you pick your own entree, like we did this time, be sure to ask your server how they eat it! If we hadn't asked we never would have known this amazing way of eating shieftalia that took our experience up a notch.
This tip can even work if you aren't traveling - try it in your home town at a restaurant you frequent! We used to eat at Perkins after a game night every week with friends, and Joel always let the waitress order for him. Using this technique he got to eat some incredible things that weren't even on the menu!
So what about you? Have you ever asked your server what to order or how to eat what you ordered? It might feel a bit awkward at first but we find 99% of people are more than happy to share about what they love! If you give it a try come back and let us know how it works for you!