An interview with the proud Cypriot
Who are you?
I am a Cypriot girl, born and raised in Nicosia in the early 80’s who now (sort of) splits her time between Nicosia and Limassol after 10 years of studying and working in London.
Is this your main field of study and profession?
No, I actually studied Economics in London School of Economics and Quantitative Finance and worked in an investment bank for 5 years in the City of London. I am now back in Cyprus and hence, the creation of Cypriot and Proud. I also lived in Milan for one year, hence my love for Italian food.
What led to Cypriot and Proud?
I used to love trying new bars and restaurants in London and actually spent more time reading websites and blogs about travel and London lifestyle than doing my actual work (my ex-colleagues would be happy to confirm). After my arrival in Cyprus in mid 2011 I realized there was no reliable and complete guide for the island so I decided to create one, not because I think I am a better judge than everyone else, but because I thought others could have the same problem as I did. Another reason is partly because I wanted to share all these amazing places I have been visiting around the island. I write everything and take all the pictures myself but I have a couple of other friends and family who help me out with the site (whom I thank immensely).
Do you let restaurant and other owners know about Cypriot and Proud while you dine there?
No, I go anonymously and pay for everything as a normal customer, but I do let them know about the website at the end of the meal. If anyone disagrees with what I write or with being on the website I am happy to remove them but usually they tend to like it as it is publicity for their place.
Did you dine in all the restaurants and go to all the bars and clubs you include in the site?
No, only wherever I have pictures and comments, and of course where I include C&P stars. I try to go to as many places as I can but my friends and boyfriend, as typical Cypriots, want to go to the same places every time because, as they say “ why take a risk and not go somewhere we know we like?”. Clearly not my opinion.
What do you like most about Cyprus?
I absolutely love the mountains and agrotourism, and I actually think there are a lot of good restaurants in the countryside that we don’t know about. I try to visit as many as I can and spread the word!
I also love the beach and don’t understand why there aren’t more places with a seaview. It is all coming together lately even though we have a long way to go.
What do you hate most about Cyprus?
The fact that everyone tries to be something they are not, including a lot of restaurants and bars, leading to overpriced and pretentious food. It is impressive that in some places we actually pay London prices for an average meal. Nobody expects Cyprus to produce Michelin star restaurants so people should stop trying to do it because clearly its not working out! I also hate the fact that chefs here think more is better (even though I love that in Cyprus if we don’t have leftover we didn’t order enough).
What is your favourite restaurant on the island?
Very difficult question, I actually have a favourite for every type. For tavernas I love the casual, local ones, 3+1 for takeaway kebab, Bastione for ambiance, il Bacaro for wine (all in Nicosia). I also love “5 Efkaliptoi” in Limasssol (casual taverna), Columbia Steak house for the best steak in Cyprus and quite a few agrotouristic tavernas all mentioned here. There are a lot more places compared to 10 years ago, even though the best ones in my opinion are still the traditional ones and of course, the “magiria” (where I have my lunch almost every day).
What is your favourite cuisine?
Apart from my origins, Italian and Japanese.
What is your biggest guilty pleasure as far as food is concerned?
Cheeseburger with a fried egg on top, triple fried chips on the side with lots and lots of ketchup.
Who did your webdesign?
A massive thanks to Optikaz who I also like to call, “the solution maker”. Another big thanks to Maria Christina Papaleontiou (architect, jewellery designer and creative thinker all together) who did my banner and logo.
Why is it in English and not Greek?
Mainly to be used by tourists as well as locals. We do have plans to have the Greek option as well sometime in the future.
Finally, where do you see Cypriot and Proud going?
I don’t think its main purpose is to be a database or yellow pages for Cyprus nightlife, but more about spreading the word about good places. I also prefer the website to be interactive where everyone can add their own comments but also suggestions.