Eating out has become quite the lavish treat, and a recent undercover survey by the Consumers Association spilled the tea on Cypriots splurging on pricey dining experiences.
Between May and September 2023, mystery shoppers sent by the consumers association hit up restaurants all over the island, giving them the once-over. They rated the prices, vibes, and overall dining experience.
Their findings were a bit jaw-dropping. The CCA’s secret diners had to reach deep into their pockets to settle the tab after a meal.
According to the data, restaurants are charging up to a whopping €4.95 for a bottle of fancy table water (750ml to 1500ml).
And when it comes to munchies, in Limassol, pork souvlaki takes the crown at a princely €15.50.
Chicken souvlaki reigns in Larnaca at €9.50, the most lavish salad title goes to Limassol at €11.35, and the grand meze course, you ask? A regal €23.70, once again in Limassol.
Calamari can set you back €16.00 in Paphos, prawns at a fancy €17.50 in Famagusta, and salmon is playing in the big leagues at €36.00 in Limassol.
Washing it all down is also a pricey task. Soft drinks in Paphos are sipping at €2.82, and beer (can or pint) in Limassol is partying at €7.
According to the Cyprus Consumers Association, some eateries are cutting corners on both the quantity and quality of the grub to keep costs low.
As the survey reports, restaurants are dishing out non-traditional halloumi, skimping on the salad’s fancy bits, and sneaking in seed oil into your olive oil.
Out of 42 parameters for the survey, 12 had a thumbs down. The highest percentages of “meh” responses were for not walking guests to the exit (76%), not clarifying drink choices (64.5%), and failing to explain the special menu (51.5%).
On the flip side, the gold stars were for neatly summing up the order (96.5%), having a detailed invoice (95%), and promptly bringing the bill (94%).
The CCA said the main issues come down to restaurant owners and staff needing a bit more schooling.
They’re suggesting a collaboration between the Deputy Ministry of Tourism, restaurant associations, and consumer groups for a bit of a foodie education.
In a nutshell, they believe that dining spots are a vital part of our tourism scene, and a little education could add to the island’s hospitality experience.
They CCA hinted at carrying out the survey again next year to see if things get even fancier.
The research was funded by the Ministry of Energy, Trade, and Industry, and partially by the CCA’s own piggy bank. The took a dive into the world of dining establishments, from May to September 2023, making pit stops at 200 eateries in the free areas.
The CCA survey scoped out 42 points, randomly selecting spots from the Ministry of Tourism’s dining registry. The evaluations included 56 establishments in Nicosia, 44 in Limassol, 43 in Larnaca, 41 in Paphos (including Paphos town and the surrounding villages), 7 in Polis Chrysochous and Latsi, and 9 reviews in Famagusta (Paralimni and Protaras). Ayia Napa was not included in the survey.