Just tucked to the right of the harbour next to the tiny Ayios Georgious Church, in Ayia Napa is a delightful traditional Cypriot fish tavern … Isaac is a family-run restaurant … inside traditional tavern-style, lots of wooden beams, blue table cloths, comfy seating, kids play area and of course, fish tanks with live lobster, fresh oysters and mussels, fridges stacked with ice presenting the freshest of fresh fish and seafood straight from the harbour … Oh and I just love ‘Agabi’ The Cockatoo, he’s part of the family, a lovely touch, and btw, Koulla is an absolutely fabulous host!
A little Romance
Outside the terrace is delightful, slightly covered with a modern yet traditional design roof, partially covered by mature trees and about half of it uncovered … the little old church in the limelight of the view over harbour approach with the harbour and sea as the backdrop.
Living for the Table
Over a delicious Fresh Nespresso Cappuccino, Koulla told me that she had meticulously, worked as a chef for 25 years for a local fish taverna, the old Marcos Restaurant, and her dad had helped her to achieve her dream to open their own place in 2009, so she named the restaurant ‘Isaac’ after her dad. Whilst head chef Andreas, has been with them 11 years, boasting experience gained at a well known happy kitchen at Blue Spice in Pernera, he told me “we cook it, how we’d cook it for our family” …
Try & Taste
Koulla explained, most of the crew have been there for years and they’ve tried all the dishes so they can tell you what it’s like, how it’s cooked and what its served with, so seriously, you’re really in for a wonderful dining experience …
Keep going Back
I had the pleasure to eat here more than a few times when they first opened and was always happy to enjoy good food and excellent service, and tbh it’s just got better as this well-oiled team provide Cypriot hospitality at its best and traditional Cypriot cuisine just like their yiayia made, some of the recipes are in fact her granny’s, oh, and trust me the fresh fish meze is to die for … even the cod and chips is brilliant, so I’ve lost count how many times I’ve been back over the past 10 years … even occasionally grabbing a takeaway after a boat trip from the harbour.
Fresh fish meze of course, served in four courses, and seasonal, so with slight variations but for starters they served a nice fresh cut village salad, with tahinee and tarama dips, olives and various fish in fish vinegar marinade with Pitta bread. The second course soon follows; Seafood Rice, Octopus in a delicious homemade wine sauce, shrimps, mussels in garlic sauce. Then, hot off the charcoal grill; Sea bream, Octopus, Kalamari, Cuttle Fish and Prawns … followed by shallow fried; Baby Kalamari and Kalamari rings, Whitebait, Marida, Gopa, baby crab and prawns … btw, make sure you’re hungry!
Recently, Koulla invited me to try their fish platter on their weekly Cyprus Night with a traditional Cypriot dance group … I’m so glad I went there hungry because the fish platter was big … Their Greek dancing just awesome, traditional, right down to the famous glass tower dance, this guy is amazing, and when they get everyone up to join in its totally unique because of this perfect location, outside, with the little church as a backdrop and all of harbour approach is your dance floor with many passer-byes stopping to see what’s on … brilliant! btw it every Wednesday night, regulations permitting.
Snacks from their farm
Isaac Tavern is a lovely place to stop off for a quick snack with tempting choices to suit everyone … my favs their salads, with most of the vegetables, freshly picked from their own allotments every day … other must-tries are their burgers, fluffy omelettes, sandwiches and the homemade seafood pizza or a choice of pasta…
Hot & Cold Starters
Too many to mention the Isaac Platter a selection of dips and pitta bread a must, the Mussels or King Prawns in Garlic Sauce amazing … the freshly made fish soup, with fresh vegetables, a mix of different fish, and herbs, no fish stock is used and the results always amazing … and don’t worry they make at least one alternative soup of the day …
This traditional tavern prides its Cypriot kitchen and their chefs create some of the best local dishes including an awesome Moussaka, Kleftico made fresh daily, so too Pork Afelia and Beef Stifado, sometimes nicer if its yesterdays 😉
On the Grill
In Cyprus, we think the best way to cook a grill is over real charcoal so choose a Pork or Chicken Souvlaki, Miked Kebab, with Sheftalia or on their own, huge Pork Chops, absolutely amazing Steaks, grilled to your taste or covered in your favourite sauce … if you can’t make your mind up try the mixed grill, oh, btw it’s big enough for two …
A locals favourite coz its traditionally Cypriot, with fish available by the kilo from the tasty shallow fried Whitebait and fresh Red Mullett, Sea Bream, Sea Bass, Marida and even good old British Cod … You must try their unique Braised Fish Fillet with Creamy Saffron Sauce … or the Boned Grilled Swordfish and Salmon …
Let’s start with their unique Seafood Lasagne omg! … half a dozen fresh live Oysters should get you in the mood 😉 … Followed by Grilled Octopus, Fresh Calamari, Fresh Crab, Fried Baby Calamari, Grilled King Prawns, I love the Prawns on a Skewer souvlaki style, the Hercules Mussels just Moorish … but if you want a taste bud explosion, try the Prawns in Passion Garlic Sauce omg, just to die for … oh, and as I said earlier, the Sea Food Platter is like a mini fish meze, and just wonderful! …. and Isaac let me into a little secret; there’s a new menu coming soon!
The kids have got their own menu here but Koulla is happy to downsize any meal for the little’ns or granny … and the nippers have a lovely play area within the restaurant …
Behind the Bar
Just about everything that could possibly accompany this extensive menu … from a freshly squeezed orange or carrot juice to a really good scotch … beers and ciders and non-alcoholic cocktails for the nippers … btw, they mix a wicked Mojito, with fresh mint from their garden.
There’s an extensive selection of wines in their cava … highly recommended are Tsangarides Xynisteri Dry White, and the Marathefiko Shiraz Medium Dry Rose or the Ayios Efraim Dry Red … oh, and they sell freshly blended Sangria in Pitchers … mmm !!!
You must leave room for a dessert, my faves here the Hot Lava Cake or The Walnut Cake with a lovely fresh coffee
It’s a favourite place to hold your wedding reception, birthday party, christening party to wet the babies head … So just give Koulla a call to chat about your ideas and leave the rest to them … oh, and check out their reviews on Trip Advisor
Open All Year
Daily: 10 am ’til 12 pm
Kitchen: 11.45 am ’til 11 pm
All Credit Cards Accepted
You’ll find Isaac Tavern at 38 Arch Bishop Makarious III Avenue, aka Harbour Approach, its set over to the right of Ayia Napa Harbour, next to the tiny Ayios Georgios Church and adjacent to the spacious municipality car park so no probs parking nearby … See map below …
GPS: 34.982125, 34.001228
Traditional with a few unique final touches!