Just tucked to the right of the harbour next to the tiny Ayios Georgios Church, in Ayia Napa is this 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 ‘Agapi’ The Cockatoo, he’s part of the family, a lovely touch, and btw, Koulla and Demitris are absolutely fabulous hosts!
A little Romance
Outside the terrace is enchanting, slightly covered with a modern yet traditional design roof, partially covered by mature trees, partly with umbrellas and partly uncovered alfresco style … the little old church in the limelight of the view over harbour approach with the harbour and sea as the backdrop, beautiful at sunset.
Living for the Table
Over a delicious Fresh Nespresso Cappuccino, Koulla told me; “I meticulously, worked as a chef for 25 years for a local fish taverna, the old Marcos Restaurant, and my dad helped me to achieve my dream to open our own place in 2009”. She continued, “So, I named the restaurant ‘Isaac’ after my dad”. Whilst head chef Andreas, has been with them for 14 years, boasting experience gained at a well-known happy kitchen at Blue Spice in Pernera, he told me “We cook it for you, how we’d cook it for our family!”
Try & Taste
Demitris explained, “Most of the crew have been here for many years and they’ve tried all the dishes, so they can tell you exactly what each dish is like, how it’s cooked and what it’s 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 always enjoyed fabulous food and excellent service, and tbh it’s just got better as this now well-oiled team provides Cypriot hospitality at its best. Serving you traditional Cypriot cuisine just like their yiayia made, some of the recipes are in fact Koulla’s yiayia’s oh, and trust me the fresh fish meze is absolutely to die for … even the cod and chips are delicious, so I’ve lost count how many times I’ve been back over the past 14 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 tahini and tarama dips, olives and various fish in fish vinegar marinade with their fabulous fresh homemade bread.
There’s More …
The second course soon follows; Seafood Rice, Octopus in a delicious homemade wine sauce, shrimp, and mussels in creamy garlic sauce. Then, hot off the charcoal grill; Sea bream, Octopus, Kalamari, Cuttlefish and Prawns … followed by shallow fried; Baby Kalamari and Kalamari rings, Whitebait, Marida, Gopa, and my absolute favourite Baby Crab and Prawns … btw, make sure you go 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 massive … Their Greek Dancing Group was just fabulous, 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’s every Wednesday night in the summer … Check out my live video on Cyprus Night … In the winter months, enjoy The Good Old Swingsters a wonderful Trio playing your favourite classics.
Snacks from their farm
Isaac Tavern is a lovely place to stop off for a quick snack with tempting choices to suit everyone, my favourites include 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 homemade seafood pizza or a choice of fresh 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 creamy garlic sauce amazing … one of their signature dishes, the freshly made Fish Soup, with fresh vegetables, a mix of different fish, and herbs, no fish stock is used and the results always absolutely amazing … and don’t worry they make at least one alternative soup of the day … the asparagus Mmmm! … oh and, you really must try the ‘Fried Leek’ Omg!!!
This traditional tavern takes great pride in its Cypriot kitchen, and its chefs create some of the best local dishes including an awesome Moussaka, Kleftico cooked fresh daily for 6 to 8 hours in traditional ovens, so too the Pork Afelia and Beef Stifado, sometimes nicer if its yesterdays 😉 … oh and do check out their Long Stayers Menu …
On the Grill
In Cyprus, we think the best way to cook meat is on a grill over real charcoal so choose a Pork or Chicken Souvlaki, Miked Kebab, with Sheftalia or on their own, absolutely amazing huge Pork Chops, just 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, so order one and maybe add a few side dishes 😉
A locals’ favourite coz its traditionally Cypriot, with fish available by the kilo. Just choose your favourite catch from the fridge, starting with the tasty shallow fried Whitebait then maybe 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! Add half a dozen fresh live Oysters, that should get you in the mood 😉 … Followed by Fresh Lobster, Grilled Octopus, Fresh Calamari, Baby Calamari, and Grilled King Prawns, I love the Prawns on a Skewer souvlaki style, and be warned; the Hercules Mussels are just so Moorish … but if you want a taste bud explosion, try the Prawns in Passion Garlic Sauce omg! they’re 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 their own menu here but Koulla is happy to downsize any meal for the little’ns or granny, and the nippers have a lovely little 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, available by the glass, carafe, or bottle. Highly recommended are Keo Xynisteri Dry White, and I think a perfect seafood compliment, the Dry Rose by Kyperounda or if you’re eating meat the Ayios Efraim Dry Red … oh, and if you fancy something fruity, do try their freshly blended Sangria in Pitchers, Mmmm !!!
If you can leave room for a dessert, my faves here are the Hot Lava Cake or The Walnut Cake with a lovely fresh Nespresso coffee or the top-selling Strawberries & Ice cream … If you’re full up, pop in tomorrow afternoon for your coffee and something naughty 😉
Parties & Events
It’s a favourite place to hold your wedding reception, birthday party, or christening party to wet the baby’s head. 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 and have a look at their Corporate Video, which should convince you to give them a try, PS, tell Koulla I said hi 😉 and get a selfie with Agapi.
Open All Year
Daily: 10 am ’til 12 midnight
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, it’s 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 Google Map below …
GPS: 34.982125, 34.001228
Traditional with Unique Final Touches!