Category: Cyprus

Niazi opened its doors in 1949 in Limassol as a shop serving locals. In 1974, it was relocated to Kyrenia and became a kebab house.

In Europe, you can see everywhere little kebab shops, (döner kebab) it consist on roasted meat cooked on a vertical spit. It can be called Gyro (in Greece) or Shawarma (in Arabic countries). In Europe, it is just called kebab, doner kebab is just one sort of kebab. You can count easily 40 types of kebabs only in Turkey (just to give you an idea).

The kebab is grilled, roasted, and stewed dishes of large or small cuts of meat, or even ground meat; it may be served on plates, in sandwiches, or in bowls.

So when we were in Cyprus, we took few hours off the casinos and went to Niazi. It was the perfect spot for our group of 16 people. When you enter the restaurant, you understand why it is called a kebab house.

The Kebab Bar @ Niazi

The Kebab Bar @ Niazi

You have several tables, and in the middle of the room, there is a very typical old man sitting in front of a giant charcoal grill. He cooks several kebabs at the same time and the waiters serve them to the tables.

In other words, some have sushi bars some have mozzarella bars and Niazi has a kebab bar.

The “Full Kebab” concept is simple: you have several mezes (Middle Eastern tapas) to start your meal and then you chose among different grilled kebabs from the “bar”.

The minute we sat different mezzes came to our table, my favorites were the hummus, the aubergine salad, their own yogurt and also the grilled halloumi cheese (it is Cypriot semi hard cheese made with goat,sheep and sometimes cow’s milk.)

We had Raki to accompany our food. Raki is an anise flavored hard alcohol that goes very well with kebab or fish. It can be called Pastis, Ouzo, Arak, or Sambuca depending on the country where you are in.

Once we finished our mezzes, the kebabs started flying. We had the adana kebab, the kaftas, the meat and chicken skewers, the chicken kaftas, the aubergine kebab and the lamb chops just to give you a little idea.

No need to say we were full and a little tipsy at the end of the evening. Most of the dishes were delicious, and the service was incredible. The best, it wasn’t expensive at all, more money to lose at the casino ;)

Overall it was a great evening. And after seing the other restaurants in Cyprus, I will say Niazi is the place to go. Don’t expect a fancy spot and don’t wear your fancy clothes. It is casual, and because of the inside grill, when you leave the restaurant you smell like a little kebab yourself!!!

In Turkey, the casinos have been banished since 1998. Although gambling destroyed some families, the main reason was on moral grounds and to stop the money laundering.

As there were no legal casinos in the country, people mainly traveled to North Cyprus to gamble. So Cyprus became Turkey’s Atlantic City on a smaller range. You can find big hotels and some of them with their private beach.

During my last trip, we have decided to go to Cyprus for few days. We were a big group of 16 people: our mothers, us and the grand kids. We opted for the latest hotel as we thought it will be the best.

Normally, people are guests of the hotels, meaning they don’t pay their trip or rooms as they spend their days gambling.

We decided to pay everything and not feel obliged to gamble as we were with the kids and all….

A friend of mine organized the shuttle to the hotel; the kids were really excited to get in a hummer limo. I thought that is a great start. It is a nice hotel with a great pool and private beach, but we were not lucky enough to use it as it was raining most of the time.

Cratos Hotel Cyprus - Pool and Private Beach

Cratos Hotel Cyprus - Pool and Private Beach

When they say, never judge a book from its cover, it is true.

The hotel is nicely constructed, but the rest is bad. My first clue was when they gave us bad rooms and the AC of the hotel wasn’t working, the toilets leaking, the bed sheets smelling and with no view whatsoever.

And especially when we called to complain, their answer was that they couldn’t do anything.

Now, maybe I forgot to say, this is a 5 star hotel…

I can write a whole book about how bad was the hotel is, the food and service, but I have to be realist, normally people who go there don’t see their room.

They go on the week-ends; where apparently the AC is on, and they spend all their time in the casino, even eat there, so off course they don’t see the same problems.

The only nice thing was the casino, where the service was great, and the hosts looking for “whales” (a casino whale is a big player) to rob…

Thanks god there were 7 kids entertaining each other, so we did the next best thing, spend our time to gamble…. And to complain about the hotel to the casino staff of course, lol.

My nephew who doesn’t understand what a casino is and who noticed that they were banned from entering; told me that he thought it was a screening room where we kept watching horror movies.

Told him, he wasn’t far from the truth, as sometimes losing your money is like a horror movie.

My niece, on the other hand, did a smart thing, gave me some cash and asked me to play with it and win.

The casino is definitely smaller than the one we are used to in Las Vegas. It didn’t really matter. The girls and I asked them to open a blackjack table, and played all night long.

My only complaint was that they didn’t have a craps table. Later I learned that they had one, but as nobody knew how to play (the casino staff included), they never opened it.
Maybe I should ask them to hire me and teach them how to play.

After 3 days and 2 nights, we have done it all: complained, gambled, gossiped, ate and made sure the Hotel and Casino Cratos will never forget us ;)