Onasagorou 35, 22663199, LEFKOSIA (NICOSIA)
Mon-Sun 12:00-15:00, 19:00-12:00 (except Monday lunch)
When I was told about a new Italian restaurant opening on Onasagorou street in the old city of Nicosia I was rather happy. Reasons for my content included:
1) my love for Italian food (pizzas, pastas, ice cream… you name it);
2) the fact that I don’t think there are enough good Italian restaurants with authentic pizzas and pastas in Nicosia and finally;
3) because I am waiting for the time when the old city becomes the cultural and entertainment centre of Nicosia, hence I am very eager to support any restaurant, bar or café that opens in the area.
Fortunately Tavolino did not disappoint, but rather the exact opposite!
On the pedestrian street of Onasagorou, simple, casual and modern, it offers anything from authentic Italian pastas, delicious wood oven pizzas, and inviting Italian meat dishes.
Even though not so obvious, I thought the menu was well thought of, without any Italian spelling mistakes or weird pasta combinations. As far as the food was concerned, there was a small but right antipasti selection including cheese and salumi as well as my favourite “prosciutto e melone”, which was excellent, even with the melon was the local yellow, rather than the Italian orange. The rocket salad was fresh, and, as I have a serious issue with the amount of balsamic vinegar (and what is worse, balsamic glaze) that is being used in Cyprus I was particularly pleased when they brought the balsamic vinegar and olive oil separately.
Even though we remained quite satisfied the best was yet to come. The tagliatelle al pesto was quite good (and came as a massive portion), perfectly al-dente with the right amount of pesto. The spaghetti carbonara was excellent and finally not in a fresh cream soup (the carbonara a-la-Cyprus) but with pancetta, egg and parmesan cheese. Finally, both pizzas (the prosciutto and mushroom, and the rocket with tomatoes), were a big hit and a must-try being the right thickness, with all ingredients brought directly from Italy. I am sure using a wood oven with a turning pizza pallet for the pizzas helps as well.
It is also worth noting that, apart from the fact that all the ingredients come from Italy, the chef was scouted and brought to Cyprus from south of Rome specifically for Tavolino, and also supervised the creation of the rich and authentic Italian menu.
The ambiance is quite simple with a more modern feel rather than the traditional “trattoria” décor that I expected (which could have been more appropriate on that particular street). Fortunately there are a few tables outside where one can enjoy their pizzas while watching the diversified crowd of Onasagorou street walk by.
Price-wise I thought it was quite decent as all the pastas and pizzas were between 8€-13€, and we ended up paying 24€ each with starters, mains and a drink each (for a total of four people).
Fortunately we all left quite satisfied with our dinner at Tavolino, as it is a cute, quite fair value-for-money restaurant and most importantly serving fantastic and authentic Italian pizzas.