Griva Digeni (Jacovides building at Milano traffic lights), 22024400, LEFKOSIA (NICOSIA)
Food: [rating:3.5] 3.5/5
Service: [rating:3] 3/5
Ambiance: [rating:3] 3/5
Driving by an ex car showroom that is about to turn into a bar/restaurant occupying almost 4 blocks, the first thought that came to my mind was “what kind of a massive, impersonal, one-of-the-same place will this become?”
Despite its inappropriate location (in the center of the busiest and most noisy street in Nicosia) and its large size, the owners have managed to turn it into a trendy, buzzy bar/restaurant, great for dinner with friends, a date, drinks with nibbles or even a late night party. What is even better is that we can finally say for a restaurant, despite it not being a taverna, that it is relatively cheap and with good value for money.
The space outside includes a long bar, sofas and high tables (everything in the colour black), and it is used mostly for drinks and nibbles. The trendy and elegant space inside is split into a restaurant and another long bar. I went on a Wednesday that was less busy, so we managed to enjoy our dinner in a buzzy environment but were still able to have a conversation. When I returned on a Friday night it was, unfortunately extremely noisy and busy almost to an annoying level, and a point worth taking into consideration if you are planning your weekend dinner there!
The food menu is relatively short but in a good way, offering a selection of salads, platters-to-share, meat, pasta and fish dishes. The rocket salad was fresh and tasty and finally with normal balsamic vinegar rather than the sweet glaze that Cypriots tend to love, while the lettuce salad with dried figs was equally fresh and delicious, both of a decent size. The quinoa salad even though a good idea was rather tasteless, but nothing that can’t be fixed with a little bit of lemon. The mini burgers and the lamb dish were both quite good, well-cooked and full of flavour. The only dish that was in effect very average was the pesto tagliatelle as they were overcooked and very neutral. We all agreed that Mr Periklis (yes, the all time famous Roussounides), offers fantastic meat dishes and salads, but has to improve his pasta. Most of the dishes we had were around 8€ each, which I thought was fair compared to 14€ that others charge. Steaks (including Black Angus and Wagyu) are around 20€, which is understandable assuming the beef is of a high quality. Another observation in their favor is that the red bottle of Tselepos Driopi which is usually 50€ plus, Mamasita offered it for 40€ something, which I also thought it was a good sign.
All in all: quite good value for money for a very modern and buzzy bar/restaurant appropriate for any night of the week. Reservations are recommended.
I returned on a Friday a couple of weeks after the above review. The food quality remained high and the value for money was still good but it was extremely noisy and busy that definitely made me re-think Mamasita’s inclusion in our weekend options for dinner!