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Limoncello Deli-Bar

Agios Antonios market, Evgenias & Antoniou Theodotou 1, 70009787, LEFKOSIA (NICOSIA)
Mon-Sat lunch, Wed-Sat dinner
Food: [rating:4] 4/5
Service: [rating:2.5] 2.5/5
Ambiance: [rating:3] 3/5
Unfortunately for us Cypriots, the street market concept is not as developed as it used to be in our country. Yes there is the OHI square market in Nicosia every Wednesday and Saturday (which is fantastic), there is also the old Town Hall meat market in Nicosia which unfortunately is closing down and finally there is the old Agios Antonios market, which has recently undergone a major restoration. We admit that some of the buzz and vibe has been lost post restoration in the Ayios Antonis Market, however what came out of it is a more modern and young feel, and of course, the new gem, Limoncello.
Despite the fact that its name is Italian, Limoncello Deli Bar, in addition to dishes with Italian influence offers a selection of international dishes. The fact that it also offers one of the richest delicatessen selection in the capital is a major plus, as one can enjoy a more relaxed “cheese and wine” evening or afternoon.
After having been there for lunch I thought that the restaurant is at its best during the day. I changed my mind last week though when I went for an early Thursday dinner. It is still inside the Agios Antonios market, with tables between the food shops. The candle light together with the closed food shops gives it a very strange feeling which I would think is like the feeling one might get when walking on New York’s fifth avenue at night: it might be closed now but merely a few hours ago you would think you were in a football stadium. The truth is that the market is actually pretty quiet during the day but we don’t know that when we are having our dinner inside the market!
The menu is short and changes often, just the way I like it. Apart from the platters there are usually 2-3 types of bruschettas with innovative combinations like snails with truffle oil (and yes they are delicious). There are also a couple of pizzas on the menu and a good selection of salads, as well as 2 main courses.
Our robiola cheese, bresciamella fresca and truffle honey piadina, (one of my favourite type of Italian “sandwiches” that is in fact a flat pancake-like bread filled with any ingredients one would like), was truly excellent with the soft robiola cheese giving a soft and mild taste to the piadina with the truffle oil making the taste even more intense. Our gorgonzola, caramelized pear and walnut salad was equally delicious. The combination is in fact one my favourites, even though I don’t like anything sweet or fruity in my salad I love the combination of the robust taste of gorgonzola with the sweetened taste of the pear and the balancing effect of the walnut.
Finally we had to have the burger as the owner and idea generator of Limoncello is a proud lover of burgers. He has in fact travelled around America searching for the best burger! It was indeed excellent and was worth every cent of the 11€. It consisted of a perfectly flavoursome USDA beef patty, a thick and spongy brioche bun and home-made hand-cut fries. The truth is I don’t personally like onion preserve that it was served with, as I prefer lettuce, tomato and fresh onion, but it seems to be a big hit! We didn’t have a second main course as I was in the middle of my 2-week flu and didn’t feel like stuffing myself. I would like to try the second main course on the menu, which was the rib-eye steak, even though it would be interesting to see a more creative dish by the hands of the proud Limoncello owner. I also think a third option would be wise, not because I don’t eat burgers or steaks, but just to tick a box of a vegetarian dish or a fish dish.
I am definitely returning to try out one of the desserts prepared by my favourite, Kalopesas bakery but also to try some of Limoncello’s very good wine selection over a platter of cheese. The fact that the prices are fair, and the place is casual but cool and relaxed makes it a very easy choice for dinner, lunch or even afternoon drinks.

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