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Casa Vieja

Arch. Michael 3, 22673371, LEFKOSIA (NICOSIA)
Mon-Sun 19:00-23:30, Saturday lunch
Food: [rating:3] 3/5
Service: [rating:4] 4/5
Ambiance: [rating:4] 4/5
I often talk about how all the venues in Nicosia tend to follow a seasonal trend. For example, now we have the rustic/vintage type of cafés and restaurants, a few years ago we had the minimal type décor and the franchise chain cafes. It is only fair to start by saying that Casa Vieja has never and probably will never follow a seasonal trend. It has been open for 10 years now, it was one of the first venues after with probably Plato’s and Oktana to open in the old city and it is the only authentic Spanish restaurant in the capital (Vino Cultura that could be considered Spanish offers more fusion type dishes).
I also feel that, over the past year it has been revamped. Even though it hasn’t changed its décor it now has a larger choice of tapas, quite a few offers with set menus under 10€, live music once a week, it is open on Saturday and Sunday lunch and it also offers the option for home delivery!
As soon as you enter you immediately get the Spanish vibe. The dark wood effect with the red colour gives a pleasant and romantic ambiance, yet familiar ambiance. Despite that the space itself is big it is split into rooms as it is in an old house so it still feels cosy. The big plus in my opinion apart from the dim lighting and the classic-house-in-the-old-city effect is the backyard. It less often than expected that we find a restaurant with a small and pretty backyard away from the noise and the pollution. The recently launched bar in the outside space I found to be a very good move as one can enjoy an early evening drink, a light dinner with nibbles or a night-cap since it is now open until 2pm. Whether we like it or not it seems that nowadays a couple of wine glasses with a platter is more of a dinner than a proper 3-course meal.
The food? Anything from platters, tapas and paellas. I particularly liked the Montado de Jamon y Queso which is basically prosciutto and melted cheese on toast, the roasted aubergine patties that was basically slices of crispy and tasty fried aubergine. The Queso de Cabra y Tomate which as soft cheese with tomato on toast I thought it was quite common and I preferred the prosciutto and melted cheese. I also thought that the bread and dips they brought at the beginning was a nicely presented with soft and fresh bread. Finally the tapas are generally small but not tiny, 1-2 per person and a paella to share would do.
Out of the paellas, I definitely preferred the meat and seafood paella over the vegetable paella as they are more interesting and more flavoursome. They are served for two persons at a relatively reasonable price of 11-12.90€ for both. I also think the best day to go is on Sunday as it is the day they serve a tender with a perfectly crispy skin, suckling pig for only 12.90€ with potatoes.
Finally the wine list is short but good with a small selection of Cypriot and Spanish red, white and rose wine but the best thing to have is Sangria, especially the 100cl pitcher for 15.90€.
All-in-all for a casual yet cosy dinner in a lovely garden, a relaxed drink on the bar or a weekend lunch in the old city Casa Vieja is appropriate.

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