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Mezedes tis Marias (To Korineon)- Koilani

Koilani village, 99608196 or 99825253, LIMASSOL DISTRICT
Mon-Sun lunch & dinner (call beforehand)
Food: [rating:3.5] 3.5/5
Service: [rating:3] 3/5
Ambiance: [rating:3.5] 3.5/5
It’s the end of September and it is time for the “taverna tours” across Cyprus to begin. After 4 months of summer and although we are not yet ready for rain and winter jackets we are definitely ready for eight, or so, months of countryside Sunday lunches and Cyprus mountain exploring. Fortunately the first Sunday of the “taverna tours” was a success with Mezedes marias placetis Marias (Korineon). The home-made traditional food and most importantly, the fantastic, picturesque veranda in the centre of the beautiful village of Koilani was worth the drive.
I like the fact that Koilani is not as crowded and touristy as many other villages in the area. There are a couple of wineries around it, which have been making the area a bit more popular lately. Small and traditional, quiet and “local” are what make Koilani one of the prettiest villages in the area. The restaurant itself fits in properly as the old building and the beautiful, traditional veranda one can enjoy in the warmer months create a fantastic “village-life” experience. The tavern is small which means that there are only a handful of tables on each side of the veranda giving it a very cosy vibe while keeping a lively buzz. The fact that it is family-run with “kyria Maria” in the kitchen and her husband serving the tables is the reason for the slow service, which we were happy to ignore as firstly, they warned us and secondly, they were so friendly and hospitable that we were happy to wait for our turn.
Fortunately the food reflected the traditional and warm ambiance. The selection of freshly prepared salad and dips and toasted village bread, together with excellent home-made “pastichio” with a light taste of cinnamon were a good start. The freshly fried meatballs that we ate in no-time were equally good while the “afelia” (pork in wine), although didn’t look as inviting tasted better than they looked being tender and flavoursome. marias pasticchiMy favourite dish out of the starters was the stuffed vineleaves (koupepia). It is not often that this dish makes an impression as it is a relatively a common and easy to make dish, but this time they were really thinly rolled, in a soft vine leaf with a lemony taste. It all made sense when Kyria Maria explained that the reason why they taste better is because she picks up the vine leaves herself and never freezes them. To finish off we were served “souvla” (lamb cooked on coal) and perfectly cooked-in-oil, soft potatoes. The truth is I was so full and satisfied with the rest of the food that I didn’t get to try a lot of “souvla” but the expert (i.e. the proud Cypriot father), said that it didn’t look very appealing but it was in fact crispy on the outside and tender in the inside, just as he liked it!
The only thing that I thought was missing was a homemade dessert at the end to clean the palette. We were, of course, offered marias koupepia on the house for which we were grateful. We were also grateful for the 17€ per person bill for four people with a bottle of very good, local Vlassides wine and soft drinks that I thought was very reasonable. Kyria Maria also mentioned that Sunday lunch is the only day where one can enjoy this kind of home-made “meze”, while on weekdays (lunch and dinner) they mostly prepare meat on-the-grill together with one cooked dish. Whenever you decide to go, do try to combine it with a visit to the wineries around Koilani. Vlassides winery, one of the newest and most impressive wineries in Cyprus is only minutes away, while Agia Mavri winery which makes very good dessert wine is also close by.

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