Palaiologou 52, 22438538, LEFKOSIA (NICOSIA)
Mon – Sun 7.15pm – 11.15pm
Food: [rating:3.5] 3.5/5
Service: [rating:3.5] 3.5/5
Ambiance: [rating:3.5] 3.5/5
I have always thought finding proper Italian restaurants in Cyprus is a struggle. Surely there are standard pasta dishes and a few pizzas here and there, mostly as a part of the international (and –in my opinion- impersonal), menu that we seem to love. But I am talking about trattorias/osterias, wooden ovens, pastas and cotoletta alla Milanese. In my search for such a restaurant I realized that actually, there is one right in front of me and has been there for more than 15 years now. One that I have always loved but has recently been re-added to my “regular” restaurants list.
One of the reasons it is still going strong after all is I think the classic Italian atmosphere which still does the trick all these years later. The combination of high ceilings, red checked table cloths, brick walls and a wooden pizza oven create a pleasant, casual and buzzing atmosphere to be enjoyed on any day of the week. We went on a Tuesday night in February and it was almost full. I think this says a lot about the love “Lefkosiates” have for this place.
The menu is mainly Italian with a bit of a local touch. Pizza, pasta and some meat/fish dishes are of course on offer, together with a list of starters and salads. Our freshly prepared rocket salad with sundried tomatoes, feta and balsamic vinegar was quite tasty with a refreshing flavour while the bruschette with parmesan and chopped tomatoes were crispy and light with a nice touch of pesto. The highlight was as expected, the pizza. In fact it was even better that I remembered it. The crust was thin and crispy while the fresh toppings were sprinkled on top in generous amount. We also had the breaded fried chicken fillet (more like a cotoletta alla Milanese), which was tender and flavoursome with a crispy crust, while the flat-cut chips were a good addition to the dish.
Our experience was better than just a positive experience but more of a great surprise as I haven’t been to Da Paolo for some time. The prices were reasonable as almost all the dishes were less than 10euros, the ambiance was relaxed and easy-going but the buzz made one feel that it was a proper night out. Another restaurant has been added to the “regulars” list!