Xanthis Xenierou 2, 22448044, LEFKOSIA (NICOSIA)
Mon-Sun 11:30-15:00, 18:00-23:00
Food: [rating:3.5] 3.5/5
Service: [rating:3.5] 3.5/5
Ambiance: [rating:3] 3/5
You might know it from its “take-away/delivery only” days. Fortunately those days are over since Manolitos is now occupying, in my opinion, one of the prettiest venues in the capital. I would like to call it an Italian restaurant with an international touch that has initially attracted a large crowd for its pizzas but has managed to retain a clientele with its good quality products made with love.
The little restaurant off OHI square, right across the fruit and vegetable market is truly fantastic, both outside and inside. The tables on the sidewalk under the shades of green make you forget cars are passing by, while the restaurant below in an old house remind me of a Tuscan courtyard. Although it is obvious that the owners have paid attention to detail and used their personal touch to make this place, one can tell that final touches are still being worked on. Nevertheless, Manolis has managed to make a casual, cosy, pretty little place with individuality for us to enjoy.
The menu is mostly Italian with a few adjustments to Cypriot tastes. Before you start drooling I will give you one piece of advice: don’t over-order. Keep it at one main dish per person. You can,at most, share a starter across four people. The portions were so big that we couldn’t even finish one main course per person. The salads were all inviting, something that I don’t usually find on a menu. Our smoked turkey and cottage cheese salad was made with fresh and tasty lettuce as well as a generous portion of cheese and turkey. I would love to try the one with avocado and sweetcorn it is also one of their best sellers. Our seafood pasta, which I admit I was reluctant to order as, apart from being really fussy on how I like my pasta, I don’t have a very good “seafood pasta” experience. Nevertheless, it was cooked quite well without it being over-boiled, and it wasn’t “swimming” in the tomato sauce which is usually one of the problems in my opinion. The not flavour was not too heavy in spices and the prawns was quite good. Finally, our Manolitos pizza was indeed a great pizza. The crust with sesame was quite light although semi-thick, while the combination of cheese, pepperoni and bacon made all the difference. The fact that it was served hot hot hot with a spongy crust was evident on how everything is prepared there and then. Do go to try the sandwiches and submarines as I heard they have been a hit.
The prices, I have to admit seemed a bit on the high side given the vibe of the place. However, when I saw the large portions it all made sense. Since you only need one main dish to satisfy your appetite the average of 10eur for your meal is not a lot. So the final verdict is: even if it is for a light salad lunch, a fun dinner with friends under the trees or a one-on-one meal, go!