Kosta Kyriazi house, 28 October 3, 99658333, Sotira, FAMAGUSTA
Food: [rating:3.5] 3.5/5
Service: [rating:4] 4/5
Ambiance: [rating:3.5] 3.5/5
After 20 years of visiting Famagusta for my summer holidays I have managed to dine in most of the tavernas in the area. You can therefore imagine my face when Mr Proud Cypriot said that, a taverna I had never heard of is supposed to be the best one around. Although he insisted, I initially refused to «risk» my dinner and go to a taverna I didn’t know. I eventually gave in when he played the «can you trust me for once?» card. Unfortunately, he also played the «I told you so» card at the end of our dinner.
Even if you have visited Sotira village it is possible that you missed the restaurant as it is situated on a small side street. The fact that it is in an old, listed house adds significantly to the traditional vibe which is immediately evident. The old, Cypriot ornaments hanging from the wall, the village setting and the friendly staff reminded me of what the village tavernas used to be 20 years ago. Even though there were quite a few tables in the beautiful courtyard it didn’t seem crowded and it wasn’t too noisy. From what I saw there are some tables inside as well but I doubt that they are ever used as it is clearly a summer restaurant.
The «meze» is highly recommended as it includes almost every single dish on the menu. In fact we all commented on how we haven’t seen such a rich selection in some time. The «glistirida» salad with the dips that came first was a good sign of what was to follow as they were all fresh and home-made. The large, grilled mushrooms with olive oil that came next were equally good, whereas the «horiatiko» (village-style) halloumi cheese was extra salty and flavoursome. Dishes that were quite special were the feta cheese and onions served in a clay pot, the tender «ftana» that were basically pork fillets on the grill and (my favourite), the pork «afelia» made with wine and dry coriander that were very tender. The fried cheese croquetes, althought a bit out of place were surprisingly good, while the mousakka my proud Cypriot friend ordered as an extra and served in a pretty clay pot was home-made. My least favourite dish were the pork kebab as they were a bit dry, but the «sieftalia» were good, small in size and also home-made.
For dessert we were offered freshly fried and crispy «mpourekia» with «anari» cheese, and seasonal fruit. Finally, another touch that I thought reflected the attention to detail the restaurant had, was the home-made mandarin liquor made by the owner himself.
In a nutshell To Ploumin offers an all rounded experience of good, traditional food with special touches in a beautiful ambiance. There was a lot of attention to detail both in the food and in the decor. All of the above for 20€ per person (including local wine and beer) was more than what I could ask for on a weekday in August. It is worth mentioning that we visited it during the peak season (week of 15th of August) but the food and service quality were obviously not affected. The only minor problem was that it was a bit too hot at times.