Great Alexander 55, 22664488, LEFKOSIA (NICOSIA)
Food: [rating:3.5] 3.5/5
Service: [rating:3.5] 3.5/5
Ambiance: [rating:4] 4/5
Reviewing restaurants as soon as they open can be a double-edged sword. The reason is this: as Cypriot and Proud I owe it to our readers to review a restaurant fairly soon after its opening- being ahead of things is important. However, there is the risk of reviewing something too early. Meaning that, most restaurants are not 100% up and running in the first 1-2 months both in terms of service and food quality. That makes my reviews less reliable. They often have good food that deteriorates over time and bad service that improves over time (unfortunately the most common scenario). In very few cases the opposite happens.
My experience at Patio was somewhere in the middle. My first visit merely a couple of weeks after its opening (around 18 months ago), was actually a pleasant one as a whole- although I was not terribly impressed with the food and the service. But I can tell you this: a revised review was indeed needed. The place is equally funky and pretty as it was a year ago, with a much improved food selection.
For the ones that haven’t visited Patio and haven’t read the first review it is worth mentioning that it is undoubtedly one of the prettiest venues in the capital. When you see it on the outside it looks like something cool. But once you have been inside it is hard to imagine that behind the elegant bar at the entrance there is such a massive back yard. I particularly like that it looks like an exotic jungle surrounded by colours and greenery. I also like the lively and buzzing atmosphere of a proper bar/restaurant that one can experience every single night of the week. I also thought that they were quite smart on how they managed to keep it as a restaurant as well as a bar without one over-taking the other.
The menu if not exactly the same, remains very similar. It is a fusion between local, Spanish and international cuisine. I liked the breakdown that included hot, cold, meat and fish tapas including a salad selection. Another positive thing that didn’t exist before is that apart from the creative and different dishes like avocado, dried apple chips and apple cider vinaigrette salad there are now simpler and safer choices available such as mini bruschetta with cherry tomatoes and pesto.
We went for some recommended dishes by the chef so that we could get the best out of our experience. The Ruccolla salad with sun-dried tomatoes, dried figs, marinated “halloumi” cheese and aged balsamic vinaigrette was refreshingly tasty and presented beautifully. The “halloumi sticks” were crispy with a semi sweet flavour from the melon and rocket pesto, a great starter to share. In hindsight I would have loved to try something else besides “halloumi” like the salmon spring rolls with wakame salad or the baked mushrooms with sausage puree as we had also had the “halloumi” salad.
My favourite dish was definitely the steak, as it was tender, tasty and cooked to perfection and served with a flavourful mustard sauce on the side. The Honey Chicka ( marinated chicken thighs with honey, lemon zest and yoghurt) had a strong lime flavour and was also right there at the top. Although my friend said it was a bit too sweet due to the honey I disagreed as I thought the honey flavour was mild. My least favourite dish was the Chipirones dish (fried calamari) that I would have preferred to be crispier and a bit fluffier.
Finally, as usual, we didn’t want dessert but we devoured a chocolate brownie and a chocolate soufflé, a fantastic end to a pleasant meal. They were both very moist with a bitter sweet chocolate flavour balanced with the vanilla ice cream that was on the side.
If I had to summarize it I would say firstly go because it is a beautiful place with a fantastic, lively and friendly vibe. Secondly go because there aren’t enough places where you can enjoy good food to share and feel like a proper night out- all enjoyed at fair and affordable prices as tapas dishes start from 3.50€ and most of them are below 10€. Thirdly go because it is something different that definitely fills in a gap in the city’s nightlife.