Perikleous 62, 22252323, LEFKOSIA (NICOSIA)
Mon-Sat lunch and dinner
Food: [rating:4] 4/5
Service: [rating:4] 4/5
Ambiance: [rating:3] 3/5
When the proud Cypriot dad said I had to try this new “magirio” (a restaurant with home-made, traditional food), I was not very excited. It’s not that I don’t trust the dad but often, while trying to help Cypriot and Proud he is not being very selective. Especially when he said we had to try this restaurant near Stavrou avenue, which is a not-so-central area I was even more hesitant. Poor guy didn’t insist as he knew we didn’t trust him, but at the end we all agreed we had nothing to lose by trying it out. We’ve tried everything else anyway. Unfortunately for us, fortunately for C&P he did end up playing the “I told you so” card after our meal!
The second we parked I was relieved. The modern look of both the outside veranda and the inside space made me feel confident that it was a carefully done place. The high ceilings together with the cement floors, the industrial look along with the old-school black board, the rough wooden tables and the mix and match chairs created a pleasant and pretty restaurant. The light mint colour of the stools made it more calm and more Greek-Cypriot in my opinion.
The food was very much the food of a typical “magirio”: it included home-made dishes of the day cooked in the kitchen (“magirefta”/μαγειρευτά), and meat on the grill. It was a good thing there were five of us, as it meant we could try more dishes, or rather, all the dishes!
The Greek salad, tahini and tzatziki dip that came first with the hot pita bread were fresh and a promising start. When the “imam baildi” a Turkish dish (as the name suggests) arrived we knew we would eat well. It was truly delicious, full of flavour with aubergines and potatoes that melted in your mouth. I think I can still bring the taste back into my mind today, two weeks after my meal
The zucchini balls that we ordered as a snack were equally good, crispy fried with a hot and flavoursome centre. The fried tomatoes with eggs was a great addition to the menu since we are always looking for small dishes to nibble on in addition to our main dish, while the octopus cooked in red wine sauce, ordered by the proud Cypriot brother was soft with a very good combination of flavour between the wine, the spices and the octopus. The highlight apart from the “imam” was also the pork “kotsi”. The lightly sweet flavour of the meat melted in each bite, a truly fantastic dish that says a lot about the attention and the detail that went into the food cooked at Gefsikleous. As if the above wasn’t enough for five people, we were kindly offered a few dishes to try like the “gemista” (stuffed vegetables), that were as expected, as delicious as everything else, a slow cooked lamb “kleftiko” and a delicious beetroot salad.
It was only after our meal that the chef came out to see how we were doing. It also explained how everything tasted so good, as the wife of the owner makes everything herself- it doesn’t get more home-made than that. It is in fact the same recipes as she uses at home, no adaptations, no degrading of ingredients and nothing pre-made. Even her mouthwatering “kattimeri” (honey pie) was out of this world.
Thinking back there was nothing I didn’t like. My only comment was that it was a bit empty but it was a very hot June Saturday lunch and I am sure everyone was at the beach (where I would have been had I not given birth a week earlier).
Prices were between 6.80€ (beetroot salad) to 12.50€ (“kleftiko”)- not the lowest in the market but if you eat their food I think you will agree that the prices are justified. Fortunately they are open 6 days a week for lunch and dinner and also do take-away so I hope you will find a way to try it