120 Stadiou, 24400330, LARNACA
Mon-Sat 12:00-15:30, 18:00-12:00
Food: [rating:3.5] 3.5/5
Service: [rating:2.5] 2.5/5
Ambiance: [rating:3.5] 3.5/5
Another belated review of what is supposed to be the best Japanese restaurant in the country. Renovated, revamped and still extremely popular. That’s Nippon for you.
I will be realistic and say that when you have extremely high expectations it is very likely to be disappointed (and vice versa). The fact that I was disappointed, however, does have to do with my experience as well, not just my expectations. Don’t get me wrong, it’s much higher than average, but I don’t thing it can compare with any Japanese restaurant of international standards.
I liked how it is situated on a (kind of), quiet neighbourhood. The restaurant itself is average in size with a nice veranda but I didn’t like how it was all in one open-plan room. I did like the fact that a lot of people were dining at the bar. To say that the ambiance is “lively” is an understatement. All I could hear was the echo of people speaking with no music or sound proofing what so ever. I didn’t think it went well with the restaurant type and style. My proud Cypriot friend argued that it was buzzing, but for me buzzing does not mean annoyingly loud with no vibe. I also thought it would have been better if the light was a bit dimmer but I didn’t mind it that much. If you read this review and decide to go, definitely ask to be seated in the veranda (weather permitting).
The menu is the same or very similar of the original menu in Nippon Limassol so I was quite familiar with it. I can’t even begin to go through its contents but all I can say is I am sure you will find something to order (salads, maki, nigiri, special dishes, tataki, you name it).
The sashimi salad with a generous amount of a raw fish variety was lightly lemony and quite tasty. The lobster salad was equally good and worth trying.
We loved the mixed tataki with salmon, seabass and tuna, in ponzu sauce. It was fresh and light, thinly cut in perfection. We shared the Manolo Maki (not the shoes), with soft shell crab, the Ebi Tempura and the Spicy Tuna. They were all much better than the average maki you can get in Cyprus, albeit a bit rich. We would have had sashimi and nigiri but for a group of 8 we would need a bank load to satisfy our appetites.
The black cod was worth it being mildly sweet and super tender (as it should be). The prawn noodles were way too rich for my taste, while the rock shrimp tempura, that looked like pop-corn, served in a shell was actually delicious.
Two and a half hours after our arrival we got to the dessert. I don’t think a cheesecake and chocolate lava cake are appropriate desserts for a high quality Japanese restaurant but we had them anyway (and enjoyed them for that matter).
Overall it was a good meal but it did not have the “wow” factor that I expected. The service was atrocious since we waited 45 minutes for the menus alone, and more than an hour for the first dish. We were later informed that one of the chefs were away. We also appreciated the fact that they offered one bottle of wine on the house.
55€ per person was expected since we had a lot of wine and 8 of us left quite full. I would go again but I would expect to have good Japanese food “for Cyprus”.