As well as the wonderful weather this time of the year, the summer always brings out a vibrant atmosphere along Larnaca’s Phinikoudes strip as the whole promenade, with its countless bars and restaurants, is filled by families, couples and friends throughout the day.
Aldente is located midway through the strip and has always been held in high regard since its opening in 2011 due to its passion for the Italian cuisine. Upon receiving the menu, you get an instant understanding of what the restaurant’s philosophy is about – when it comes to choice of dish, it’s all about quality over quantity.
While there is plenty to choose from in all departments, it primarily focuses on pizzas, pastas and salads, which are their specialties.
Not going for starters, we ordered an assortment of things to complement our mains. Among those was the Insalata Estiva (summer salad) consisting of spinach, rucola, croutons, sesame seeds, parmesan flakes, sundried tomatoes and pine nuts topped with a balsamic sauce with mustard and honey. Then there was the Bruschetta – grilled bread with olive oil, chopped fresh tomatoes, garlic, basil and onions. Funghini Ripiene al Forno was the last of the so-called starters, a very rich dish which is mushrooms topped with a tomato sauce and four different cheeses: gorgonzola, feta, caprino and gran moravia.
For the main course, I opted for my favourite pasta dish, penne all’Arrabbiata. It is quite simple, with just a few ingredients, but it is one of those that is easy to get wrong, with too much or too little of one of the ingredients. Nevertheless, Aldente’s take on it was a very good one, rich enough in tomato sauce and with a real kick from the chili peppers and garlic.
Prices are generally quite reasonable, with pastas costing an average of €12.50 while pizzas are between €11 and €15. The portion sizes are just about right – not huge but nor are you left feeling the need for anything more once your plate has been emptied.
There is an indoor seating area in Aldente which is fully air-conditioned, as well as a large outdoor area. The former is slightly more comfortable on a humid summer night but then again the outdoor area allows you to take in the atmosphere of the ever-busy Phinikoudes promenade. The interior is made up of basic square tables and steel chairs which are not the most comfortable in the world but are fit for the purpose.
There is an impressive variety of cognacs and whiskeys available, as well as a selection of typical Italian liqueurs which go great at the end of a meal like Limoncello, Grappa and Sambuca Romana.
Alternatively, the coffee selection is often the preferred post-meal option in the Italian cuisine, though there is a thorough selection of other strong alcoholic beverages should one be a little braver like Cointreau and Grand Marnier.
For desserts, there are some that will prove increasingly tempting, from the raspberry mille feuille, to the profiterole or the tiramisu and apple crumble.
The service was great all round, with a handful of waitresses attending to the table over the course of the evening; to greet us, for each stage of the meal, to check up on whether everything was satisfactory and to offer suggestions. Generally, it is a restaurant you might need to visit a few times in order to try the various tempting meals they have on the menu.
SPECIALITY Pastas and Pizzas
WHERE Aldente, Phinikoudes, Larnaca
CONTACT 24 664540
PRICE €15-€20 – starter, main and drink