By Nathan Morley
There is something very calming about walking along the Protaras seafront on an early autumn evening, past the rows of empty sunbeds, watching the sun setting on the horizon.
In a few weeks this resort will be boarded up and deserted for its annual winter hibernation – but, there is still life here and restaurants and pubs are still fairly busy as they serve the last customers of 2013. With an old friend from Austria over last week on her first visit to Cyprus, we headed for the local landmark Diva restuarnt on the corner of Protaras high street, which offers the best view of the busiest street. It’s unmissable because of the enormous red fluorescent sign on its roof.
The restaurant is pretty much spread out on a giant outdoor patio, protected from the wind and elements by large glass panels and offers an exciting menu which led us to several fascinating dishes.
For an appetizer, two very different fish dishes struck me as being unusual in these parts: the local mussels are cooked in a rich creamy garlic sauce and served with a helping of pasta.
For the more adventurous, try the very French Prawns Pernod. I’m sure any customer would be delighted by flambéed anise-flavoured liqueur and served with a creamy sauce however, having lived in France for a few years, where the taste of Pernod was a nightly occurrence, the many blurry mornings after put me off this choice.
Our vantage point allowed us to watch the preparation of multiple plates of steaks being flambéed – including our own dishes.
The delights on the Diva menu are helped by the flavours cleverly extracted from the accompanying ingredients, such as the special Fillet Diva Steak Garlic, which takes pride of place on the flambé menu. Absolute precision is the key to getting this dish right – as a mixture of boneless tenderloin beef is flambéed in brandy, along with a generous helping of mushrooms and garlic – then served a combination of roasted prawns and fresh avacados.
Other delights include the Chateaubriand flambé steak – a thick double cut piece of meat from the tenderloin, along with the ususal flame favourites such as steak Diane, pepper steak and chicken garlic.
The service was rapid and efficient and the restaurant is not terribly noisy for such a central location.
The wine list is fairly decent and offers Australian, Chilean, French, Greek and most of the local wines. Diva has built up many loyal and local regulars and offers a friendly atmosphere with staff always ready to welcome new faces.
Parking is available on the Protaras High Street car-park, about 500 metres away.
WHERE Diva, Protaras main street
CONTACT 23 831950
WHEN Seven days a week