By Andreas Vou
In a location where there is seemingly an endless choice of seaside restaurants of a high quality, Militzis tavern remains one of the best choices in Larnaca for a traditional dining experience.
Found on Piale Pasha road, the newly renovated street is blessed with a number of excellent restaurants. This particular area of Larnaca is littered with modern establishments which tend to focus on décor, fancy lighting and presentation. While that is not necessarily negative, the quest for a proper, old-school restaurant which cares more about the quality and taste of the food than the superficial aspects has become tougher.
Militzis is a family-run joint which specialises in local and traditional cuisine. On entering, there is an instant homely feel with long rows of tables dressed in table cloths and family portraits adding to the classic, retro vibe.
When it comes to food, do not expect a massive list of options – Militzis has a very concise menu as it focuses on making the dishes it produces well.
For starters, the waiter will bring a variety of dips, bread and some other side dishes just to wake up the taste buds. When it comes to the main course, the most popular and, in my opinion the best, has to be the kleftiko.
The meat is cooked to perfection so that it is both juicy and tender, prepared using the old-fashioned clay cooker. Alongside the meat, of course, has to be their potatoes which are chunky and soft which complement the lamb’s flavour flawlessly.
I also went for their renowned pourgouri which they make from scratch and I can safely say is the best I have ever tried for its array of flavours. This goes really well with grilled halloumi as well as their homemade sour yoghurt, which better suits the meat than the creamy kind.
A word of warning: if you are planning to try out Militzis’ kleftiko be sure to go an empty stomach as the portions are capable of getting the best out of even the most seasoned of eaters.
For vegetarians, or those who are fasting in the run up to Christmas, an excellent alternative are the giant beans which go great with a host of vegetables like carrots, celery and tomatoes mixed in. This too, by the look of it, could easily feed two people. Other than that however, veggies will have a hard time finding something to satisfy their taste buds on what is a very meat-dominated menu. Just some of the options are the meze, diced pork with a rich wine sauce as well as traditional souvla.
The service is excellent in what is a completely family-run restaurant. Some of the waiters have been around for over ten years, creating a friendly atmosphere as they deeply care about the impression they make on their customers. It is evident from the regular customers that they have how popular it is.
In terms of speed of service, having visited on a very busy day, Saturday evening, the food took rather a long time to arrive though it is understandable given the number of people in attendance.
Location is also an important factor and given the fact that it overlooks the sea makes it an even more pleasing experience.
In terms of desserts, they do not have an elaborate menu but do offer a homemade sweet dessert or/and fresh fruit. I opted for just a strong Cypriot coffee which tends to go down well after a full meal.
This was not my first visit to Militzis and it certainly will not be the last.
SPECIALTY Kleftiko with potatoes and pourgouri
WHERE: Piale pasha 42, Larnaca
CONTACT: 24 655867
PRICE: €20 average (meal, dessert and beverage)