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Restaurant review: Art Café 1900, Larnaca

Art Café 1900 is well-known to those who have either lived or visited the Larnaca area over the last twenty odd years. As one of the town’s most popular bars due to its vast selection of imported beers and wonderful atmosphere, it’s reputation has perhaps overshadowed the fact that it is also home to a quality restaurant too.

Hidden in a backstreet near the Phinikoudes strip is where this old-style building can be found. Upon entry, you are immediately struck by the warm atmosphere and rich history that it carries. The walls are donned with posters and memorabilia predominantly related to rock music and culture of the 1970s and 80s while there is a smooth back drop of music from the same era constantly playing in the background.

The downstairs of what used to be an old house is the bar area – the establishment prides itself on its variety and boasts one of the widest selections of beers and whiskeys on the island. In the beer department, there are believed to be 93 different types from around the world and, for whiskey lovers, there are around 140 to choose from.

While Marios runs the downstairs bar, it is Maria who runs the show upstairs in the separate restaurant area which is one of Larnaca’s best kept secrets. Not a huge area by any means, but it makes up for it in exclusivity and quality in both the food and service department.
Looking at the menu, there is a concise list of options including some inviting traditional dishes as well as the common pub food you would expect to find in such a place. In the end, Maria insisted we tried the lamb fricassee with spinach and lemon, which did not disappoint.

The dish consisted of a stew of fatless chunks of lamb, flavoured with a variety of spices and onion in a creamy sauce. However, it was not too rich as its description may suggest as a healthy amount of lemon provided the perfect balance to the meal. It was the type of dish that just melts in one’s mouth with the meat extremely tender. The creamy sauce is created with eggs and lemon with a very similar taste to that of the commonly known Greek soup avgolemono while the addition of fresh spinach and herbs added a nice texture and slightly spicy after taste.

We also had stifado, a traditional beef dish served with rice and vegetables, which was also immaculate -the best part of this particular dish was the thick tangy, tomato-based sauce full of flavour thanks to all of the garlic, cinnamon and sweet onions – plus some vegetable rolls on the side that were full of life and flavour.

In terms of portion size, they were not the biggest, but definitely do not leave you with a rumbling belly either. The service was quick and very friendly with the owner herself in charge adding a homely feel. To finish, there was a selection of fresh fruit and sweets to choose from, as well as a good selection of teas and coffees. I could not resist the look of the chocolate cake which was also freshly made rather than pre-packed – a huge plus.

It is certainly a unique spot to eat which not too many people, even in the town itself, are aware of. By the time we left, just after 9pm on a Friday evening, the downstairs area was packed which said a lot about its popularity.

SPECIALTY: Lamb fricassee with spinach
WHERE: Art Café 1900, 6 Stasinou Street, Larnaca
CONTACT: 24 653027
WHEN: 6pm–2am every day except Tuesday
PRICE: €20 average (meal, dessert and beverage)

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