I am so grateful that Grazie is here in Paphos, for it is the epitome of the bourgeois cosmopolitan restaurant, a place one will keep thinking about returning to because it’s so civilised, for it does all the right things in the right order. Here you will relish Italian classics that are rich, slightly different from the norm, and at the same time consistently reflecting some serious kitchen alchemy.
Walk in and immediately you feel on truly safe culinary ground because you just know nothing bad could ever happen here, a place where it’s all crisp white linen, glass walls, sensibly arranged tables so one has a level of privacy, and with all that comes excellent service and at the end of the meal one does not feel as if one’s plastic is going to be ignited paying the bill.
Grazie is owned and run by George Sotiriou, a man who has such an obvious passion for food he will eulogise about dishes and the ingredients in such a way that the temptation is to just give up on the menu and let him test drive your taste buds, something we let him do and with absolutely no regrets. We started with a dish I have never tasted in Paphos, a Burrata which literally translated means ‘buttered’ – this gives a clue into its rich flavour – it is a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream and at first glance looked just like a fresh ball of ordinary mozzarella, but the real charm of Burrata is what’s on the inside. There is a solid outer curd made from fresh mozzarella which is formed into a hollow pouch then it is filled with soft stringy curd and fresh cream so one has a milky buttery flavour, we had it served nestling in a green salad topped with olive oil and a dash of 15 year old balsamic. I would have been happy to sport a bottle of both this olive and truffle oil (which always brings pleasure to the party) on my dressing table as after dipping my bread in these liquid delights I would then be able to pop a few drops behind my ears before going out to eat to really get me in the mood.
We moved on to enjoy a Carpaccio of salmon followed by a couple of very tasty oysters, each having been baked with a topping of parmesan cheese. Keeping with the fishy mood, a plate of perfectly grilled Calamari served with pan fried rocket leaves topped with fresh chillies, olive oil and a dash of lemon sauce. Then, a steaming bowl of imported fresh Greek black Mussels cooked with onion, garlic, white wine, fresh cream and parsley saw us furiously reaching for the homemade bread rolls to soak up every drop of the delicious sauce, only after a brief respite did we then attack the pasta dishes.
A must try has to be the Tortelli Neri Con Gamberi, these are home-made black tortelli stuffed with fresh prawns, onions and mascarpone cheese topped with butter and saffron sauce; they certainly justify their title as being one of the most popular dishes on the menu. Another classic has to be the home made lasagne, so often this dish is such a lack lustre plate of stodge that I had almost given up finding a restaurant that cared enough to get it right, thankfully Grazie once again did not disappoint.
Meat eaters can enjoy the unique experience of having their prime fillet steak or Tomahawk rib eye cooked on a Big Green Egg which is an American grill described as being the ultimate cooking experience. There are also chicken dishes along with a full rack of lamb marinated in white wine rosemary, also fillet of pork in a creamy mustard sauce and mashed potatoes and for those into duck what about trying Anarta Al Cioccolato, which is French breast of Duck cooked in dried fruit and dark chocolate sauce topped with almonds or, for those less adventurous the duck comes with a wild berry sauce, mash and caramelised red cabbage.
A big Grazie has to go to Chef Pepe who has enthusiastically manned the stove here for seven years. Hhere is a very happy man who knows exactly what he is doing, having a real passion for food as one would expect after just one glance at the menu, but mercifully is a chef who is far more interested in serving you a great lunch or dinner than in winning a place in some gastronomic hall of fame.
SPECIALTY Italian cuisine
WHERE Grazie, 3&5 Agias Anastasias & Theoskepastis, Paphos
WHEN Open seven days a week lunch and dinner
CONTACT 26 818298, [email protected], www.grazieristorantepaphos.com
PRICE Starters from €5.20, mains from €12