I have over the years tried almost every fish restaurant within easy driving distance of my home and after countless forays into what I always hope will be a piscatorial wonderland, I invariably return home disillusioned. Then there is also the problem with the price of fish, it’s also a rule that one can charge stiffly for great sea food, and, given the issues around supply and sustainability it has no real claims on cheapness, but the whole dining experience must then really be spot on, and the Kingfisher gets it almost right in this regard.
Set on the Tomb of the Kings road, I first visited with Cypriot friends over 13 years ago and continued to dine there regularly until I moved away from the area. Returning was akin to walking back in time; very little had changed except the family had grown up and the next generation were now in charge, but they had been taught well by their elders and I can happily report that the Kingfisher is still a good value place to dine.
We started off with a fish soup which was both warming and welcoming on what turned out to be a cold rainy night, then a village salad to follow – I like here that there are also dishes available for those who may well be in the company and not great fans of fish who may prefer grilled halloumi to a plate of shrimps in garlic sauce or shrimps saganaki. From the fish display you can order up some decidedly different species including Crupper, hake, scorpaena and lobster along with the familiar swordfish, sea bass and bream. All are sold by the kilo so, for example, 300g of red mullet will cost you €18 and 400g of lobster around €30.
If you are worried about selecting a fish perhaps having no idea what they look like when not on a plate, ‘fear not’ is the motto here as staff at the Kingfisher are keen to have you return on a regular basis and are as helpful with your selection as possible. They have patience, plus the professionalism that allows you to relax as they recommend fish that will suit your palette so you feel quite safe in the capable hand of this family of fish experts.
Our dinner continued with a plate of Kalamari and chips washed down with a glass or two of white wine, what I consider as proper comfort food on a winter night. This was followed by a rather splendid taste sensation offered by a good sized plateful of snapper and red mullet, all cooked perfectly and by someone who obviously respects the fruits of the sea. There are also seafood platters for two on offer and they do represent good value for money as they range in price from €15 to €26 dependent upon the type of fish ordered, and the couple at the next table told us they come to the Kingfisher every week as both have been told by their doctors that they need to divert from their previous love found down the battered fish and chip route and go for fish that when ‘naked’ are then at least recognisable as proper fish.
I like the Kingfisher also because it isn’t a fancy raised pinkie finger sort of a place, it’s very much down to earth or should I say down to ‘sea’ and even more comforting is they also serve some of our very best quality Paphos made wines.
WHERE Kingfisher Seafood restaurant, Tombs of the Kings Avenue, Paphos
CONTACT 26 949459
PRICE platters from €15, fish sold by weight