The Phinikoudes strip in Larnaca has a host of food and drink options – restaurants, bars and cafés, from fast food to fine dining. One of the more recent additions is a traditional Greek restaurant called To Arxontikon.
The outside of the building is simple but stylish. Plain white walls with the words To Arxontikon next to the stone arch, double-door entrance. As you will find out while browsing the menu, the building itself was initially a mansion built in 1850 and due to its architectural style and value, it has been classified as an ancient monument. And it is quite awe inspiring – gorgeous stone walls and arches with wooden beams on the ceiling really give it character.
We went at lunch time and the restaurant was quite empty. The waiter who greeted us advised us to sit away from the door so we wouldn’t be bothered by any gusts of wind when the door opened. Looking around to take our pick of the tables, the place was spotless and all the tables were perfectly laid out.
Being a fairly cold day, To Arxontikon had several gas fires on the go to keep the place nice and cosy. However, it did leave a slight smell of gas in the air.
The waiter led us to our table and left us to our own devices. We sat and there was no need for the menus to be brought to us as the place mats in front of us also doubled as menus. Beautiful, traditional songs were playing in the background adding a feeling of nostalgia.
After much deliberation, we decided what to order when the waiter told us about dishes that were not available and the meze on offer. While this is useful information, it would have served us much better if it had been given to us before we sat looking through the menu.
I ordered the Lamb Tsigariasto which is slow roasted lamb garnished with feta cheese, part of the ‘from the pot’ section of the menu. Also ordering from the pot, my partner opted for ‘Spetsofai’ which is Greek pita bread topped with spicy sausage, yoghurt and peppers in a spicy sauce. My brother opted for the chicken fillet. Initially thought that he was just being boring but they were cooked in basil with sundried tomatoes and feta cheese.
The food arrived and we were ready to tuck in! My Tsigaristo was served on the plate still wrapped up in the baking paper it was cooked in. The meat tasted fantastic. It literally fell off the bone. I mixed in some of the juice with the bulgar wheat that I had chosen as a side so that I wouldn’t waste any of the lovely sauce. While the meat itself was extremely tasty, there were also quite a few little bones that I had to sift through which took away from the enjoyment of the meal a little because I was constantly trying to be conscious of not accidently eating a bone.
My brother’s chicken was succulent and tasty. He proved me wrong as his choice was far from boring. I was assured that the Spetsofai was also very flavoursome. Don’t be put off by the word ‘spice’ in the description as it is not a hot spice but more a combination of spices that are used for seasoning.
After we had finished and the dishes cleared, we were bought a couple of desserts. One was little balls made from marzipan and the other was a walnut cake with lots of syrup! While the walnut cake was very tasty, the syrup made it very sweet so that only a small helping was needed.
One of my disappointments was that the weather was too bad to be able to enjoy what looks like a beautiful little courtyard out the back. I can imagine that when the weather is good the courtyard is perfect for an early evening dinner with friends, enjoying a cold, crisp wine.
SPECIALTY Greek food
WHERE To Arxontikon, Athinon 24, Phinikoudes, Larnaca
WHEN Daily from 12 noon
CONTACT 24 624141