Paphos is home to a number of restaurants that offer good quality food, professional service, but sadly only a few that offer consistency. One of the latter is Palia Ilektriki in Paphos old town, which I have always found to continually offer excellent food and service.
Years of experience to draw from and a reputation built on excellence mean that husband and wife team of chef Vassos Savva and hostess Vassilia deliver time and time again.
Found tucked away down a side street, this is a small (ish) quirky restaurant that sits on a courtyard, complete with a large water feature, opposite a cultural centre and a recently renovated outdoor amphitheatre.
It was once home to Paphos’ electricity plant (hence the name) and seating is available both inside and outside on the shaded terrace.
The menu is mostly Mediterranean and dishes include fresh, local produce cooked to perfection and served simply on plain white china. Vassos was previously the chef at the Annabelle and Anassa, both five star hotels, and he creates sumptuous dishes with aptitude and mastery, conceiving food that is deceptively simple, but fresh and flavourful.
My party of three arrived on a Friday evening, glad we had booked ahead as the tables fill up fast.
If the venue is busy be prepared for a short wait for food as it’s cooked fresh and this takes time. Order drinks, hot bread and a selection of the usual dips to keep you busy.
The village salad is fresh and crispy incorporating mixed green leaves, tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, capers, onions, feta cheese and olives.
The wine list is concise and offers some of the best and most popular wines from local wineries and includes: Ayios Fotios, Ayios Onoufrios, Andesitis, Kolios and Tsangarides, and the wine by the glass is also very drinkable,
My starter, three reasonable sized prawns, arrive in front of me with a flourish – they are sauteed with garlic and presented on a bed of crispy salad.
One of my companions chooses the grilled halloumi with grilled vegetables and the stuffed vine leaves served to my other guest would get the stamp of approval from any Yiayia.
If soup is more your thing, the cold avocado soup with yogurt or the tomato soup with garlic bread, both at €7, are good choices.
The spaghetti with seafood (prawns, mussels and calamari) and ouzo is popular, at least three of the tables order this, and the seafood risotto and vegetable risotto are also satisfying but I go for fillet of sea bream grilled and served with rice, vegetables and boiled potatoes, which arrives cooked to perfection.
The prawn saganaki is also served with potato, rice and vegetables the aroma of garlic and tomato emanating from the plate is tantalising. Our third main is the rack of lamb with a herb crust and balsamic reduction and cooked just right.
Items we may consider next time include fillet of beef with mushrooms, mustard and fresh cream; fillet of pork, fresh fruit and commandaria sauce; pork or chicken souvlaki and the Cyprus Moussaka.
If you have time to spare, try the Mediterranean meze, which brings together tastes from around the Mediterranean and just keeps coming. It’s well worth the price of €20 per person.
Deserts are good and priced at €3. Try the homemade apple cake with vanilla ice cream or the orange cake with caramel sauce and ice cream and there’s tiramisu as well.
Palia Ilektriki is a real hidden gem in the true sense, and I always leave with a warm glow and a happy stomach.
WHERE Palia Ilektriki, 8 Vladimerou Herakleous Street, Paphos
WHEN 10am-3.30pm and 6pm-10pm except Sundays
HOW MUCH Pastas €8, Fillet of sea bream €14, Rack of lamb €17. Wine €3 a glass and from €12 a bottle
CONTACT 26 222157 or 99 452548