There is a now a plethora of eateries to enjoy in Paphos and many don’t bat an eyelid if you turn up slightly dishevelled and weathered from the beach, after all we are a seaside town. However, it’s also wonderful to be able to scrub and dress up, coiffure and spritz and go all out for a grown up experience. The best place to do that in Paphos is at Ristorante Bacco, at the Elysium Hotel.
An evening here can be expensive but is worth every cent and offers everything a diner could want: excellent service, a stunning setting – a sunken courtyard used in warmer months, or a delightful cosy indoor space when it’s cooler – while the authentic Italian cuisine is both sumptuous and satisfying.
The staff are professional and attentive without being ‘superior’ or intrusive and are on hand to recommend dishes, pair wine (the knowledge of the sommelier is on point), and invite the more adventurous to the cellar to taste and chose from the carefully assembled selection.
Maitre d’ Luigi is passionate about offering a unique experience to every diner and overall Bacco offers something more like a private dining experience.
This is a fine dining restaurant and as you would expect, cutlery and glasses are polished and gleaming and food is served on an array of mostly white china plates and dishes. All are eloquently arranged and garnished, and the attention to detail is admirable.
The menu has highlights from Tuscany and it is difficult to choose between homemade pasta dishes, meat and fish specialties, which are all cooked to perfection.
The wine list is excellent and spans a wide price range and includes the best of local and imported wines, but we decided to order a very drinkable chilled Prosecco recommended by the sommelier.
Cold appetisers include a classic ‘vitello tonnato’, the choice of one of my dining companions. It arrived at the table along with our other choices of slices of tender veal loin with a light tuna and caper sauce, quail eggs and pickled cipolline onions, all of which raised murmurs of appreciation
The baked ricotta tart with crispy pancetta, walnut and amaretti crumble, wild rucola and a lavender and honey dressing was also a good choice, according to my party.
Hot appetizers include the ever popular melanzane parmigiana, and this is one of the best I have ever tasted. Grilled slices of eggplant and vine ripened tomatoes are topped with mozarella cheese and baked in the oven, it pops with flavour and is both surprisingly light and definitely moreish.
The seared scallops on a bed of Sicilian couscous with an olive- hazlenut crumble, saffron and balsamic sauce is also recommended, as are the soups.
Pasta and risotto choices are spot on and include linguine alle vongole, home made linguine pasta with fresh clams, cooked with white wine, bormano olive oil, garlic and chilli.
The aromatic poached lobster is served with homemade tagliatelle and a shell fish, tomato and basil sauce. (It comes with a €15 supplement but is well worth it.)
The asparagus and clam risotto with lime scented sour cream and chives is not at all heavy and easy on the palate.
Fish and seafood includes pan-fired fillet of seabass and baked fillet of monkfish, or try, as I did, the char-grilled fillet of roast beef which is served with oxtail ravioli, pearl barley risotto and a braised shallot and barolo jus, it melts in the mouth.
The roast rack of lamb was popular with our table, as was another choice, free range chicken ballontine with vignole spring vegetables and cannelinni bean stew and crisp fried leeks.
Desserts include Tiramisu alla bacco, chocolate calzone, chocolate ravioli and tonka bean panna cotta.
However, if you prefer, as we did, you may book a ‘dessert sur la table’ which requires 24 hours notice and a €15 supplement. The pastry chef will create and prepare a number of mouthwatering desserts with ‘pazazz’ and includes pouring chocolate at your table. Make sure you leave room as it is plentiful.
A selection of Italian cheese is also served with fruit compote and toasted bread.
Bacco is one of a number of eateries at this five star hotel and although popular with residents it is also hugely popular with locals, not least because of its excellent reputation and attention to detail.
This is a special venue and not only for special occasions.
WHERE Ristorante Bacco, Elysium Hotel, Paphos
CONTACT 26 844444. It is essential to book
HOW MUCH Choice of two courses per person: €45, choice of three €54, choice of four €62, Mix and match menu per person: €85