By Tracy Roth-Rotsas
A good few years ago, I dined at Il Sapore Italian restaurant in Limassol. It was a new place then, and the evening was a very memorable experience: the food was both delicious and beautifully presented. When I returned recently, sadly, it was not the same, and while I accept that during the winter months when tourism is at its lowest in Limassol, things are quieter, I do not believe this quiet period should act as an excuse to lower standards with regards to service or food.
Perhaps it was just an off night but when I returned with a friend recently I was disappointed, although a mixed bag of reviews online would indicate it is a seasonal issue.
The décor was dated, but still held a certain charm of an older romantic era: ornate wooden decoration, cushioned wooden chairs, some large round tables. Only one waiter staffed the restaurant and was a bit gruff. He didn’t greet us when we entered, but rather gestured with a random wave of his arm that we could sit wherever we wanted. After a short time, he brought us the menus, which looked like they’d seen better days, a good indication of where the restaurant was at though we didn’t realise it at the time.
We asked for a wine list, but another gesture towards the bottom of the page where “red wine” and “white wine” were written was apparently all the drinks we were going to be shown. It turns out there is another wine list, though many of the overpriced wines on it were not stocked.
We dutifully ordered a glass of wine each and some water. Shortly after bringing us our drinks, the waiter brought a small dish with warm rolls and an olive tapenade. Both very tasty.
We ordered a prosciutto and salad entrée to share but before it arrived we were presented with a watery olive-green liquid in shallow bowls. “Complimentary celery soup,” our waiter said, when he put the bowls down. We gave it a go, but it was very bland, and with a faint taste of celery was virtually cold.
When the entrée came, it arrived without any sauce or dressing. The lettuce was not super-crispy, but fresh enough. We were not sure what the meat was, but pretty sure it wasn’t prosciutto.
My friend didn’t want to order anything too heavy, so had opted for pork fillets and, as they didn’t come with any accompaniment, she added some vegetables.
I chose a prawn pasta which was listed with spaghetti on the menu but asked if they could serve it with linguine instead. The waiter said they didn’t have any and offered fettucine instead, which was a good enough alternative, though I was surprised an Italian restaurant didn’t have all the main types of pasta in stock.
When our meals were served, they looked fine, however soon my friend discovered her fillets to be so salty and tough she was unable to finish more than about a quarter of the meal. Over-cooked, oily vegetables completed her poor meal experience. My fettucine with prawns was an interesting combination of overcooked pasta with pieces of empty prawn heads that had become detached from the bodies tossed throughout. With the tails still on the bodies, the prawns were difficult to eat, tasteless and the sauce without substance.
The waiter removed our plates silently, without commenting on how much we had left uneaten.
Just after 9.40pm I asked if it was too late for dessert, to which the waiter replied yes, the kitchen was closed. My friend asked to use the ladies’ room and was told that it had already been locked up! The waiter did unlock the door, but my friend discovered of the two toilets, the door of one did not close properly and the other toilet did not work.
Disappointing and expensive for what it was though online reviews provide some hope for the summer.
WHERE Il Sapore Italian Restaurant, Amathountos Ave, Ay. Tychonas, Limassol
CONTACT 25 313184, www.facebook.com/ilsaporerestaurant
HOW MUCH Avg meal with a glass of wine: €25 pp