After months of lockdown and the effect of the summer weather people are out and about and restaurants and the like are full of life. This hustle and bustle combined with the heat prompted me though to visit the small village of Vavatsinia, a 15-minute drive north of Lefkara. The tiny village with a population of approximately 120 people is home to the simply named Maria’s restaurant.
Pulling up to the restaurant we were struck by how big it is. There is a large indoor and outdoor seating area, and as the temperature in Vavatsinia was comfortable enough to sit outside that’s where we headed.
As we sat down Maria herself came out to greet us, handed us menus and told us not to hesitate if we needed to ask something. The menu was in Greek and English with main dishes split into two sections, ‘Wood Charcoal grill and brick oven’ and ‘casserole dishes’. If you don’t fancy any of those, there is a section with the lighter options.
The grilled dishes all come with roast potatoes but when we asked Maria if it was possible to change this to chips, she was more than happy to do so. We started off with a village salad. I was called ‘boring’ by my partner for ordering the grilled lamb chops while she went for the Tavas a la Lefkara. This is a regional twist on a traditional dish, made with diced goat and rice in a tomato sauce baked in a clay oven with a mixture of cumin seeds, cinnamon and olive oil.
While waiting for the food to come we both noticed the beautiful silence, which had a calming effect. The views from the restaurant are stunning and the subtle scent of the pine trees was just fantastic.
While waiting for the salad to come out, we were brought warm, fresh bread and a variety of dips, a very welcome surprise. The bread was so good I had to stop myself from eating the lot! Not long after, the salad came out. A healthy chunk of feta cheese on top is always a pleasing sight. The colours of the salad were vibrant due to the freshness of the vegetables used. Good job some of that bread was left, it would be criminal not to dip it into the last bit of the salad dressing of olive oil and vinegar!
The mains came out and my eyes widened at the size of the portion. Six good sized lamb chops, piping hot, straight off the grill and a mountain of chips! They smelt amazing. I was also hit by the pleasing aroma that was coming from my partner’s dish. I must admit, I did have a little food envy. However, that disappeared when I took a bite of my first chop. Succulent is the only word I can find that comes close to describing the meat. Cooked to perfection and seasoned just right! The meat in my partners dish fell apart effortlessly when she cut into it. It was so soft and I was assured that it was absolutely delicious!
Just as we were contemplating asking for the bill, a plate was brought to our table! A plate of hot, fresh, homemade pourekkia, stuffed with anari cheese and flavoured with a touch of cinnamon. Half were dusted with icing sugar and the others left plain.
I highly recommend a trip to Maria’s. The scenery and the serene feeling alone are a perfect reason to visit. Combine that with fantastic food and great hospitality then, you have the perfect recipe for an extremely enjoyable day out.
SPECIALTY Cyprus food
WHERE Maria’s restaurant, Vavatsinia
WHEN Daily until 11pm
CONTACT 24 342640