One thing I love about Cyprus is that you are never more than a short drive away from the sea. Soothing in the summer, when the weather starts to turn, being by the sea can be quite a spectacle. Waves crashing up against the rocks and hearing the roaring of the sea is a little more exciting. This was one of the reasons we decided to head out to Zygi to try one of the tavernas by the sea. Driving along the seafront, we were drawn to a restaurant called To Archipelagos, which overlooks a little marina.
To Archipelagos is fairly new. Owner, chef and fisherman Louis Protopapas opened the restaurant in the summer of 2019. His concept is fairly straightforward: fish fresh from the sea to your plate. Louis actually goes fishing himself in the evenings, catches what he can and has it ready and available for patrons to eat the following day, and if you ask, he is happy to show you his catch.
To Archipelagos isn’t a fancy restaurant but it is exactly what you would expect from a traditional taverna. The blue and white check table cloths and the wooden chairs with woven seats were strategically placed to keep in line with government protocol. It didn’t matter that there were no fancy bells and whistles, with the spectacular view you have from the restaurant, I imagine people wouldn’t really spend much time looking at the décor!
Despite already knowing that we wanted a fish meze we were curious to have a look at the menu to see what other dishes they have on offer. But the waiter said they don’t always have what is shown on the menu, it depends on how successful Louis had been fishing the night before. This was also confirmed on the menu itself.
Not long after the order had been placed, dips and salad started to arrive. The salad, topped with a giant slab of feta, looked so fresh I wondered if Louis also had a little garden where he grew his own veg!
Not long after, the food started to come out thick and fast. Maybe a little too fast! At one point we were almost running out of space on the table. However, that is also testament to the amount of food that is brought. It felt like it was never going to stop! Variety of fish aside, the portions were also extremely generous!
A lot of the food was fried. I would have perhaps liked to have tried more simply grilled fish. That being said, I did most definitely enjoy the crispy batter coating the baby kalamari. One of the dishes that wasn’t fried was the octopus. It was sublime! Cooked perfectly and so soft it almost melted in my mouth. The meze also included a platter of mussels and prawns although I would like to give a special mention to the grilled Gilt head bream. When cooked well, it is one of my favourites, here it came out on a platter and had been opened up and de-boned! It did not disappoint. A coating of olive oil covered the bottom of the platter so all it needed was a drizzle from one of the fresh lemons brought out to our table earlier and it was perfect.
After the plethora of platters and dishes were taken from our table, we were brought a ‘sweet of the spoon’. It was just right because after such a large meal there isn’t really much room left for a proper dessert but if you enjoy something sweet after your dinner this goes down a treat.
The reasonable prices alongside the hospitality, quality of food and of course that view means that I will most definitely be returning.
WHERE To Archipelago fish tavern, Grigori Afxentiou 63, Zygi
CONTACT 99 274139
HOW MUCH €22 per head for meze