Venturing back out into civilization was like a breath of fresh air… literally! Being able to stroll around Larnaca city centre again felt like a treat. Walking along the pedestrianised part of Ermou, we decided to push the boat out and sit somewhere to eat. Of course, seating is only outside and it wasn’t the warmest of days but that didn’t stop us gravitating towards what looked like quite a trendy restaurant called Valtou Rigani (put oregano on it). Personally, I love oregano so thought it was a sign! The warm welcome we received from the waiter that saw us approaching put us in a pleasant mood right from the off.
Valtou Rigani promises high quality food using fresh ingredients. The one thing that excited me the most was that the herbs used are grown fresh! The menu looked basic but modern – nothing too extensive, just three sheets of paper on a clipboard. I sometimes tire of long menus with a plethora of options as it can be difficult to decide on what to have. Another great thing about Valtou Rigani is that you don’t have to decide on one dish and risk food envy. Instead of having whole dishes on the menu, you order a skewer of what you fancy. This way you can create your own platter or meze.
One of the first things that will jump out at you from the menu is the prices! To say they were reasonable is an understatement. For example, a skewer of pork souvlaki, €1.70, a chicken burger, €1.50! I was definitely looking forward to putting my own little combo together!
The menu also has a variety of six different dips, mostly traditional dips that you would expect from a restaurant serving Mediterranean cuisine but one of them I hadn’t seen before such as a spicy carrot dip. However, I didn’t want to fill up on dips so I skipped that section. Glancing over the section named ‘Something to start with’ I noticed a couple of dishes with a twist such as feta cheese wrapped in filo topped with honey mastic dressing. Their fried halloumi is topped with a yogurt-pomegranate dressing. However, it was the saganaki cheese that grabbed my attention! Alongside this my partner and I shared a ntakos salad with fresh oregano. Both of us were keen on trying more or less the same things so we ordered a platter for 2. It has a variety of almost all the options on the menu but no bacon pancetta so, I ordered an extra skewer of that.
A short while later, I saw a waiter holding a dish that looked like it was oozing with melted cheese. My eyes widened and I was willing it over to my direction hoping it was mine. To my delight, the waiter came straight over and set it in front of me. The saganaki passed the first aesthetic test. It almost looked too good to eat… almost! The taste was divine. I finally found a saganaki on home territory that I really enjoyed. I enjoyed it so much that I almost didn’t appreciate the pretty little floral plate that it was served on.
Next came the platter and the salad. There was so much food piled up on a wooden serving board. The waiters must be well trained to keep it all on the platter while it makes its journey from the kitchen to the table. The halloumi stood out as it was a large, thick chunk with perfect grill marks on it. The meat was so tender and well cooked, the pancetta had a brilliant balance of both crispiness and juiciness. The burgers were fluffy and really well seasoned. I was so involved with the platter that I nearly forgot about the salad. The tomatoes were so fresh they were almost crunchy and the feta was more than a generous helping. The chunks of crispy, dried bread soaked up the dressing and tasted good.
The dessert menu, if you can manage one, consists of three options: kataifi, chocolate cake and yogurt with honey and walnuts. While I’m sure they taste good, they didn’t really tempt me after the amount of food that we had been served!
I really enjoyed my experience at Valtou Rigani. The setting in the alley, the modern design, the friendly waiters and of course, fantastic food at very reasonable prices were a brilliant combination. What’s not to like? I definitely recommend stopping off at this little town centre gem for a bite to eat, I’m sure you won’t regret it!
SPECIALTY grilled food
WHERE Valto Rigani, Ermou street, Larnaca
WHEN Saturday and Sunday 12.30-11pm, Monday to Friday 6-11pm
CONTACT 24 400435
HOW MUCH Platter for two €19.50