Everyone has a go-to restaurant to return on a regular basis. A tough day can easily be turned around by a familiar environment. At the same time, a reason to celebrate can easily be enriched and improved when accompanied by great food.
Legendary establishment in the capital Mezostrati represents just that for me. I visited the place for the first time a few days after moving to Cyprus over four years ago. Another visit marked the celebration of my engagement. And countless other visits have marked important events in my or life or those of people close to me.
What makes a happy place though? For restaurants, it’s a combination of elements. At Mezostrati, which has consistently been placed among the top taverns in Nicosia, the superb food goes hand-in-hand with the atmosphere.
A point I have made before is that music at tavernas in Cyprus is not only relevant, it’s downright essential and Mezostrati reverberates with traditional songs most days of the week, making it one of the most sought-after spots in town. Booking in advance is essential.
The food does not disappoint either. Expect reassuring and generous portions of traditional Cypriot entries. Unsophisticated is the key word at Mezostrati. If you’re looking for new takes on familiar recipes, it might not be the place for you.
But let’s be serious, who goes to a tavern expecting nouvelle cusine? Certainly not me and I’m sure the same thing goes for Mezostrati’s patrons, 99 per cent of whom opt to order meze, either the lighter version called “oso na fame” (as much as we can eat), or the whole shebang, aptly named “na spasoume” (we are going to explode).
At €18 and €22 per person, considering the central location, the engaging music and the quality of the entries, Mezostrati almost qualifies as a bargain eat.
My favourite dishes among the selection are the saganaki drizzled with sesame seeds and local honey, the village pasta with boiled chicken drizzled with lemon, which surprised my reluctant tastebuds when I first arrived on the island, and the lountza (cured pork) tenderloin cut thickly and grilled, one of the best I’ve tried so far.
But, as happens with places that have a special place in our hearts, the food is only part of what makes Mezostrati special. Tables full of people, raunchy bouts of laughter, hasty waiters expertly making their way among dancing customers, are sights that are guaranteed to stay with you for quite some time.
Before I even finished writing this review, I’d already messaged my friends and booked a table, that is how much I love this place!
SPECIALTY Cypriot food
WHERE Mezostrati, Evagorou 18E, Nicosia
WHEN 7pm-11pm, closed on Sunday and Monday
HOW MUCH €18 for small meze, €22 for large meze
CONTACT 22 662727