By Sarah Coyne
There are various translations of the Italian expression La Dolce Vita, but when it comes to food, the most appropriate is ‘sweet life: the good life perceived as one of physical pleasure and self-indulgence’. At the moment, we could all do with a little Dolce Vita. And the restaurant that now carries this name in Coral Bay was previously run as a traditional Greek taverna for many years; one of the places I visited on my first holiday to Cyprus. However, in 2021, as we all emerged from lockdown, the building was reincarnated as an Italian restaurant.
The large and tastefully refurbished interior offers a modern and comfortable space. Only the columns are a reminder of its previous life. The tables are very well spaced, and unusually they had very comfortable chairs on the veranda, which is always appreciated. The very hospitable Katerina manages the restaurant, keeping a keen eye on all the proceedings and comes from a family that owns other restaurants in the immediate area. Her background experience was definitely visible throughout the meal.
The menu is varied, and even the fussiest eater would be hard-pressed not to find something. Dolce Vita promotes itself with Steak, Pizza, Pasta and Seafood, but the menu is much more than that. Katerina explained that her family wanted to offer something new to the area and that while the menu was based on Italian culinary traditions, they also wanted to combine it with a hint of Cypriot cuisine.
The dining experience began with warm bread rolls served with Parsley Butter and a delicious Tapenade. We followed this with Bruschetta, where the flavours of the basil and fresh tomatoes shone through the olive oil and balsamic dressing. My colleague and I selected two starters from the menu and decided to share.
The first to arrive at the table was Carpaccio di Manzo with very thin slices of meat drizzled with truffle oil, rucola leaves and slivers of Parmesan cheese, offering a salty combination of flavours. The other starter we shared was Risotto al Funghi Porcini, a creamy mélange of oyster, portobello, porcini and butter mushrooms. With just a slight hint of truffle and a portion of Parmesan on the edge of the plate, we enjoyed this dish very much.
Linguine Neri was one of our selected main dishes, squid ink linguine with king prawns, scallops, mussels and calamari. The taste was excellent, and it offered a generous portion of quality seafood. But the meal’s highlight was the Carrè di Agnello al Forno, a roast rack of lamb with a fresh mint herby crust and a mint jus. No complaints here at all, as the lamb was roasted to perfection with the mint jus bringing out all the flavours. Restaurants often promise a crust on the lamb, but sadly there is sometimes little evidence of it when it arrives at the table. The Dolce Vita version was thick and flavoursome which matched very well with the lamb in terms of texture and taste. On the side, they served a generous bowl of small roast potatoes and a small selection of fresh vegetables, including asparagus.
Having eaten our way through the menu, it was only with the dessert that we experienced our first disappointment. Tiramisu is an Italian pudding which I consider to be easily made. The Dolce Vita concoction had all the right ingredients but lacked a depth of flavour and was slightly dry. Tiramisu should literally ooze cream, mascarpone and strong coffee. However, this certainly wouldn’t put me off returning as the other dishes were excellent.
For the wine connoisseur, Dolce Vita has put a lot of thought and care into its wine list and offered over 70 labels. In contrast to most places, if you want to enjoy a single glass of wine, you are in for a great selection.
WHERE Dolce Vita, Intercoral Shopping Centre 13, Coral Bay Avenue, Peyia, Paphos
WHEN Daily from 11am to 11pm
CONTACT 26 622850 – Booking advised in the evenings
HOW MUCH Appetisers from €7, Mains: pasta from €10, fish from €16.50, meat from €14.50 and desserts from €6.50