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Restaurant review: Yialos Tavern by the Sea

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By Sarah Coyne

As the summer kicks in, it is time to return to our favourite restaurants suited to sunnier days. One such restaurant is the family-owned Yialos Tavern by the Sea, positioned on the coast road on the western side of Coral Bay. There is a slightly uninspiring sign to point you in the right direction. While this coastline, with its many eateries, seems to get smarter and more luxurious many also seem to be getting more and more expensive. Yialos, in comparison, has kept the authentic feel of a taverna, and while the prices have understandably increased, they do not make you gasp upon reading the menu. It might not be as flashy as some of its neighbours, but it has undoubtedly stood the test of time since opening in 2000.

It is the location which really makes Yialos stand out as a restaurant of note. It is in a million-dollar setting and hard to beat. Right by the sea, with magnificent views. We visited during a very busy lunchtime. However, sunset is the best time to dine or enjoy a cocktail; from just €6 they offer excellent value these days in such a breathtaking setting.

The menu is short and sweet, with an emphasis on fresh seasonal food. Personally, a limited menu is something I always love to see and is certainly not a negative. It is divided into meat with six options – kleftiko, chicken, pork chop, chicken souvlaki, sheftalia and chicken nuggets – and fish with five choices, sea bream, sea bass, swordfish, calamari, and prawns. For vegetarians, there is a halloumi option. All main courses are served with roast potatoes or chips. You can order dips and a village salad to accompany your meal. It is customary on a visit to receive one or two small dishes on the house, which change according to what is in season. I have enjoyed a bulgar wheat side and different vegetables and dips during several visits over the years.

We decided to have the Sea Bass and Lamb Kleftiko to test both areas of the menu. As mentioned, the emphasis here is on fresh food, and everything really was! The extra village salad was one of the tastiest and freshest I have had in a long time. Annoyingly, I fail to create a fresh salad of this standard at home, and I can only put it down to exceptional ingredients the restaurants have access to. As I eavesdropped on a neighbouring table, who seemed to frequent Yialos twice weekly, they took great joy in telling their guests that most of the produce is grown in Yialos’ own organic kitchen garden.

The whole sea bass which was unexpectedly huge. Considering the fish would have been purchased by weight, all credit to the restaurant for providing such a generous portion. The fish was superbly cooked with the typical sea bass tinge of sweet flavours coming through. Happily, there were lots of tender flesh chunks throughout. Sitting looking out to sea, it is hard to imagine that eating fish can get any better than this, and I would certainly include Yialos in my top five fish restaurants in the Paphos region.

The lamb kleftiko was another winning dish and has definitely been perfected over the years. Again, all the flavours came to the fore, and while saying it melted is often overused, it certainly applies here. Mouthfuls of lamb oozing with tastes. On the side were roast potatoes that had absorbed the meat’s traditional herbs, lemon, and garlic. It is worth mentioning that they offer a special lamb barbecue with potatoes and traditional side dishes for €18 on a Sunday.

Like the food menu, the wine list is limited to a few Cypriot varieties but all at excellent prices. An example is a bottle of Agios Onoufrios priced at €17. In addition, they have a good selection of cocktails and beers for the perfect sundowners. You certainly feel you are on vacation for the time you are relaxing at Yialos – a real escape from everyday life.

 

VITAL STATISTICS

SPECIALTY Cyprus fish and meat

WHERE Yialos Tavern by the Sea, Off Sea Caves Avenue, Coral Bay, Paphos

WHEN Monday-Saturday 9am to 7pm, Sunday 9am to 5pm. CLOSED on Wednesdays.

CONTACT 99 576 980 – Reservations recommended – Essential on Sunday

HOW MUCH Dips from €2, fish mains from €17, meats from €15 and desserts from €5

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