Restaurants come and go but some past the test of time and become well established. If you live in Larnaca, you will definitely know Zephyros, which has been in operation since 1976. I hadn’t been to Zephyros for a very long time and so when someone suggested we go one sunny Saturday afternoon I was keen to revisit.
Walking in to the restaurant, it was exactly as I remembered it! The memories came flooding back and it was though I had been a week ago. There is a lack of ambience in terms of music playing in the background and fancy décor but somehow, it’s part of the charm. Waiters whizzing around, families at tables chatting away – this sort of hustle and bustle could sometimes be a turn-off but it actually wasn’t. Maybe it was the nostalgia kicking in or maybe it was just something about the energy that worked.
While Zephyros is famous for its fish meze, we weren’t in the mood for something as heavy. After perusing the menu I fancied the fried baby calamari but, this is something I enjoyed quite a bit over the summer so I pretended to be healthy and went for the grilled calamari. We also ordered three servings of octopus, and a swordfish steak. It seems as though we may all have secretly wanted the baby calamari as my brother ordered a serving of that as a sharing plate so that we could at least get a taste. Just for good measure, we also ordered a slice of grilled halloumi each as a starter.
When you look at the price of a slice of halloumi you might find yourself thinking that actually, for one slice, it is a bit steep. However, when the halloumi came out, not only was it a very generous, it was also perfectly prepared. Hot off the grill, not crispy, cooked enough to be rid of the squeakiness and so soft. It’s not the kind of starter that will fill you and spoil your appetite, it was just right.
The menu states that all dishes are served with a side of chips. When the food was brought to our table, we were given our individual orders but the chips were brought all together on a large platter. They were so good, my brother asked for another helping! My calamari was lovely, I couldn’t have asked for it to be any better. The octopus, however, was quite inconsistent: one was perfect, soft, tender and almost melt in the mouth; one was erring on the side of tough but was OK; and the third was tough and rubbery! The swordfish steak was huge! It almost filled the entire plate! It was ever so slightly over cooked and so a tiny bit dry but, with a healthy drizzle of lemon, not only was the flavour enhanced but, it moistened up the swordfish and turned it into a delight! Let’s not forget the serving dish of baby calamari. It was actually lovely! So soft, we barely had to chew and the batter had just the right amount of crunch to it!
After finishing we asked for the bill and, in the same way as when you might be at a relative’s house, the waiter exclaimed that he couldn’t let us leave without offering us dessert! He disappeared and came back with a plate filled with a selection of glyko tou koutaliou (spoon sweets). There was everyone’s all-time favourite, karidaki (walnut), some watermelon rind, bergamot and, never seen before (by me, anyway) aubergine! The crunch of the watermelon was the winner for me!
Seeing as we had stayed for dessert, we also ordered coffee. Four Cyprus coffees and one espresso. Finally, the waiter allowed us to have the bill. Turns out that, not only was the dessert on the house but, the Cyprus coffee was as well (not the espresso though).
What with the good company, great hospitality and good food, I was reminded why I always enjoyed dining at Zephyros.
WHERE Zephyros, Piale Pasa 37, Larnaca 6027
WHEN daily 11am-11.30pm
CONTACT 24 657198
HOW MUCH Halloumi €2, octopus and swordfish €16.50, grilled calamari €16, baby calamari €14