Monday, 17 September 2012

The tale of Zanettos and how BH met his Waterloo

So, after two months of intensive work I came back to the (surprisingly not rainy) UK and I'm already missing the Motherland. Luckily, a few days before leaving we went to Zannetos in an effort to bid Cyprus goodbye. If you've never been to Zannetos, you probably don't understand what this entails, so let me just say this: if you don't have the appetite of a giant, don't go there. You'll just embarrass yourself. Nevertheless, I suppose large quantities of food go hand in hand with Cypriot culture.

Before I go down to the food, let me give you a bit of contextual information. Zannetos tavern has been in Trikoupi St. since 1938 when Savvas Zannetos sold tinned goods, meat, fish and cheese, but also served cognac and wine along with his mezedes. Mr Yiorgos Ioannides, who owned the coffee shop next door used to recall how Zannetos would make his own cognac and how octopus, afeleia and the snails in tomato sauce were among his most delicious mezedes. Trust me, if it wasn't this good, there's no way it would survive through the decades. It was the first time I went there and was very impressed by the quality of the food and the generous portions, but most importantly by their traditional Cypriot hospitality: the staff was very friendly and we even got to wash our hands with rosewater, which I hadn't done in years!

This made me smile!
So let me cut down to the chase: the food. As I already told you, you have to be serious about your food to go there. There's no ordering, there's just a fixed set menu of mezedes, about twenty of them, and I can assure you this is no tasting menu. Go hungry or go home! (I'm serious, there was a guy sitting at the table next to us pleading to the waiter 'no more food please, no more food').

The array of mezedes included traditional green olives with coriander, grilled halloumi, pork belly marinated in red wine, pork and chicken souvlaki, sheftalies, spanakorizo (rice cooked with spinach), melt-in-your mouth veal liver, snails in tomato sauce (which we ordered a second time), traditional yogurt, ravioli with a halloumi filling and bulgur wheat cooked in tomato paste. The desserts didn't disappoint either (you do notice the plural, don't you?): traditional halva like my grandmother makes it, lebanese mahallepi with mastic and pistachios, fresh fruit and glyka tou koutaliou, which are fruit or vegetables served with a syrup made from water, sugar and infused with the fruit. We washed everything down with a glass of ice-cold beer. Pure bliss.

The halva which comes second only to that of my grandmother's!

We left happy, although BH was defeated; he just couldn't cope with the enormous amount of food. Honey, I know you're reading this, so please know I still have faith in you and your appetite :)

If you want to try some of the best Cypriot food out there, I highly recommend Zannetos (it's not a locals' favorite for nothing); you'll find them at Trikoupi St, 65 in the old district of Nicosia or call them at 22765501.

PS: It felt so good to be able to speak Greek to the Greek-speaking waiters!
PSS: There are so many seagulls in the South!


  1. oh my gosh! i bet you did go home happy! hahaha i'm happy just looking at your pics. i really like the philosophy of this restaurant. hahaha i haven't been to a restaurant where they've given my rosewater to wash my hands in a decade. how exquisite!!! lol at the guy saying no more food. so glad you enjoyed yourself. great post!

  2. I hadn't ever heard the term "mezedes" before, so I had to look it up:) It sounds (and looks) absolutely fantastic.




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