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Manzanillo Mediterranean Restaurant


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THE BEST MEDITERRANEAN | PAPHOS

Published by Oat Sitalasai — 5 years ago

I could never get enough of food, especially when the food is good. Once again, we are still here in the coastal town of Paphos, Cyprus, a small island half Greek, half Turkish sitting cozily in the eastern front of the Mediterranean sea. Paphos is on the Greek side but its history has seen many different people passing by, trading and living the island life. With this, the face of the Cypriot cuisine is always changing. The very change in the culinary world is still happening today, as I will now prove with my visit to another restaurant.

The restaurant in which I visited is called Manzanillo Mediterranean Restaurant, and is located on the long road connecting Tombs of the Kings Road with Coral Bay. You will definitely need your own vehicle for this trip, since the restaurant is located just on the road side. The restaurant is a fairly new addition to the food scene here in Paphos, however, the owner and chef of the place is no stranger to the business and the development here in Paphos. Formerly a part of the kitchen brigade at the five-star hotel Elysium, the executive chef brings with him years worth of experience at the top level here in Cyprus. What he brings to the table is something quite new here to the town. The restaurant brings a modern take on cuisine of the Mediterranean region, so his dishes are neither Greek nor Italian, but a mix of all the influences as well as the ingredients that are in season.

Now that we have a brief background to the restaurant, but I must also say that we were one of the first people to come to this restaurant since its opening. The restaurant itself is decorated with simplicity, keeping the clean, white colours on the inside. They also have an outdoor seating section in their terrace, which has fantastic breeze in the afternoon and evening times due to its close distance to the sea. Actually, the sea is really close to the road and the restaurant and can't be more than a kilometer away. This gives you the perfect place to watch the daily sun set, with the sea in the foreground and of course, the beautiful skyline that the sun creates when it heads off to another continent. I am unsure as to whether they are now open for lunch or later in the afternoon, but I will include their phone number towards the end of this post.

As for the food, oh yes the food. Given its awesome location to the sea and the sun as well as the presentation of this new eating spot, the most important element as per always is the quality of the food. The delivery and execution of the food here will not disappoint. Given that the chef is so talented and hugely experienced, he certainly knows (and appreciates) the products he gets his hands on. This strong passion for the kitchen enables him to deliver only the best to us, the clients sitting in the dining room.

Without further delay, we went ahead and order the items for our dinner. We agreed to select a starter, just to get our palates going - but really just to actually fill something in the stomach because we were extremely hungry! We had gone for the grilled halloumi cheese with house made salsa. If you guys are not familiar with halloumi cheese, it's a very specific type of cheese that is only produced here in this region, and to be specific, Cyprus or Greece. I have never had halloumi cheese from Greece so I cannot speak for its taste or quality, but there is no doubt that the halloumi cheese made in Cyprus is the very best. Like other ingredients he receives regularly, the halloumi cheese is produced locally. This particular type of cheese has its own distinct texture, which can often be described as somewhat firm and elastic. The cheese is often grilled, and when cooked this way, the char marks stick onto the cheese. Halloumi cheese doesn't break apart or melt away like other cheese, which makes it perfect for grilling. This very dish was delicious simply because the finest quality halloumi cheese was grilled perfectly. The salsa was also quite nice, but as you could see, was quite small in quantity. There were also two little lines of really delicious, also high quality balsamic, which just like the salsa, we only hoped there was more. All in all, the grilled halloumi cheese was a fantastic start to our dinner.

The main course was very interesting. If I am not mistaken, their menu will change depending on the season, so if you go and there's nothing like what we had on the menu, the reason is probably that. Anyhow, I will continue to present to you guys what we had for the night, so that this will give you a better idea of what you could expect, roughly. I forgot to mention one thing. Just before we got our starter of grilled halloumi, we also received an amuse-bouche. The thing was that the restaurant was so new that some of the system between the system and the front of house was not concrete enough for a 100% smooth operation, so this led to a delay in our food. Other than receiving the bread and stuff, we were given a complimentary amuse-bouche of cherry tomatoes with feta cheese. As you could see, it's nothing massive or spectacular, but still, it was a nice touch of hospitality and a good service recovery too.

Okay so now onto the actual main course. As for me, I had ordered a mix grilled platter with a side of grilled local seasonal vegetables and french fries. Let's first start off with the components of this grill platter. If my memory is not as bad as I thought, there was a lamb chop, grilled pork souvlaki, a pork and lamb sheftalia sausage, grilled chicken breast and the same, delicious, grilled halloumi cheese. There isn't a lot to elaborate on these grilled items other than the fact that everything was fresh and well-seasoned. In other words, all these elements of the platter was delicious, so no complaints there. Moving on to the elegant side of grilled vegetables, there were red and yellow peppers, zucchini and egg plant. Again these vegetables were well-seasoned and held their freshness very well. The french fries... I mean, do I really need to say anything about french fries. You may also be wondering, what's the sauce in the saucer there? With the platter, you also get to select the sauce to go with it. For this, I chose their mushroom sauce, just as something of a personal preference from my time over in Sydney - you get steaks with mushroom sauce everywhere in Sydney. The sauce was delicious, and my dilemma was that I wanted more.

This should never be seen as a bad thing, because wanting more only means that the original portion was good. I would have liked to see more salsa and more balsamic on our grilled halloumi cheese starter, but the mushroom sauce, I think the portion in the sauce was fair. I think portion size also contributes to the overall presentation of the plate. We all eat with our eyes first, so when I saw this plate arriving on my table, my eyes were automatically pleases. If a dish looks aesthetically pleasing, chances are it will also taste good.

On the other hand, my mother got some lamb chops with almost the same sides. I can't remember what else she got instead of the french fries, but maybe it was mashed potato. Her dish was very good, and the lamb was divine. I keep mentioning time and time again about how good the lamb in Cyprus is. I can easily say that it's better than the occasions I've had lamb over in Australia, and the best part is, it's half the price here in Cyprus! Can you imagine top restaurants in Sydney - by Darliing Harbour to be precise but not to point fingers at anyone in particular.. - It's something of a local produce I guess, so that would explain why everyone here can afford to have lamb. Needless to say, I managed to steal a bit of lamb from my mom's plate, but she was cool though.

As I mentioned way earlier, this place is fairly new and In saying this, there is a clear potential for this place and that was clear from my experience here for dinner. At the end of the meal, the chef took his time out from the busy kitchen to come greet us. He went through the usual protocol of asking us about our meal experience and so on, but what surprised me was that he was urging us to tell him of what we didn't enjoy. It was the very first time in my twenty one years on this planet that a chef doesn't only ask us about the meal but goes on to ask us about what went wrong. This is a sign of someone that is extremely dedicated to his restaurant, and someone that runs the place from the heart and looks at the big picture.

We were honest and told him every thing we had in mind. I mean, the faults were very small, as in the delay in food and all that, but with time, this will be fixed. We also told him about the small amount of salsa for the grilled halloumi cheese as well as the two thin lines of balsamic which we could've done more with. Overall, everything was fine, it was just the little details that needed polishing up, but everything will come into full gear in no time.

After our little chat with the chef himself, we were offered the dessert of the day. There were a few choices at the time but I had no difficulty selecting what was THE one. Of course, it had to be something sweet and not too heavy on the stomach to wrap up what was already a delicious night of dining. I went for the classic chocolate fondant cake. Some one people call this a chocolate lava cake or a chocolate mud cake, but just to clarify this, regardless of what you know it by, you would expect the cake to be warm, and of course soft on the outside, with a little surprise on the inside. This surprise is none other than the thick, chocolate lava - also referred to as mud to many - that would slowly ooze out, similar to when you have an egg benedict and you break down the soft poached egg with the side of your fork. There's just something elegant and sexy about this dessert. The most important of all though, was that it was again perfectly executed and fresh. Please do correct me if I'm wrong, but I think making a chocolate fondant cake takes a lot of precision from the chef, with the right amounts and measurements for the cake and chocolate, as well as cooking it at the right temperature, for just the right amount of time. In addition to all of this, I also don't think a chocolate lava cake would be nice after one day, so it just take time and commitment to make these on a daily to keep them fresh. And once again, we have another excellent item on the menu.

I will say this again but this restaurant definitely has the potential to be something amazing here in Paphos. I am sure that the momentum will get going for them and that they will soon be receiving a lot of diners as summer approaches. Just on a side note, I mentioned that the chef was a part of the kitchen team at the five-star Elysium hotel. I would like to also recommend their bar, called Astria Bar. I really like this bar because of its ambience, super friendly floor staff, as well as the live musical performance. Depending on the night of the week, they will have singers performing both hits of the present and the past, in English, Greek and I guess other languages too? This really depends on the singers and pianists you have on show, but again, this is a fantastic space to kick back, relax, sip a cocktail or a glass of local wine, and enjoy the show.

And this brings full circle for my post on Manzanillo, a great place to eat if you happen to be staying along the Coral Bay area. At the end of the day, Paphos is a small town and getting around is very easy. Just a quick guide, going from one side of Paphos to other side might only take you half an hour if the traffic is kind. Either way, it's not too much to ask for to drive out for a good meal right? Right!

Manzanillo Mediterranean Restaurant Paphos - Ratings :

Accessibility - 7/10

Price - 9/10

Selection - 9/10

Staff Friendliness - 10/10

Cleanliness - 10/10

Overall - 9/10

Manzanillo Mediterranean Restaurant Paphos - Official Facebook Page

Trip Advisor comments from local residents and tourists alike on the food at Manzanillo Mediterranean Restaurant Paphos

Astria Bar

Elysium Hotel - Paphos, Cyprus

If you like the content of this post, or just want to check out some pictures that I take on my adventure, feel free to like and/or follow me on instagram at oat93, cheers!

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