Of all the gin joints in all the world Sarah Woods in the Grill House Taverna, Cyprus
Now approaching his 80th birthday, Antonis Anastasiou has been throwing open the doors of his pretty taverna in Larnaca, Cyprus, for longer than he cares to recall.
After unfastening the wooden shutters he pauses momentarily to deadhead his bright pink geraniums and breathe in the smell of sea spray mixed with tobacco smoke and fried halloumi cheese as he gazes out across the Mediterranean.
A kafenio (coffee house), bar and eatery, Anastasiou’s place is rarely empty. After their siestas, the menfolk hunch over thimble-sized cups of sweet Cypriot coffee known as “glyko”, served with two heaped teaspoons of sugar, and enjoy a game of backgammon.
Music plays – usually the folkish strains of a laouto (a type of lute) – over the constant clatter of plates and chatter. Anastasiou’s apron-clad sidekick cuts up chunks of chalky feta while slabs of honey-soaked pastries are traded for salacious titbits and tales of political strife.
The island has been split between a Turkish part in the north and a Greek part in the south (of which Larnaca is part) since the Turkish invasion in 1974. United Nations peacekeeping troops line the border, with still no sign of a resolution.
Generous measures of pine resin-infused retsina wine help to drown the nation’s woes. Ouzo flavoured with anise and pale Keo Cyprus beer in frosted glasses are other specialities. The Grill House Taverna is renowned for its charcoal-grilled fish meze – plates of calamari, sea bass, octopus, swordfish, bream and red mullet served with fruit from the island’s lemon groves. Sit indoors amid a clutter of plastic flowers, old postcards and bric-a-brac or choose an outside table overlooking the shore............
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Name Grill House Taverna
Where Piale Pasia Street, Larnaca, Cyprus
Phone 00357 2465 5864
Website What’s that then?
Proprietor Antonis Anastasiou
The time Early until late (there are no set times)
Clientele Card and backgammon-playing old-timers and holidaying retirees
I must have passed this place many a time when I was in Larnaca. But I cant remember it.
Does someone know its location on Piale Pasia .Is it nearer the old fort or further down nearer MacKenzie closer to the fishing shelter.
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