Don’t Miss It
If you’ve driven down the Larnaca to Dhekalia Road in the last 5 years, you’ll have driven past this fine eaterie and as it’s set off on a parallel road and on the bend it’s understandable how you can easily miss it. In fact, I met Fāina when they first opened and found the idea of a Lebanese, come French, come Mediterranean blend of cuisines fascinating.
There’s a cool covered terrace out front, inside its very French bistro style, cosy and romantic and I loved the tiny back garden, where a small group of you can dine next to a lovely water feature …
I remember when I first found out about them opening when I called in on Mido, a friend who runs Quad Bike Safari & Rentals nearby, catching the aroma of a freshly cooked Kebab that Mido was eating and trying just one cube of meat was enough to tell this place was different! On the day of our interview I tried a mini meze and I must say the array of flavours was just amazing!
The French Way
As usual I asked why ‘Chez Fāina – Fayrous’? and Fāina explained; “We originally launched our French restaurant in Fārayyā in Lebanon and often restaurants in France are named after the owner that’s why we named it after me and to show it was a French Restaurant with a Lebanese twist we added ‘Fāyrous’, it’s the name of a very famous Lebanese singer. I asked, so where does the Mediterranean Brasserie bit come into it? and Faina said; “well we are in Cyprus so we also serve Mediterranean Styles including of course Cypriot cuisine!”
Port of Old
Lebanese born, Fāinā is one of those naturals, self taught, but she she has also worked in the SK Hotel in Faryaya, Lebanon for 5 years until 2011. Holidaying in Cyprus many times, because as she says “it’s just across the water”, in 2015 Fāinā and her husband Sami decided to bring their culinary talents to Larnaca, partly because it’s a very similar in culture, it’s not to big a city and has a cosy, hub of Cyprus, port of old, lifestyle and it’s not too far away from Limassol, Nicosia, or Ayia Napa.
No Short Cuts
Over a delicious Ily coffee, Fāinā explained; “Of course Lebanon was once part of the French colony and we believe our restaurant has gained such a good reputation because we don’t economise on products required to create dishes full of flavours of the Lebanon, France and many other cultures in the Mediterranean”. Fāinā continued “we go shopping ourselves to make sure we buy our ingredients fresh, mostly from local companies and import those we need to be authentically French or from Lebanon”.
Fāinā told me “We originally opened a French restaurant in Makarios Avenue, introducing Lebanese cuisine after 2 years, but when we moved our restaurant here we switched to a Lebanese Restaurant with just a few French dishes as our customers were mostly locals. These days its a more varied international mix as more and more tourists have discovered us. As the years past, we found more and more of our customers were asking us to cook French cuisine for them”. She laughed and said “ha! but many restaurants cook Frogs Legs, but none can cook them like ours! And, then she added; just wait til you try our Duck!”
In the Soup
I had a quick look through the French side of the new menu and a few things caught my fancy, for starters the French Onion Soup Gratinee, one of their specialities, homemade fresh every day; with home made beef broth, caramelized onions, topped with a French baguette and 3 types of gratinated cheese … I have to say Fāinā also said “I must try the Fish Soup too when its available”.
The cold starters all sounded delicious, in particular the Foie Gras, homemade torchon of foie gras served with caramelized onions and a toasted brown banquette, but the Frogs Legs a’ la Fayrouz, a home speciality sautéed in coriander sauce sounds irresistible.
My choice out of four seafood dishes has to be the 1kg Mussels, served with Mariniers or Roquefort sauce … hmm? or the baked Pangasus a’la Pomme … and the unique Mango Shrimp is served with edible flowers, I can’t wait to try that.
I love the flavour of duck and their Cuisse da Canard l’orange is I’m led to believe a best seller; it’s roast duck leg with orange honey sauce, served with potato puree sounds a must try on my next visit and that’s just the French cuisine …
Lebanon as Faina said “is just across the water”, so our cultures are quite similar … The Muhamara was a delightful cold starter, mashed sweet red peppers, crushed walnuts, bread crumbs and olive oil … Whilst the hot starter will either be the Humus with Meat or The Batata Hara, mildly fried and spiced cubes of potatoes sautéed in coriander seed
Naturally you’ll find a large selection of grills, the Kafta Kebab always a favourite, but The grilled Lamb Meshawi looked delicious.
Fāinā told me that many customers love their Platters for 1, or 2, 4 6, 8 + … and go hungry if you fancy a Meze, coz its plentiful and seasonal, so Fāinā decides what will be included this month, brilliant!
When presentation is nine tenths of the sale, things like cooking your flambé steak in pepper sauce in front of you. Choosing things like yellow broccoli and yellow or purple carrots is a very cool touch and naturally exactly to your choice to make it look as beautiful as it tastes.
Surprisingly there wasn’t any desserts on the menu but Fāinā told me they change them all the time, much as you’ll often find Crème Brule, Profiteroles, Tiramisù, Lemon Tart and their speciality Homemade Paklava Lebanese style.
Behind the Bar
You’ll find a cava of carefully selected wines and campaigns from France, Spain and Cyprus, plus a selection of bottled beers, draught in the summer, your favourite spirits and classic cocktails
You must finish it all off with one of their coffees, made with Ily Coffee … just perfect! … Check out their Full Menus here
Fāinā welcomes bookings for parties and special events and often throws a party on Easter and Bank holidays and New Years Eve and … they’ll even custom make your menu or buffets … Oh and they also provide a takeaway service and home delivery by Foody … Just check out their TripAdvisor reviews here.
Open all Year
Tuesday to Sunday: 12 pm ’til 10.30 pm
Tuesday to Sunday: 12 pm ’til 9.30 pm
Closed on Mondays
You’ll find them at 16, Okeanias Street, Oroklini, it’s just off Larnaca to Dhekalia Road and opposite the Palm Beach Hotel, a stones throw from Fabulous Jewellers … See Google map below … with ample street side parking …
GPS: 34.971969, 33.672325