Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Be My Valantina?

The neighbours are in next door. Landlords John and Wendy have been in residence together with a family of mutual friends of ours whom we've known for more years than I care to remember. Their kids, now 23 and 20 respectively, have the tendency without even trying to make me think I must be getting very old!! When we used to socialise with them back in South Wales these two progeny were toddling around. Tempus fidgets and all that latin stuff.

They've all been here for a couple of weeks and they're off back to the UK today. So, last night they invited us to join them in an evening out at Valantina's in Lardos, a restaurant that they go back to again and again every time they're here on their hols and it's not hard to see why. The other couple have a wedding anniversary looming and the rest of the clan were planning a surprize meal, with a cake at the end and everything. John and Wendy know the staff at Valantina's [different link there] better than we do because, in the ten years (well, come August it will be) that we've been here, they have eaten there dozens of times more than we have. You know the scenario. When you're on your hols you eat out a lot, right? I mean we always used to eat out every single night when we had Greek holidays. May have taken a sack of muesli to make breakfast in our room (along with, of course, some local Greek yogurt plopped on top with a chopped banana), but evening time is wasted in Greece if not passed in a taverna, right? [Take note you All Inclusive types!! You're missing out big time!]

Living here, we tend not to go out every night (!!). Plus, we have such a huge choice of places to go that we like to keep trying new places, partly so I can scribble about them here. That said, whenever the neighbours are in we often end up eating out with them at least once and 9 times out of 10 it'll be Valantina's. I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again in case you're wondering about the spelling, I am spelling it correctly. Valantina is the name of the mama of the family and one of her daughters too, who waits at tables. She's in the photo below (courtesy of Tripadvisor)...

Valantina's the one in the middle, but then you probably worked that out. Far left is the ever cheerful Petros. The rest? Can't tell you their names, sorry.

The atmosphere's always good. It's a nice traditional place where you can people watch too if you sit at one of the outside tables. Note the sign, giving you the correct spelling!!
John usually telephones to tell them we're coming because often we'll be a fairly large party. Last night altogether we were 8 and the couple who's anniversary we were celebrating didn't know anything had been prepared upfront. Valantina and Petros know John and Wendy well, better than they know us in fact, and so they knew that it was an occasion. They did us proud.

The table was laid with a central strip - I dunno what you'd call it - "throw" maybe? Whatever, it was in wine-red silk and buff linen and embroidered with decorative stones and stuff. Valantina told us when we sat down that she'd brought it from home, plus there was a huge glass vase in the centre which was full of deliciously blousy red, cream and yellow roses, picked from her garden especially to brighten the table for the happy couple. I have to say that, in almost ten years the service and quality of the food here hasn't changed a bit. They still do too some unique dishes, along with all the traditional stuff you might look for in a Greek taverna, and they still serve up mammoth portions.

I opted for the swordfish in pepper sauce and it was almost more than I could eat. Just as well it wasn't though, because once we'd eaten and all that remained on the table were half-empty glasses and carafes and the usual debris, Valantina arrived with a specially prepared cake, sparklers fizzing on top, and placed it in front of Mike and Pauline, the couple around which the evening revolved. Pretty soon we were all looking at our own individual slice on a plate in front of us and we tucked in. I haven't got a particularly sweet tooth, but I have to say, whoever baked and decorated it got the balance just right. My wife, incidentally, had ordered salmon in ginger and garlic sauce (well illustrating the slightly more original stuff on the menu), which she said was arguably some of the best salmon she'd ever eaten. She too had trouble polishing it off. 

All in all a very pleasant evening. Petros and Valantina, who looked after us well, were happy, attentive without being in your face and we didn't have to wait longer than would be expected for the food. Plus the little extras that they laid on made for a slightly more special feel to the occasion. Mike and Pauline have been married 27 years, still on honeymoon eh? 

Walking back through Lardos square, making our way home, it was fairly quiet, although with the lights twinkling out from the bars and restaurants it always has a nice feel to it after dark. There were still plenty of people having animated conversations over a late night drink and a few mopeds weaving this way and that. 

We walked back past Angie's place on the way to the car. If you've read chapter 29 of "A Plethora of Posts" you'll remember my tale about the redoubtable Angie, who was a bloke by the way. His old workshop where he'd wrestle with wrought iron and, some time back, rent scooters too is all closed up now. I'll never forget the way he singlehandedly lifted our old cast iron woodburner into the back of his passion-wagon. He was a big bull of a man physically, but personality-wise would do anyone a good turn. He died suddenly very recently of a heart attack (I think). He was only about fifty as I understand it. So sad.

Anyway, onward and upward - whatever that's supposed to mean. If you're in the south of Rhodes any time this year, I can heartily recommend you try Valantina's, I'd be very surprised if you're disappointed. Incidentally, it's spelt right on tripadvisor too!


  1. Trevor Mcilveen13 May 2015 at 14:49

    We had spagetti carbonara cooked by myself for lunch today.The dog & cats had pasta with tinned tuna. Just thought you would like to know.

  2. Sooooo jealous of you going to Valantina's. Ate there on their opening night in April and again twice ( I think) during our short stay. Always a lovely welcome and great food and Valantina and cousin-in-law (left of your photo) are such friendly, attentive waiters.


  3. By the way, it's called a table runner. Thought I'd say as no-one else has!