The unique CuCuRuCu showed up in the old town of Nafplio, with an Italian air and by giving its own unique interpretation to the concept of a wine bar-restaurant, it instantly became a beloved spot for wine lovers and fans of Italian culture and authentic flavors.
I was lucky enough to visit CuCuRuCu during its first week of operation and admire it up close. "A piece of Italy in the heart of Nafplio": this is what the always restless Antonis Pantazis, owner of the beloved Italian restaurants in the city, La Gratella and Il Porto, managed to create. A lover of Italian culture and a connoisseur of the gastronomic and oenological traditions of the neighboring country and beyond, he searched, discovered, envisioned, and created a modern vineria that takes you on a journey to Italy with all your senses...
Italian atmosphere in the old town
On the corner of Kotsonopoulou and Vasilissis Olgas streets and all the way to Vassileos Alexandrou str., CuCuRuCu makes this beautiful neighborhood of the old town even more charming. On the ground floor of a restored mansion, warm ochre colors dress the walls, while dark olive ideally paints the windows, in a harmonious coexistence of colors. In its exterior protected space, the elegant tables and the typical French-style chairs dressed in floral cushions predispose me positively, even before I enter the interior. I carefully look at the minimalist logo outside the door and think of Cucurucu, the hero of Commedia dell' Arte, who gave the place its name and became the inspiration for its modern Renaissance-decor style. Simply brilliant!
The exaltation of modern Renaissance aesthetics
The first image that catches my eye upon entering is the truly impressive bar, where the word Cucurucu is framed by a multitude of flowers in red neon letters. The bar with its tall salmon-colored stools, the special craftsmanship in its construction, the elaborate lighting, and the blooming female busts create a theatrical scene of elegance and maximalism. A piece of furniture with the inscription Vineria, filled with selected wine labels, stands proudly, as if proud of its contents, next to one of the most beautiful corners of CuCuRuCu: an oval table surrounded by salmon-colored chairs, above which an impressive ornate chandelier hangs, and next to it, a colorful depiction of Cucurucu from the painting "Razullo and Cucurucu" by Andien de Clermont. A few steps further, another Vineria is accompanied by the black and white depiction of Cucurucu, an excerpt this time from the painting "Razullo and Cucurucu" by Jacques Callot.
My each step on the wooden floor is a small revelation... The tables, some high and some regular, are carefully set with special plates placed on top of table mats, in a subtle alcohol color. In the background, the wall is a true work of art, as a superb Renaissance sculpture is surrounded by clusters of flowers and, along with the large velvet couch, constitute an oasis for the eyes. And within this superb environment, which has deliberately declared its destination, the journey to Italy begins with the best omens, through the interesting choices of the wine list and menu.
In Vino Veritas
Fully informed, with labels one by one tested and carefully selected, the Wine List of CuCuRuCu will give you the pleasure to taste among a variety of wines. From whites, rosés, and reds, to sparkling and sweet, they come directly from Italian vineyards, from the regions of Veneto, Campania, Naples, Sicily and Apulia, but also from Moldova, Spain and from Greek wine producers.
And although I already knew for Italy, that with more than 900 indigenous varieties from around 1 million small farmers and large wineries, it is the only country in the world with so many different and unique wines, Moldova was my personal discovery, as I did not know that it has thousands of years of history in wine production and has globally renowned wineries. So this is a part of CuCuRuCu that I love very much: no matter how much you know about wines, no matter how many you have tasted, here you will always find a different label, that will open up a new path on your journey in wine.
Like every winery that respects itself, the Wine List here is not just aimed at wine connoisseurs, but also at anyone who wants to discover the magical world of wine. For you to select, simply trust the courteous and fully trained staff, who will suggest the label that will broaden your wine horizons and ideally accompany your meal.
The menu, which speaks impeccable Italian
Equally well-crafted and highly creative, the menu of CuCuRuCu offers harmonious or unexpected pairings with wine. Its cold dishes, made with pure high-quality ingredients that come directly from Italy, with a creative and fresh cooking approach, invite you to choose from a variety of categories: Antipasti/Insalate, Nudi e Crudi, Pinsa Romana, and Secondi.
Having in mind that the menu is constantly renewed, I will share with you some choices that I personally distinguished. From the Antipasti / Insalate, I enjoyed the bruschetta with wild mushrooms, smoked scamorza cheese, fresh herbs and aged balsamic, as well as the organic salad with tricolor quinoa, shrimp, avocado, fresh onion, Florina peppers, and citrus vinaigrette. As a lover of cheeses and cold cuts, I couldn't resist a platter with parmesan, pecorino, scamorza, mozzarella, gorgonzola, prosciutto, mortadella and spicy spianata.
From the Nudi e Crudi, I chose the Gravlax salmon with citrus and beetroot paste, and my choice proved me right, while from the Secondi, the risotto with porcini mushrooms and black truffle sauce was perfectly creamy and delicious. For Pinsa Romana, I always choose the simplest version of pizza, the well-known Margherita, which, however, is elevated here by the authentic mozzarella, homemade tomato sauce, and fresh basil.
Closing the night with a Cucurucu cocktail made with Campari, dry red vermouth, wild strawberries, hibiscus, and orange aroma, I consider my experience sip by sip: I tasted dishes that exceeded my expectations from a wine restaurant, tried unique wine labels for the first time, drank one of the best cocktails I've ever had, and all of this in a dreamy environment of elegance and politeness. A complete experiential journey that transported me to the lush vineyards and unparalleled charm of Italy... And if you ask me, if CuCuRuCu has since become my favorite spot in Nafplio, the truth always lies in wine (in vino veritas) and the answer is Si (yes), Si, and again Si!
Did you know that?
In the Wine List you will find options for a glass or bottle, as well as the indication "take away" if you want to buy one or more bottles of wine.
You will find a highly interesting variety of signature cocktails, as well as spritzes, non-alcoholic cocktails, and a few select beers. For any classic drink or cocktail, simply ask the staff.
A pleasant surprise for premium meat lovers is the cuts made at your table.
You can sit here simply to enjoy your wonderful wine with your company, or accompany it with a variety of select cheeses and cured meats if you don't want to succumb to the temptation of the main menu.
A little more about Cucurucu: a hero of the commedia dell'arte, brother of Pulcinella, appears in the comic madrigal (editor's note: a type of secular, polyphonic, vocal music that flourished during the Renaissance) "Chichilichichì Cucurucù" and "Chi Chi Li Chi".
Italian Style Bistro - Italian & Mediterranean cuisine
Take Away, Music, Wi-Fi, Pet Friendly
Every day: 19:00 to 24:00 (the kitchen)