Reviews of Nikolaidis Restaurant in Pediada, Heraklion
Restaurant Nikolaidis in Pediada Review by Julie Morgan
Inland east of Heraklion and south of Hersonissos is hilly, agricultural
land with many little villages. This area is known as the Pediada. There
is little tourism in this area but you will always be made welcome in
the local tavernas.
Armed with the 'Rough Guide to Crete' we set off to visit Ayios Panteleimon
just outside of Kastelli Pedhiadhos which boasts a beautiful thirteenth
century frescoed church. To get there travel north from Kastelli for about
a km and then follow the signs for 'Byzantine Church and Paradise Taverna'
written on a piece of wood hanging off a tree branch.
The road very quickly becomes a dirt track, bumpy and lashing the car
with olives, by the return trip in our open top jeep we must have acquired
enough to make a pint of olive oil! There are a couple of other roads
leading to the church but all look as bad.
Hot and dusty we arrived outside this beautiful old church surrounded
by ancient trees. As soon as we pulled up we were greeted with hugs and
kisses by the owners of the adjacent taverna.
The Nikolaides family hold the key to the church during the summer months.
We speak only a little Greek and they speak only a little English so we
knew this would be a meeting mostly played out in mime with lots of smiles
and hugs! We walked down the few steps to the two tabled taverna which
didn't appear to have any seating available inside, I think it was their
home that doubled as a place to serve drinks and simple meals to the hardy
few that dare to make the journey from the main road.
As we sat waiting for our coffees I remarked to my husband on the quietness
of the place, it was a hot day in early October and the stillness was
almost palpable, we were surrounded by trees and could have been almost
anywhere, not a sole in sight except a lazy cat winding it's tail around
Hot coffees and delicious almond biscuits were brought out to us by
Mrs Nikolaides and we sat for a while trying to make each other understand
what we so much wanted to say, I think we managed most of it! We declined
a meal as we had already eaten before making the trip, but could see that
a selection of snacks and meals could be prepared whilst viewing the church,
no mass production here!
We then went to see the inside of the church, the frescoes, although
weathered, retained much of their beautiful colours, we lit candles and
walked around whilst Mrs Nikolaides pointed out the subjects of the frescoes.
It was so cool and calm inside the church and possible to let your
imagination run to times when this would be a haven of tranquillity for
the villagers. We thanked Mrs Nikolaides and promised to visit again on
our next trip to Crete and yes, next time we would come in time for lunch.
We sat outside the church a little longer soaking up the atmosphere and
saw the next visitors, hot and thirsty, covered in bits of olive trees
being welcomed like long lost family. It is certainly worth the bumpy
ride to this church and taverna but honestly don't know if we'd have made
it if we hadn't had the jeep!