Peskesi: tastes and aromas of Crete

Where shall I find you, how shall I see you, what gift shall I bring you to make you remember Crete, to make you raise from the dead?

We stumbled into Peskesi Restaurant by mistake – but it was one of the best errors imaginable.

During a visit to the wonderful island of Crete, we were looking for somewhere that served traditional food in Heraklion.

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We’d heard of Peskesi – widely touted as one of the best, if not the the finest restaurant in Crete – but we were having trouble finding it.

After doing a couple of laps of the city centre, we shrugged and decided to look look for another place to sample the legendary Cretan cuisine.

We walked into a lovely old building in the heart of Heraklion (and there are many) and asked if we needed a reservation to eat.

To our amazement, we had found Peskesi Restaurant without realising it. Some things are just meant to be!

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The restaurant is in a traditional ‘Cretan House’, set up in the restored historic mansion of Captain Polyxigkis, a prominent Cretan freedom fighter from the 1860’s.

This setting has resulted in Peskesi being ranked among the 80 best designed bar-restaurants in the world and the top 10 in Europe.

As we sat down, a Canadian couple nearby whispered how fortunate we were to be admitted without a reservation.

Apparently, the waiting list can be daunting.

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And one taste of Peskesi’s home-made breads and Cretan salad told us why.

It was awesome: an explosion of tastes from the fresh produce grown at the restaurant’s own farm, where more than 25 kinds of fruit and vegetables are cultivated.

This was followed by slices of meat served on hooks standing over a bed of smoking herbs – washed down by a small glass of Cretan Raki/Tsikoudia and honey.

As we booked a reservation for the following night, I asked about the name ‘Peskesi”. The waiter politely referred me to the restaurant’s website.

This is what I found:

The inspiration for our name came from our great writer and philosopher, Nikos Kazantzakis, and his book “Report to Greco”, a fictional autobiography, where he addresses his Cretan “grandfather”, Domenikos Theotokopoulos, with the following excerpt: “: “But you had turned into a flame. Where shall I find you, how shall I see you, what gift shall I bring you to make you remember Crete, to make you raise from the dead? Only the flame can be at your mercy; oh, if only I could become a flame to meet you”.

Peskesi is located in Heraklion, Crete.

The writer flew to Greece courtesy of Scoot Airlines.


 

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