PAGODA CHINESE RESTAURANTS – NICOSIA
Address: 1 Akropoleos, Egkomi “Monte Parnasse”, Nicosia
Telephone: +357 22 878000 / 25 312 000 / 23 819 988
Schedule: open daily from 12:00 – 15:00 and 18:30 -23:00, take away and delivery available (free for orders over 25 EUR within city limits), provide catering services
Parking: next to the restaurant (go early!) or anywhere you can find…
After 40 years of quality and excellence, the Pagoda Chinese Restaurant of Nicosia has moved to the borders of Egkomi overlooking all of Makedonitissa and the University of Nicosia. It is now located where Chang’s Chinese restaurant used to be but with many renovations and extensions. Some of its new features include a bar – where you can also eat – and a mini lounge area with a TV screen – to watch the Mundial games. The restaurant has a spectacular view from the terrace; especially at night when the street lights trace the road networks as well as the twinkling stars on the velvety dark sky are enhanced.
A modern black-white-silver decoration, dimmed lighting and chill out background music create a perfect atmosphere to spend a relaxed and enjoyable evening with the company of your favourite dishes. A beautiful and ridiculously real-looking orchid is found on each table to confuse you whether it’s real or not – perhaps a conversation starter if you are on a date. Comfy chairs with their own escorting fluffy pillow are there to support your back throughout the night. Large tables allow the waitresses to spread out the diamond-shaped dishes and leave you eating comfortably with chopsticks – for the daredevils / Asian cuisine lovers! [….proud to be one], or with shiny silver cutlery for the more “I-am-hungry-and-do-not-want-to-waste-my-time-trying-to-eat-one-piece-of-chicken” sort of people.
Before I continue, here’s an interesting fact about why (most of) Chinese people don’t get fat.
The answer? Chopsticks. Yes. Eating with chopsticks only allows one to eat a small proportion of food at each gulp, hence, they eat slower, hence, they digest properly and hence (!), they need less food to fill up their Chinese tummies. This, however, cannot be applied to other cuisines, for example, the Cypriot cuisine, for obvious reasons. A hint? Try eating Souvla with chopsticks. Enough said.
Moving on to the eating experience…
On each table, a plate of freshly prepared prawn crackers (spicy and plain), welcome you into the Chinese world of flavours. I think they only lasted for about 3.43 minutes to be precise. For starters we ordered a couple of vegetable spring rolls served with the usual sauce, as well as chicken / crabmeat sweet corn soup. It’s one of my rules. Whenever I go to a Chinese restaurant, I must try this particular soup. I don’t know why. I guess it prepares me psychologically –and digestically!, for the quality I am about to experience from the main dishes. The sweet corn soup was very thick and quite ‘sweet’ for my taste buds and you could barely taste the chicken shreds. The spring rolls were great.
For main course we ordered the standard Chinese dish known to all Cypriots – the sweet and sour chicken, which was more sweet than sour. (My theory from the previous paragraph worked for this one!) Sizzling beef strips with black bean sauce, mildly spiced and garnished with peppers and onions. Mmm…delicious! Very tender chicken breast, cut in cubes and served with cashew nuts came next. That was heavenly – and I am sure you will agree with me if you try it. The best chicken with cashew nuts I have ever tasted and believe me, I have been to quite a few good Chinese restaurants around the world. Crunchy noodles with bean sprouts and egg fried rice were by our sides throughout this tasty journey.
The price of each dish reflected the quality and quantity satisfyingly. Not the cheapest Chinese restaurant in town, but perhaps one of the best (ranging from EUR 6 – 26 per dish). Service was excellent, apart from the fact that they took away our wine glasses after asking us whether we wanted wine or not and we replied ‘we’ll have a look in the wine menu in a bit’. Well, we never had to look in the wine menu after that. The food came unbelievably fast – of course they prepare all the dishes in advance (apart from the sizzling dishes) or they wouldn’t be able to cope in peak hours!
Their logo, sounding similar to Carlsberg adverts among others: ‘probably the only Asian restaurants in Cyprus with certified quality, health and safety systems.’
“When I’m at a Chinese restaurant having a hard time with chopsticks, I always hope that there’s a Chinese kid at an American restaurant somewhere who’s struggling mightily with a fork.” – Rick Budinich
“And I find chopsticks frankly distressing. Am I alone in thinking it odd that a people ingenious enough to invent paper, gunpowder, kites and any number of other useful objects, and who have a noble history extending back 3,000 years haven’t yet worked out that a pair of knitting needles is no way to capture food?” – Bill Bryson