Our last dinner in Disneyworld was on the Disney Boardwalk at Cat Cora’s Greek restaurant, Kouzzina. Kouzzina means kitchen in Greek and Diva #1’s Greek-centric family was excited to see if Floridian Greek fare rivalled what we were used to back home. We should admit that because we are Greek, we are harsh critics of Greek food, we have been to a countless number of Greek restaurants, visited Greece multiple times and we have been spoiled with Greek relatives whose life goal is to feed their family. To make matters worse Diva #1 and Aunty were stuffed from snacking on sweets at the Victorian Magic Kingdom bakery, we just don’t know when to quit!
At Kouzzina’s, we started with some ouzo cocktails (approximately 10$) which were very original and an interesting combination of flavours that made Diva #1’s inner Greek beam with pride. Cat’s Ouzo-Tini was a success with Absolut vodka, Metaxa ouzo, pineapple juice, fresh lime juice and pomegranate. The taste of the pomegranate and ouzo stood out the most and made for a very refreshing drink. Diva #1 opted for the Greek Island Ice Tea which was made up of citrus vodka, rum, gin, Metaxa ouzo and sweet and sour with a splash of coca cola. Another refreshing summer drink, but the ouzo-tini was the better of the two! Uncle was very pleased to see that they not only served Mythos Greek beer, but the more elusive Alfa Lager from Athens.
We decided to order the Kouzzina spreads which came with grilled pita, although not enough, and was made up of six traditional Greek spreads. The olive tapenade was as expected, the chickpea hummus was tasty but more Arabic than Greek, the eggplant spread was enjoyable, the taramosalata was lacking in roe, the whipped feta with peppers, traditionally called kopanisti, was lovely and the tzatziki decent. Once again, our disclaimer is that Diva #1 tends to avoid reviewing Greek restaurants because she is Greek and her standards are high and hard to reach. That being said, this appetizer was perfect for someone who wants to try a bit of everything and not commit.
The saganaki arrived, flaming hot in a cast iron pot, perfectly melted and covered with capers and fresh oregano, very impressive. The grilled lemon next to it added a wonderful aroma as the waiter placed the plate in the center of our table. Nothing beats a saganaki that is perfectly melted and not stiff by the time it arrives at your table, Kouzzina did not fail us here. The fresh oregano and grilled lemon added an extra zing.
For our main meals Aunty and Diva #1 both ordered the fisherman’s stew that was a delicious stew made up of scallops, fish, shellfish and fennel tossed in a tomato based sauce with ouzo butter and grilled bread. You do not get wonderful seafood like this in Montreal, you need to go to Greece to enjoy good Greek seafood dishes but Florida and Kouzzina provide a close second. The ouzo taste was not as prevalent as we would have liked, and the stew should have been on a bed of something. We wisely ordered it coupled with a side of herbed orzo that came with a generous amount of Kasseri cheese. The orzo was amazing and very different from anything that Diva #1 had had before. Orzo is usually good but not THAT good.
Uncle ordered the slow cooked lamb shank, fall off the bone good, it was served with oven baked “gigantes” beans and a pepper sauce. This time he gratefully allowed Diva #1 to take a picture. He is always happy when he is in a Greek environment although he was displeased that the waiter didn’t speak Greek, ha! This tasted like something yiayia (grandma) cooked, heart-warming.
For dessert we ordered the traditional loukoumades dessert which were very fresh and fluffy but sadly there was nowhere near enough honey. The loukoumades, which are often translated to honey balls, should be drenched in honey with some extra pooling in the bowl for dipping.
The baklava which is a walnut inspired dessert also had pistachios. This was a nice addition and it also came with a vanilla praline gelato. This was very good because it was so original and a twist on the traditional walnut and honey baklava. Cat Cora did a good job revamping this more boring dessert and Diva #1 doesn’t even like baklava.
Diva #1 and her uncle could not leave the restaurant without trying the perfect Greek coffee for summer weather, the frappé. In Montreal, the Divas can be found walking around the office with their frappé blender making their beautiful cold coffee drinks with the special coffee, imported from Greece and only available in Greek specialty stores. Sadly Cat Cora should have known better and used the right coffee, though this drink was blended well, it was not the traditional frappé coffee and fell short of our expectations.
That being said, this was a wonderful last night in Orlando. We had tried a bit of everything , enjoyed the warm night on a terrace overlooking the water and were ready for new adventures. Though we are picky Greeks, Cat Cora’s Kouzzina was a delight and had some original dishes. According to some online commentary, Kouzzina also serves a mean breakfast / brunch that has a Mediterranean flair and is an upgrade from the ol’ eggs and bacon.
Our Rating: Splendid
Tagged: Baklava, Boardwalk, Breakfast, Brunch, Calamari, Cat Cora, Celebrity Chef, Cocktails, Disney, Disneyworld, Disney’s Boardwalk, Epcot Resorts Boulevard, Fish, Florida, Gigantes, Greek, Kouzzina, Lake Buena Vista, Lamb Shank, Loukoumades, Mediterranean, Metaxa, Orlando, Ouzo, Pastitsio, Reservations Needed, Saganaki, Spanakopita, Splendid, Spreads, terrace, United States, US, Waterfront, wine