Kuzina, local traditional ingredients with a non-traditional twist

Athenian foodies know the name Aris Tsanaklides as American foodies know the name Charlie Trotter. Although we have enjoyed Kuzina since it opened in 2004, we did so without knowing much about the chef-owner, other than that he seemed to like to use local traditional ingredients with a non-traditional twist.
His creations are tasty and interesting, and we’ve never had a bad meal there. Adrianou Street is also a great people watching spot, or if you are more interested in watching the Parthenon, the Terratza upstairs offers a nice view.
In the spring of 2007, while sitting in a small café in Mykonos with our dog Scruffy, we struck up a conversation with a gentleman sitting next to us. He was quite interested in our dog, who is an amazingly well behaved, well trained, beautiful and clever Border Collie mix. Over the course of an hour or more, we chatted about dogs, the weather and Mykonos. It was not until late in the conversation when I asked if he lived on the island that he told me he was there to open a restaurant and that he was a chef. Very humbly he said he had another restaurant, in Athens, called Kuzina.

This pleasant man we’d been chatting with was Aris Tsanaklides!

Indeed, he did say that he tried to create recipes with somewhat of a difference from the usual, while choosing fresh, local and traditional ingredients. What I did not know was that he had also found many long ago forgetten recipes, and added these to the menu. Of particular note were the figs marinated in anise and ouzo and wrapped in walnut leaves, pictured here, which are in fact listed as an appetizer. Although I loved them, I would have preferred their sweetness for dessert (and if he doesn’t have anything really interesting on the dessert menu, I’d order the figs after your main meal), although Aris told me that this particular ancient recipe was routinely served between courses, much like a palette cleanser.

The feta cheese mousse dumplings with pomegranate sauce are in interesting twist on traditional fried cheese while the steamed mussels with feta and herbs, also pictured here, were the perfect blend of a very traditional “mydia” dish. So, drop by Kuzina, which you can’t help but pass on Adrianou in Thisseo, and ask for Aris – tell him that a Border Collie named Scruffy he met in Mykonos sent you!

Kuzina is open lunch and dinner
(210) 3240133 — Adrianou 9
Major credit cards accepted