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So, What’s New at Kouzzina?

From the looks of the photos on the Disney Parks Blog, not all that much.

Kouzzina Dining Room (c) Disney

To their credit, Kouzzina was only closed for refurbishment for a few weeks, so we’re excited that anything happened in that time! That said… The Kouzzina dining room will still be large, loud, and barn-like — not bad, just not all that different from what it was. The addition of an olive oil tasting at the beginning of each meal is great, but, again, two olive oils with the bread service isn’t all that different from the one olive oil we got before. However, if the servers take time to explain the different oils, their origins, etc., it could be a good learning experience for the table.

Olive Oils Line the Window Wall

Also, the “re-vamped” front lobby doesn’t look all that different from the original. A few framed prints that say “Opa!” some olive oil, Cat Cora’s branded food items…

Kouzzina New Entrance

Maybe I’m missing something, kids — maybe there’s something grand and unusual escaping my attention? If you’ve been there — let me know! :-)

Something that is different is the addition of a few new things to the menu:

steamed mussels with ouzo, shallots, herbs and butter; vegetarian white bean and escarole soup; a new house salad with greens, pickled beets, pomegranate vinaigrette and spiced cashews; oak-fired pork tenderloin with zucchini corn pie; fresh saffron pasta with lamb ragù with a port reduction; and Greek coffee crème brûlée with white chocolate-dipped biscotti.

With the exception of the creme brulee (“Oh! Creme brulee at a Disney restaurant! Shocker!”) these new items seem pretty interesting. I’ll be ordering the pork tenderloin with zucchini corn pie…

Also, we’ve got the promise of that Kouzzina Chef’s Table experience, still. Can’t wait to see how that develops.

Have you been to the “new” Kouzzina? Let me know your thoughts!

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19 Comments

  1. Jeff W. says:

    I like the snark, A.J.! More of this, please.

    And we share the same opinion about WDW’s over reliance on crème brûlée as a dessert selection. No, Disney, it’s not, in fact, 1979, and we do not view crème brûlée as exotic or exciting. Start trying harder, pretty please.

  2. Jeanine says:

    Oh please let this be like the awesome coffee creme brulees they used to have at Spoodles, served in the coffee cups with the chocolate stirrers…

  3. DisneyandBeyond says:

    I believe (and I could be wrong) that those are not Framed Prints, but Televisions…

  4. Jamie in Jax says:

    The menu at this place just does not sound very good! Maybe it’s an aquired taste!? And for the price, I’d rather go to Coral Reef and get some lobster ravioli or 50′s Primetime… that is some good fried chicken! HA! I really enjoy your reviews! Thanks!

  5. Since I haven’t had Greek coffee creme brulee yet, I’m willing to try it. But I agree…enough with the creme brulee already! :)

  6. Daniel says:

    I liked the old lobby better. there was this huge old map of the mediterranean on the left wall when you walked in…. now it’s three video screens?? lame! Photo here: http://dwti.me/edkHi0

  7. Galloping Gourmand says:

    AJ, if you ask your server will explain everything on the menu in detail. They assume that you know about the food, like they should at any restaurant. More diners need to speak up and ask questions of their servers. “Could you tell me about the oil?” “What is ‘greek lasagna’?”

    I was there in October. Had a chance to speak with the chef (whose name I forgot to write down) and he said that they were looking to add more tastings soon. I guess this is what they were talking about. Disappointing.

    We were in the quieter back room, but large open front was far too noisy and bustling. The tables were not full, but they were very close. There were a LOT of tables. If you thought San Angel packed them close together that was nothing compared to Kouzzina. Many dining establishments have something on the walls or barriers to absorb sound in large rooms with many tables but there was nothing of the sort there. Just a large wood room for noise to bounce around. It gave the impression of being both crowded and empty at the same time. This looks like it was rearranged slightly to account for the crowd sizes. Based on the amount of people I saw this arrangement seems far more appropriate, but they might still need something for sound absorption.

    By the way, Kouzzina is well worth a try. It’s great. Take a chance.

  8. Kelly says:

    That pork dish sounds delightful…note to self :)

  9. Hubby and I keep debating whether or not to try this restaurant on our next trip. Not sure if it is worth it with the kiddos. I guess part of me is still mourning the loss of Spoodles where we ate three times on our honeymoon.

  10. Jenn says:

    I’ll take the best pics I can on the 8th! 2 weeks! I’ll try to convince my husband to try one of the new entrees (I’m not a huge fan of pork or lamb…). Hopefully the different olive oils actually taste both good and different. Either way, I really liked the dish I had last time, and after running 13 miles that morning, I’l be eating a LOT off that menu..

  11. Heather says:

    Having had an awful service experience the last time I visited this restaurant–I don’t think the visual changes are going to make me run back–especially since they essentially seem to be promoting Cat Kora’s line of stuff

  12. Alan says:

    The comments about Kouzzina are a bit disappointing. It seems like the Disney people are trying to upgrade their restaurants. Cat Cora is a celebrated modern chef and this should be an improvement over a Disney run place. I wonder if the menu is too taste specific for the mainstream diners. I’m not a huge fan of Greek cuisine, although many folk are. I am sure some Disney visitors do miss Spoodles. I know I feel bad when something a WDW I favor is changed or goes away.

    This is the sort of change we have been asking for, but it should be top notch and it seems to be hit and miss with the folks who have commented.

  13. Sara says:

    My boyfriend and I just dined at Kouzzina this past week, both for breakfast and dinner. You’re right, it doesn’t look markedly different, the screens in the lobby are TV’s, showing pictures of Cat and her family. Breakfast seemed pretty much the same as before (love the Stacked Kouzzina Breakfast).

    At dinner, we did have the olive oil service. One was a kalamata olive oil, and I don’t recall what the second was. The kalamata olive oil was really good, it had a nice strong flavor. The other was more like regular olive oil. I liked that addition, as I enjoy oil with my bread more than butter. We didn’t try any of the new menu item additions, but the pork did sound really interesting.

    One thing we did notice, since our reservation was for 5:05 pm, was that before the dinner service the staff went out onto the Boardwalk, gathered together, and clapped their hands and did a little cheer for Kouzinna and Cat Cora. Not sure if that was always done, or if it is a new addition as well, but it was fun to see.

  14. AJ says:

    Sara — thanks for the review of the new Kouzzina. Great info!

  15. WDWPRINCE says:

    I had breakfast here and it was excellent. One of the best I’ve had in Disney. When I posted a pic on Facebook from my vacation, a friend remarked “I didn’t know they had food like that in Disney”. I”m not sure what people are finding so terrible about the food.

  16. Writer75 says:

    Zucchini corn pie sounds heavenly! Would anyone consider this food traditional or is it more “Americanized” Greek food?

  17. AJ says:

    WDW Prince — Breakfast at Kouzzina is excellent! I wonder if they’ve changed that menu at all…

    Writer 75 — Not sure on that one — I’m not versed enough on my Greek food history! :-)

  18. melissa sue says:

    I ate in Kouzzina on December 18, soon after the new dining room opened up. The staff were still learning their way around the new table setup.

    I’d never been there before, but I was struck by how open and empty the vestebule was. Maybe they get large dinner crowds? But when we were there, it seemed extremely stark. I think they need to warm it up in there, for sure.

    About the dining room, I agree with the commenter who said “seems full and empty at the same time.” When we were there (for a VERY DELIcIOUS breakfast), there were only about 4 or 5 other tables occupied, and we could hear all of their conversations very clearly because of the accoustics. I imagine, when it’s actually fairly full, the noise level would be unbearable.

    I don’t want to seem negative–it was the best breakfast we had all week and we’ll be going back for the food, but the setting itself was not anything to write home about.

  19. AJ says:

    Melissa — Thanks for the info. It really doesn’t seem to have changed all that much, but they were only closed for a few weeks, so… :-) Isn’t breakfast there awesome?

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