I’ve been writing this blog for a loooooong time (since early 2009, to be exact), and you know we make it our focus to visit and review any and all Disney restaurants on an updated schedule.
Well, it had been a while since we had been to Kouzzina for dinner (for breakfast, this is one of my favorite spots!); so on a recent visit to Walt Disney World, we took ourselves over for a lazy stroll on the Boardwalk to have dinner at this rustic, Greek-style family restaurant.
Kouzzina is the first signature restaurant developed by Iron Chef Cat Cora. We visited for dinner when the restaurant first opened, back in Fall of 2009 (you can read that review here). There has been a mini-renovation in the dining room and lobby since we last visited, and there are a few new menu items as well.
And even though Kouzzina is branded with Cat Cora, you can still catch little Disney touches like this hidden Mickey we saw in the lobby. See if you can spy it the next time you visit!
The first thing you notice when you enter the restaurant post-renovation is that the lobby is now actually less “waiting area” and more “gift shop,” with Kouzzina and Cat Cora’s wares throughout.
You’ll find cookbooks for sale here, as well as the types of olive oils and spreads you’ll find served in the restaurant.
The restaurant proper still carries echoes (sometimes literally) of Spoodles, the previous dining spot found here.
The general feel continues to be rustic, Mediterranean farmhouse: wooden floors, ladder back chairs, and unadorned wooden tables continue to make this a warm, comfortable, if quite loud place.
Interestingly, the new renovation brought a citified, unified decor element with these olive oil bottles. It feels a bit like “trendy bar” meets “farmhouse breakfast room” in here now, so I’m not sure if I’m liking the look. I’d much rather have a seat facing the open kitchen!
Speaking of — the open kitchen is a mainstay here at Kouzzina. With marble surrounds, wood-fired ovens, gleaming copper pots, and flaming pans, this is a great show! While the staff seems to have done away with shouting “Opa!” every time they fire up a pan, it’s still a fun and exciting view for guests.
Chef Cora has thoroughly woven her brand right into the menu, as you can see at first glance. The celebrity chef has her own label of wines, named Coranation. You can choose from two white and two red, which range from light- to full-bodied. All four wines are sourced from and crafted in California.
There are also some interesting signature cocktails, and a few Greek beers as well.
Wine flights have become popular here. Guests can choose from a “Cat Flight” (HA!) from Cora’s own offerings, as well as two different flights of Greek wines. If fruity wines are more your style, there’s also a fun “California Fruit Bomb” flight to round out the choices.
Since beers are a new hobby for us, we sampled a couple of the more interesting options on the menu. First up, the Mythos Beer from the Mythos Brewery — the second largest Greek Brewery. This one was light and crisp, but a bit skunky for our liking.
The Alfa Beer, also a Greek beer, was a bit bittersweet and smooth. It’s a toss-up as to which beer we enjoyed more!
After getting our drink orders out of the way, it was time to turn our attention to dinner. There have been a few additions and changes here, but some of the dishes I didn’t think would make it this long are still on the menu (Whole Fish, I’m looking at you…and you’re probably looking back at me with your beady little eyes).
First up, we dug into Kouzzina’s complimentary bread service, which features two types of olive oils as well as marinated olives. This was a new touch since the renovation, and we thought it was really nice.
In addition to our bread, we also ordered the Greek Spreads. For this appetizer, you can choose three or six different spreads to accompany your warm pita bread wedges. We went for three — the Eggplant Spread, Chickpea Hummus, and Tzatziki. This was a flavorful, full-bodied assortment of spreads and you could easily make a meal out of ordering six of them. The pepperoncini and olive garnishes were nice touches as well.
During our last visit, we also sampled the Saganaki, an amazing golden-flamed Greek cheese seasoned with roasted lemons and oregano. It was so fantastic, we seriously wished that we would have ordered it again as well.
I snapped a pic when I saw it in the open kitchen and include it here for your cheese-viewing pleasure…
Another dish that we really love is the Spanakopita. While it’s replete with spinach, I don’t hold that it. It comes in with the creamy, salty flavors of cheese aplenty to compliment all the green.
This is probably some of the best spanakopita that I’ve ever had. Very simple, with the flavors highlighted as the stars of the dish.
When it came time for entrees, I couldn’t decide what to order. Luckily, they had me covered with the new Kouzzina Trio, which offered tasting portions of three favorites: the Cinnamon-Stewed Chicken with Orzo, the Char-grilled Lamb Burger, and the Greek-style Lasagna also known as pastitsio.
Everyone LOVES the Cinnamon Chicken, and I would have to agree; it really is fabulous. If you’re going to Kouzzina and you aren’t sure what to order, go for this dish — you simply can’t go wrong with it.
The burger was just…okay. It was slightly spicy (good!) bit well-done for my taste (bad). It was fine, but it wasn’t a standout.
Once again, I tried the Greek-style Lasagna, and once again, I hoped that it would be better than it actually was. I always want this to have a little more flavor than what comes through. I do like the robust feel of the dish, though — definitely comfort food.
I liked it better this time than last, owing to a creamier consistency of the cheese topping. Still, overall, I thought it was a bit bland. Let me know your thoughts on this if you’ve tried it; maybe my expectations are all wrong.
My dining companion went with the server-recommended Short Ribs, which were very good. While it’s not a particularly original dish — some variation of short ribs, potatoes, and a vegetable can be found on most Disney menus — it was a good consistency with loads of flavor, and the smoked feta mixed into the mashed potatoes was a delicious and different touch. We both enjoyed this one a lot.
Before long, we were on to dessert. This time, it was all about the baklava. I’m trying to become a baklava connoisseur, you see…
This was lovely and wonderful and flaky and fabulous, just as it should be. Served with perfect cinnamon ice cream, the baklava was a home run for sure.
Our second dessert — the Galaktobouriko, or semolina custard baked in phyllo dough — was not perfect. This was just not in my dessert wheelhouse. I didn’t care for the taste or the texture (though since I’m not a raging fan of custard, you might take my point of view with a grain of salt).
Two bites in, and I regretted that we didn’t go for a double order of the baklava instead.
Have you tried it? Lemme know what you think!
Although Kouzzina tends to be a little louder than we like, this is a nice restaurant with interesting offerings that you don’t really find anywhere else at Disney. We very much enjoyed our visit and our meal, and we’ll continue to go there for an interesting slant on comfort food.
I am learning through multiple visits that there are must-haves on this menu for me (saganaki, anyone?) and dishes that are going to leave me wanting (the Greek lasagna, whatever the name, just doesn’t live up to my expectations.) However, there is enough that we enjoy about this cozy spot on Disney’s Boardwalk will keep us coming back for more.
Just a reminder, Kouzzina does now have a Chef’s Table experience. I haven’t tried it yet, so if you have, let me know what you think.
What are your thoughts about Kouzzina? Is it a must-try for you and your family? Leave us a comment and let us know your favorite dishes!