Restaurant review: John Gilchrist tries Kuzina

Restaurant reviewer John Gilchrist checks out Kuzina, a modern Greek restaurant on 17th Avenue S.W.

Greek fare a mix between modern and classic

Kuzina is located at 1137 17th Avenue S.W. in Calgary. (Credit: Kuzina)

Greek restaurants are making a resurgence in Calgary.

This week on the Calgary Eyeopener, restaurant reviewer John Gilchrist checked out Kuzina — a new Greek spot located on 17th Avenue.

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Kuzina used to be known as Athens by Night. When the owners retired, they decided leased their space to other restaurateurs. But after watching a few tenants come and go, the children of the original owners have reclaimed the space and reopened with a new name and a new look.

When you walk in the door, the renovated space has an ambience that Gilchrist describes as "sandy Mediterranean". 

"If you go to Kuzina expecting that typically Greek, white plaster and blue trim look, you're going to be disappointed."

When it comes to the food, Kuzina is a cross between classic and modern Greek cuisine. Menu items include feta, watermelon and arugula salad, and a main course of pulled lamb with potatoes, peas and spinach.

John began his meal with a series of classic Greek dips like hummus, melitzano, tarama and tzatziki — all of which Gilchrist described as "outstandin g... as good a group of Greek dips as I've ever had".

Moving to the appetizers, John tried the calamari (crisply fried and served with tzatziki) as well as the saganaki (kefalotiri cheese, lightly battered and flambeéd with brandy). John suggested that both appetizers were "very nicely done."

For the main course, John tried the kleftiko (an oven baked shoulder of lamb), the Greek pork ribs (seasoned with lemon and oregano), and the kotopoulo gemisto (a chicken breast stuffed with spinach, feta, and topped with a lemon sauce).

While John was indifferent towards the stuffed chicken breast, he raved about the other two main courses saying that both the lamb shoulder and the ribs were "done exceptionally well ... (they) make you want to get up and do some Greek dancing."

John was also impressed with the sides and the dessert, especially the bougatsa — a creamy custard wrapped in a phyllo pastry made to order and served hot out of the oven.

In the end, John was very impressed with Kuzina, giving it a very positive review of eight out of 10.

"It's just a solid, all-around Greek restaurant."