Thursday, December 7, 2017

Blu Kouzina: A Greek Taverna Gem on St Armands

One of my favourite restaurants on St Armands Circle is Blu Kouzina, a lovely Greek taverna run by owners Chef Effie and Denise Tsakris, that was born out of the founders' love of sharing a hearty meal with friends, spiced with quality olive oil and accompanied with good wine. The Tskarises are of Greek descent, but were born and grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa, and then moved to Singapore where the couple ran a very successful restaurant also called Blu Kouzina. The couple wasn’t looking to own a restaurant in Florida, but one day, when Effie and her mother saw an empty space on St. Armands Circle, she thought it would be nice to open a place here, so in March 2015, Effie and Dennis opened Blu Kouzina, bringing their signature, wholesome Greek cooking to the Sunshine State. 

Fresh quality ingredients, mostly grown organically, and sourced from well established, local producers are used in dishes that are both traditional and creatively contemporary with uniquely Greek flavours with ingredients like dried oregano, seafood and wine that are especially flown from Greece, including the family's own olive oil, which comes from their own trees that are more than 500 years old. The interior, drawn from the traditional blue and white palette of a beach taverna, is detailed with whitewashed furniture, nautical accents and beautiful honey-coloured stone tile flooring. Blu Kouzina serves traditional and modern Greek recipes with the freshest of ingredients, such as Moussaka, homemade Baklava and lighter tapas-style dishes like the roasted red peppers stuffed with tangy, melty, spicy feta cheese to fresh grilled Greek sardines and octopus. By marrying their passion for the food of their native Greece, their warm welcoming hospitality and personalized service, Blu Kouzina is like a bold breeze off the Aegean Sea — a little gem on Sarasotas's culinary scene.

Our server Goga showing us Blu Kouzinia's selection of fresh fish for the evening 

2012 Ktima Brintziki Augoustiatis, an organic Greek wine from the augoustiatis grape, a varietal found only in the Western region of the Peloponnese

A gorgeous, supple wine with a deep, garnet red colour, with aromas of black plums, raspberrries, blackberries, dried oregano and tree nuts

Blu Kouzina homemade tzatziki

Lovely warm pita with rosemary and Greek salt 

Paidakia Stin Shara: Grilled Lamb Chops served with vegetables and roast potatoes

Grilled whole fresh local Drum Fish, a wild fish from waters off the Florida Gulf Coast

Spinach Horta 

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