It is on my vacation bucket list to see the sights of Santorini, Greece and walk the beautiful town of Venice, Italy. Perhaps one day, I’ll visit those wonderful places but in the meantime I get to have a little taste of Greece and Italy; thanks to Jimmy’s Kouzina.
Jimmy’s Kouzina is lovely restaurant located at the heart of Manhattan Beach. Specializing in Italian and Greek food; this eatery has been serving the South Bay since 1984. It was formerly named Old Venice but now has a new name via Jimmy’s Kouzina. The restaurant is renamed in honor of owner and chef Jimmy Hantzarides and is currently owned and operated by his family; wife Julie and children Natalie and Andrew.
Chef Jimmy’s legacy lives on with homestyle cooking and fresh made food inspired by his Greek upbringing. The food here at Jimmy’s Kouzina is truly special and upon my visit here, I saw that.
I started off my meal here with one of their meze (appetizer) dishes; the Spanakopitas.
Spanakopitas are a traditional Greek appetizer and Jimmy’s Kouzina does a wonderful version with crispy file dough triangles stuffed with spinach and feta. I loved how they added an Italian twist with having marinara sauce as a dipping sauce. This was the start of a wonderful meal and the best was yet to come.
For our main dishes; we started off with another traditional Greek plate; Chicken Gyros Shawarma.
All plates come with choices of two sides. Our chosen sides were yellow squash and rice pilaf. These two sides matched perfectly with the tender strips of chicken gyros. Another perfect pairing were the pita bread and tzatziki. Flavorful and fulfilling; it was agreed feast indeed.
From traditional Greek we went with a fusion dish next via their Santorini Special.
As I mentioned up front in this post; I’ve always dreamed of going to Santorini and so the name of this dish really caught my eye. The other thing that caught my eye however was all the special ingredients in this dish! It’s penne pasta tossed in olive oil, basil, tomatoes, garlic clove with a touch marinara sauce. It is topped with pieces of Gyro meat and feta and parmesan cheeses. It’s an Italian pasta with a lot of Greek flavors. I liked the incorporation of the Gyro meat in this dish and loved the blend of traditional parmesan cheeses and feta. This dish is very innovative and creative and is wonderful reflection of what Chef Andrew’s dishes are all about.
From the savory to sweet; we were in for more treats this day. Being a big coffee fan; I was ecstatic to see a full menu of various coffee delights. Greek coffee, Freddo Espresso, Affogato and more; my coffee crush was in full swing. My choice for this day was the Mochaccino.
The Mochaccino is a four layer chocolate cappuccino. With a shot of espresso and chocolate milk; this drink was rich, smooth and simply divine. It was the perfect drink to go along with our chosen dessert; baklava.
We started our meal here with crispy filo dough treats and we ended our meal here with more crispy filo dough treats. The baklava consisted of crispy layers of filo dough and walnuts in simple syrup. It was drizzled with sweet honey. To the side were some fresh fruit and whipped cream. It was truly a sweet ending to a lovely meal.
Each dish I tried was full of flavor and creative. It’s rare to find a place with great Greek food in the South Bay and even rarer to find a place with great Greek and Italian food with some Mediterranean flare. Jimmy’s Kouzina is special indeed.
For more smiles, please see my Yelp review on Jimmy’s Kouzina
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