Vasiliki Kouzina: Greek comfort food – in Milan

For years, not only working in the food sector but also blogging and talking to people, the general idea about Greek food is that is is too spicy, heavy, too much oil and garlic. Nothing can be so far from reality. Greek food is made of fresh ingredients, of course we use spices and garlic but we also have particular foods that you can’t find so easy in the west Europe. I am talking about our desserts, traditional dished that have the influence of the past year of the turkish domination. We use honey and nuts on yogurt and that is the best way to start your day.

Greeks do not eat so much pasta ad in the south of Europe or Italy. We use more beans, chickpeas, lentils to make soup or in combination with rice and veggies We do have a lot of nice vegetarian and, yes also vegan dishes. We have regional and seasonal dishes that follow the time of the year: Easter – the most important time of the year for Orthodox, Christmas but also 15th of August, Indipendence Day on the 25th March and so on. On this occasion we cook. We eat a lot and we spend time with friends and family. People normally think that we always eat meat (lamb and chicken). We also have delicious seafood risotto, fish soup or grilled fresh fish with olive oil and some nice fennel.

I was so surprised, and at the same time so pleased, to know that last April in Milan opened a ned Greek restaurant: Vasiliki kouzina, from the owner’s name, Mrs. Vasiliki. The place is tiny with a nice brick-red colour on the walls, velvet chairs and bronze lamps hanging from the ceiling. For lunch they propose a fixed menù with a couple of options for starters and a couple ones for main dish. In the evening and during week ends you can find a menù à la carte. I have tried the eggplants sauce, melitsanosalata. It was richa dn creamy, with a velvet look. It doesn’t taste of garlic and had no mayo inside, it was perfect on bread slices and the smoked flavour it had was very satisfying. My second choice was leek risotto, prasorizo. It was a nice portion, with some pepper on it. I am a big fan of leek as it is more sweet compared to onion and more easy to digest it for me. Risotto was really a surprise as normally in Greek restaurants abroad you do not find a “home cuisine”, the traditional one. For dessert I had the pie of the day: galatopita, a nice pudding made with eggs and fresh milk, topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon and nuts.

This place is so unique as it is different from the Greek places you find abroad: no blue and white colours, no marbles and no names like Acropolis, Zeus or Zorba. It was like breathing fresh air in the Milan’s food scene. The owner and the staff are incredibly nice and available to explain the food choices, the history that lies between the menù and the proposed dishes.

One thing that impressed me is that on the wine list you do not find retsina, the dry white wine with pine wax. Instead you find a nice selection of bottles from various regions: from Santorini, to Crete, to Peloponnese, the north of Greece (Pella, Giannina and so on).

The only thing I would personally recommend to improve is the quality of espresso coffee, or to introduce the classic Greek coffee made with briki – the mini kettle.

Highly recommended and looking forward to visit it in the evening to try different dishes.

daily menu
starter: eggplant sauce
the restaurant inside
leek risotto
milk pie

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