Kouzini, Gaios, Paxos in Greece +30 2662 032322 - $$$$
Steer clear of any restaurants claiming to have the best something-er-other in town. If they did, they wouldn't need to tell you, you'd already know.
That logic couldn't be truer here. Nestled in a tight, unassuming alleyway, several minutes' walk from the languid cerulean shores of Paxos' biggest town, Gaios - is Kouzini. People seek it out because they've heard great things, all the while the eatery focuses on perfecting its craft rather than boasting.
The name of the restaurant is simple. Kouzini means little kitchen in English. The signage reveals the daily specialties in a laconic way as well. No mincing of words here. Soup. Soup with seafood. Shrimps. You get the idea.
And it needn't say more than that. The food speaks for itself.
The decor is equally understated while remaining elegant at the same time. Seating is limited, and, as the name indicates, it's a modest kitchen like something you might expect to find at a home of an aunt or uncle of yours.
Beyond the straightforward chalkboards, artful menus and brilliant recommendations are available from the waitstaff. With each, Kouzini presents a thoughtful selection reminiscent of a journey around the Ionian, highlighting the fisherman's daily catch, bio wines, and made-to-order pasta. Inspired by a humble balance of Italian flavors and modern artistry, it presents a sensational take on this Grecian island's typical fare.
From the delicate starters to the mains, seafood is the highlight of the evening. And although there's nothing wrong with passing up starters at most restaurants, to do so here would be to do yourself a disservice. This is a kitchen specializing in meze (small, shared plates). Its full name Mezedopolio To Kouzini loosely translates to the meze from the little kitchen.
It's highly recommended that you to begin your dining experience here with 3-5 shared plates as this is the main attraction.
If you just expect to have a meal and get on your way, there are plenty of restaurants churning out typical dishes that may be better suited to your needs. But, if you seek enlightenment through delicately balanced palate pleasers, fine natural wine, and the time to let that all give way to a riveting conversation with your fellow diner, then Kouzini is the place that you need to be.
Travlr Blog gives Kouzini 5 out of 5 scampis.