When he opened La Tupina in the Vieux Bordeaux quarter in 1968, restaurateur Jean-Pierre Xiradakis not only created one of the city’s most emblematic addresses—a charming bistrot specializing in southwestern French farmhouse cooking—but also gave this beautiful but forlorn and rather forgotten district a major boost. Today, Xiradakis’s restaurants line nearly a whole street in what’s become a thriving and fashionable neighborhood. The newest of them is Kuzina, a seafood restaurant with a menu inspired by the island of Crete, recalling his Greek ancestry. The mosaic-clad interior features an ice-filled counter displaying the catch of the day, just as often found in Greece, and the wood-topped tables are set with sheets of Greek fishmonger’s wrapping paper. For starters at a recent lunch, marinated swordfish was served with a yellow-beet “gazpacho”, and a velouté of red cabbage came with scallops and a spinach-filled blini. Next came beautifully prepared fresh cod steak with lentils, and sea bream cooked in a salt crust and garnished with shiitake mushrooms. Desserts were terrific too—caramelized clementine with chestnut sabayon, and lime-spiked cheesecake.
22 rue Porte de la Monnaie, Bordeaux. 05.56.74.32.92. Lunch menu €18, à la carte €50.
Prices are approximate, per person without wine.
Originally published in the January 2012 issue of France Today
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