Celebrated, Award-Winning Chef Pano Karatassos recently launched his redesigned casual chic dining space, menu and bar here in Atlanta. The experience from the moment that you step out of your vehicle at valet to being seated and served the ambiance simply draws you into an experience. Chef has mastered bringing the light, bright and airy feel of the Greek islands to Atlanta as he introduces a redesigned space called Kyma Ouzo Bar & Dining Room. The newly remodeled space replaces the former Octopus Lounge on the right hand side of Buckhead’s upscale Kyma restaurant. Chef Pano will offer an updated mezze menu with lighter fare and specialty Greek cocktails including a variety of ouzo selections, Greek watermelon mojitos, cucumber martinis and more.
Honestly after being quarantined for months with what seemed like the longest period of cabin fever that I have ever experienced I was so excited to have the honor to be apart of this amazing culinary staycation right here in Atlanta. I’ve always had traveling to the beautiful beaches of Santorini but with the way that the world is set up now it looks like that dream may be put on hold but after my experience on last night I felt as if I was in Greece sitting at one of the popular restaurants awaiting my turn to soak in the experience.
The new dining room plays off the traditional “Ouzerie” of Greece with a focus on small plates, great wine and cocktails. The redesigned space truly takes you to the white sand beaches of Santorini with pickled white hardwood floors, long white drapes, newly fitted white cushioned chairs and three flat-screen televisions looping video scenes of the Aegean Sea. In addition to Kyma Ouzo’s all-weather, year-round, covered outdoor patio, Chef Pano also redesigned the outdoor garden to seat up to 20 guests, making it the perfect carefree space for a birthday celebration or a summer party with friends and family. The mezze menu includes Kyma Ouzo favorites like lamb pie and octopus, but also includes lighter fare such as spread trios, halibut and salads.
My Dining Experience
The moment that I entered the restaurant I was immediately transformed in an enchanting experience. The host staff immediately greeted me and whisked me away to my table. My server for the evening was Fatima who was a joy to have walk me through the different dishes that I receive throughout the evening. My dinner consisted of 7 courses. We started out with their ceviche. Everyone who knows me knows that I absolutely love ceviche. This was by far some of the best Ceviche that I have ever had.
I loved the sense of urgency with each order. As I looked around the restaurant every patron received their appetizer, entrees and cocktails without any delay. My amazing server Fatima brought out their tuna tartare over wild mushrooms “a la grecque”, shredded filo tuile for my second course. This was my second time having tuna tartare and words can’t express how delicious this course was on last night.
Let’s have a conversation about my third and fourth course. These courses consisted of a special dish created exclusive by Chef Pano and only served here locally at his Kyma Ouzo Bar. I fancy myself as a calamari lover but trust me when I say that you have never has calamari like this one. Chef Pano has sautéed ribbons of calamari with zucchini, olives and capers, saffron yogurt. My server Fatima ensured that with every dish she educated me on specific ways to enjoy each course. The calamari course was one that she instructed me to ensure that with every fork full I made sure that I slide it in the saffron yogurt before taking a bite.
Can I just be honest? I wasn’t prepared for grilled octopus as my fourth course. Yes I have had it countless times during my many stays in the islands but I can’t recall a time that I had it grilled. OMG! The texture and taste were unbelievable. Chef Pano out did himself with the gnature grilled octopus, oak-wood gilled, marinated red onions, greek olives and capers. Can you say delicious? You would never know that it was octopus! Don’t knock until you’ve had a dish from Kyma Ouzo.
The fifth course is probably the most talked about course on social media. The lamb pie is probably my favorite! Introducing to the world Chef Pano’s “bbf” 12-hour braised leg of lamb, kefalotiri cheese, baked in country filo, arugula-olive salad, yogurt. OMG! OMG! Yes I said it twice! You’ve never in your life had a pie like this one! Lamb pie to be exact! The taste and texture are in it’s own unique category. I could totally see myself passing through Buckhead grabbing a Lamb Pie and a glass of wine.
Chef Pano Karatassos
As executive chef of Atlanta’s acclaimed Kyma Ouzo restaurant, Chef Pano Karatassos has redefined the taste, style and ingredients that comprise what he refers to as Modern Greek Cooking. Chef Pano grew up in the kitchen, watching and listening as his Yiayia (grandmother) prepared traditional foods and worked her magic with traditional Greek ingredients like olives, olive oil and honey. In 2001, he followed in his father’s footsteps and opened the award-winning Greek restaurant Kyma in Atlanta. In late 2018, Chef Pano debuted his cookbook, Modern Greek Cooking, and in 2019, he defeated Bobby Flay by preparing his signature dish, lamb pie, on “The Food Network” program Beat Bobby Flay. In 2019, he also launched his brand of curated, signature cooking products imported from Greece called “Chef Pano.” The line includes Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Crete, Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Crete, Purple Olives from Kalamata, Green Olives from Chalkidiki, Forrest Honey from Mount Olympus and Wild Thyme Honey from the Aegean Islands.
The anticipation was building for the sixth and seventh course. Throughout the course of the evening my server Fatima was absolutely amazing! I highly suggest that you personally ask for her for your next dining experience. Chef Pano came out to speak with me. We chatted about all of his amazing dishes and he talked to me about his new concept for the restaurant and I have to say that he hit it on the nail. You truly feel like you’ve stepped into Greece when you enter for your intimate dining experience.
I’m a sweets girl and the Watermelon and Feta Salad was simply refreshing. I’ve had watermelon and mint but I have never given thought to watermelon and feta cheese topped with watermelon sherbert. This salad was simply delicious!
Tsipoura is from the porgy family. It’s full flavor, semi firm and flaky. It was served with With lemon, Chef Pano extra virgin olive oil, a bit o garlic, and of course oregano. This was my first time trying Tsispoura and it will not be my last. This fish had so much flavor. There’s no need to worry about bones because its served deboned and flavored perfectly. The final course was served with tuscan kale fresh from the restaurants cooked until very tender with extra virgin olive oil and lemon along with layers of caramelized eggplant, tomato, onions and garlic, slow cooked and topped with fresh herbs.
As the evening was coming to an end Chef Pano sent out one of his signature Espresso Martini. This dessert cocktail was the perfect ending to a perfect night.
The Kyma Ouzo Bar & Dining Room is located at 3085 Piedmont Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30305. Reservations are available for the dining lounge and outdoor patio, Tuesday through Sunday from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. and Chef Pano is serving his takeout/ curbside menu Tuesday through Sunday from 11:30 to 9:00 p.m.
Disclosure- Kyma Ouzo invited me to dinner, all thoughts and opinions are our own. This post may contain affiliate links