Nisi Hits The Spot For Modern, Authentic Mediterranean In Fort Lauderdale
There’s a new gem on Oakland Park Boulevard, and the secret is out—Nisi serves up one mighty Mediterranean-inspired meal. Managing partner Andreas Tsavos helped launch the restaurant in September that replaced former Thasos Greek Taverna. Nisi, the Greek word for island, is designed with one vision in mind—“to do Greek the right way,” Tsavos says.
Nisi offers diners a chance to experience the Mediterranean without leaving the States. Renowned designer Angelos Angelopoulos used aesthetics commonly found on the islands—square windows and a predominantly white exterior and interior—to create the original restaurant. The dining room features white stone pillars, wicker furniture, seashell chandeliers, driftwood and earthy tones, making for a light ambiance.
Opt to sit in the main dining room to view the raw bar and kitchen; or dine in the back patio near olive trees. And by simply closing a few airy curtains, guests can also host gatherings in two private back rooms.
Executive chef Tiffany Yuken works behind the scenes and mingles with guests, offering her recommendations and ensuring the seafood selection is visible to all. Set up next to the raw bar is an open-air market where fresh catches of the day are displayed on ice, similar to how seafood markets are set up. “It’s a little shocking at first to see the head [of the fish], but once you realize you’re choosing your own meal—you can see the freshness, see the color in the eyes—it’s going straight from sea or ocean to your table. It’s a different experience,” Tsavos says.
Carabinero shrimp from Spain and Barbounia from Greece are options that might arrive daily, along with a selection of seafood from local fisheries. Guests can simply walk up to the “market” and choose which fish they’d like to have cooked and served—no surprises.
The menu complements Greek culture by offering an array of items from fish and chicken to steak. Start the tour of the islands by sipping on one of the nine hand-crafted cocktails made with hints of sage, mint and lavender. Munch on delicious zucchini chips with tzatziki sauce, or enjoy marinated anchovies set atop fresh tomatoes on a crostini.
For the main meal, dig into lamb chops served with lemon-roasted potatoes. There’s also Lavraki, known as Mediterranean sea bass. A coarse sea salt paste is packed on the whole fish, which is then baked in the oven, allowing the natural moisture of the fish to steam itself. It will be prepared tableside, with a server cracking it open, removing the salt and skin, and presenting a beautiful filet to the guest.
The truly Mediterranean nature of the ingredients comes full circle when enjoying dessert. Decadently rich Greek yogurt topped with chopped walnuts and honey is just as satisfying as the Loukoumades—fried Greek doughnuts topped with cinnamon or Nutella.