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Remembering Kozmas, Vancouver’s Game-Changing Mediterranean Restaurant of the 1970s

The ever-evolving Restaurant Graveyard series looks back at the countless, long-shuttered establishments that helped to propel Vancouver’s food and drink forward. Full A-Z with maps and photos here. May they never be forgotten!

Alexandra Dikeakos bellydancing in Kozmas, 1978 | Photo: National Geographic

Kozmas was a leafy, sunny, multi-level Greek restaurant located at 801 Pacific St. from 1974 to 1982. It had a beautiful courtyard, a long bar, a fireplace, white-washed walls and lots of terracotta tile — squint at it after a drink or two and you could have been in the Aegean. It was owned by Kosta Syskakis, Larry Syskakis, Sophie Dikeakos (of Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe fame), and the artist Christos Dikeakos, who assisted Jim McGregor with the décor and interior design.

The restaurant was a game-changer in Vancouver, setting a standard for Mediterranean fine dining that would be emulated by many. “At the time,” Christos remembers, “Greek restaurants were the most exotic form of dining experience in frontier fine dining of Vancouver.”

Exterior of Kozmas at 801 Pacific Street, 1976 | Photo supplied by Christos Dikeakos.

I remember it well. Kozmas was the first restaurant that ever genuinely charmed me. I was still just a baby in 1974 when it opened, but my mother was good friends with the owners and we would go in often. It was there – at four or five years old – that I witnessed a bellydancer  – Christos’ sister, Alexandra – in action for the first time, and I was enthralled in the way that only very young and impressionable children can be. I will never forget it (and still blush a little whenever I see her).

The stunning photograph of Kozmas (top) was included in the Dream On, Vancouver feature story found in the April, 1978 issue of National Geographic magazine (Vol. 154, No. 4).

View the Vancouver Restaurant Graveyard in its entirety here.

– images supplied by Christos Dikeakos and Laura West –

  • Kozmas waiters and Christos Dikeakos, New Years 1975
    Kozmas waiters and Christos Dikeakos, New Years 1975
  • Christos Dikeakos inside Kozmas | photo by Fred Douglas, 1978
    Christos Dikeakos inside Kozmas | photo by Fred Douglas, 1978
  • Kozmas interior, 1976
    Kozmas interior, 1976
  • Alexandra Dikeakos dancing, 1978 | National Georgraphic
    Alexandra Dikeakos dancing, 1978 | National Georgraphic
  • Kozmas exterior, 801 Pacific St.
    Kozmas exterior, 801 Pacific St.
  • Kozmas, 1976
    Kozmas, 1976
  • Chef Meltiades on a fashion shoot | The Province newspaper, 1974
    Chef Meltiades on a fashion shoot | The Province newspaper, 1974
  • Kozmas, Poster (courtesy Laura West)
    Kozmas, Poster (courtesy Laura West)

Neighbourhood: Downtown
801 Pacific St.

There are 5 comments

  1. Ardele Lister and Bill Jones made a series of life-size photographic sculptural works- an installation- at/of Kozmas- featuring artists, customers who frequented the restaurant. I hope to locate pictures.

  2. Reminds me of Theo’s in Penticton which was one of my favorite places in the early 80’s.

  3. It is full of magical memories. My first job and wow what a scene. Thanks for the bringing back a glimpse to the past ?

  4. Loved it – I was introduced to Kozmas by Larry Roraph and his wonderful gang of friends. I had a charge account there (!) and remember trays and trays of Spanish coffees and tiny dishes of shrimp Ravigote that passed for the ‘food’ you had to order to get drinks! Svetlana was always my waitress.

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