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Greek on the Danforth: Good, Cheap Old Skool?

It's been some years since I've wandered the Danforth, seeking platters of lamb, steak, souvlaki, potatoes and rice. The last time I was there, it seemed that the old skool greek was being rapidly overtaken by... umm... something else.

Any suggestions on getting great platters of carnivorous delights? In the old days, I frequented Asteria... more and better food than Astoria (the fancy-dancy best-dressed-girl-at-the-ball), in my opinion. Is Asteria still cookin' it good?

-g

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  1. If you mean mainly souvlaki, it pretty much the same places that have been there all along: Asteria, Astoria, Omonia, Friendly Greek, Mister Greek. The main difference is that (1) they are no longer as incredibly cheap as they once were and (2) they are no longer as delicious as they once were. There are a couple of recent postings praising Asteria. I don't much like any of them any more and I doubt I'll be flamed here for saying that Friendly Greek and Mr Greek are terrible.

    I've had the best luck at Omonia over the past few years, but they have had many bad days also.

    If you are interested in the other style of old skool Greek (point-to-the pots places like Odyssey, Strouga, Ellas), there's only one place left: Zorbas (east of Pape). It's very cheap and very good, though the premises are, frankly, gloomy.

    4 Replies
    1. re: embee

      Zorbas is incredible in my opinion. Mmm try their roast beef sandwich, and even their garden salad is amazing, its soo fresh,. I also like Square Boy, its not all greek, more burgers but souvlaki as well

      1. re: embee

        I actually had a decent lunch at Friendly Greek on the Danforth last week... That location is still owned by a Greek family, and they do offer homestyle Greek food at very reasonable prices. It isn't my favourite restaurant on the Danforth, but it is decent. And I believe I know my Greek food. I am Greek-Canadian and I have travelled throughout Greece several times, if that counts for anything. Their vegetarian moussaka was good. And the calamari was very good, in fact it was better than the last order I had at Avli, which tasted slightly off. Which is not to say Avli is a bad restaurant. Generally they are a good restaurant, but I have had 2 disappointing dishes there when their seafood has not been very fresh tasting.

        I've also had good horiatiki at the Mr. Greek on the Danforth.

        To each their own.

        1. re: phoenikia

          And if a chowhound feels that someplace is, in his or her experience, terrible, it is a chowfriendly gesture to share the information. Perhaps my comments on Omonia are more to your liking.

          I have been to several Mr Greek and Friendly Greek locations due to the choices of others. Perhaps I've chosen badly or a place was having a bad day. I call em as I see em, good or bad.

          I have been to Avli many times in the past year and haven't had one poor dish yet.

          I recall an exchange with you on Greek bakeries. We obviously have very different taste buds. Experiences differ. Tastes differ. Your mileage may vary. Bon Appetit :-)

        2. re: embee

          What a pleasure to see a post from someone who remembers the Strouga - my wife and I frequented this restaurant so much years ago, a waitress started to spaek to me in Greek one evening on the grounds that I must be Greek. Such a pity they are mostly gone. Don't leave it too late to arrive at Zorbas, he can run out of the best food.

        3. As far as greek food goes, Astoria has my vote!

          1. Astoria is still really rather cheap. For souvlaki, it gets my vote. For anything else, go elsewhere. 2 Large souvlaki dinners with rice and potatoes, bread and salad is under 30 and more than enough food.

            Pappas has some very good food on the appetizers menu (many of the mains are god-awful). Their dolmades are lovely, large, moist filled, hand rolled and served warm with a pine-nut, dill sauce. Their calamari is fantastic -- the most tender I've had and always consistent. Their sagnaki is made with good quality chesse -- kefalotiri, I think. Not processed anyway. But, they are overpriced in my book (apps. $8.95 for most). I make it once or twice a year and order a selection of apps.

            Tarama and Fish are good at Palace (on Pape).

            I hear good things about Pantheon. I haven't been.

            Omonia has been nothing but bad, or awful, experiences for me (3 total).

            3 Replies
            1. re: Atahualpa

              Pantheon is fantastic. Love Megas.

              But tried and true year after year for VALUE and taste which the original poster is seeking, I have to say Astoria. I don't see it being fancy or expensive...and they have the thickest, richest, yummiest tzatziki!

              1. re: bestandworst

                Pantheon is very good and Avli is even better. But, as you say, goofibulator isn't looking for that kind of place.

                1. re: embee

                  We HAVE to try Avli this weekend! Can't wait! Thanks.

            2. messini has great gyros and fantastic roasted potatoes.

              1. Thanks for your thoughts, all! I'll take it all under consideration, offer a summary to the rest of the party, and we'll see where we go!

                -g