More Disappointment in Greek Town - MEGAS was awful
Here I go again taking time from my day to write about the bad food of Toronto. Oh how I would love to write something really positive after having enjoyed a tasty meal!
Ventured out to the Danforth today for simple Greek. Hit Megas and what a mistake. The bread, which appeared homemade, was about the best thing.. oh, any my tea was ok too.. they even replaced the bag with a new one upon refil without charging me... so heck, there are two positives! The Saganaki was so so at best, salty and obviously hot due to the flames.. but overall, indescript. The salads which came with our Souvlaki were awful - zero taste, bad tomatoes, (i know, i know, it's November) and a creamy and tastelss warm dressing that was hardly worth eating. The amount of feta (again, tasteless) was hardly worth putting on the salad. Move on to the main chicken souvlaki dinner: chicken, potatoes, rice and tztzaki (sp) .. all completely void of flavor. Another waste of 45 bucks. And to think, all we wanted today was yummy and tasty, fresh greek food.
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Well, what are you doing ordering souvlaki at Megas? The strength at Megas is the mezedes - tapas. Great octopus, dips, dolmades, horta, etc. Order a table full of those, and you won't be able to think about souvlaki.
Saganaki is a dish that was invented in North America for tourists. It's nondescript at the best of times.
I tend to agree that Megas is not worth the money. I tried it for the first time last night and was greatly disappointed. The only thing that was half decent were the mussels in tomato sauce with fresh herbs. The bread they serve is grilled toast with hummus. For the main I had the Jumbo Quails marinated in herbs & spices. The quails, while finicky to eat, tasted fine, but they were served with tasteless frozen vegetables that had clearly been bowled because they were very watery. The potatoes had no seasoning to them so they were very bland. I am not sure what their other dishes are like, but with so many restaurants in Greek town, Megas is not worth trying again.
Megas has some good offerings and the salads are normally very good, not so much the vegetables (often the case on the danforth). I have never had Quail that wasnt finnicky to eat nor are greek potatoes normally very seasoned. I agree that Mezes is better than Megas and Pantheon is better than those, but they are different experiences. Megas does have excellent chicken souvlaki that is never dried out in my experience. Their dips are also very good.
Here I go again with another post about how it used to be. Back about 10 years ago, Megas was quite good. We would alternate between there and Avli, hitting each about every 2 months. We hadn't been there for a few years as we started eating at Pantheon a few years back. Last February, a friend was celebrating her birthday at Megas. I knew there were better choices but figured it couldn't be too bad as it was once quite good. All eight of us were just shocked at the bad service and really bad food. I can't remember all the details as it was a year ago, but let's say it was the worst meal I ever had in Greektown, and I won't be back for a re-run. It's too bad that so many of the places that had decent food 10 years ago are not even worth going to if they offered free dinners.
Maybe someone should open a good Indian restaurant in the area. I know there is one but it's not as good as what it was back in the 80's either.
Next time you're down on the Danforth, give Mezes (456 Danforth Ave.) a try. It's relatively close to Megas and the food is much better IMHO. We often order the Zinnis Rice Special ($14.95) and Agean Fare (chicken, beef flambeed in Brandy: $14.95). The calamari appetizer is to die for and really hits the spot when you get that craving for it.
"Greek Town" has become a joke. It was once a home away from home for expats fleeing the junta, and even Papandreau hung out there. The food was tasty and cheap, if not exactly sophisticated, and the welcome was warm.The restaurants were augmented by some great late night coffee houses with live entertainment. I loved the area. There weren't many restaurants then, and most were open all night. I used to eat at Strouga (dirt cheap), Omomia (whole lambs turning on a spit in the window), Delphi (great souvlaki), and Odyssey & Ellas (a bit fancier). Others liked Astoria (which served mainly pork). A bit later came Patri's, The Palace, and - eventually - the creative and once excellent Pan (originally owned by a Wasp real estate agent). But much of that was more than thirty years ago! And by the time Pan opened, most of the others were already starting to slide.
More recently, our palates were satisfied only at Avli, but the quality tanked there some time in 2007. They've doubled their size but lost the soul in their cooking. The menu is still interesting, but we've had several poor meals in a row. I don't recommend it any more. I still recommend Zorba's for old school stews at very low prices, amazing lima beans, and extremely cheap (non-Greek) rotisserie chicken, but Zorba's may have most depressing ambiance on the strip.
Pantheon is merely okay now. The Ouzeri has good days, but is very inconsistent. I don't find any of the others worth the bother. They all serve variations of a homogenized "Greek style" North American cuisine. Some are better than others and have the odd good dish, but nothing is reliable any more. I used to enjoy Megas, as did a large family-oriented Greek clientele, but I agree that it's not good any more. Mezes gets praised fairly often and is usually mobbed. I don't know why. We've been served literally inedible food there more than once. Patri's has a good meze platter and floods the area with coupons, which are great value at about seven bucks a meal, but most of their food is now blah. It's the same owners, but they don't care any more.
We still go to the Danforth. It's convenient for us, has a great buzz, and is a fun place to spend a summer evening. But the Greek food mainly sucks.