Seftalia at the Friendly Greek on Danforth Ave
I had to ponder this post for almost a day becaue I never imagined that 'd be posting about something worth trying at the Friendly Greek, but here goes....
Yesterday I had a contractor (who also happens to be a friend) working at my house and he suggested walking to a Greek restaurant for a quick lunch. He mentioned that he'd like to go to the Friendly Greek and hopefully find a lentil soup there. We walked over and checked out the menu, but they only had two other soups. Now I haven't been to the Friendly Greek in over 10 years as I would usually go to one of the more upscale places such as Avli or Myth (and now my favourite is Pantheon). I wasn't expecting much, but figured if we just had 30 minutes for lunch this would have to do.
I saw an item called "Seftalia" on the menu, and asked what it was. The waiter mentioned that it was a pork sausauge with some seasonings served either on a bun or pita. He said he had not tried it but that it was very popular. I ordered it on a pita. (my friend ordered a gyros, the type that looks like composite mystery meat shaved off a skewer, the one thing I'll never order)
About 10 minutes later it arrived. There were four large pieces of sausage on a bed of onions, tomato and tzatziki sauce, all on the pita. The meat was actually two hand formed oval patties, cut in half. I realise it wouldn't be easy to pick this up and eat so had to use knife and fork. I was very surprised to find that this dish was really good! It was juicy, spiced well, and really tasty. As I ate it I was thinking of the burgers people have recently being buying at the new burger place hear Queen and Broadview, and was glad I was not eating one of those. These are really worth trying, and it's only $5.50 or $7.50 with fries.
For another $4.95 you can have a 20 oz. glass of Alexander Keith draft to round out your lunch. I wouldn't hestiate to go back and order this again.,, and I'm one that never thought I'd be eating at TFG in my lifetime. Hopefully the way it was served yesterday is consistent and not a fluke.
I've included this link so you can see a recipe for seftalia. The ones I was served looked exactly like in the picture.
This is good to know about...I first ate these in Nicosia, Cyprus about ten years ago and I love them. They are also known as "sheftalia". I've been schlepping out to Kostas Meats (Warden and Ellesmere, I think, if that makes geographic sense) to get the "panna" caul fat, which they keep in the freezer and give away for nothing to anyone who asks (occasional Cypriot customers, I guess). I had to make them myself because I didn't know where to get them in Toronto. They're easy to make and taste fantastic with lemon and drained greek yoghurt after being grilled on the BBQ, but be careful with the temperature and all the fat...I nearly burned my deck down once when about three dozen of them caused a fire storm from all the drippings. Kostas meats is also the best and cheapest place in Toronto to buy the strange Halloumi cheese, also a big Cypriot thing...you cut it in thick slices and also grill it. Terrific in salads!
i have a vegetarian friend who said that if he ever went back to meat this is the first thing he would eat, and at the friendly greek. it is a very traditional item in cyprus.