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May 9, 2008 02:41 PM

Greek restaurant near Hutchison and Laurier

We're taking the kids (they're adults) out for supper in this area.
Do you have a recommendation for us? Our budget is around $15 to $20 per person.

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  1. Philinos, all the way.
    4806 Parc.

    1 Reply
    1. Naturelle, does this budget include wine tax and tip?

      I like Philino's (on Parc near Villeneuve), but I am worried that it may be a bit out of budget. It is certainly possible to eat there for $15-20 per person, and well, but it depends on what you order.

      I find their servings huge, and they serve lots of bread to go with everything. If you were to order a selection of appetizers and entrees to share, you would leave there full. Lots of different dips (tzatziki, skordalia, eggplant dip), a large salad, a large plate of calamari and grilled octopus, the saganaki (fried cheese plate), the spanikopita/tirokopita, all their appetizers are delicious, and not too hard to share. I have eaten there in this manner and managed to leave full and under budget. But as soon as you step into appetizer/main per person, the prices skyrocket. And if you order fish, well, forget about the budget. So it depends on how your party likes to order food. If they are all for sharing a bunch of everything, this would be my choice. The octopus appetizer is really delicious. But if you know they like to each order their own dish, and like to order meat and fish, well, don't go... The menu is online, they have a website, but annoyingly, they do not put prices on it. But for example, ordering moussaka as a main will be about $18. This plate is huge, large piece of moussaka, really yummy roasted potatoes, steamed vegetables (simple but well-prepared). You could eat this and be full. But meat and fish dishes go up from there (up to $20-40).

      I would say many of the nicer Greek restos are like this: cheap and filling if you order carefully, but the costs can spiral upwards very quickly.

      Terasse Lafayette might be a reasonable option. It is a BYOB, so it will be cheaper if you want wine. It is billed as a pizza place, and also serves a mix of Italian and Greek food. They have a selection of souvlaki plates, grilled meats, seafood. If you go for the filet mignon, you'll be a little over budget, but not bad. Some people love this place, but I must admit I am not the hugest fan, it doesn't really wow me. Still, it would ft the budget.

      On a similar vein, Arahova on St. Viateur is also an option, but not so exotic. You can get the regular souvlaki plates and pitas, the usual array of appetizers and mains. Again, if you choose the more expensive options, you'll go over budget, but it is easier to keep it cheaper. You know what you are getting. I like going to Arahova's, but again, you will get some debate about that.

      So if budget is less of a concern: go for Philino's (call for a reservation though). But if budget is absolute, go for one of the other two.

      29 Replies
      1. re: moh

        Yes, I like Philinos as well, but if you are drinking at all, it will cost about twice that per person.

        I do have a very soft spot for old reliable Terrasse Lafayette, but be warned that it isn't much in the way of d├ęcor (less of a problem now that you can eat outdoors, on the terrasse) and is a bit of a souvlaki joint - but I find the simple food carefully prepared, unlike some of the souvlaki factories.

        Funny how tastes are; we are all fond of Terrasse Lafayette and none of us like Arahova. Don't even know if there is a rational reason.

        1. re: lagatta

          "Funny how tastes are; we are all fond of Terrasse Lafayette and none of us like Arahova. Don't even know if there is a rational reason."

          Well, no, I specifically wrote that I don't like Terrasse Lafayette and I like Arahova. But I agree that there is no rational reason.

          All I know is that every time I eat at Terasse Lafayette, I am completely underwhelmed. And you must understand, I am not hard to please. It is just something about the way they flavour their food, it doesn't appeal to me at all.

          At least at Arahova, I know what I am getting, and it is good, if not the best I've ever had. I still think their souvlaki pita is very tasty, at least at the Parc location. And I like the tzatziki. Greek salad is a bust though.

          1. re: moh

            Greek salad just about anywhere is a bust this time of year....

            1. re: bomobob

              Yah, but Arahova Greek salad is a bust in every season. How it can suck in the heart of tomato season is beyond me.

              Naturelle, glad to hear you had a nice meal! Sounds like the budget was not as much of an issue as I was worried it would be!

            2. re: moh

              We just returned from Philinos, based on bomobob's recommendation, and the "kids" loved it! And, to me, that's the best compliment. I was particularly fond of the calamari friti.

              1. re: naturelle

                What did you order beyond fried calamari? How much did it cost per person?

                1. re: BLM

                  We were 5 people. Besides the calamari (14$), 2 ordered chicken brochettes and 1 ordered pork brochette (60$) and we shared this for a total of 74$ + tax + tip came to about 100$. The brochettes come with salad and accoutrements.
                  Only one person order a beer. Given their modest appetites, we'll take them out again.

                  1. re: naturelle

                    I've been told that Philinos has seafood platters & grilled meat platters on their menu, that several people can share(5 people probably can share & be enough, if they have small appetites). Can't remember the prices, but will fit in to your budget of $15-20 per person, if you mainly just order a seafood or grilled meat platter.

          2. re: moh

            Ugh, based on other comments recommending Terasse Lafayette, went there to check it out tonight. The atmosphere on the terrasse and the service were above average, but unfortunately all the food we ordered was worse than mediocre.

            The "char-groiled hamburger on home-made bread" turned out to be made of gyro meat mix, which was horribly overseasoned and incredibly greasy. The bun may have been home-made, but was nonetheless stale and crumbly (even in this humid weather, impressive!)

            I ordered the souvlaki pita plate, and sadly the meat was more like gristle on a stick. There was no lettuce in the pita, just the equivalent of an entire sliced white onion, a few hunks of tomato, and enough tzatziki to take a bath in. The accompanying salad was soggy iceberg mix drenched in oily tasteless dressing.

            The homemade pita was okay (a bit soggy, again probably the humidity at work), and the potatoes were pretty good (but then I'm not so fussy in that department).

            I think it was a case of inflated expectations, based on both the overly-enticing menu descriptions as well as recommendations from other Chowhounds.

            Let me be clear here - this Lafayette place is NOT for Chowhounds, it is for people who value a nice terrasse, laid-back atmosphere, big portions and low prices over food quality. All of these are entirely valid reasons to like a restaurant, and this place has all 4 nailed - but the food just sucks IMHO. So if this is an important factor to any true Chowhounds reading this, I suggest you find another place, at least for souvlaki and burgers!

            (Man, this makes me wish I still lived closer to Souvlaki George on THERE is a Chowhound spot.)

            Terrasse Lafayette
            250 Rue Villeneuve W, Montreal, QC H2V2R1, CA

            1. re: anachemia

              Thanks for taking the hit, Anachemia... Like I said, I've always been underwhelmed, and now I have even more reason not to go back....

              You wouldn't happen to know if Souvlaki George is open on Sundays? Sounds like I may need to make reasons to go there...

              1. re: moh

                Let me know what you think of Souvlaki George, Moh. I ordered from them once and it was so bad I never did it again. I can't remember the details unfortunately as it was so long ago.

                1. re: kpzoo

                  I have to chime in on this one. George is a few blocks away from us, and we first went there a few years ago when we moved there. I was not impressed. I had the persistent memory, false perhaps, of a souvlaki stuffed with romaine lettuce, and very little tzatziki. I never wanted to go back.

                  We finally decided to give it another try last week, and I have expunged all my bad memories of the place. It was fantastic! Maybe the exhaustion of moving had clouded my memory and tainted my taste buds.

                  The souvlaki was sensational. Lovely, slightly crispy chucks of meat, flavoured beautifully, enrobed in the most wonderful, creamy, kick-ass garlicky tzatziki, in a thick, spongy pita, toasted after the fact a la Abu Elias. Loaded with lettuce, onion, and tomato, this was a souvlaki for the ages.

                  I love George now.

                  1. re: bomobob

                    Thanks, bb, I'll have to give it another try, then.

                    1. re: bomobob

                      I had the exact same experience, bomobob. must have been around 2003 and my pita was all mushy romaine lettuce. we went to eat there sometime last summer and it was fantastic... and completely different.

                  2. re: moh

                    I'm pretty sure George is open every day, and they're in the middle of building a big new deck outside.

                    1. re: bomobob

                      I must have had George also around the same time you first moved here, because I was thoroughly unimpressed with them. I am in love with the Souvlaki from the place on Somerled, one block west of Cavendish (of course I can't remember the name right now). It's great, as is their Greek roasted chicken. Lemoney and juicy and tender.... YUMMMMMMM

                        1. re: C70

                          Old age, it's not a pretty sight.

                          Thanks - that's it. Agora

                        2. re: maisonbistro

                          I LOVE Agora, but going there always makes me think of George Costanza's parents. They've gotten a lot better at herding the crowd standing in the doorway drooling, encroaching upon the actual seating area. Once we got the first table when you enter, and there was practically an ass in our bread basket for half our meal.

                    2. re: anachemia

                      Just a side note - a classic souflaki does not have lettuce in it. Tomatoes, onions and tzatziki.

                      1. re: maisonbistro

                        Agreed, I was thinking the same thing. I've never seen a lettuce leaf anywhere near a souvlaki. Cucumbers, sometimes, but no lettuce...

                        1. re: kpzoo

                          You wanna get grossed out? In Greece they put french fries in them.
                          I gotta say, the lettuce is a bit unorthodox, but I kinda like it.

                          1. re: bomobob

                            Well then, you will find me really disgusting!! :D
                            I eat my french fries with tzatziki and love love love souvlaki with fries in it...I can't get enough of them when I am in Greece.

                            1. re: hungryann

                              With you on this one. Fries are merely a tasty vehicle with which to transport large gobs of tzatziki to my mouth. Better than plain bread, less messy than straight fingers. And putting french fries directly in the souvlaki would save me a lot of energy.

                            2. re: bomobob

                              Chez Benny will stuff your falafel sandwich with fries. Ask for it "Israeli style." Even more than poutine, the stuff -- and stuffing! -- of nightmares.

                          2. re: maisonbistro

                            Wow, never realized! Thx for letting me know! :-)

                            Hmm, maybe all those gobs of tzatziki are there to wash down the raw onions...

                          3. re: anachemia

                            Haven't been in quite a while and always recommended ordering the pikilia platter and filet mignon kebebs, neither of which you tried, but things like your description of the salad have me wondering if they've changed cooks or owners. The house salad was always the furthest thing from an iceberg mix, incorporating shredded bell peppers, carrot, onion, cabbage, cauliflower and more and dressed in a sharp oil and vinegar dressing.

                            Overdressing with the white stuff is par for the course for Montreal souvlaki, no? At least it was tzatziki and not sour cream like at so many other joints...

                            1. re: carswell

                              Are you saying that this restaurant is a "one hit wonder" only two good dishes and the rest is subpar?

                              Or is it simply that this is the dishes that restaurant is recognized for?

                              1. re: westaust

                                Just that those have been the dishes I've found they do best. The chicken brochettes were well done but bland. The fried squid was OK if heavier on the breading than I like. The doner was run of the mill (i.e. shredded asphalt shingles), just like at every other souvlaki joint in town with a few blessed exceptions (e.g. Village Grec). The pizzas were typical Montreal Greek pizzas. Etc. Don't recall ever ordering a souvlaki there, however. But the pikilia platter, while nothing out of the ordinary, was as good as any I've had in a resto of its calibre and the filet mignon brochette was charcoal-grilled, flavourful, meltingly tender, cooked to order and a good buy (around $18 for 14 oz, including sides and salad, last time I ordered). Come to think of it, the lamb chops weren't bad either. That, the housemade bread (great whole-wheat rolls), the mixed salads, the pleasant terrace (a rarity in the neighbourhood) and the BYO status (another rarity in the 'hood), made it a good bet, far superior to anything you'd find on Prince Arthur, say. A large group of freelancers I sometimes dine with had back to back dinners at Philinos and Lafayette, and most preferred Lafayette for the reasons I cite. But, again, that was four or five years ago. The first negative report on this board surfaced a year or two ago and I've not been back since (not avoiding it; the opportunity just hasn't presented itself).