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Mar 26, 2009 02:55 PM

Best Greek Restaurant in Toronto?


I will be in Toronto in 2 weeks and would like to know the *best* Greek restaurant to go to. I really like good pork souvlaki, but the last three places I tried it at the pork was dry... I especially appreciate good lemony potatoes. Any recommendations?

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  1. Some of the best Greek restaurants stay away from the popular "souvlaki" cuisine. (Pantheon and Avli on the south side of Danforth are among the better restaurants in Greektown and I wouldn't be surprise if neither had soulvaki on the menu.)

    Are you looking for the small souvlaki that generally run about $2 each or the larger meal-sized souvla? If the latter, in Greektown, I'd suggest the Palace, on Pape just north of Danforth. However, the best pork souvla and souvlaki I've had in Toronto were at "Just GreeK" on Bloor just east of Royal York - they're never partially cooked first, always started from fresh.

    3 Replies
    1. re: OTFOODIE

      I too like Just Greek. They're tzatziki is very tasty also.

      What about Christina's on the Danforth? I haven't been to Greek-town for years, but I recall Christina's being excellent for souvlaki.

      1. re: OTFOODIE

        The food is excellent - so is the staff
        except when they deliver - they constantly forget something or the other.
        the last time I ordered, I asked them to ensure everything was there.. the guy - George - said "whatever".
        Wow either they dont care or they must be doing very well. I asked to speak to a manager - someone who WOULD care that my meal experience gets spoilt when he "doesn’t care" but he said he is IS the owner and he doesn’t care (or "needs my business" - his exact words were)! oh well - there must be many other Greek restaurants in town - just be aware of this one

        1. re: janejanejane

          called back. (cuz food and service was normally pretty good) - manager ... (NOT GEORGE) was apologetic. Lets see how it goes. Kinda soured me though

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. I haven't found any Greek restaurants in Toronto that serve excellent roasted lemony potatoes. Most of the restaurants treat their rice and potato as an afterthought. They are rarely crispy (which is how I like my roasted lemony potatoes), and frequently too salty. Hopefully another Chowhound has had a good lemony potato experience lately! If you really like potatoes, and don't want the rice/ salad, most restaurants will happily increase the potato portion.

          Pantheon certainly has souvlaki on the menu, although they are better known for their seafood. I haven't tried their pork souvlaki. I don't remember their lemony potatoes being particularly good on any visit (although I usually finish them), and I've probably dined there a dozen times over the past 5 years. Ok, but ordinary.

          Avli serves chicken souvlaki and lamb souvlaki, but no pork souvlaki. Avli's loukaniko (Greek sausage) was very good on my last visit.

          Currently Lambros is my favourite restaurant on the Danforth. Lambros serves some slightly less common Greek foods such as fava, or contemporary versions of classic dishes such as artichoke pastitso. It's possible to order off Avli's menu (more traditional offerings than Lambros, but serving some things you won't see elsewhere like rabbit pie) while you are at Lambros, since they are owned by the same person, and share a kitchen.

          For standard Greek Canadian options (souvlaki, moussaka, pastitso), I'd suggest the Ouzeri and Mezes. My last meal at the Ouzeri was better than my last meal at Mezes, but usually the quality is about the same. I ordered different dishes at the two restaurants, so it might have just been that some dishes are done better at each respective restaurant. The plus of Mezes is that they have more mezes (Greek share plates) if you wanted to try several dishes. If you choose to go to the Ouzeri, be aware that they might try to upsell you with an offer of homebaked pita bread (something like $1.50-$2.00 per person). The regular sliced bread is free & fresh.

          I've also found the food at Kalyvia to be decent, but I usually get the pikilia-a platter with a bunch of different mezes like loukaniko sausage, bite-sized spinach pie, meatballs (keftedes), etc. Haven't tried their souvlaki or potatoes. The atmosphere at Kalyvia is a little more modest than Mezes and the Ouzeri.

          If atmosphere is not that important to you, and you just want a good souvlaki, Asteria at 679 Danforth east of Pape is popular with some of my friends who live in the area, as well as Zorba's, also east of Pape, which has chairs that remind me of a church basement, but usually decent homestyle food, and unusual dishes like patsa- tripe soup in addition to the souvlaki. I liked my last lamb souvlaki at Zorba's, but that was several years ago. I usually stick to their avgolemono soup (with extra lemon).

          407 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1P1, CA

          401 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1P1, CA

          681 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4J1L2, CA

          456 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1P4, CA

          397 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K, CA

          420 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1P3, CA

          500A Danforth Avenue, Toronto, ON M4K 1P6, CA

          Asteria Souvlaki Place
          679 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4J1L2, CA

          3 Replies
          1. re: phoenikia

            I lost my 'thread' so I'll repeat.....
   have stolen my heart!!! I love "PASTITO" particularly the non meat version, am really intrigued by the 'artichoke version' you mentioned in the above post..Can you please tell more about it as well as the versions at other places in your post...I only want non-meat versions and got spoiled because an old friend (Kay , from the Family who used to own People's Food on Dupont) actually made a huge pan for me which I used for a Luncheon about 8 years was AMAZING and I've looked for equals ever since....

            1. re: pearlD

              Lambros has closed up. Sister restaurant Avli is still in operation although, in my opinion, it's a shadow of its former self. The menu has been shortened and the food is nothing special. We were there about a month ago and vowed, after giving it a few chances in the past little while, that this was our last visit. Pity.

              1. re: Tatai

                About 6 weeks ago we had a decent meal at the "New Lambros" but only 2 or 3 weeks later they had closed again. I saw a sign mentioning that some new place is opening in that location soon, but I can't remember what it was.

          2. Good question -- I want to know who has the best chicken souvlaki though

            1. In my limited experience of Greek food, the best Greek resto I've been to in the GTA is Colossus, on Lakeshore Road in Mississauga. Everything I've had there, from the souvlaki to the Moussaka, has been delicious. I know you were seeking the best in TO, but maybe this isn't too far out of bounds. Good luck.

              Colossus Greek
              280 Lakeshore Rd E, Mississauga, ON L5G1H2, CA

              5 Replies
              1. re: redearth

                I can honestly say I have been to pretty near all of the Greek restaurants on the Danforth and a few more around the city.
                We went for a short walk and wound up at Avli last night.
                Avli was not busy last night at 7:30 however pretty much all of the places along the Danforth appeared to be at less than capacity so there was no wait at all.
                There were four of us.
                Service was a little slow to start but after our orders were taken things picked up right away and service was steady and consistent the rest of the evening. We weren't in any hurry.
                We started with apps of Hummus, Skordalia and Saganaki (OPA!)
                The pita arrived warm and fresh. Hummus was tasty but what was surprising, because Skordalia is easy to make, is that it was the best we have had along the Danforth. Seasoned perfectly (nice garlic flavour, not too little and not too much) and a good consistency as it was not a blob of mush.
                We ordered a nice bottle of Greek wine (2004 Agiorgitiko Spiropoulos Winery Mantinia) that actually was a very pleasant surprise.
                Mains were:
                Chicken mushroom pie 14,00
                with rosemary and pine nuts in a white wine sauce topped with our homemade crust
                Meat moussaka 14,00
                Layers of grilled eggplant, zucchini, potatoes, and ground beef topped with béchamel
                And yes, Souvlaki which are found concealed on the menu as "meat skewers" lol They offer Chicken, Pork and Lamb.
                Meat skewers were preceeded by the customary salad and this was fresh and par for the course, lettuce, olive and a mound of feta.
                When the skewers arrived they had a nice presentation , not just tossed on a plate. There was a small bed of rice (pretty much rice with peas, not that overly salty rice the other places serve the tourists) a grilled tomato and three small roasted new potatoes (skin on) and cooked perfectly. Again not the gloppy roasted stuff soaked in lemon and salty. These plates were above average for The Danforth.
                The Mousaka was fantastic! They call this one of their Signature Dishes and this is no mistake.
                While I did not get to taste the Chicken Mushroom Pie (another signature dish), I am told that I must as this too was declared a hit.
                I won't belabour this posting but the consensus in our group is that this is The Best on The Danforth currently for Greek Food.

                1. re: redearth

                  Colossus = small portions, i've gotten take-out from there before and the souvlaki is like 1/3rd of the size of Astoria's

                  1. re: duckdown

                    So in other words, Colossus serves the authentic size;)
                    Astoria's souvlaki is at least 3 times larger than anything I've ever encountered in Greece! NTTAWWT

                    1. re: duckdown

                      Small portions? I had the lamb souvlaki dinner there recently and couldn't finish everything on the plate. I'm not a heavy eater, but anything more than that would really be excessive and I'd feel bad throwing out that much food. Unfortunately, the salad was warm and the rice and potatoes boring, which never used to be the case. The lamb itself, and the calamari were both excellent though.

                      I'm assuming it was just an off day, but the times I've been recently previous to this meal I always ordered off their specials menu, and the food was always fantastic. I normally go to Souvlaki Hut down the street for souvlaki (the chicken and pork are better than at Colossus, I find), but the lamb souvlaki at Colossus is better (though the one at Souvlaki Hut is a larger portion, if that's important to you).

                      1. re: tjr

                        Ya Souvlaki Hut is pretty good, except for their salads... I hate that white vinegar dressing they use