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Best Greek Restaurant in Toronto?

f
fussimist44 Mar 26, 2009 02:55 PM

Hi,

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?

  1. o
    OTFOODIE Mar 27, 2009 05:06 AM

    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
      Davedigger Mar 27, 2009 12:02 PM

      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
        j
        janejanejane Sep 6, 2009 02:09 PM

        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
          j
          janejanejane Sep 22, 2009 03:54 PM

          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. p
        phoenikia Mar 27, 2009 08:41 AM

        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. http://www.avlirestaurant.com/dinner....

        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).

        -----
        Pantheon
        407 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1P1, CA

        Avli
        401 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1P1, CA

        Zorba's
        681 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4J1L2, CA

        Mezes
        456 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1P4, CA

        Lambros
        397 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K, CA

        Kalyvia
        420 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1P3, CA

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

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

        3 Replies
        1. re: phoenikia
          p
          pearlD Jul 25, 2009 02:16 PM

          I lost my 'thread' so I'll repeat.....
          phoenikia....you 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 ago..it was AMAZING and I've looked for equals ever since....

          1. re: pearlD
            t
            Tatai Jul 25, 2009 04:11 PM

            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
              foodyDudey Jul 25, 2009 04:34 PM

              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. duckdown Mar 28, 2009 04:13 AM

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

          1. redearth Mar 28, 2009 04:35 AM

            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
              Poorboy Jul 23, 2009 05:56 PM

              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
                duckdown Jul 23, 2009 06:16 PM

                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
                  p
                  phoenikia Jul 23, 2009 06:22 PM

                  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
                    t
                    tjr Jul 23, 2009 06:50 PM

                    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
                      duckdown Jul 24, 2009 12:27 PM

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

                2. s
                  SMOG Jul 24, 2009 12:49 PM

                  I would strongly recommend Pantheon. I've tried many of the Greek restaurants in the city (and nearly all on Danforth), and Pantheon is consistently excellent. They have a phenomenal grilled calamari. Their dips are great, as are many of their other dishes. The calamari is the best I've had in the city. Otherwise, Mezes is less traditional, and has delicious food.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: SMOG
                    l
                    lunchboy Jul 24, 2009 01:21 PM

                    Agree with Pantheon. They also have a wonderful Ontario lamb souvlaki that's made from thick cubes of lamb cooked just right. All of the seafood is flown in fresh on a regular basis and is spectacular. Unlike many restaurants on the strip, they take reservations, so that's one way to get around the lineups.

                    While just north of Toronto, I really enjoy Santorini in Thornhill (Bayview, just north of Steeles). Very nice atmosphere and constantly have great fish/seafood specials.

                    lunchboy

                    http://nofreelunchonbayst.blogspot.com/

                    1. re: lunchboy
                      Poorboy Jul 25, 2009 09:04 AM

                      I guess I should clarify something here. Avli and Mezes are the top two in my opinion for many reasons. When I go to these, I am going more for the food than anything else and the atmosphere is nice.
                      Pantheon is my "go-to" restaurant when I want a more relaxed atmosphere and "better than the rest of them" food. Pantheon is that old-pair-of-shoes that is well worn and yet so comfortable. So, depending on my mood, either can be the best for different reasons. Hope that makes sense. I hope Pantheon does not remodel or feel the need to change like some have made the mistake of doing. I like it just the way it is.

                      1. re: lunchboy
                        blue bike Jul 28, 2009 03:39 PM

                        Is Santorini still open? I heard that it closed. Maybe I got wrong information?
                        I had an amazing fish there. Nothing fussy but super fresh. The patio is nice, too.

                        1. re: blue bike
                          s
                          SMOG Jul 28, 2009 04:42 PM

                          I haven't been there for a bit, but I'm pretty sure it's still open. Website is still on and advertises a summer promotion, so I think it's safe to assume it's still going strong.

                        2. re: lunchboy
                          l
                          luvsgoodfood Aug 5, 2009 06:29 PM

                          WHile Pantheon and Mezes are both okay, i would say my fav would be Megas on the danforth. THe atmosphere is always perfect, its a big restaurant so theres plenty of room, where Mezes is a little tight. THe food at Megas is EXCELLENT, please try the seafood, fried calamari and grilled octopus is my favorite of all time!
                          the dips there are also something spectacular. Service is always great, and get dessert at the end!

                          1. re: luvsgoodfood
                            foodyDudey Aug 6, 2009 07:24 AM

                            It seems the restaurants in Greektown have their 20 minutes of fame and then they aren't "the best on Danforth" anymore. Megas was at it's peak around 1999 - 2002, just after AVLI started declining. But about 3 years ago, I had my worth meal EVER on Danforth at Megas. I find it hard to beleive they are now at the top again, but who knows, what goes down must come up....

                            1. re: foodyDudey
                              Poorboy Aug 8, 2009 08:25 AM

                              I wrote about Megas in one post I believe.
                              I, nor my family, will ever go back in the near future.. The food was all overcooked and the service was very poor. And the place was almost deserted. This was about a year ago. Other issues as well that I won't get into here.

                              My better half had them cater an office function, twice, and it was hit and miss.
                              So, maybe they are on an upward swing?
                              If so, good for them.
                              Avli declining? Well.. I am still a fan of theirs as well as Pantheon and Mezes.
                              I guess I place a lot of my so-called rating on the experience, value, food quality and more than anything else consistency. Any establishment can be off once, I won't write about too much. Do it to me a second time and you will hear about it. So Megas heard from me.
                              As someone who has lived on "The Danforth" for 50 years now. Please don't judge these places by the Taste of The Danforth experience.
                              It's sort of like judging a good restaurant during Film Festival or Summerlicious times if they participate in that.

                        3. re: SMOG
                          p
                          pearlD Jul 25, 2009 02:19 PM

                          I couldn't agree more about the ;grilled calamari' at Pantheon...the VERY BEST in the city IMO.
                          Marcello on St.Clair West is a pretty good runner up!!!

                        4. l
                          LemonLauren Jul 28, 2009 11:23 AM

                          do any of the so-called best places have patios?

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: LemonLauren
                            s
                            SMOG Jul 28, 2009 12:19 PM

                            I believe all of them do (if not, them virtually all).

                            1. re: SMOG
                              l
                              LemonLauren Jul 28, 2009 12:55 PM

                              :) not that we get patio weather here anyway

                              1. re: LemonLauren
                                s
                                SMOG Jul 28, 2009 01:33 PM

                                I was actually on the Pantheon patio once, sitting right at the edge, when all of a sudden out of nowhere is started pouring. I don't mean heavy rain, I'm talking Lake Ontario being dumped. Of course, it only lasted about 30 seconds, but I'm glad we had finished our meals, because we got semi-wet (the large roof held up nicely), but I remember the near-empty plates at the end of the table were filled with water.

                                So yes, I agree! Make sure you get a seat closer to the restaurant and farther from the sidewalk if there's a chance of rain!

                          2. j
                            JimGrinsfelder Jul 30, 2009 08:47 PM

                            I can't vouch for authenticity, but Astoria (not to be confused with Asteria) had good quick service and it was busy. The chicken souvlaki was huge and very good. The salad, potatoes and rice were not bad, but nothing to write home about.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: JimGrinsfelder
                              s
                              SMOG Jul 31, 2009 05:04 AM

                              Back about 15 yrs ago, Astoria was a great place to go. Then they expanded (twice, I believe) and changed owners a couple times. And naturally, raised prices. Since then, I've found it to be sub-par. Some of the food is still good, some not so good. My biggest complaint is that you wait in line, sit down and then are rushed out. Salad arrives 30 seconds after you order, and last time I was there, I was in and out within 45 mins. I don't know if anyone has had any different experience there.

                              1. re: SMOG
                                duckdown Jul 31, 2009 11:44 AM

                                all i know is they seriously need some better salad dressing.. white heinz brand vinegar... yuck

                                1. re: SMOG
                                  n
                                  NewtonSquare Aug 7, 2009 06:23 PM

                                  Try the Astoria on Dundas W. (Miss.) by Starsky's. Still as good as Danforth WAS, and no rushing here.............take your time.

                                  1. re: NewtonSquare
                                    duckdown Aug 8, 2009 12:35 PM

                                    Best chicken souvlaki from here, youre right

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