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best greek restaurant on the Danforth for Thurs nite dinner

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omegasea Sep 14, 2011 04:44 PM

Hi all,

Looking for advice on the best place to eat on the Danforth, authentic greek food, sit down restaurant, not gyro or souvlaki pita sandwich places.

I haven't been to the Danforth to eat in well over 4 years. Last I dined on the strip, Pantheon had some great greek food, but the atmosphere was a bit garrish with the bright lights, pink walls etc. I'm thinking more about Pan, but I haven't been there or heard anything about it in 4 years.

Wondering if you can send me your latest suggestions on what is still good, what sucks now, etc.
It's dinner for 2 girlfriends, we want great food, with a good atmosphere, we like the place to be good looking but can compromise for outstanding food.

thanks, looking forward to hearing the words from the street!

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  1. p
    pearlD RE: omegasea Sep 14, 2011 05:41 PM

    AVLI...now has a guest chef who has tweaked the Menu and is now testing it out....am going with friends tomorrow, hopefully it can be as good as it was when it just opened...we'll see.....

    27 Replies
    1. re: pearlD
      justsayn RE: pearlD Sep 14, 2011 05:53 PM

      That's exciting! Please report back!

      1. re: pearlD
        foodyDudey RE: pearlD Sep 14, 2011 06:06 PM

        I was under the impression it was not a tweaked menu, but 10 days where Byron Ayanoglu would be there. I was at two previous events like this with Byron and non of the special dishes were ever available after the event. Here is part of an email I received a few weeks back.

        SPECIAL EVENT AT AVLI UNDERWAY

        THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 8 to SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 18

        COME TO AVLI AND HAVE SOME BYRON

        Avli, the delightfully cosy Greek bistro on the Danforth, opened its doors to the public in 1995. At the time it offered one of the very few modern Greek cuisine options on a street that was otherwise lined with steam-tables and tired dishes.

        Avli debuted with a tasty, fresh, authentically Greek menu, co-designed by its chef-owner Lambrinos and foodie-wizard Byron Ayanoglu, famous those days in Toronto as the recently retired, often controversial food-editor of NOW Magazine.

        Byron returns to Avli in September for a ten-day season of special dinners and events. He will get on the stoves alongside Lambrino and serve up some new and wonderful dishes in a party atmosphere.

        It all begins with a launch on Thursday, Sept. 8th at 7:30 p.m.:

        Special horta-pie with kasseri;

        steamed zucchini and broccoli with lemon-dill dressing;

        two-way calamari (grilled/cold and hot/fried);

        oven-baked baby Ontario lamb with kidney beans;

        roast duck-leg with cabbage and apples;

        grilled mackerel with pomegranate sauce;

        eggplant Begendi with octopus;

        grilled scallops with blackberry sauce;

        chocolate-hazelnut baklava;

        almond torte with berry-coulis;

        wine-poached pear with melted chocolate

        -----
        Avli
        401 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1P1, CA

        1. re: foodyDudey
          o
          omegasea RE: foodyDudey Sep 14, 2011 07:50 PM

          Thanks all, I will look into Avli for sure. What about Pan? Anyone have feedback on the food there recently?

          -----
          Avli
          401 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1P1, CA

          1. re: foodyDudey
            p
            pearlD RE: foodyDudey Sep 15, 2011 08:26 AM

            foodyDudey,
            Thanks for posting this...I know it's Byron (he's a friend) wasn't sure how this was being publicized so did not share his name etc....but we are REALLY looking forward to this evening's dinner. BTW, I do apologize re the 'tweaking of the menu part'.

            1. re: pearlD
              foodyDudey RE: pearlD Sep 15, 2011 09:43 AM

              Please post how it is as I may go if you have positive review. Maybe I should just go this evening anyway and find out for myself.

              1. re: pearlD
                foodyDudey RE: pearlD Sep 16, 2011 05:22 PM

                pearlD, how was it? I'm waiting to hear before I decide to go on Sunday.

              2. re: foodyDudey
                Googs RE: foodyDudey Sep 15, 2011 09:45 AM

                http://www.avlirestaurant.com/avli.pdf

                1. re: Googs
                  foodyDudey RE: Googs Sep 16, 2011 08:06 AM

                  That looks very similar to what I posted. It looks like Avli's website has been completely updated in the last week or two as when I checked recently, that menu was not shown and it was still the old website which they had previously.

                  I''m waiting to see what pearlID has to say about the food she ate last night.

                  -----
                  Avli
                  401 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1P1, CA

                  1. re: foodyDudey
                    p
                    pearlD RE: foodyDudey Sep 16, 2011 06:36 PM

                    Well yes we went last night and had a pretty good meal, I won't say spectacular..here's what we had/shared a number of dishes...First off I wanted to try the Lamb , they didn't have it ,or the Duck, they had the Mackeral but didn't try it (not a mackeral fan) soooooo we shared several of the appetizers...Horta Pie was fabulous (I could have had that for my entire meal), "Two way Calamari (hot & cold)...cold was fabulous stuffed with diced tomato & onion, hot had a niceand very tasty light breading but it wasn't served hot enough so it had lost it's 'crunchy' texture..too bad. Grilled Scallops, done beautifully and served with a lovely reduction of blackberries.. The appetiser at the very beginning of the meal was a black olive tappinade with a great texture (it didn't seem to have anything to hold it together) and I thought it was the best I had ever had, captured the true taste (minced made all the difference) wonderful cheese (Feta(?) but mellow and not salty) served with some great olives, (Kalamata but a milder brine) and a pool of really good fresh tasting) Greek olive oil. Our friend had Lamb Chops (regular menu) he said they were on the tough side..No room for dessert and I must say the only one that slightly appealed was the chocolate- hazelnut baklava.
                    Bottom line for me was the Horta Pie really good enough that I would certainly eat it as a main course and second choice would be the two way calamari but I'd make sure the 'hot' was hot not lukewarm.
                    Forgot to say we had the eggplant 'begendi', well I only tasted it and the look of the plate turned me off so I didn't have any more, husband liked it 'tho.
                    Sorry to be so late in getting back with this review....do let me know of your experience if you go.

                    1. re: pearlD
                      Googs RE: pearlD Sep 17, 2011 09:25 AM

                      Being out of two of the ringer mains smells of bait and switch,

                      1. re: Googs
                        p
                        pearlD RE: Googs Sep 17, 2011 11:29 AM

                        Do you really think that, Googs? I just accepted it at face value....I can be pretty naive for an old girl but honestly that didn't even occur to me.........I would like to have tried the Lamb but oh well.......I'll still go back for the Horta Pie...perhaps I should call them before going...I'm not in a big rush 'tho and that has nothing to do with the Restaurant..too many other choices in the City........

                        1. re: pearlD
                          Googs RE: pearlD Sep 17, 2011 02:16 PM

                          Oh, it's really hard to know about the two most expensive items being missing. Was it a prix fixe menu? Perhaps they miscalculated the demand for lamb in a Greek restaurant. I suppose that COULD happen.

                          1. re: Googs
                            p
                            pearlD RE: Googs Sep 17, 2011 05:35 PM

                            It was a fixed price of 4 courses from Byron's 'menu' for $40.00 or you could buy it a la carte (also Byron's menu). Didn't even look at the regular menu...Three of us without wine but 2 bottles of water,(possibly 3, I lost track) no desserts came to $128. before the tip....

                            1. re: pearlD
                              atomeyes RE: pearlD Sep 17, 2011 05:44 PM

                              Sorry to lauh, but man, you was robbed!
                              We are talking downtowndollars for crappy Greektown food!

                              1. re: atomeyes
                                j
                                JennaBean RE: atomeyes Sep 19, 2011 10:43 AM

                                $40 pp for four courses is robbed? What are you compariting it to?How is it possible you think that??? Where downtown can you get four courses for $40, please share so that we all can get that great deal.

                                1. re: JennaBean
                                  prima RE: JennaBean Sep 19, 2011 10:52 AM

                                  ya, what JennaBean said.

                                  Guess there's an art to knowing how to order well in Greektown.

                                  1. re: JennaBean
                                    Googs RE: JennaBean Sep 20, 2011 06:09 AM

                                    During 'licious, the Danforth Greek restaurants in the program offer $25 3 course dinners. $15 seems a little out of line in that context. However, my point was that the diner was told they were out of the 2 most expensive items being offered. That's not cricket.

                                    1. re: Googs
                                      prima RE: Googs Sep 21, 2011 05:13 AM

                                      I wouldn't hesitate to pay $40 for a dinner that involves a menu planned by Byron, and I wouldn't expect a meal planned by him to be served at the loss leader prix fixe prices offered on the Danforth during 'licious.

                                      I would expect a menu conceived by Byron would be more interesting than a typical Danforth 'licious experience, and worth a $15 premium.

                                    2. re: JennaBean
                                      atomeyes RE: JennaBean Sep 20, 2011 06:24 PM

                                      i would never, ever spend $40 for "4 courses" (arguable if its really 4 true courses) in Greektown.
                                      you can eat interesting food at, for example, the Hoof for $40 per person. unless I'm missing something, no Danforth restaurant's done anything exceptional in decades.

                                      1. re: atomeyes
                                        foodyDudey RE: atomeyes Sep 20, 2011 10:20 PM

                                        l I won't agree with your "decades" assesment. Avli had a few special dinners about 10 years ago that were excellent, and Lambros had some very interesting food. Did you ever go there? There was nothing exceptional on Danforth decades ago.

                                        -----
                                        Avli
                                        401 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1P1, CA

                                        Lambros
                                        397 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K, CA

                                        1. re: atomeyes
                                          prima RE: atomeyes Sep 21, 2011 05:18 AM

                                          I'm probably the only Chowhound in the GTA who has not eaten at the Hoof yet, mostly because the menu hasn't interested me.

                                          Glad you like the Hoof and find its food interesting, and glad I know where to find food I find interesting on the Danforth. ;-)

                                          1. re: prima
                                            TorontoJo RE: prima Sep 21, 2011 05:27 AM

                                            Nah, you're not the only one... :)

                                            1. re: TorontoJo
                                              foodyDudey RE: TorontoJo Sep 21, 2011 06:13 AM

                                              And you two aren't the only two, should we start the anti-Hoof club? We can call it the Hoof-Aloof club :-)

                                              1. re: foodyDudey
                                                atomeyes RE: foodyDudey Sep 21, 2011 09:37 AM

                                                sure, if we call your Greektown club the BlandLands Clique ;)

                                                1. re: foodyDudey
                                                  TorontoJo RE: foodyDudey Sep 21, 2011 09:53 AM

                                                  I'm not anti-Black Hoof, I simply haven't gone yet. I'll get around to it eventually!

                                                  1. re: TorontoJo
                                                    prima RE: TorontoJo Sep 21, 2011 10:35 AM

                                                    I'm not anti-Hoof, either. To someone who grew up eating a lot of well-seasoned offal in a non-Mangiacake kitchen, the descriptions of the Hoof's dishes sometimes appear to be innovative and/or somewhat gimmicky ways to serve (or disguise) offal to customers who probably didn't grow up eating much offal. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

                                                    I'll probably get around to trying it eventually, too.

                                                    If I do go to the Hoof in the next month or so, which dishes have Chowhounds found the most interesting?

                                                    1. re: prima
                                                      Splendid Wine Snob RE: prima Sep 21, 2011 10:50 AM

                                                      Exactly Prima. Great observation.

                    2. g
                      gilbert1111 RE: omegasea Sep 18, 2011 06:49 PM

                      I would not, as someone asked, try Pan. It was excellent and unusual when it first opened, but has not been worthwhile for years now. Avli is excellent as is Mezes, and I have a long time and abiding fondness for Ouzeri.

                      -----
                      Avli
                      401 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1P1, CA

                      Mezes
                      456 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1P4, CA

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

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: gilbert1111
                        prima RE: gilbert1111 Sep 19, 2011 11:06 AM

                        I've eaten at Pan twice in the last year, and I like their food. I would certainly order their meatballs, zucchini fritters and stuffed grape leaves again. As with most restaurants on the Danforth, I'd recommend the mezes over the mains. Michael K (Edit- Johnny K, as per post below- Johnny K owned Pan 1994-1998 http://www.chefdb.com/nm/152/Johnny-K... ), who served the innovative food when he owned Pan, sold Pan 10+ years ago. The current owners have been serving more traditional Greek food since they purchased the restaurant.

                        My last 3 meals at Mezes, in 2009 and 2010, were average. I have preferred the food I've ordered at Avli, Megas, Pan, Folia and Kalyvia (over the past year) to the food I last ordered at Mezes. I will give Mezes another chance in the next few months, to see if the food has improved since my 2009 and 2010 experiences, but it's not been on my Greek rotation for a while.

                        -----
                        Avli
                        401 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1P1, CA

                        Pan on the Danforth
                        516 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1P6, CA

                        Mezes
                        456 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1P4, CA

                        Kalyvia
                        420 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1P3, CA

                        Megas
                        402 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K, CA

                        Folia Grill
                        1031 Pape Ave, Toronto, ON M4K 3V9, CA

                        1. re: prima
                          o
                          omegasea RE: prima Sep 19, 2011 11:32 AM

                          wow, what a very strange strand of conversations based on my original post! Glad someone finally brought the focus back to the question.
                          Well, Pan was owned by Johnny K, not Michael K, 10 years ago. And I agree the food was great then but it was also a fairly new innovative idea for the time which I think our taste buds responded to.
                          Anyway, after the tea party discussion above, I decided to forego Avli and Pan that night. We ended up at Ouzeri and I was satisfied, the food was exactly what I expected, not outstanding but quite good enough. And we loved that we could get meat as a snack, rather than the half pounder souvlaki meals or other entrees.
                          I will still plan to make a visit to Pan later this autumn. It looked nice inside, the menu looks great..it's probably good enough. Hopefully I won't meet anyone there who wants to tell me how robbed I am ordering the prix fixe...LOL

                          -----
                          Avli
                          401 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1P1, CA

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

                          1. re: omegasea
                            prima RE: omegasea Sep 19, 2011 11:37 AM

                            Thanks for clearing that up. Must have had Michael K's on the brain. Now that I think about it, I haven't seen pizza eggrolls on any menus since the last time I visited Michael K's in the early 90s. LOL. ;-)

                            Happy you had a decent meal at the Ouzeri. Yep, pork sticks are the way to go. No one really needs all that potato and rice. ;-)

                            1. re: prima
                              o
                              omegasea RE: prima Sep 19, 2011 11:43 AM

                              we had lamb sticks and the quail appetizer...was perfect.

                              1. re: omegasea
                                p
                                pearlD RE: omegasea Sep 20, 2011 05:02 PM

                                My visits to the Danforth are not that frequent and I usually go to PANTHEON simply because they make the best (IMO) grilled Calamari in the city..always good, fresh and served with a reasonably nice salad..that's all I have ever eaten at Pantheon and probably will keep on ordering the same thing time after time. We went to AVLI because of Byron, I don't expect to revisit any time soon..with or without the missing choices on 'his' menu. I go to the Danforth for Calamari because I really like it and the Pantheon has never disappointed me.

                                1. re: pearlD
                                  Googs RE: pearlD Sep 20, 2011 09:19 PM

                                  I always end up at Pantheon too. Sure the decor could use a little, a lot, of work. But the seafood's always done nicely and on summer nights that patio is on the sunny side of the street.

                                  1. re: Googs
                                    j
                                    JennaBean RE: Googs Sep 21, 2011 07:32 AM

                                    We tend to end up there as well. I always make the bf split a grill mix and salad. YUM!

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