Torontonians know and love The Danforth for the string of Greek restaurants, cafés and bakeries that line Danforth Road and spill out on Pape Avenue. Next month the Taste of the Danforth opens up the streets and shop fronts and over a million people pass through Toronto’s Greektown to sample the best of what the shops have to offer. The Danforth (Greektown) has always been about the food and it will continue to be
Last year Malena dared to present a menu consisting of Ionian dishes (Greek and Italian dishes) an after a recent visit I can confirm the food is still vibrant, modern with an eye towards tradition. Last year I also met Greek Food Guru Diane Kochilas who was in town on a “secret mission”…secret code for consulting on a new Greek restaurant in Toronto.
Toronto was sorely in need of a contemporary Greek restaurant that with offer that famous Greek hospitality in an upscale environment (sans kitschy Greek murals) and offering a menu that’s modern yet true to the Greek flavours and ingredients that many of us (Greeks) grew up with. I was very excited about this project from the beginning and it was a pleasure to watch the old Mediterra transform into Estiatorio Volos.
Proprietor Andreas Antoniou supped at Pylos in NYC (another restaurant who’s menu has the Kochilas touch) on several occasions that he reached out and contacted Diane to come in and create a menu that will put Estiatorio Volos on equal footing with the Greek restaurants of Montreal, New York and Chicago. Diane Kochilas is a New Yorker who lives in Greece and she still has an eye for New York chic mixed with down-home Greek flavours.
Estiatorio is Greek-speak for “restaurant”, something more upscale than a taverna and the food and surroundings reflect that. The name Volos pays homage to the Antoniou family’s patriarch who grew up in this port city just 3 hours north of Athens. The food at Volos is fresh, it’s healthy and presented beautifully. At Volos, you’ll be able to experience modern takes on Greek classics and some Greek twists using some of Canada’s best ingredients. Equally impressive is the wine list which is slanted towards Greek red and whites but you’ll also find other old world wines you may be more familiar with.
Food and drink is also about adventure, trying new things yet you want the food to evoke emotions, memories, the fabulous meals with family or that vacation (in Greece). Call some friends and head down to Estiatorio Volos. Order a wide array off the menu and sample the food at this exciting new addition to the Toronto restuarant scene. Put your trust in the server who will offer you some wonderful wine pairings during dinner.
In the end, the food has to be good and this is what you’re all waiting for right? When you arrive at Volos, try out their signature cocktail made with Mastiha liqueur and called the Sintorini.
This next dish is called Kritharotto. Kritharaki is a Greek orzo (a staple in the Greek kitchen) and here it’s cooked like a risotto with stock slowly added until the kritharaki is creamy and al dente. It’s accompanied with seafood and everyone at the table was enthused about this dish.Estiatorio Volos would be remiss if they did not include Spetzofai on their menu. Spetzofai is a sausage and peppers stew whose origins are from Pelion, near Volos. Here, local spicy lamb sausages are seared and stewed with tomatoes and peppers. This took me back to my first visit to Volos.One of my favourite proteins is octopus and Volos delivers with this one: grilled to perfection and tender enough to be sliced with a butter knife.Meat lovers won’t be disappointed as this New York steak is grilled to your preferred doneness and served with Greek roast potatoes and served with a Xinomavro wine reduction.There’s more fish and seafood on the menu which is a good thing! Greek cuisine focuses on alot of fish and seafood and although there was no whole fish on the menu, this halibut with swiss chard was succulent and the simply seasoned so that the fish’s natural taste could come through.Canada has a bounty of fish and here, salmon gets the Greek treatment – served on a bed of Spankorizo and some Feta cheese.Finally, the must-have dish has to be the pistachio-crusted lamb chops. I fell in love with these the first time I tried them and they are already a hit with staff and patrons alike.
Estiatorio Volos, a new contemporary Greek restaurant, is now open in the downtown core.
The 3,500 square foot space was designed by Marc Kyriacou, whose recent projects include The Ballroom and the NSC.
Chef Diane Kochilas is sourcing local ingredients for the contemporary Greek dishes.
The restaurant is open seven days a week. Monday – Friday for lunch and dinner, and weekends for dinners only.
133 Richmond Street West, Toronto – 416 861 1211
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