Torontonians have one more reason to visit Ossington and it comes from Thanos Tripi, a friend who’s been planning this opening for two years and finally, we have Mamakas Taverna. Mamakas derives from the Greek word “Mamakias”, meaning mama’s boy.
This casual restaurant seats 85, the space is long with an open kitchen and a one page menu that Thanos promises, will be tweaked as the seasons change. Complemented with an all-Greek wine list, it’s time to take a dive into the food being served at Mamakas.
I was fortunate to be able to sit in front by the kitchen, where the staff were preparing food. Many of the dishes I was able to sample, others flew off the counter and onto the tables of guests eager to try something different from the Danforth.
First up, order some dips…my faves were the Taramosalata (whipped fish roe) and Kopanisti (roasted red pepper and Feta).
Another starter is their charcuterie plate of copa, orange scented sausage, pastourma, manouri and kefalograviera cheeses.
If you’re in a fish mood, try the lavraki (European sea bass) carpaccio with shaved fennel, pomegranate seeds, mint oil and crisp kataifi.
There are also lots of vegetarian options, get the beet and beet greens salad with potato skordalia.
Boiled dandelions are a superfood, blanched and served warm with extra-virgin olive oil, lemon.
Mamakas has an interesting take on Horiatiki (Greek) salad, ripe tomatoes, thin cucumbers onions, olive oil, wine vinegar, oregano and of course, Feta.
There’s always a catch of the day and here we have grilled Lavraki that’s then butterflied, boned and served on a board with some olive oil (a small side of oil/lemon sauce would be nice to be served with the fish).
Next up is a gorgeous plate of grilled calamari that’s sliced, plated and served with lemon olive oil.
No Greek restaurant is complete without grilled octopus – the Mamakas offering is tender, a little firm (which is good) and certainly one can slice it with a butter knife!
Sometimes simple is best and these grilled jumbo prawns with saffron lemon oil were succulent, well grilled, delicious.
In you’re into meat, the lamb souvlaki on mini-pita bread with Tzatziki are casual, great one-two bites.
One of the strongest menu items at Mamakas are their crisp sweet breads that are served in a tangy lemon butter sauce with capers. Order this, eat it and ask later about what sweetbreads are!
I love a good French fry and here they get Greek-a-fied with a topping of grated Kefalograviera cheese. A must at Mamakas!
Our final order were the grilled lamb chops…high sear, crisp outside with a little fat on the bone, served with Tzatziki, oregano and the original finger food.
Dessert options are small but both offerings I tried were good: first we have Greek yogurt that’s topped with sugar, torched/bruleed, served with raspberry coulis.
The wonderful and clever dessert that many were ordering was the Feta cheesecake served with Ouzo poached figs and caramel sauce.
See, you don’t need a 5 page menu trying to please everyone. Mamakas’ one page menu is diverse, something for everyone. I like the service, the open kitchen, simple yet tasteful decor and it’s still easy to get to (Ossington).
Mamakas is open from 6pm – close, Tuesday to Sunday.
Reservations are recommended and as always, tell them Kalofagas sent you!
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