Mamakas Taverna on Ossington

IMG_3220-001Torontonians 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.IMG_3283-001

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.IMG_3229-001

First up, order some dips…my faves were the Taramosalata (whipped fish roe) and Kopanisti (roasted red pepper and Feta).IMG_3232-001

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Another starter is their charcuterie plate of copa, orange scented sausage, pastourma, manouri and kefalograviera cheeses.IMG_3242-001

If you’re in a fish mood, try the lavraki (European sea bass) carpaccio with shaved fennel, pomegranate seeds, mint oil and crisp kataifi.IMG_3240-001

There are also lots of vegetarian options, get the beet and beet greens salad with potato skordalia.IMG_3244-001

Boiled dandelions are a superfood, blanched and served warm with extra-virgin olive oil, lemon.IMG_3259-001

Mamakas has an interesting take on Horiatiki (Greek) salad, ripe tomatoes, thin cucumbers onions, olive oil, wine vinegar, oregano and of course, Feta.IMG_3258-001

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).IMG_3271-001

Next up is a gorgeous plate of grilled calamari that’s sliced, plated and served with lemon olive oil.IMG_3264-001

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!IMG_3261-001

Sometimes simple is best and these grilled jumbo prawns with saffron lemon oil were succulent, well grilled, delicious.IMG_3276-001

In you’re into meat, the lamb souvlaki on mini-pita bread with Tzatziki are casual, great one-two bites.IMG_3274-001

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!IMG_3468-001

I love a good French fry and here they get Greek-a-fied with a topping of grated Kefalograviera cheese. A must at Mamakas!IMG_3472-001

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.IMG_3246-001

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.IMG_3476-001

The wonderful and clever dessert that many were ordering was the Feta cheesecake served with Ouzo poached figs and caramel sauce.IMG_3294-001

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!

© 2014,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

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