5318 Parc. Laurier métro. Bus 51
Tel. 270-0235. Monday to Wednesday, 5:30 p.m. to midnight. Thursday to Sunday, 5:30 p.m. to 3 a.m. $55 for two before wine, taxes and service.
This is a place where you can party through the night or just sit at the bar nursing an ouzo or Metaxa or several glasses of retsina until your troubles melt into a smoky haze.
With luck the sun won't shine through this basement restaurant and you can pretend you are in Greece. There are white plaster walls, wood floors and (from Thursday to Sunday evenings) a small bouzouki band playing Zorba the Greek tunes along with California Dreaming and the Twist. This is the restaurant that time forgot.
The food is good and copious. The group dinners (for four or more) have ample appetizerskopanisti (a spicy red pepper and cheese dip), calamari (fried squid), tarama (fish roe and potato spread), tzatziki (thick yogurt, garlic and cucumber,) plus a Greek salad, a choice of lamb, moussaka, fish or chicken. Dessert includes loukoumades (dumplings in honey with a dash of cinnamon) for dessert and a huge plate of fresh fruit. You might as well be part of that Greek christening or wedding at the bank of tables on the other side of the room. So get up and dance.
Or sulk at the bar and nibble on the soft shell crab, the saganaki (fried cheese wedge), grilled quail, home-made sausage, or skordalia (cold garlicky mashed potatoes).
Ask for a tour of the kitchen. It is on the menu and worth seeing. There is hardwood charcoal for the grilled meat and fish, a special cold storage walk-in closet for the fish, and a massive hearth-embedded Dutch oven for the braised lamb. Then maybe you will be in the mood for one of several traditional Greek soups. Something soothing. It's been a hard day. We've all been there.
This is Greek comfort food. If you don't eat everything your waiter may take it personally. Reviewed by Barry Lazar