Last night, 3 friends and I went to MAMAKAS Taverna, a contemporary Greek restaurant on the Ossington strip in Toronto. It’s been on my restaurant list for a while now so I was happy to finally dine there.
Despite having a pretty large Greektown full of Greek/ Mediterranean restaurants, Toronto, in my opinion, lacks interesting and high-quality Greek cuisine. However, over the past few years I’ve seen several more upscale Greek/Mediterranean restaurants popping up to much acclaim – restaurants like Estiatorio VOLOS (seafood-focus) and Byblos (Eastern Mediterranean). MAMAKAS definitely took Greek food to a level that I haven’t seen in Greektown. Bright flavours in homey, comforting dishes that seem authentic and quintessentially Greek.
The restaurant encourages sharing, so that’s what we did.
House Dips – Melitzanosalata ($7) (eggplant, walnuts, pine nuts) and Kopanisti ($7) (Red pepper and feta) served with the delicious homemade and grill-charred pita. These were very nice to start with and both dips were extremely flavourful. They were somehow different than I expected (I’m not sure why, but I liked it!) One thing that I found annoying was that we ordered 2 different dips, but only got 2 pita to go along with it. 1 pita is not enough bread to eat the full dip, plus we had 4 people at our table. We asked for more pita, which came shortly after but did cost us $4 extra. :/
Extra pita ($4)
Grilled Octopus ($21). This was a very light dish. The octopus has a nice texture and the fava puree was also nice. It didn’t pack as much of a flavour punch as the other dishes, so it was my least favourite of the mains we ordered.
Grilled Lamb Chops ($32). I’m not usually a lamb person, but these were amazing! Extremely tender, and the accompanying bulgar (reminded me of small orzo) was lemon-y and fragrant. The herbs (they used mint and parsley I think) were not overpowering, just light and fresh. My only complaint was that it’s quite a small portion for the price.
Spanakopita ($12). This was delicious! The phyllo pastry was very flaky and buttery and the spinach filling was not overpowered by feta (which seems to happen a lot with Spanakopita, in my opinion). The portion was large as well.
We also tried the Greek Fries or Tiganites Patates ($8). They were super cripsy and yummy, topped with a salty cheese and served with a garlic dipping sauce. Mmmm…
Finally, the dish I liked the most is what I don’t have a photo of! Kotopouo ($28) is a 1/2 roasted chicken, tea-brined (interesting, right?) and served with potatoes, carrots, peas and fava beans. It came cut into large pieces in a roasting pan, super rustic, and the sauce in the bottom of the pan was just divine! Herby, lemony and just succulent. The chicken itself was roasted to perfect with ultra-crip skin, but incredibly tender meat (even the white meat). How do they do it?! I was very impressed.
Here’s the full menu for Mamakas Taverna:
Overall, it was a delicious experience. The dining room is beautiful and the service top notch. It is a little pricey, but the quality shows. Expect to spend about $70ish per person for dinner, wine and tip included.