For some strange reason, warm temperatures always make me crave Greek food. Perhaps it’s the heat that makes me want to travel to the Greek islands by virtue of their cuisine. Perhaps it’s the mezzes grazing that makes it more conceivable to consume anything else than ice cream when the humidex factor is more reminiscent of Paros than Park Ex. Perhaps even it’s the fresh, vegetable-based choices that I am attracted to. Whatever it may be, Greek cuisine, although simple, is one of the tastiest, especially in summer when one can leisurely sample a variety of cold and warm mezzes (Greek tapas) and a few grilled specialties. Below are some of my favourite Greek restaurants in Montreal.
New York, Athens, Miami, Vegas and London, the Milos empire reaches far and wide but the original one where it all started is on the famous Du Parc Avenue in Montreal. Freshness and authenticity are what made Estiatorio Milos one of the best fine dining establishments in Montreal. The fish is imported daily from the Mediterranean, the olive oil is Milos’ own private label, the vegetables are locally sourced and everything else, including the service, is tended to with much care and professionalism. The Milos Special, a mountain of thinly sliced, battered and deep fried crispy zucchini and eggplants served with tzatziki are a must, as are any of the fish on display.
Faros restaurant, right between Outremont and the Mile-End, feels like a trip to the Greek islands. This Greek psarotaverna (fish tavern) offers many fish and seafood items, as well as meats and a great variety of mezzes. Their diminutive patio is the perfect oasis to enjoy an al fresco romantic meal while dreaming of an Ionian holiday.
Ikanos serves modern Greek cuisine with a focus on fish and seafood. Chef-owner Constant Mentzas’ inventive yet simple dishes are rooted in Greek tradition with a respect for the fresh produce. Ikanos is located in a historical building in Old Montreal. The space is contemporary yet warm and inviting and the service flawless.
Philinos’ cuisine is simple yet savoury. Here you will find classic Greek restaurant dishes such as souvlaki, grilled lamb chops and fish as well as some more “homey” recipes such as moussaka. The portions are hearty, the Greek-style potatoes are delicious and the shade-filled flowered patio is lovely.
Mythos has been around for 20-odd years and has become an institution in Montreal. You come here for the great mezzes and charcoal grilled meats but also for the lively ambiance fueled by live music and dancing that can last all night long. Although I don’t go as often anymore, I have spent many-a-night here eating and dancing. Fuel up by ordering some loukoumades, the Greek fried dough balls that are sprinkled with cinnamon and almonds and doused with honey.
A personal favourite and one among Greeks in Montreal, this tavern-style restaurant is famous for its grilled meats, in particular the succulent chicken and lamb chops. Family-style dining and sharing is encouraged with friendly and relaxed service and ambiance. Don’t forget to order the Greek-style roasted potatoes.
Ouzeri is hidden on an obtuse street corner of St-Denis Street in the heart of Plateau Mont-Royal. The menu consists of a great variety of your classic Greek specialties with a few exceptions you won’t find anywhere else and are usually the reason why I visit, such as the absolutely delectable feta chicken that is served in a clay dish. The fried saganaki cheese flambéed in ouzo is also a must, and makes for a great spectacle.