By Aaron Boehlert
When Andreas Antoniou came to assembly to speak about how he had left the security of a job in the private sector to work with a Michelin-starred chef in California and open a Greek restaurant in downtown Toronto, I had only one question: do you take reservations? The city has been at a loss for a trendy Mediterranean eatery ever since Buca became so exclusive that tables had to be booked two weeks in advance. And Greek, of course, is a novelty.
When I came to the restaurant on Richmond Street, just east of University Avenue, I was surprised – it was relatively packed with people for a Thursday evening. I guess it pays to know the right people. The room has big windows on two sides and a light, modern vibe. The focus is on fresh, healthy Greek classics with a modern twist – grilled Moroccan octopus, tiger prawn saganaki, phyllo stuffed with braised lamb and greens. This is in addition to a separate lunch menu and pre-theatre prix fixe menu.
I settled on the arugula and fennel salad with Manchouri and grilled pear, as well as the sesame-coated salmon. My dining companion had the same first course and then the stuffed phyllo I previously mentioned, which was recommended by our server.
While we waited for our food, cool music played at a low decibel while something was set on fire accompanied by shouts of ‘Opa!’ from the staff. The salad was delicious, fresh and light, and my main was similar in that regard. The phyllo – of which I snuck at least three bites while my companion looked away as things were set on fire – was the best thing I’ve had in a while, with surprising depth of flavor and texture.
For dessert was Baklava, of course, which consists of phyllo, nuts, and spices. By the end of that perfectly sized portion I was satiated and had made plans to come back for lunch.
Estiatorio Volos (< this will have a link to the website)
133 Richmond St. West