The Astoria, located at number 390 on the Danforth, was where I travelled to satiate my craving for some good ol’ Greek food. Now, I’m more of a newbie than a connoisseur when it comes to Greek food, considering it all mostly good. Pita? Awesome. Tzatziki, gyro, souvlaki? Yum. Throw some o’ dat on my plate. Remember Sofia’s with the open-faced chicken souvlaki with spinach and feta? One of my favourite restaurants in Montreal would be Marvin’s up by l’Acadie, a little tavern-looking Greek restaurant with the greatest calamari and lamb chops.
Anyway, the Astoria Shish Kabob House, its full name, is rated on BlogTO as the best restaurant for Greek food in Toronto. Now, I was madly craving some of that souvlaki and was willing to walk the hour from my place to the Danforth to have some, seeing as most of the restaurants on the list were, with reason, located in Toronto’s Greek town.
The restaurant itself was surprisingly large, but this is coming from eating exclusively in downtown Toronto for the last 4 months or so where restaurants try to maximize their space by cramming as many tables as possible inside. Whenever I try to squeeze into my seat, I inevitably send other people’s meals crashing to the ground with my ass.
I ordered myself the lamb souvlaki on a pita, as I am very very partial to lamb. The waiter asked how I wanted my lamb (medium rare) and this was the exact reason I was willing to walk all the way up here instead of just the 10 minutes to a random food court for some random food court meat on a stick. Granted, I didn’t actually have to walk because my brother (pictured below) had to come drop off some laundry for me and run some errands, so we went for dinner.
The lamb was succulent, impeccably seasoned. So juicy, and cooked perfectly medium rare, just how I like it. The problem with lamb is that if the meat is too old or not from a less gamey breed of lamb, the taste can be off-putting for some people. Me, I like it just fine, but this lamb was great, not too gamey, perfectly tender. There were a few spots where the fat was too chewy for me but that was just for a few cuts and I chewed through it like a caveman. No one to impress, y’know how it is. The pita seemed a little dry and they forgot to put onions on my order, but that’s only because they got confused, since my brother ordered no onions on his.
The tzatziki was very strong. A great fresh flavour, but tasted a bit too strongly of yogourt for my preferences. I’m sure it’s a fantastic sauce, but I’m not really a big fan of dairy products. You know, except for ice cream.
Predictably, my brother, the chicken-addict, ordered the chicken souvlaki. He’s still chasing after that wonderful chicken gyro that we had in New York. I like chicken and all but I don’t really like to order it at a restaurant, unless it’s in some sort of pasta.
I had a piece of his chicken, and it was nicely seasoned, but it was just so dry. I’m the kind of person that likes my food a bit bloody, but for obvious reasons, you can’t really do that with chicken. My brother likes his steaks well done (really, wtf), so I can see why he would put up with the dryness of chicken. I guess the texture doesn’t really bother him, but I’ll admit that the seasons on the chicken were quite pleasant. Slightly tangy, yet very savoury.
I ordered a side of garlic bread for only $0.78! I think. It was definitely under a dollar though. And this is a lot of garlic bread for a side order. Very garlic-y, and it satisfied my cravings well. The top bread was soft and buttery, while the bottom sides were a bit crunchy. Best of both worlds!
When it came time for the bill, I was expecting a 35-40 dollar bill, but it surprisingly only came up to $24 for the both of us to dine there. A steal for the restaurant setting. The only thing I’m going to complain about is the after-dinner mints, which really isn’t that big a deal. I mean, they did give us 3 pieces of candy for two people, but really, cinnamon flavour and black licorice flavour. Why would someone even buy that?
Luckily I headed next-door to Dolce Gelato, which apparently just opened up, and had myself some gelato. The thing about this dessert is that what looks like a tiny cup is actually a lot of gelato! I bought a small cup for $3.75 and they allowed me to put two flavours into it, and man did they have a lot of flavours to choose from. I went with my favourite gelato, lemon flavour, and then my crack from Vietnam, passion fruit. :)
Ahh, walking through slash driving through the Danforth and seeing all the great houses with great lawns just steps from the main street made me fall in love with it. The Danforth just has a great feeling to it, great boutiques and lots of different restaurants. The place is a little like quaint suburbia mixed with a slight hustle-bustle of city life, and it’s right on the subway line so getting downtown is a breeze. I think this is where I want to raise my family. Haha! Dreams and wishes.