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Don Appetit! Astoria’s Homestyle Greek Plates


Don Douloff, Food WriterAstoria Shish Kebob House has been dishing up traditional, homestyle Greek food to Toronto for decades and now operates four Toronto-area locations: the original, on The Danforth; Mississauga; Newmarket; and Vaughan.

The Mississauga location features a front area filled with booths and tables along with a fireplace that, in the cold weather, radiates soothing warmth. At the back, the bustling open kitchen cooks up eat-in and takeout orders. A second, solarium-style room, lined with picture windows admitting oodles of natural light, is tranquil and welcoming.

Spanakopita.

We begin with chunky, garlicky hummus, scooped up with grilled pita bread, and move on to a classic of the Greek kitchen: spanakopita, small, warm triangles of flaky phyllo pastry filled with spinach and feta.

Typically, a Greek taverna proves itself with its grilled meats and fish. Astoria’s grilled calamari is smoky and tender (and generous!). The mixed grill brings a trio of delights: quail, its flesh moist and tender; lamb chops, tender and meaty, cooked perfectly medium, as ordered; and a fat pork sausage, juicy and subtly spiced. More lamb chops arrive, cooked medium rare this time, as ordered. With all three mains, mixed veg and potatoes are perfectly textured — tender, but not mushy. Slathered with the kitchen’s silky, garlicky tzatziki (make sure to order extra, for dipping), the grilled meats and veg represent homestyle Greek food at its best.

To end, there are martini glasses filled with Greek yogurt drizzled with honey and topped with slivers of candied quince, a fruit with an apple-like taste; and, of course, baklava.

Seating 80 people, the back solarium room is available for group dinners and events that typically feature a set menu.

— Don Douloff has been a restaurant critic for over 30 years and, during that time, has critiqued more than 1,400 eateries. In 1988, he studied the fundamentals of French cuisine at Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne in Paris, France. During his time in France, he furthered his gastronomic education by visiting the country’s bistros, brasseries and Michelin-starred temples of haute cuisine. He relishes exploring the edible universe in his native Toronto and on his travels throughout Canada and abroad.



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