You are in Greektown On The Danforth and you are hungry, where do you eat? You eat Greek of course but there are plenty of Greek restaurants to choose from, which one do you pick is the question? You can default to the one people from outside of Greektown know about, Christina’s, or you can ask a local for their favourite and hang out with them. My friends Gregg & Kelly live in Greektown and they swear that Avli Restaurant may not be the most famous but it is the best Greek Food in Toronto.
After spending a great afternoon with Gregg and Kelly I was dying for some Greek food so I couldn’t be happier to find out that Avli was just a couple of blocks from where we were chilling having a beer at Louis Cifer. Avli Restaurant is located at 401 Danforth Ave and very walkable from the three Subway stations that stop along the Danforth.
When we arrive at Avli we realized one thing we had done wrong, we had not made a reservation. It may not be necessary every night but on this occasion we should have planned ahead better. There was a large birthday party happening which meant that 1/3 of the small restaurant was packed with happy and celebrating people. We put our name on the list and went back to Louis Cifer for one more pint. When our table was ready they actually sent us a text message. Love the 21st century advances.
Once we settled down at our table the real fun began. Without even looking at the menu I had to place an order for Saganaki. Two orders actually because I don’t like to share my Saganaki. With the Saganaki taken care of then I place my order for a bottle of Mythos Beer, authentic Hellenic brew. When the Saganaki arrives I couldn’t be any happier to hear the sizzling from the cast iron skillet. OMG I could eat this every day and I would be a happy camper.
Now that I’ve died and gone to heaven thanks to the Saganaki I leave the rest of the ordering to Gregg and Kelly. The first dish they order is what Avli is famous for, their dips. They order a combination platter of 3 dips, Taramosalata, Hummus and Skordalia. Taramosalata is a dip made from fish roe, olive oil and lemon juice. I didn’t think I would like it as I’m not a big fish eater but it was delicious and very delicate in its fish flavour. Hummus we all know as the classic chickpea dish but the Skordalia was a new one for me. Skordalia is basically super creamy mashed potatoes with olive oil and garlic. OPA!
To go with the dips Gregg and Kelly also ordered a classic Greek Salad. You can’t go wrong with a Greek Salad in my opinion and Avli’s version did not disappoint.
That was what Gregg and Kelly had for dinner but for me it had to be Moussaka. Simply the best Moussaka I’ve ever had. Made fresh to order and baked in an earthen bowl it was a dish good enough to serve Zeus in my opinion. I was seriously full half way though the dish but there was no way I was not going to finish it, it was that good.
While we were eating the birthday party got bigger and louder. I actually felt like I was in the old country when all of a sudden some Greek music starting playing. At first we thought it was coming over the speakers but no it was live! It sounded amazing and was the perfect way to continue our dining. I felt like getting up, dancing and breaking at dish yelling OPA!
To cap off this magical night we couldn’t resist a little Greek treat of Baklava and Bougatsa. Both are made with Phyllo pastry but Baklava is layers of nuts and sugar while Bougatsa is filled with a delicate and sweet custard. Seriously this meal just keeps getting better and better. I really wanted to finish the plate but I swear if I had touched another bite I would have exploded I was so full.
I swear to you that Greek dining doesn’t get any better than this unless of course you are in Greece and eating at a big family feast or street festival. The next time you are in Toronto and craving Greek then head straight to the Danforth and visit my friends at Avli. Order the Saganaki, try a dip and devour the Moussaka. You will thank me when the meal is over but don’t blame me if you need to undo the top button of your pants. OPA!