Mezes is named for the bounty of appetizers made from scratch here, including dips and fresh pita bread.
One of Toronto’s favourite Greek restaurants, they serve theatrical classics like saganaki set aflame tableside, and sizzling platters.
Inside, the ceiling of the restaurant is painted a sky blue, lots of wrought iron, tile and stonework evoking a typical old school Mediterranean restaurant vibe.
Scratch garlic pita ($2) is light and thin but soft and stretchy, served warm, quartered with some oil and seasoning on top. If you must you can substitute cucumber for pita with any dish for a gluten-free option.
A Large Kria Poikilia platter ($21) comes with house taramosalata, tzatziki, homous, melitzanosalata and your side dish, setting it apart from the smaller platter. Melitzanosalata is a gluten-free baked eggplant dip, a nice rustic texture to this and the homous.
Tzatziki is textbook, creamy and refreshing. Taramosalata is a traditional dip of potato, bread, onion, and red caviar, the bread and onion soaked in the caviar liquid, the mixture tinged pink, and distinctly briny in flavour.
For our side dish with the platter we have fasolakia lemonata, a surprisingly punchy green bean salad seasoned with oregano, dill, lemon, garlic, olive oil and salt.
Saganaki ($15) sees a thick triangle of kefalograviera cheese flambeed tableside with brandy, finished off with a squirt of lemon.
The result is a melty, squeaky cheese meze with a crispy exterior, oily and salty.
The Zinnis Rice Special ($22) is kind of like a Greek paella, a sizzling rice skillet topped with calamari, pork and chicken slow cooked with tomato, green pepper, onion and herbs.
Meat and seafood don’t go together traditionally in this cuisine, so this is a bit of a twist on the traditional, but the deepened tomato flavour brings out the juiciness of the proteins.
Bifteki Olympou ($21) wraps lean ground beef around a filling of the same kefalograviera cheese for the saganaki and veggies, topped with tomato slices and baked. A dollop of cooling tzatziki balances out the earthy meat. Served with fries and a typical Greek-style elliniki salad.
Don’t mistakenly stop at Megas further west along the Greektown strip, closer to Broadview station where Mezes actually used to be originally located. They’re not affiliated, and only opened up a similar business in the same spot in the hopes of capitalizing on the undiscerning. Make no mistake, there’s only one Mezes.