Neighbourhood: West End
Address: 520 Ellice Ave
For 39 years, Homer’s owner George Katsabanis has transported loyal crowds to the isles of Greece, steeping diners in the simple perfection of authentic Mediterranean cuisine.
Fitting for a restaurant named for an Ancient Greek poet, the atmosphere is one of artistic elegance with neoclassical touches. Parthenon style pillars surround white linen tables adorned with fresh red carnations. By six o’clock, the room is abuzz with anticipation of traditional favourites.
Greek hospitality extends to each table with an inviting menu. Mezedakia (appetizers for the less Hellenic among us) prep the palate with fresh flavour: Kalamata olives, fresh feta and herb-battered calamari. Creamy Greek hummus and summery tzatziki arrive perfectly whipped with steaming triangles of baked pita. When presented a choice of soup with any entree, turn to the “national food of the Greeks,” the rustic bean soup, Fasolada.
Ever-popular moussaka is packed with eggplant, spiced with nutmeg and lavished with a light bechamel. The hefty portion is served with lemon rice and a not-too-spicy tomato sauce. Its cousin, patstitio, packs in lasagna-like layers of noodles, ground beef, tomato sauce – and more bechamel.
To satisfy tables of two, sample combo platters offer choice Greek favourites without the need for decision-making. Fall-off-the-bone lamb chops and skewers of lemony chicken souvlaki come with crispy spanakopita layered with spinach, herbs, and feta. While triangular tyropita hold creamier cheese and egg centres beneath its phyllo exterior.
A small portion of saganaki accents the platter – but better to go full tilt and order the complete flaming display for theatrical effect.
A Venus de Milo statue bears witness to the lighting of the pan-fried kefalograviera. The server douses the cheese with freshly squeezed lemon juice and Greek brandy before igniting an impressive tableside flambé.
Greek’s desserts are known for sweet fillings amidst flaky layers of phyllo. Calactobeoureco holds a delicate vanilla custard filling and is soaked with a drizzle of syrup – a fitting finish to Homers bounty of fresh Mediterranean flavours.