Estiatorio Volos (Toronto)

Location: Toronto, Canada
Address: 133 Richmond Street West
Type of Meal: Dinner

Estiatorio Volos may not be the easiest to pronounce, but once you understand what it means – an upscale Greek restaurant from Volos (a city in Greece) – the name makes sense. The dining room is spacious, tables covered in linen and the chairs comfortable. And their menu doesn’t have a skewered meat in sight, instead focusing on the seafood dishes of this port side city.

Of course, their prices also reflect the “estiatorio” nature of the restaurant. Which makes their Winterlicious offering (refer to the “is Winterlicious worth it?” section below) even more attractive. For $35 a person, the value is one of the higher dinner savings I’ve experienced and the portions generous to match.

The grilled Moroccan octopus appetizer was tender and meaty, where it was very lightly smoked and flavoured simply with an olive oil and balsamic dressing. The garlicky eggplant dip on the side went well with the octopus or was even better on top of a slice of warm baguette.

We certainly got our fill of bread (a second helping was required) when adding an order of the saganaki ($12). Essentially a giant slab of kefalotyri cheese doused in ouzo and flambéed. It’s a great sight to behold with an exclamation of “Opa!” before a final squeeze of lemon finishes it off. Yes, it’s a bit cliché but certainly brings the cheerful Greek flair to a meal.

Deliciously salty and gooey, the cheese has the consistency of mozzarella but the flavourful punch of feta. Containing a substantial portion of cheese, this is best shared amongst a table of three or more.

The lobster kritharoto wasn’t exactly what I expected (but then I had no idea what kritharoto meant) yet was enjoyable. I loved the smooth texture of orzo mixed with chunks of sweet lobster, salty feta, more ouzo and a slightly spicy tomato sauce to give a risotto finish to the dish.  

But our table definitely experienced food envy when we saw the lamb shank my friend ordered. It was huge and impossibly tender as it flaked apart while she tried to give us a taste. Flavourful, rich and hearty it was likely the better choice out of the main options.

Volo’s baklava was the best I’ve ever tasted. The phyllo was crispy and retained its airiness since it wasn’t doused with syrup. Stuffed with plenty of finely chopped walnuts and pistachios the dessert was sweet and satisfying but not overly heavy.

Volo’s mission is to deliver a sense of warm Greek hospitality and during our visit they successfully accomplished this. From taking your coat at the door and bringing wine tastings when decisions were unclear to the light hearted conversations, I got a sense of that friendliness.

Furthermore, they have expanded my appreciation for Greek food with tasty seafood creations that doesn’t involve calamari. I will always have a love for the garlicky tzatziki yoghurt. But the salty kefalotyri cheese, meaty lamb shank and flavourful kritharoto simply didn’t need it. Sometimes it’s nice not having to eat a meal off a stick.

Overall mark - 8 out of 10

Is Winterlicious worth it?

As a special feature to the Winterlicious blogs, I will attempt to calculate the savings being offered (based on my meal selection).

Winterlicious - $35

Regular menu - $54 - Octopus ($17), lobster kritharoto ($28)* and baklava ($9)

Savings - $19 or 35%

* The lobster kritharoto isn't part of their regular menu; the price based on the seafood kritharoto
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    Gastro World's Grading System
    • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
    • - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
    • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
    • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
    • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
    • 10 - absolute perfection!

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