Address: 133 Richmond Street West, Toronto, Ontario
Features: Volos is centered around the concept of Philoxenia, a Greek work meaning hospitable, a concept that is woven into the tapestry of the restaurant’s food, service, and ambiance. It takes traditional Greek cooking styles and infuses them with a modern twist with local Canadian ingredients creating upscale dining that still feels like you’re in a friend’s home. Assuming that friend is a Greek who knows how to cook well.
Price Range: Moderate to high. This is upscale, downtown dining, and the prices reflect the location. You know what they say – location, location, location! Appetizers start at $9 and entrees at $19. Dinner for two, with a shared appetizer, main, and a glass of wine (or cocktail), will set you back $100 or more.
The atmosphere at Volos is open and fun, and the open concept means it can get a little noisy when the restaurant is full. That social vibe is part of the reason to go there, so jump in with some new tastings or order some of your favorites.
Here are a few of the dishes I sampled:
Sintorini Cocktail – Made with Skinos, a Greek liquor, and Red Passion Alize, lime juice, and soda, this pale pink concoction was a refreshing apertif to start the meal.
Saganaki Cheese – This Kefalotyri sheep’s milk cheese is flamed tableside with brandy and lemon. This traditional Greek dish is a big favorite with me.
Tasting Platter of Calamari, Octopus, and Septzofai – A good-sized calamari steak, grilled with tomatoes, capers, oregano, lemon, olive oil, and fig, served with a balsamic reduction sauce. Tender and tasty, but the presentation fell flat. The Moroccan octopus, simply grilled with a brushing of olive oil, was tender and delicious. Even if you’re not an octopus fan, give this a try – you might be converted. The Spetzofai, roasted spicy lamb sausages served with bell peppers, tomato sauce, and mint, is the signature dish of Volos. It’s not overly spicy, so if you don’t like the heat, I think you’ll still enjoy these sausages. The tasting platter was served with a 2012 Assyrtiko “Santorini” Boutari from Santorini, Greece. It was pleasant, complemented the grilled items, but was mostly unremarkable.
Horiatiki Salad – A traditional Greek salad with cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, bell peppers, Kalamata olives, Feta cheese, tossed with olive oil. Colorful and delicious, order one to share.
Pistachio Encrusted Rack of Lamb – This entrée is served with warm red potato salad with caper berries, asparagus, Kalamata olives and a mint vinaigrette. I thought the lamb was overdone, but the presentation was nice and it may have been an anomaly. The salad and lamb were paired with a 2011 Agiorgitiko”Agiogitiko” Gaia from Nemea, Greece. It provided nice balance to the entrée flavors.
Dessert was the traditional Baklava, a sticky mess of goodness made with phyllo pastry, honey, walnuts, and pistachios. This was wonderfully delicious, as in plate licking delicious, and was served with a 2008 Vin Santo, Boutari, from Santorini, Greece. Vin Santo is very thick and sweet, almost syrupy, but it provided a surprising complement to the sweetness of the dessert.