Your thoughts on Greek cuisine [General]

2010 Feb 26
I made an inappropriate comment in one of the vendor threads (because it was off-topic) but in all honesty, isn't Greek food the worst? imo, it is. I suggested that it was never worth eating in a classier Greek place because the food would never live up to the higher price they would have to charge.

2010 Feb 26
Part of my wants to just ignore this thread. But, nope. I won't.

NU2492, you comment wasnt marked inappropriate for being off-topic, but for being a broad sweeping generalization about Greek food, without providing any specifics about the restaurant in question. At least, that's why I marked it as such.

Your comments about aren't much better: "Isn't Greek food the worst?" What does that even mean? That's like saying "isn't red wine the worst?". There are so many types of food within an ethnic category that a generalization like that doesn't do any good.

I have no issue with you disliking a type of food, but if you're going to make a swepping claim about the abilities of an ethnic group to cook good food, you might have to qualify it for me. Simply, that it's boring isn't enough...at least in my books.

I'm racking my brain to think of a type of food that I don't like. I can't, to be honest, so maybe I'm biased. But, for example, my mother hates curry spice, with a passion. For years, it turned her off Indian. Then we order tandoori chicken and biryani and it was all good!


How many times have you tried Greek food? What foods have you tried? Do you like foods that can be considered Greek, but appear in other national cuisines as well? (See: Hummus, kebabs of any sort, olives, baklava).

I'm not trying to come across as interrogative, but I'm not sure how you can make such a comment without any explanation as to why.


2010 Feb 26
Thanks LWB for settling that. I'm not sure if I was offended more as a Greek or as a food-lover. (Reminiscent of the Seinfeld Jewish-dentist episode.) lol

Anyway, if NU2492's experiences with Greek food are limited to Ottawa restaurants, he isn't getting the authentic, full Greek experience. Still, I find that any Greek restaurant, however fast food-like and non-authentic it is, you will always find something good on the menu. I am cursed (there's that argument again), if you will, at having eaten some wonderful Greek food at home or at family and friends during my life, not to mention at all the places we dined at during our summer 2008 vacation in the old country, that I can barely appreciate a Greek meal in just any restaurant.

I have heard nothing but bad things about most Greek restos here. I have experienced A'roma first-hand to say it is a waste of money, so I will offer this: go to Montreal and try Philinos on Parc near Villeneuve, Mythos also on Parc near St-Viateur (get some bagels at St-Viateur Bagel while you're at it), or even Ouzeri on St-Denis near Mont-Royal ave. All great Greek places, mid-range, for the most part authentic, generally great places to dine, with very nice wine lists. Philinos actually means wine-lover in Greek, like oenophile.

You know what, NU2492's post come to think of it, is just as ridiculous as saying 'I hate Greek wine'. There are some fantastic Greek wines out there that are either 1) not readily available here or 2) overpriced mostly due to our liquor board monopolies' trade practices. But then I also complain about overpriced French and Italian wine that can be had for a fraction of the price in the country of origin.

Best Greek restaurant I've ever been to in North America: a cozy little place on Congress Street, downtown Portland ME, by the name of Emilitsa. If they offer braised lamb ribs, order it. Their veggies and greens are reminiscent of those offered at good restaurants here like WGP, no doubt organic from local farmers. Their apps are delicious. Wine list composed of several very good obscure wines they get via a local private importer, ie. not the generic stuff our liquor boards carry.

If you're ever in Greece, here's a simple tip on where to eat: ANYWHERE. ; )

2010 Feb 26
I should have known such a comment in a "foodie" forum would be taken a lot worse than with most. I've seen others make similar comments else-where.

The comment had nothing to do with the restaurant in question (that's why i said off-topic) But it seemed that for the particular restaurant, which seemed to be the best for greek food, the biggest complaint from people was that it was expensive for what you got. And I feel that way in general about Greek food. It's way way too simple.

The reason I say this is that Greek people themselves will tell you that Greek food is very simple, that its more about community and family that makes their cuisine a special experience. Simple is not necessarily bad, the French can do simple really well for example...in that they aren't re-inventing the color wheel, but they know how use the best cuts of meat with flavorful but simple sauces, and its some of the best cuisine in the world.

But yeah I don't like souvalki, gyro,their different meze assortment (for example, i just find olives and feta too simple..its good but its not some great invention) Then i dont really like their takes on turkish borek..its nowhere near as good as original. Not to crazy about pastitsio.

I mean, remember, this is all comparisons at the end of the day. I would easily have Italian, Chinese, Indian, French or many other above Greek.


2010 Feb 26
[quote]You know what, NU2492's post come to think of it, is just as ridiculous as saying 'I hate Greek wine'. There are some fantastic Greek wines out there that are either 1) not readily available here or 2) overpriced mostly due to our liquor board monopolies' trade practices. But then I also complain about overpriced French and Italian wine that can be had for a fraction of the price in the country of origin[/quote]

As I said, it's always a comparison. And of course, its said generally. Every cuisine can make a solid dish. But if I was to compare all the other cuisines to Greek, in Ottawa, then Greek is near the bottom for me.

2010 Feb 26
Sure, itís about comparisons, but comparing Greek food to Indian or Chinese is a little bit ridiculous. Itís like comparingÖsouvlaki to tandoori. Oh, waitÖthatís exactly what youíre doing.

As for your comments regarding Aroma Meze, I think what people were getting as is portions, rather than the flavours. Clearly, you donít know that Aroma Meze specializes in tapas-style small plates.

Iím not sure where you get the idea that French cuisine is the best cuisine in the world, either. Iíve had horrendous French food, and not all French food is created equal.

I think thatís what bothers me most about your comments: Your comments make the grand assumption that all ethnic foods are created equal and should be measured that way. Are you going to measure traditional Northern Chinese food to the same standard as second-generation Canadian Chinese food? They donít use the same styles of cooking or the same ingredients. Similarly, to compare Greek food (in Canada) to other Mediterranean fare as identical, is superfluous.

The purpose of Ottawa Foodies is to connect people to the best food in Ottawa. I donít see how providing gross generalizations contrasting one ethnicity to another is really helpful in that manner.

2010 Feb 26
Go back under your bridge, troll ...

2010 Feb 26
Sorry man, but I'm not buying your back-pedalling. The language in your original post and in the thread-opener here is offensive regardless of what forum it is. And btw, you don't need to put the quotes around the word foodie, there are real foodies here. Further, you haven't answered LWB's questions to attempt to give yourself some semblance of credibility as an authority on this subject.

Btw, I don't know if you're talking about galaktompoureko as a 'take' on something Turkish, but be careful. Many nationalities/cultures, Turkish, Arab, Lebanese, Persian even, will claim a certain food like baklava for instance as their own, and the debate can go on and on, but I will say one thing and leave it at that: phyllo pastry and honey- and nut-based pastries and desserts existed in Greek culture way before the Turks came around from Central Asia.

Also, your comments that you attribute to Greeks about our cuisine being 'more about community and family' are horse sh*t. No Greek I know has said their cuisine is mostly about these things. The food stands on its own, thanks very much. The other things you mention are bonuses and are a part of most European cultures besides, sitting around a table drinking and eating for hours. The social aspect of it. But the food doesn't take a back seat. It isn't a condiment. Especially not to Greeks who are true gourmands.

Anyway, it's clear you have very little knowledge of Greek food and culture, and are the last person who should be starting a thread to comment on it, especially with such provocative language and false, blanket statements.

Now, go away.

2010 Feb 26
[quote]You know what, NU2492's post come to think of it, is just as ridiculous as saying 'I hate Greek wine'. There are some fantastic Greek wines out there that are either 1) not readily available here or 2) overpriced mostly due to our liquor board monopolies' trade practices. But then I also complain about overpriced French and Italian wine that can be had for a fraction of the price in the country of origin[/quote]

As I said, it's always a comparison. And of course, its said generally. Every cuisine can make a solid dish. But if I was to compare all the other cuisines to Greek, in Ottawa, then Greek is near the bottom for me.

2010 Feb 26
Is this not a place to discuss what we think of food? Why is my opinion worth less?


2010 Feb 26
[quote]Sorry man, but I'm not buying your back-pedalling.[/quote]

I'm not back-pedalling..the food I have tasted, SUCKS. If you disagree, and you have suggestions on what places I should try, and what DISHES I should try..please let me know. My opinion is not unchangeable.

Regards

2010 Feb 26
FACE PALM.

2010 Feb 26
shouldn't wade in, but hey, its Friday.

NU-2492, the Greek influence on a cuisine you seem to enjoy, Indian, is noteworthy and of historical interest. Here's a "start here" to help you build your appreciation:

www.indianetzone.com

2010 Feb 26
My thoughts on Greek cuisine (in Ottawa):

1. Portion of the food is huge! I always take home big leftover and eat it next day.

2. Food is very simple and I really like the way the Greek food is cooked.

3. Every time I go to Greek restaurants, I want to go to Greece. I think of its history, culture, blue sky and white walls.

4. I have never thought Greek cuisine as the worst. I mean, I have never ever even had a thought to pick a certain ethnic food as "the best" or "the worst." Even if I really disliked Greek food, I wouldn't consider its food as "the worst." I would just think it as "different" from what I am familiar with.

I do not believe in ethnocentrism. I celebrate the diversity of the food culture in Ottawa. We are very fortunate, we are able to try out many types of ethnic food within Ottawa.
If I have absolutely nothing good to say about a certain ethnic food, I just keep myself quiet, because rest of the world don't need to know about it.

2010 Feb 26
Guys, check out a previous review by me..Habesha restaurant (african - ethiopian) cuisine. i try to be honest as i can and i try everything.

regards

2010 Feb 27
My standouts for greek food are calamari- most Greeks know how to cook proper calamari, grilled octopus, saganaki (because I wouldn't eat it at home) aveglamono (sp??) soup, *proper* lemon roasted potatoes (nothing I have tasted in Ottawa has come close), roast chicken and moussaka. The roasted lamb dishes are supposed to be quite good but I am not a huge fan of lamb- I can only handle it ground in Moussaka.

There are a lot of good Middle eastern shops where one can purchase good quality olives and likewise, cheese shops where one can find good feta. For these reasons, I would never bother to order them in a restaurant. Souvlaki and pasticio are both fairly easy to make at home and so I seldom order either of these items in a restaurant.

I think all cuisines have high and low points. I can't say there is any cuisine that I particularly dislike- I seldom eat Thai, only because of my allergy to chilis, I'm German but have had no desire to eat in a German restaurant because some of it I can make and a lot of it I find too heavy.l This doesn't mean that the food is not good. I find Italian pastas a little too heavy and rarely desire to go for Italian food. I like pasta but again, easily done at home- I like to choose things that I wouldn't bother making at home for one reason or another.

Calamari is easy but I never like deep frying at home. I wouldn't roast a chicken for just two people.

I haven't seen nor heard wonders of the Greek food in Ottawa, so this may be a part of your issue with the cuisine.

2010 Feb 27
>>Why is my opinion worth less?

Isn't it "worthless"?

Ignorance and intellectual honesty do not coexist well... in my opinion.

2010 Feb 27
Aisu kurimu, very well-put. Funny on the 'worthless' bit.

Pan bagnat, you listed some of my faves, pastitsio included which my mom makes very well, and I can hardly eat anybody else's. I have had some good ones in Greece but then they do all pasta very well over there. I tell people spaghetti meat sauce is our national meal and I get a laugh. We do eat a lot of it, even native Greeks. Hey, when Marco Polo came back from Asia he had to pass by Greece before going home to Venice. ; )

Avgolemono is tops for me as a soup, esp with fish. Those lemon roasted potatoes are up there as well, again esp mom's. I had fresh grilled octopus in Greece, the best ever at a seaside Taverna in a small town of Oitylo, in the southern Peloponnese region of Mani. The octopus was marinated or coated rather in a balsamic type glaze that candied on the grill and made for a nice sweet, flaky-crunchy coating. Every bite melted in my mouth. I'm no seafood expert, but this is one type of food I think where the difference between frozen and fresh is substantial.

The Greek pastry shops in Mtl are pretty much all very good, but still a notch below the bougatsa, baklava, kataÔfi, etc I've had in the homeland.

Geia!

2010 Feb 28
I'm glad we were able to turn this topic around. To be honest, I don't care if NU2492 likes Habesha or not, their comments were still ethnocentric and kind of uncalled for.

As for my thoughts on Greek food: Greek food is something that brings back insane memories for me. My mom's favourite restaurant was a placed called Mykonos (in London), that served really solid, 'traditional' Greek food. The first meal I had in restaurant in Germany was Greek food. My favourite fish and chip place in London was owned by a Greek family that also did souvlaki, and we would always get multiple plates and share. There's nothing like fish and chips and souvlaki and Greek salad.

Greek food isn't complicated, but it's also not meant to be, at least in my opinion. In the same manner, I don't think French food is meant to be complicated either.

2010 Feb 28
Here, here lady who brunches. You are right on the money with authentic Greek food not meaning to be complicated. Just because food is simple doesn't mean it is inferior. We used to have a wonderful Greek restaurant in Carleton Place called Athen's Corner. We miss it so much. The moussaka was the best I have ever had. Very consistent and great prices. Quite honestly, it was so good, had they just elevated the decor, we would have still gone back with higher prices and I know others would have as well. I have had a lot of mediocre Greek food experiences at a number of locations in Ottawa. Not unlike any fare, there are all levels of quality out there, and fewer are of exceptional quality.

2010 Feb 28
What would you guys suggest as a good greek place in ottawa and certain dishes?

2010 Feb 28
LWB-I lived in London from 1979-90, still have family there and visit Mykonos every time we go there. I do believe the Greek food is better there (I mean London), for whatever reason.
NU2492-the best i have had in Ottawa is at Theo's on Richmond Road. Have to say it has been hit and the occasional miss but mostly hits--having said that we all love lamb and probably wouldn't order chicken. Calamari, sausages, lunch specials (reasonable & delicious), platters to share have all been great.
My friend loves the octopus there--I didn't particularly care for the large suction cups...Any lamb we have tried has been great, and way too many (delicious) sides for me.
Try a lunch special and see what you think.

2010 Feb 28
WC, do you remember London Fish and Chips on Rideout?

2010 Mar 1
Years ago when I worked with a Greek chef he would take us to Knossos (spell?)
in the old city of Hull for late night dinner...

I fell in love with the atmosphere & the food, simple was right, big platters of bread & lamb with lemon, olive oil & feta cheese, I couldn't stop eating it...

I have never been fond of Asian cuisine BUT that doesn't mean it's bad, I don't particularly care for brussel sprouts or beets but other's do...


2010 Mar 1
Terry, to be more specific, maybe Vietnamese? (cause Asian includes a lot of countries) And I agree. While I love a good Vietnamese noodle soup, and i love noodles period, I'm not the biggest fan of those dishes. I do feel its not very filling and quiet expensive.

2010 Mar 5
LWB-you bet, and Walker's on Wellington. My mom-in-law still lives in old south London! And I was there so long ago the Rideout itself (gone for some time now...) had great lunch specials--draft included!

2010 Mar 6
I honestly can't think of an exceptional Greek restaurant in Ottawa! I am not certain there is one that compares the one we had here in C.P.

2010 Mar 17
echoing Cait

2010 Mar 22
I like Greek food, and have had some consistently great food at A'roma on three occasions (though service has been almost comically uneven: "OK, which bottles of wine on your wine list do you actually have?"). Like many "simpler" cuisines in particular, Greek food's success is contingent in largest measure on the quality of the raw ingredients. That said, I did hear a funny quote with respect to Greek food along the lines of the following: "It's not so good that you would go there specifically for it, but it's not so bad that you should stay away either."