To find the true taste of Greece without feeling boxed in, arrive early. Nothing takes the “Opa!” out of a day like being jammed into a crowd that forces you to shuffle instead of being free to grab hands with a random stranger and dance in a circle (which should you be up for it, can certainly be on the agenda).
It's getting hot in here . . . — Photo courtesy of Taste of the Danforth
The GTA has the third largest Hellenic community outside of Greece. Should you ever go to Greece, someone’s aunt or cousin lives in Toronto and, by proxy, you'll be family. You will become well aware of this by the copious amounts of Greek flags and the Greek alphabet that will confuse you into thinking that you haven't yet visited a particular restaurant.
No one is counting if you decide to go back for seconds. Your palate will thank you. Your waistline? Perhaps not, but when in Greece, do as the Grecians do.
Come one, come all to the beef kabobs! — Photo courtesy of Taste of the Danforth
The Danforth has a history of early Greek immigration, but even so, cross-cultural Toronto's Greektown is not entirely Greek. Hence, even during a Greek-inspired festival, you can taste food from Thailand, Brazil and Japan (among others).
Is there anything more summery than chicken kabobs on the grill? — Photo courtesy of Taste of the Danforth
Even if you taste your way around the world, there are still some tried-and-true Greek favorites that must be tried. One example is the Danforth's rave-worthy chicken souvlaki, which will often run for well under $5. Expect moist meat that is perfectly seasoned, with just the right amount of tzatziki. Go heavy on the tzatziki, as hot days in Toronto are nothing to laugh at, and cooling condiments made of yogurt and cucumber are always a good idea.
Also a good idea? Baklava from Akropolis restaurant. These pastry experts know their desserts, and this extremely rich example has delicately layered filo pastry filled with chopped nuts and drenched in a bee’s lifetime of honey.
Baklava, the sweetest dessert for the hottest of days — Photo courtesy of Taste of the Danforth
Although Taste of the Danforth emphasizes the word "taste" and could easily be all about food, there are other things to do if your stomach is unfortunately not bottomless. Bow to your inner Sophrosyne (the goddess of moderation), and take in the free entertainment while you walk along vibrant Danforth strip.
Go to The Taste of the Danforth and be guaranteed to experience a burst of Greek culture infused with Canadian spirit.
For more information about this year's festival, visit TasteoftheDanforth.com.
When lines are short, you have to take advantage — Photo courtesy of Courtney Sunday