Click to view gallery (Image: Jackie Pal)
Contact Info: 80 Ossington Ave., mamakas.ca, @mamakasTO
Previously: Fancy design shop Ministry of Interior
Owner: Thanos Tripi
Chef: Former Trinity Taverna chefs Seb Yacoubidian and Pierre Restivo
The Food: Mamakas—a term of endearment for “mother”—serves traditional mezze and grilled meats inspired by coastal Greek and Turkish cuisine. Many of the dishes are ones that owner Thanos Tripi grew up with, including flaky spanakopita and whipped taramosalata topped with salmon roe. Among the heartier options, a whole seabass is brushed with latholemono (a classic Greek blend of lemon, olive oil and garlic) and grilled over a hot flame, while lamb-chop lollipops are flavoured with oregano and served with garlicky tzatziki. On the sweeter side, the bougasta brings a tower of crisp phyllo pastry layered with orange semolina custard and topped with a gooey honeyed fig.
The Drinks: Greek wines and beers, including popular Athens beer Fix and a new craft beer from Santorini called Volkan Black (named after the island’s history of volcanic activity). A special Turkish machine called a Hovoli uses hot sand to brew coffee slowly and evenly.
The Place: Thanos acquired the prime Osssington address almost two years ago, but it wasn’t until this year that construction began in earnest. The narrow, whitewashed room feels bright and airy during the day, thanks to the extra windows and doors that were cut into the restaurant’s northern wall. Strung lights and decorative ceramics add to the homey aesthetic, while Carrera marble bartops provide a touch of modern elegance.
287160 <strong>Mamakas</strong> is located on the corner of Ossington Avenue and Humbert Street. (Image: Jackie Pal) Introducing: Mamakas https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-01-200x200.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-01.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-01.jpg 667 1000  https://torontolife.com/food/mamakas-toronto-restaurants/slide/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-01/ mamakas-toronto-restaurant-01 0 0
(Image: Jackie Pal)
287163 Extra windows and doors were cut into the northern wall of the restaurant to brighten up the space. https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-04-200x200.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-04.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-04.jpg 1000 667  https://torontolife.com/food/mamakas-toronto-restaurants/slide/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-04/ mamakas-toronto-restaurant-04 0 0
287161 Personalized tasting menus are served at the chef’s table near the entrance. https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-02-200x200.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-02.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-02.jpg 667 1000  https://torontolife.com/food/mamakas-toronto-restaurants/slide/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-02/ mamakas-toronto-restaurant-02 0 0
287164 Diners are welcome to eat at the bar. https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-05-200x200.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-05.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-05.jpg 667 1000  https://torontolife.com/food/mamakas-toronto-restaurants/slide/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-05/ mamakas-toronto-restaurant-05 0 0
287165 The back dining room is decorated with strung lights and a lit-up mural depicting scenes from Greek folklore. https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-06-200x200.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-06.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-06.jpg 1000 667  https://torontolife.com/food/mamakas-toronto-restaurants/slide/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-06/ mamakas-toronto-restaurant-06 0 0
287166 The Mamakas Plate is comprised of copa, basturma, loukaniko (pork sausage), Manouri cheese (sheep’s cheese), kefalogaviera (similar to a pecorino), pickled artichokes, olives and pita ($22). https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-07-200x200.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-07.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-07.jpg 1000 667  https://torontolife.com/food/mamakas-toronto-restaurants/slide/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-07/ mamakas-toronto-restaurant-07 0 0
287168 Wedges of pita are lightly toasted and sprinkled with salt and oregano. https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-09-200x200.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-09.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-09.jpg 1000 667  https://torontolife.com/food/mamakas-toronto-restaurants/slide/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-09/ mamakas-toronto-restaurant-09 0 0
287167 Taramosalata ($6) https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-08-200x200.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-08.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-08.jpg 1000 667  https://torontolife.com/food/mamakas-toronto-restaurants/slide/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-08/ mamakas-toronto-restaurant-08 0 0
287174 Watermelon salad sprinkled with feta, fresh mint and chopped pistachios ($10) https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-15-200x200.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-15.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-15.jpg 1000 667  https://torontolife.com/food/mamakas-toronto-restaurants/slide/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-15/ mamakas-toronto-restaurant-15 0 0
287169 The spanakopita is made with house-made phyllo and served on a bed of full-fat Greek yogurt ($8). https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-10-200x200.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-10.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-10.jpg 1000 667  https://torontolife.com/food/mamakas-toronto-restaurants/slide/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-10/ mamakas-toronto-restaurant-10 0 0
287170 Lamb chops are served with the house tzatziki ($24). https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-11-200x200.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-11.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-11.jpg 1000 667  https://torontolife.com/food/mamakas-toronto-restaurants/slide/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-11/ mamakas-toronto-restaurant-11 0 0
287171 The chef prepares a dozen sea bass for the dinner rush. https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-12-200x200.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-12.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-12.jpg 1000 667  https://torontolife.com/food/mamakas-toronto-restaurants/slide/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-12/ mamakas-toronto-restaurant-12 0 0
287172 A whole grilled fish flavoured with <em>latholemono</em> (a classic Greek blend of lemon, olive oil and garlic) (MP) https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-13-200x200.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-13.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-13.jpg 667 1000  https://torontolife.com/food/mamakas-toronto-restaurants/slide/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-13/ mamakas-toronto-restaurant-13 0 0
287173 The <em>bougasta,</em> a traditional breakfast dish of phyllo and orange semolina custard, is reimaged as a layered dessert. It’s topped with an ouzo and fig reduction ($8). https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-14-200x200.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-14.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-14.jpg 1000 667  https://torontolife.com/food/mamakas-toronto-restaurants/slide/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-14/ mamakas-toronto-restaurant-14 0 0
287175 It’s a common afternoon tradition in Greece to have a glass of ouzo with mezze ($14 per 187ml bottle) https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-16-200x200.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-16.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-16.jpg 667 1000  https://torontolife.com/food/mamakas-toronto-restaurants/slide/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-16/ mamakas-toronto-restaurant-16 0 0
287176 Athens beer <strong>Fix</strong> is available by the bottle ($6) https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-17-200x200.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-17.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-17.jpg 1000 667  https://torontolife.com/food/mamakas-toronto-restaurants/slide/mamakas-toronto-restaurant-17/ mamakas-toronto-restaurant-17 0 0
2 thoughts on “Introducing: Mamakas, a homey Greek taverna on the Ossington strip”
What a refreshing place in this city… Traditional Greek dishes at their best, with that modern elegance from the bar to the tables and seats… Seabass is perfectly grilled, the best I had in Toronto for a long time… And what to say about classical Saganaki goat cheese…just perfect, as well as all the salads we tried few evenings ago…
On a recommendation, decided to try Mamakas as we had out of town visitors. Tried to call several times for a reservation but only got a voice recording. Decided to try our luck by just showing up. We were told that it would be a 1/2 hour wait and that we could go to the bar and have a drink. The place was slammed….people standing everywhere. Ordered two different types of wines (from the very limited wine list)….both were unavailable. After 1/2 hour, we asked if it would be much longer. We were assured that it would only be a few more minutes. Ordered our second drink and waited again. After 45 minutes, the owner? advised us that he would not be able to seat us for dinner and walked away. We finished up our drinks and when he passed by us again, i asked him why he made us wait all this time only to tell us that we would not be able to get a table after all. He said the kitchen was backlogged and that they were still trying to seat those that had reservations. He could tell that we were not pleased so he then offered us a drink on the house, but said we would have to move away from the bar to drink it!!?!?!?!! Since we already had two drinks on an empty stomach and there was no place to stand/sit, we declined his offer and left. I will not be back to Mamakas….they simply do not know how to handle crowds and did not handle our situation very well at all. Worst customer service i’ve ever experienced at a restaurant.
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