Introducing: Mamakas, a homey Greek taverna on the Ossington strip
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.