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Food & Drink

What’s on the menu at Paros, Yorkville’s clubby new Greek restaurant

Including flaming saganaki

By Caroline Aksich| Photography by Joshua Best

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Name: Paros Yorkville Address: 119 Yorkville Ave., 647-896-5784, parosyorkville.com, @parosyorkville
Neighbourhood: Yorkville
Previously: Amber Owners: Rosewood Hospitality (Kissa) Chef: Executive chef Jack Connacher (One, Sofia, Colette Grand Café) Accessibility: Stairs descending to the main entrance and two steps ascending at side entrance

Of all the neighbourhoods in Toronto, Yorkville may have the highest concentration of people who use the word summer as a verb. And while we can’t all casually jet off to Mykonos for a long weekend, Toronto’s toniest pocket just got a brand-new destination for those who want to flirt with Grecian escapism. “We’re not Mediterranean; we’re not mixing dishes from different regions—Paros is 100 per cent Greek, and we’re owning that,” says executive chef Jack Connacher.

A spread of dishes at Paros, a new Greek restaurant in Toronto
Paros Yorkville's executive chef Jack Connacher
Executive chef Jack Connacher
The food

Most of Connacher’s menu colours within the lines of the Greek culinary tradition, but he’s made a few tweaks here and there on shareable Greco plates that hit all the Hellenic high notes. And his kitchen is importing a heap of Greek ingredients, including feta, olive oil, honey and oregano.

Crunchy zucchini chips served with a Greek-yogurt dip
These delightfully crunchy zucchini chips get a double dose of oregano (the herb is found in the batter and the dipping sauce). Instead of a heavy aioli, the light, fresh dip is made with Greek yogurt, dill, garlic, honey and olive oil. $16

 

The Greek salad at Paros in Toronto's Yorkville neighbourhood
For this Greek salad (topped with sesame-crusted, oven-warmed feta), the kitchen sourced a Greek tomato varietal grown in Ontario. “It’s a sweeter, slightly less acidic tomato,” says Connacher. $14

 

A trio of dips served with pita bread at Paros, a Greek restaurant in Toronto
For his tzatziki, Connacher swaps out cucumber for fennel. The result is creamier (nixing the cucumber cuts the water) and lightly redolent of anise. The other two members of this dip trio include melitzanosalata (made with grilled eggplant, olive oil, parsley and garlic) and htipiti (made with red pepper and feta).

 

A serving of saganaki is set ablaze tableside at Paros, a Greek restaurant in Toronto
Thanks to some ouzo and a flame, the drama gets dialled up on this saganaki made with kefalotyri, a hard, tangy sheep’s cheese that tastes like a cross between pecorino and Gruyère. $22

 

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Jumbo shrimp, grilled and seasoned with lemon and garlic
These beyond-jumbo shrimp (they are, in fact, enormous) are grilled and seasoned with lemon and garlic. $30

 

Greek lamb-and-beef sliders served on little pitas
The Paros sliders are a Greek-adjacent dish that Gus Portokalos (the patriarch of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, for anyone without encyclopedic knowledge of early aughts rom-coms) would raise an eyebrow at. The patty is essentially a riff on keftedes (a Greek meatball), made with a mix of beef and lamb and with some milk-soaked breadcrumbs for texture. Instead of baby brioche buns, they’re served on itty-bitty pitas. $24

 

Grilled lamb chops served with a yogurt-based dipping sauce
These New Zealand lamb chops are tossed in olive oil, grilled medium-rare and served with an oregano-yogurt dipping sauce. $40
The drinks

Almost all the beverages have been imported from Greece—right down to the bottled water. Beers include Fix and Mythos, and the wine list (which is still a work in progress) will be entirely Hellenic, so guests can expect a mix of reds and whites from Crete, Thessaly and Epirus.

Even the cocktail card puts Greek spirits front and centre. Although Greco booze has a rep for being strong enough to knock Zeus on his backside, the drinks at Paros are surprisingly balanced. “I designed the menu to be fresh and to pair well with the food,” says head bartender Josh Duchesne. “It’s all very easy drinking.”

Paros' head bartender Josh Duchesne pours out a Metaxa Sour
Head bartender Josh Duchesne pours out a Metaxa Sour

 

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The Metaxa Sour at Paros in Toronto
The Metaxa Sour, a riff on a whiskey sour, is fruitier than its inspiration. Metaxa, a spirit made from muscat wine, brings a sweetness that’s tempered by the addition of lemon and Angostura bitters. $17

 

The Tigri Meli cocktail at Toronto's Paros, a Greek restaurant in Yorkville
What the Tigri Meli, made with Casamigos Reposado, lacks in Greek spirits, it makes up for with its undeniably Hellenic flavour profile: notes of oregano, chamomile, honey and lemon keep it lightly sweet with just a hint of herbaceous bitterness. $24

 

The Hades Paloma and Bloo Bere Lemonada cocktails at Paros, a Greek restaurant in Toronto
Here we have the Hades Paloma (left), with smoky notes from Casamigos mezcal and spice from a chili-infused simple syrup ($28), and the Bloo Bere Lemonada, made with ouzo, gin and muddled blueberries ($23)
The space

Paros is divided into two spaces with drastically different vibes: the sun-dappled patio and the ultra-moody grotto. Designed by Lisa Ho Studio, these contrasting spaces are linked by stucco and terrazzo; both rely on texture and warm tones (rather than the crisp whites and blues of Santorini) to evoke a beachy vibe. And although the fuchsia bougainvillea that flanks the 44-seat patio is artificial, the gorgeous maple that towers overtop, providing the perfect amount of shade, is real.

If it feels a bit clubby here, that’s the point—this used to be Amber, after all. Evening programming is also in the works and will include Greek dancers and live music.

The floor at Paros, a Greek restaurant and bar in Yorkville
The Grotto is the moody dining room of Paros, a clubby Greek restaurant in Toronto
What's on the menu at Paros, Yorkville's clubby new Greek restaurant
Booths line the moody dining room of Toronto's Paros, a Greek restaurant and bar
A booth in the dining room of Paros, a Greek restaurant
People dine on the patio at Paros, a Greek restaurant
People dine on the patio at Paros, a Greek restaurant in Toronto's tony Yorkville neighbourhood
The patio at Paros, Yorkville's new Greek restaurant, has a view of the city's skyline
The outdoor bar on the patio of Paros, a Greek restaurant and bar
Fake fuchsia bougainvillea decorates the patio at Paros in Toronto

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