1019 Mont-Royal E.
Bus: STM 11, 14, 97
Visit: November 2, 2012
One of the most highly contested areas in Montreal cuisine is that of Greek food. There are literally dozens of worthy contenders to the title of who makes Greek food worth trying. While we all have our trusted favorites, once in a while. there comes new players that we must stop to take notice. One of the latest players on the scene is a place in the Plateau area of Montreal called Estia.
Now, I have to be completely honest before going any further. I want to be able to give you a full account of the restaurant experience of Estia, but I can’t. The decision to come here was made over a month ago and it was something I was really looking forward to. Well, at the end of October, I fell ill, lost my voice, and became a literal zombie, you can say just in time for Halloween. As I’m writing this, I’m still feeling the effects of that whole episode. Me, being a foolish trooper, decided to go ahead and attempt to be a viable member of the group, but it just was not to be. So, I’m going to do my best to recount what took place and what the group thought about their time at Estia.
In late May of 2012, Estia made its first appearance on the Montreal scene. When you enter the restaurant, you immediately feel like you’re in a classy Montreal establishment. The chief complaint for a note like that is that you feel like you’re in a modern place, without the feeling of being in a Greek restaurant. The dark room and trendy decor, in a way, alter the feeling of where you are. With large groups throughout the place, it is also a tight fit.
I made note of the lighting and it’s something that really needs mentioning. I don’t know if it was me, but besides the darkness, there was something a little strange with the little lights that we had. Every so often, you would see the lights getting dimmer. The process repeated itself at least a dozen times from the time we were there. It might not be something of note to others, but I found it a bit odd.
Our table was also nicely located. From where I was sitting, I had a pretty good view of a part of the kitchen. I was watching this middle-aged member of the kitchen staff diligently work to make sure that dishes were prepped properly. In a way, I wish I was able to see what he was doing to get that first-hand experience. I don’t know what it is, but anytime I can catch a peek in a restaurant, it just adds to the experience.
For the evening, the service was definitely above average. I’m going to mention something a little later on that exemplifies that service in action, but for now, I want to mention something else that caught my eye. It was the end of the meal and we were at the stage where it was time to order coffees and teas. Well, the two members of our group that ordered tea got quite a unique choice to make. Within moments of asking for tea, a server came back with this box. This just astounded us. The box opened and there were packets to be chosen. I’ve never seen that before.
Before we get to the food, I’ll mention that the group was pleased with the whole experience. At one point, the new member of the group asked who was responsible for choosing the place, as they wanted to show their gratitude. Unfortunately, by that point of the evening, I was in full-on zombie mode to really give any coherent answer. Estia is a place to discover, but you should be fully aware that it might get a bit pricey, as I was reminded a good 17 times in the days that followed.
This pikilia platter contains tzatziki, kopanisti, hummus, and skordalia.
Going clockwise from top left, our first item was kopanisti. This bright orange selection was probably the most popular of the first pikilia dish. This is a spread of feta cheese, olive oil, bell peppers, and chili peppers.
The next item is skordalia, which is garlic mashed potatoes blended with olive oil and lemons.
Third, is the spread of hummus. Hummus are chickpeas and tahini, mixed with olive oil, garlic, and spices.
The final item is the one you can’t forget, tzatziki. Tzatziki is comprise of Greek yogurt, garlic, and cucumbers. Our resident Greek group member felt that it was a tad bit too garlicky.
This pikilia contains dolmades, tzatziki, skordalia, and melitzanosalata.
The first item that differs from the first pikilia are the vine leaves known as dolmades.
The other greenish spread is called melitzanosalata. These are roasted eggplants pureed with green herbs and spices.
Moussaka is a Greek version of shepherd’s pie. It contains eggplant, potato, ground beef, and a Béchamel sauce.
Garides sta karvouna
These are 4 chargrilled marinated jumbo shrimp with lemon and olive oil.
Choosing a dish like this in a Greek restaurant these days is a no-brainer. I’ve always been impressed by the size of shrimp that would show up to the table. These shrimp did not disappoint in their sheer size. They looked good, but were somewhat too tough to put down. The accompanying rice was quite nice and perfectly fluffy.
As I was midway through the downing of shrimp. the server shows up and plops down another plate of shrimp. I’ll be honest, I only heard half of the explanation given, but it seems like the restaurant weren’t pleased with their first attempt, so much so that they sent out more to make up for it. Regardless of what the shrimp were like, it was a tremendously classy move on their part and something I’ll remember for a while to come.
These are Greek dough balls topped with honey and walnuts.
This plate of loukoumades was a good way of ending the evening. The thing about this batch, which takes 20 minutes to make, is that you could actually identify the dough part when you take a bite. Then, you just can’t help but to have a second one.
Estia is still relatively new on the scene. With its rather generous portions and their devotion to making their customers happy, they should be on the minds of Greek food lovers for years to come. While the prices and decor might be a little offsetting, we all need to be reminded that it’s what’s on the plate that matters most and by that, Estia delivered.