Indulging in Aegean @ Agora
Who doesn’t love picnicking? Especially mid-June with the sun shining on your back and the smell of sunscreen in the air.
With slackline walkers in full bloom and freshly chalked crop circles scattered all around Trinity Bellwoods Park, my friends and I nestled into a cozy spot under the shade of a tree. There was just one problem. Despite the hard kombucha we had just bought, we forgot the picnic basket—a major oversight.
Hungry and disappointed in ourselves for forgetting the key element of a good picnic, we took to Queen Street to find something fresh and light to satisfy our cravings. After much deliberation between the vegan Rico’s Tacos and Greek fare at #Agora, we opted to indulge in a mediterranean diet. But Rico, we’re coming for you next time!
Agora is part of the Mamakas Food Group which includes the funky Ossington locale Mamakas Taverna, Agora Grab + Go Greek Market and Koukla Bottle Shop, all which aim to provide “rustic Aegean fare”. Offering a wide selection of traditional Greek-inspired salads, sides, mains and sweets, Agora has something for everyone. Plus, many of the items happen to be vegetarian for those who are looking for even lighter options.
Stepping inside, the eatery is perfumed by dill, lemon and char. It smelled as if we were at a seaside barbeque. Truly delicious and inviting. The décor was also quite breathtaking. Classy yet chic, the menu is written in chalkboard above a glass counter housing all sorts of colourful salads, muffins, and baked goods.
After some deliberation, we ordered:
Rich egg muffin balanced with acidic pickled onions and fresh veggies
The inclusion of croutons added another unique dimension of texture and flavour!
Crisp phyllo enveloped by a luxurious spinach and salty feta filling
Flecks of fresh dill gave each crackling bite a fresh tang!
Pita stuffed with fried halloumi cheese balls, pickled onions, arugula and tomatoes, drizzled with a red pepper aioli made a great handheld with a perfect balance between fat and acidic!
Chicken & Potato Souvla Box
Grilled marinated chicken, lemon roasted potatoes, and grilled pita all served with a tzatziki sauce made with yoghurt, dill, and fennel
The fresh tzatziki added a cool contrast to the fiery, grilled chicken while the lemon potatoes were bursting with vibrant, citrus flavours. As for that pita, I could eat it with every meal!
Though everything was totally delicious, I think my favourite bite of lunch was the strata. I absolutely adored this frittata-style muffin. So colourful and packed with veggies and gooey cheese, this tiny treat hit the spot. Plus, the fact that it was loaded with hunks of croutons was unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before. It’s inspired me to experiment with stale bread in my next homemade frittata!
When it comes to price, however, Agora isn’t necessarily a cheap eat. Despite being well-fed, it came at a price, a $60 price. Though we were satisfied, we weren’t left with snug-fitting pants...if that makes sense. After a few hours, we were hungry again, which should never happen on a picnic! But I guess that’s what happens when you enjoy a healthy, balanced lunch. LOL!
That said, given Agora’s location and quality of fare, the price seems to make sense. But, I think next time I would load up on side dishes (salads, brioches, frittatas) and prepared items (souvlaki skewers) rather than meal boxes and handhelds as they cost significantly more and weren’t much more filling than individual items.
Overall, I would go back to Agora. The food was a healthy option that tasted authentically mediterranean. I also enjoyed that everything was grab-and-go. We only had to wait for things to be warmed up which is great for people on-the-move that don’t have a lot of time to spare. Likewise, my experience at Agora has inspired me to finally try their mother restaurant Mamakas Taverna, given the tasty outcome at this casual locale! Stay tuned for that post!
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What’s your fav mediterranean find in the city?