Here’s the scoop on what they are and how four locations in the area compared.
by Amelia Chester
I had never heard of Greek fries before I began going to school in the Danforth neighbourhood, but I immediately noticed menus and storefronts advertising these curious side orders everywhere. I assumed they had something to do with feta cheese, and I wanted in.
My very first Greek fries experience was at Louis Meat Market, a small and inviting diner on the Danforth. I had a good feeling about this place, and I had a good feeling about Greek fries. It turns out I was right on both counts.
I soon learned that Greek fries do indeed involve feta cheese, as well as, oil and oregano; a crazy delicious new kind of poutine. I quickly discovered that Greek fries, like poutine, were not always prepared the way they ought to be. But at the end of the day, it is hard to complain much about potatoes topped with cheese. With this in mind, I was determined to sample and compare the Greek fries at four different Danforth eateries over the course of one week.
My first stop was The Friendly Greek. The crowd was pretty thin for late lunchtime, but I appreciated the open space. It’s a big restaurant and I had my pick of window seats. The openness made it feel less cozy than some of the other establishments I wanted to visit but not at all unfriendly; the servers were quite helpful and attentive. As for the food itself: there was a generous amount of feta, but not much oregano, barely any oil, and the formerly frozen fries tasted a bit bland.
Next I tried Asteria. I’d been intending to eat there for some time as I liked the small-scale diner atmosphere, and I hoped it would be similar to Louis’. Alas, I was disappointed. I went there around dinner time, and while their service was prompt, they were even emptier than The Friendly Greek had been and not nearly as welcoming. Again, they were generous with the feta, and they included oil this time but omitted the oregano. It turns out that lack of oil makes a much bigger difference than lack of oregano, and while these fries (again, the frozen variety) were hardly excellent, I enjoyed them slightly more than The Friendly Greek’s.
I went to Messina for lunch the next day on a friend’s recommendation. This time I ordered a lunch special that came with regular fries that I upgraded to Greek fries for an additional dollar. I experienced the longest wait for food here, but it was only about ten minutes, which was fairly impressive considering how busy the restaurant was. They left off the oregano, but they used oil and a ton of feta. The feta was somehow creamier than at the two previous establishments, and the fries themselves were much better.
Finally, I decided to revisit Louis’ to determine whether or not it had just been my inexperience with Greek fries that had made them seem so remarkable. I ordered them “to go,” and I had to wait a few minutes longer than at Asteria or The Friendly Greek. While I felt I’d had enough Greek fries to last me for the rest of my life, I tried to approach my order positively. I quickly found I was right to return. Louis’ truly makes the best Greek fries I have ever had: hand cut potatoes, thinly sliced and flavourful, deep fried and drenched with oil, sprinkled generously with oregano, and a ridiculous amount of creamy feta cheese. Perhaps Louis’ was the least healthy of all four places, but it was definitely the most delicious. Who eats fries to be healthy anyway?
Each order was approximately four dollars, after tax. If you’re looking for an affordable and filling meal, Greek fries anywhere will do the trick. If you’re looking for a taste sensation, get yourself to Louis’ – you won’t be disappointed!
Louis Meat Market
361 Danforth Ave.
The Friendly Greek
551 Danforth Ave.
445 Danforth Ave.
292 Danforth Ave.