***Sadly this Restaurant is Closed***
In the 90s, Greek restaurants were thriving; when you thought of fresh fish and seafood you instantly imagined classic Greek fare. But Greek restaurants need to up their game in Montreal, lately; they are tired, both in terms of food and décor. The classic Greek dishes like lamb chops remain a favourite, particularly amongst an older crowd but the restaurants lack the modernization needed to bring in the younger crowd.
We were invited as guests at Thalassa on Ave du Parc to try some of their soon-to-be new menu items as well as some of their old favourites. Located in Outremont in Montreal’s proverbial “Greek Town”, Thalassa boasts that traditional Hellenic décor associated with Montreal Greek restaurants. We were greeted by a friendly face, an old friend and waiter that we had known from another Greek eatery that had recently closed.
We started with the Thalassa salad that was recommended by our waiter. Different from your usual Greek salad, this salad had spinach, arugula, grapes, apple with sun dried tomatoes and a parmesan cheese crisp. Topped simply with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, it was more Italian than Greek. A bit pricey at 16$, the salad was nonetheless a good start to our meal.
One of the new dishes that is not yet on Thalassa’s menu were the fried zucchini croquettes. Different from your traditional floured and deep fried zucchini and eggplant starter that is seen at Greek restaurants, this dish was impressive! A generous portion for two people, the zucchini croquettes were not over fried and their center was gooey with plenty of zucchini. They sat on a bed of very good thick tzatziki sauce, and sure we stank like garlic after, but that truly is all part of the fun.
Fried calamari is a staple of Greek cuisine and Thalassa provided us with a generous portion for the price. What was interesting about the calamari at Thalassa is that they were left whole; this is different from the usual rings that are served. We loved it but this should be explained on the menu because many patrons will find this style of calamari daunting. Our only complaint is that a few of the squid still had their spine in them and we were soon inspecting each calamari before taking a bite.
The Divas are octopus snobs, so much so that we rarely order it lest we be disappointed again. The grilled octopus was cut a little too thick for our liking and it was rather chewy and served on a bed of red onions. We felt if those red onions had been pickled or roasted red peppers were added it would have enhanced this dish. Parsley and extra virgin olive oil was splashed on the octopus in the traditional Greek fashion.
Moussaka is the traditional Greek main of layers of fried potatoes, eggplants and zucchinis that are lathered in meat sauce with a nice thick béchamel on top. Thalassa offered a different take on this traditional village dish, which will soon be on their new menu. There was lots of seafood, some vegetables and it was tossed in a light tomato sauce. The béchamel seemed to be made with more egg whites than yolks, making it a lighter version of Greek moussaka. But we love our béchamel rich and creamy so that was a bit disappointing.
Diva #1 is Greek and therefore very picky about what constitutes good Greek food but she tries to put her high expectations aside. We were getting full but we couldn’t leave without having saganaki, Diva #2 gets emotional over this lightly floured and fried kefalograviera cheese. Instead of a traditional saganaki, the Divas opted for grilled halloumi. Lightly grilled, the char marks were clean and added smokiness to the cheese that sat on a bed or arugula with olive oil. Sesame seeds topped the cheese and we were reminded how delicious grilled halloumi actually is!
For dessert we were recommended the chocolate soufflé. Not a common Greek dessert, it was rich and tasty, and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and some whipped cream. We gave it a shot but we would have preferred a more Greek dessert, like the piece of baklava that was actually very good. The spices were evident and it was not too sweet or soaked in honey, which is often the practice. Diva #1 doesn’t even really like baklava and she very much enjoyed this little treat!
Thalassa made a few surprising changes on traditional Greek fare with their seafood moussaka and their zucchini croquettes. Their service was on point, and we enjoyed our meal. Greek food in Montreal needs to be revolutionized to keep up with Italian fusion and French bistro fare that is always changing and modernizing. With pikilia platters and group menus for four people or more starting at 40$, Thalassa offers many dishes and deals that will appeal to most. In the end, Diva #1 is a picky Greek, so check it out for yourselves and tell us what you think!
Our Rating: As Expected
Tagged: 5637 Parc, Baklava, Calamari, Greek, Greek Restaurant, H2V 4H2, Halloumi, Montreal, Montreal Food, Montreal Greek, Montreal Greek Restaurant, Montreal Restaurant, Moussaka, Octopus, Outremont, Pikilia, Restaurant Thalassa, Saganaki, Seafood Moussaka, Thalassa Montreal