Restaurant Review: Paros – Grecian Charm with a Side of Caution

Address119 Yorkville Avenue
Dinner for two with drinks$200

Paros, a Greek sanctuary in the heart of Toronto’s Yorkville, certainly sets the stage with an ambiance that takes center stage, outshining the culinary experience. The transformation from the vibrant Amber nightclub to this serene Mediterranean enclave is visually striking, promising an otherworldly escape to the Greek isles. Paros offers a selection of traditional dishes with a modern twist that are designed for sharing, and also offers bottle service.

The service at Paros is smooth and efficient, much like the gentle lapping of waves against the shore, though one may find themselves occasionally beached by a slow response. The serving staff navigate with experience but sometimes drift into a sense of complacency, leaving diners momentarily forgotten.

Commencing with Zucchini Chips ($16), the dish offers a textural delight with its light tempura batter, yet the Paros Sauce, while zesty, fails to venture into bold, uncharted culinary territories. It’s a safe harbor in a sea of possibilities that are left unexplored.

The Fried Halloumi ($19), drenched in Greek honey and sprinkled with cumin and oregano, is hearty yet conventional. It delivers comfort but sails past the opportunity to surprise with innovative twists. Similarly, the Karpouzi Salad’s ($20) fresh mélange of watermelon and herbs is pleasing but whispers when one might expect it to sing. Furthermore, the herbs are wilted and the watermelon looks like it was prepped the day before.

The main course, a Whole Grilled Branzino ($60), is fresh and well-prepared. The accompanying salsa verde and grilled lemon lifts the Branzino beyond the simplicity of its grilling and is a standout.

The beverage selection offers a nod to the Greek terroir, with wines that pair amicably with the menu. The 119 Spritz ($22), a vibrant cocktail, provides a refreshing interlude, yet like much of the menu, it doesn’t stray into uncharted waters, content instead to play it safe with familiar flavors.

Dessert is presented as a traditional Baklava ($14) with vanilla ice cream, a sweet ending that is rich in flavor but not in creativity, despite the luxurious touch of gold foil.

A noticeable caveat to the dining experience at Paros is the imposition of a table time limit, a constraint that introduces an unwelcome rush to the meal. This policy, presumably intended to manage the flow of patrons, paradoxically undermines the relaxed, leisurely ambiance that the restaurant otherwise strives to embody.

While Paros successfully captivates with its setting, the cuisine, though adequate, does not embark on the same exhilarating journey. The imposition of a table time limit further anchors the experience in practicality rather than leisure.

Ironically, considering its nightclub origins, Paros might find its true calling not solely in the dining experience but as a sophisticated nightlife destination. A return to its roots with a modern twist—focusing on bottle service and a selection of Greek-inspired cocktails in its enchanting setting—could transform Paros into a vibrant nocturnal haunt, where the ambiance and libations eclipse the need for culinary inventiveness and the constraints of a timed dining session fade into the night.

Mme M. xoxo

2.5/5 étoiles

La rubrique de Madame Marie

1 étoile – Run. Before you get the runs.
 étoiles – Mediocre, but nothing you couldn’t make at home.
 étoiles – C’est bon, with some standout qualities.
 étoiles – Many memorable qualities and excellent execution. Compliments to the chef.
 étoiles – Formidable! Michelin Star quality. Book a reservation immediately.