3310 Boul de la Cote Vertu
Ville Saint-Laurent, Quebec
Telephone: (514) 379-3798
Chef Hats: 3
Cost: $31.50- tax & tip included
In a building that housed a phletora of defunct chain restaurants near the Spheretech, Souvlaki Bar quietly opened amid little fanfare at the end of January 2017. I am not a big fan of franchises, the reason being that I strongly believe that the best operations are manned by one or multiple proprietors. There is a difference between a well known chef who has under his umbrella a few choice restaurants by different names and an owner who runs franchises. In the beginning they are all good and with time quality is forsaken, the theme gets old along with the décor and they become redundant. The Souvlaki Bar is a franchise with multiple locations already, at least four for now. The first opened at the Centropolis in Laval a few years back and the Saint Laurent location the second branch in Saint-Laurent also offers full dining and bar service. The Central Station and Vaudreuil locations are express counters.
The concept is a mix of good Greek food, a fun festive atmosphere with bouzouki music and of course a cool bar for drinks. What sets the Souvlaki bar apart from any other Greek restaurants is its fancy bar and thematic meals, it has combinations of Greek classic cuisine with a modern concepts. Their dishes have names like the Meat Shovels, Santorini salad, and Hercules, Zeus and Greek Massacres. Nothing says Greek like hoards of food.
Having heard of Souvlaki Bar from a friend who dined there after work and enjoyed it immensely, we decided to try it out one evening for after shopping at the mall nearby.
At first I thought Souvlaki Bar was a buffet or cafeteria style restaurant serving your choice of meat on a stick, fix it yourself salads and sides as in a buffet or Salad Bar. But it is more than that. It has the full gamut of classic Greek dishes that can be combined and tweaked to your liking. You can choose your choice of preferred grilled meats, create your own sides and salads. The menu is meat heavy, and you can go the fast food route by ordering souvlaki /chicken pitas or mini pitas.
Or you can order large portions of meat and fish psarotaverna style. I suggest you go with a big group and start your order with a few of their delicious entrees and complete your meal with a sampler of the Meat Shovels with your choice of salad and potatoes.
This evening we walked in without reservations and were seated promptly, the restaurant was not busy. Our waitress was not the friendliest I have ever met, she was a little abrupt and rough around the edges. It took a while for her to warm up to us and to take our order and return. She did come around and was very helpful by the end of our meal.
We started by ordering and entrée of tzatiki for $ 5.95 for starters. It came with a basket of pita bread that reminded me of Carveli’s pitas. Carveli’s is a Italian restaurant owned by Greeks on Cote St Luc Rd. that has existed since the 70’s and is famous for its bread like thick and flavorful pitas. It is infamous for its rude service, unclean conditions and mish mash of a menu. However it has survived all these years, I believe on just on their pita and soup alone and also for the fact that their take out service keeps them busy.
That being said, the pitas at Souvlaki Bar were comparatively delicious and the tzatiki was a perfect mound of thick Greek yogurt packed with garlic; but not too overpowering. We were starving and dove into the entrée, I didn’t even have enough time to take a picture but it was a good start to the meal.
We also ordered a chicken pita platter for $16.95, which consisted of two pitas atop rice and a Greek salad on the side. The chicken pita was really good, packed with more of their thick tzatiki, lettuce and onions, the chicken was flavorfully marinated with lemon and oregano, the pita bread thick and soft which one can describe as having the consistency of a thin foccaccia.
The Greek salad consisted of iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, onions, and a nice slab of feta cheese and kalamata olives and a marinated hot pepper. The in house salad dressing is decent and although heavily doused, it had mild flavors of garlic and dill and was refreshing.
It was a cheap and quick bite after spending lots of money shopping, but worth another visit to try their meat shovel platters, grilled chicken, massacre potatoes, Santorini salad and mini pitas with special spicy red hot sauce. Souvlaki bar also has fish and seafood like grilled octopus and calamari.
Not a bad start for a franchise, Souvlaki Bar is worth the visit. I thought the food decent and good quality for the price.