Ten years of the Nutty Greek

Nutty Greek, owned by siblings Anna, Eleni and George is the place to find traditional Greek food in Ottawa

Ralf Joneikies
08 Mar

When I lived just off the Danforth, Toronto's Greektown, a recognized restaurant critic and good acquaintance told me that in all her travels to Greece, she'd seldom had traditional Greek fare that was as good as what was available on the Danforth. It was high praise but I didn't need convincing.

Decades on, back in cozy Ottawa, there is Greek food here that is as good as anything on the Danforth, there are just not the same number of eateries from which to choose. EVOO Greek Kitchen on Preston is my go-to for quality sit-down wining and dining and then, just a short walk away, I stumbled upon The Nutty Greek Bake Shop at 490 Rochester St. 

Siblings Anna, Eleni and George are the faces in front of house, while Mama Papadopoulos pops out occasionally, but still largely swings the spatula out back. Both Anna and Eleni learned their baking skills from their mother and their Greek treats such as the custard-filled bougatsa, and the spanakopita are masterful. 

A personal favourite, the Greek Almond Cake, is one of the nicest coffee sides I've found, while their individual cheesecakes and stuffed sandwich cookies will make their way into your weekly purchases.

While all that might initially lead you there, they also really shine with their savouries. Pretty much everyone loves roasted lemon potatoes and here you can take away an appropriately zesty example that pairs so very well with their colourful Village Salad, which at $7.75 for a small is enough to feed 2-3 at your table. 

Both their pita bread dough and Gyros (a mix of beef and lamb) are made for them by a producer in Montreal. They bake their pita fresh each day. The Gyro is certainly robustly seasoned but it's the pillowy texture of this bread that makes the whole affair so addicting and memorable. The pork souvlaki was tender and nestled among their excellent house-made tzatziki and a variety of toppings, but could have used some salt.

Recently they've added soups to their menu (Tuesday to Friday) and these will be available until late Spring, returning in the fall. If you need your Moussaka fix, they prepare these once a week for a Friday pick up but do get your orders in before 4 pm on Thursday.

Another thing you'll notice straight away is how both Eleni and Anna interact with their customers and it's apparent that both women come from a hospitality background. They engage you with genuine interest and respect and you walk out feeling valued. Anyone wanting to learn a few customer service skills would be well advised to pop in, get a fab dinner, and then just watch how it's done. No wonder they have built such a loyal following.

On March 14 of this year, the Papadopoulos family will be celebrating their 10th anniversary in business and given their popularity, they'll no doubt be passing this cultural treasure on to the next generation.

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