Every student in Kingston has a terrible landlord story, and I’m no different. Following my year of horror, I moved to the lovely McBurney Park neighbourhood. My parents came to ease the load and the stress, and after an exhausting day of moving, we sought out the closest place to grab a bite. What we came upon was Minos on Barrie, a fantastic Greek restaurant that I, shamefully, hadn’t heard about during my undergrad. This is likely because the restaurant sits just a few short steps North of Princess, but for all those who get nosebleeds NOP, I promise: it’s worth it.
In 2013, Kingstonist readers participated in a poll on “The Best Greek Restaurant in Kingston.” My first impression of the results was shock, because Minos hadn’t won; then, I realized that the charm of Minos isn’t eating at the restaurant, but is, rather, the joy of being weighed down by their take-out bags! I often find myself walking home after a long day on campus, dreading the process of stopping at the grocery store to find something healthy to cook, and dreading the time it would take to cook it. It’s those days that Minos is my saviour – I just call them when I leave campus, and when I arrive, my dinner is waiting for me! Normally I’d feel guilty for ordering take-out instead of cooking something healthy and inexpensive, but Minos is as guilt-free as they come: their meals are prepared with hefty servings of vegetables and salad, and portions tend to stretch into tomorrow’s lunch – not bad for 13 bucks!
Despite my preference for take-out and delivery, Minos is a great place to dine in, as well. That first time we went to Minos, we were instantly enamoured by the bottle of “The Pink Stuff” that the proprietor left at our table. What was it? Their house salad dressing! Not quite the oil-and-oregano mix of the usual Greek salad dressing, this uniquely Pepto-coloured dressing will have you hooked! I think it’s made from red onions, but I don’t ask because I like to think of it as their secret recipe! All kidding aside, by the time you make your way through your appetizers, complementary rolls, and side salads (included in the price of your meal), the entrées themselves appear quite daunting. I always order the same thing: Chicken Souvlaki Brochettes, with no rice so that I can get a few more potato wedges, which are especially delicious served cold for breakfast the next day. My partner, not one to often try new things, took a chance on the Pork Brizoles and was rewarded for his adventurousness. The Brizoles are “Tender grilled pork loin filets brushed with lemon, olive oil, oregano, and garlic,” and he couldn’t stop commenting on how juicy the meat was! He was so enthusiastic about his meal that it inspired me to start adding more lemon to my own cooking!
Something I’ve found about dining in at Minos is that even when I’m one of the only people in the dining room itself, the restaurant is nonetheless very busy. This is because Minos has so many great take-out specials that people are constantly calling in orders for whole family meals. Sometimes, this leaves the dining room as the establishment’s second priority, and I admit to being a bit put off when the obviously busy server did not write down, and thus did not remember, my slightly complicated order. She brought out the non-complicated version of the meal I’d ordered (Bah! Rice!), but resolved the issue with apologies and good humour. It definitely was not a reason to stop me from returning or even slow down my patronage at Minos, because frankly, I’ve been to too many restaurants in Kingston with the same issue. If I started holding grudges about this, I’d be a very hungry lady. The staff at Minos righted their wrong with more graciousness than other restaurants have, but I would have appreciated a conciliatory slice of baklava to make up for the inconvenience. I do admit, however, that this says less about their management style, and more about my yearning for the delicious but uber-sweet Greek dessert.
On that sweeter note, many Kingstonist readers will have enjoyed office Christmas parties at Minos on Barrie, but did you know that they also sell their souvlaki skewers raw? They make an excellent addition to the weekly home cooking rotation, and you’ll be remembered as a superstar if you serve these to a summer barbeque. Combined with a few orders of Minos’ homemade tzatziki and grilled pita, it’s an original meal that’s easy to clean and an instant crowd-pleaser!
So the next time you’re tired, stressed, need somewhere for a date or office gathering, need something to cook or someone to cook for you, think past the chains and past pizza and Chinese food: what you’ll find is the delicious and abundant delights of Minos on Barrie.