It was so nice to finally return to Ithaka. This visit was notable for a couple of reasons: 1) It was my first time here since before the omnipresent pandemic; and, 2) This also represented my first visit to Ithaka since they moved to their...new location on Burdett Avenue. Thus, some burning questions had to be answered: Did the pandemic impact them in any noticeable way? Has the new – much larger space – changed the way the Adamopoulos family executes their business (food)?
Ithaka re-located to the space formerly occupied by Millos in October 2020. The move was a gamble because we were (and still are) in the midst of a global pandemic; however, at the time it was doubly risky because we were still living with ever fluctuating health restrictions. In a very real sense, then, Ithaka went against the grain. At a time when most restaurants were downsizing or outright closing, Ithaka took a calculated risk and expanded – moving from 75 seats (at their former Yates Street location) to more than double at 167 seats (Burdett).
Personally I quite enjoyed the new space. It’s far roomier than the old location but, despite this, retains the cozy feel I appreciated at the former Yates Street restaurant. Part of this has to do with the warm décor, but much more so with the exceptional staff. From start to finish, we were treated very well – like guests in someone’s home rather than a restaurant. Indeed, small things like this help Ithaka to stand out and demonstrate, only too clearly, why they remain on TripAdvisor’s “top 10” in Victoria.
When it came to food, we ordered a number of appetizers: Saganaki (a must have), Gigantes, and a bowl of Avgolemono. We thoroughly enjoyed all three, but I’d have to say the gigantes highlight what Ithaka does so well. The gigantes are basically giant butterbeans “in a zesty tomato & vegetable herb infused sauce” with diced onion and pita. On the surface, it’s a simple and straightforward dish, but the level of flavour achieved is deceptively complex. And so it is with pretty much all Ithaka does: Greek comfort food at a high level. Our mains – the Prawn Souvlaki and Zorba’s Dinner – also highlighted this.
Of course, when you visit Ithaka, you cannot go without dessert. The Tiramisu remains some of the best I’ve ever had and Maria’s house-made ice cream is smooth and creamy – the perfect conclusion to any meal! OPA!
RECOMMENDATION: Has the COVID impacted Ithaka in a noticeable way? Not that I can see. The atmosphere is still vibrant and the staff remain warm and personable. Does the larger space impact food quality? Definitely not! The food is still made with love, tastes amazing and offers exceptional value. In short, the food and service at Ithaka remains beyond reproach. Highest recommendation!
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