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Mike Cohen savors the fine Mediterranean and Greek cuisine of Lesvos West in NDG

    On December 15, 1999, John Drymousis and wife Carmela opened their first Lesvos Restaurant on Mount Royal Street, at the corner of Brébeuf.

    John had been a waiter for years, but always dreamed of having his own dining establishment. Carmela was not in that industry at all, having earned a living the previous 12 years at the credit bureau of the Royal Bank of Canada.  A decade earlier the couple had relocated to Fort Myers, Florida, where John had been offered a senior role by some Montreal businessmen at a 250 seat family restaurant. At the time their only child, daughter Mia, was a toddler.

    The Mount Royal Lesvos was a success from the get-go. With only 11 tables and the capacity to serve about 45 people at a time, word spread about this great new spot serving superb Mediterranean and Greek cuisine. Three years later they added a second, larger, location on Decarie near Monkland. Eventually, Mount Royal was closed, but expansion transpired again in St. Sauveur and Ste. Agathe, the latter of which also included an Inn with 18 rooms and five condo apartments. With daughter Mia and Carmela’s brother Donato part of the team, they worked exceedingly hard to keep up a successful pace. They would end up selling the Ste. Agathe property.  Today they split their time between NDG and St. Sauveur. As residents of Laval, they are within the perfect distance for both.

    Mia, married with two children, decided to spread her wings a few years ago and now enjoys a successful career with Sotheby’s International Realty Québec. She too resides in Laval.

    John, Mia, baby Gemma, Carmela and Mia’s husband Niko.

    Have they thought of further expansion? Laval is a city full of successful restaurants. “We have said no to Laval, but we were close to opening a Lesvos in Naples, Florida near our winter home in Fort Myers,” Carmela shares.

    But let’s get back to Decarie, where my family has dined for many years. This place is solidly booked seven days a week. With 100 seats spread over two rooms, one can always be sealed off for private parties and groups. There is valet parking and a very regular clientele. On the night we went one of the servers called in sick, so Carmela took care of a group of tables on her own.

    There were five of us on this night. Our sever Edouardo has been there for many years and he can point to the signature fresh fish dishes and succulent rib steaks available.

    Some of the mouthwatering hot and cold appetizers include kopanesti, dolmadakia, spanakopita,  taramosalata, flaming saganaki, octopus, calamari and more. We ordered a cold appetizer plate containing a number of these delicacies and along with some toasted bread got the evening off to a good start. More was on the way. The spanakopita and the eggplant salad were the perfect preludes to the main course.

    The fish here is spectacular, grilled in such a way you could never come close to replicating it at home. There is always a selection of grilled salmon, grilled swordfish and grilled Chilean seabass. I usually opt for the latter, but the swordfish was calling my name out and it was absolutely perfect. Now the rest of the family usually chooses the fish as well, but instead, they ordered the lamb chops. Each piece was grilled to perfection and cut like butter. Edouardo brought us some side dishes of rice and crispy potatoes to share,

    To conclude the evening, we shared a fabulous serving of lukomades (Greek donuts) with Greek yogurt and some baklava.

    Lesvos also has an extensive wine list.

    Open every night at 5 pm, you can reserve your table online at http://www.lezvos.com/menu2/ or by calling 514-484-0400. They will open up especially for certain group lunches, depending upon the numbers. We hope to experience the St. Sauveur location one day.

    Lesvos West is located at 4235 Decarie Blvd in Montreal.

    Mike Cohen

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