Ikanos
By YP Contributor

One-of-a Kind

Ikanos doesn’t quite know how to describe itself, and maybe that’s a good thing. “We’re very unique because nobody really does what we do. If you want to eat seafood in Montréal, most of the time you’ll end up eating sushi. We serve fish and seafood in a more Greek and Mediterranean way,” says owner and head chef, Constant Mentzas.

Ikanos has received very good reviews from notable publications in Montreal like The Gazette and its food critic, Lesley Chesterman’s top 10. “When these reviewers do their articles, a lot of the time they make lists and put restaurants in categories like best bistro, for example. We don’t really fit into any of these categories; we do something a little more diverse,” says Constant.

One of Ikanos’ specialties is grilled fish, which is served in the classic Greek tradition with olive oil, lemon juice, and capers. “We started a tasting not too long ago. We have two tasting menus. One is just pure fish and seafood; the other one is more of a surf and turf.”

Ikanos serves raw and grilled fish, and they have a variety of 16 or so plates that you can order as appetizers. “They are like the seafood equivalent of tapas,” says Constant. Fish is 50 per cent of the menu at Ikanos. “We have a charcoal oven so we do a pretty damn good steak as well.”

The weird thing about seafood is that sometimes the farther away it comes from, the fresher it is. Because when they’re taken out of the water they’re flown straight here. There’s some fish that comes from New Zealand that is so fresh, it’s crazy. - Constant Mentzas, head chef and owner

Restaurant DNA

Constant comes from a culinary tradition and has been in the business for most of his life. “My father is Greek and he owned a restaurant, so growing up, I was always in restaurants," he says. "After I graduated university, I worked a normal job with a normal schedule for a time. But I soon realized that I couldn’t really work a regular schedule. When I did that, I always had like five projects on the side.”

Constant’s first restaurant was called Tasso, located in the Plateau on St. Denis. The area wasn’t as conducive towards business, so they decided to make the move to Old Montreal. “We came here to this location and so far it’s been great. We have a bigger staff now. The other restaurant was a lot smaller, so with this place, we have a larger dinning area and a more expansive bar.”

From Oceans Away

Working with seafood has interesting challenges. And while Constant forges relationships with his suppliers, he has gained insight into the world of the global fish trade. “Fish in Montreal, for the most part, come from the Fulton Market in New York. I used to have to get up and go to the dealers early in the morning. Then I figured out that if you call them the day before, they’ll tell you what they’re going to have in the morning,” laughs Constant.

“The weird thing about seafood is that sometimes the farther away it comes from, the fresher it is. Because when they’re taken out of the water, they’re flown straight here. There’s some fish that comes from New Zealand that is so fresh, it’s crazy. They usually get shipped straight away, and they’re usually one or two days out of the water,” says Constant.

The macroeconomics of the fish industry aside, success ultimately comes in how pleased the customers are with their meal, according to Constant. “Success is a vibrant dining room with happy customers who are going to come back. That’s what it looks like to me. Getting customers who are only here once isn’t the goal. We want them to come back and experience our great menu again.”

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