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Because sometimes nothing beats sharing small plates of savoury Spanish cuisine at one of the many tapas restaurants in Toronto.
The hardest part about dining out in Toronto is that, once you scan through the many Yelp reviews and finally settle on a restaurant, you end up wanting to eat everything on the menu. Therein lies the appeal of tapas. The Spanish small plate dining style feels like a sophisticated, grown-up version of snacking where sharing is most definitely encouraged.
Here are 5 of the best tapas-style restaurants in the city:
Tucked away on a charmingly restored side street beside St. Lawrence Market, Barsa Taberna is equal parts colourful and understated. Original stone archways juxtapose the modular furniture and mosaic flooring, paying tribute to Barcelona and contemporary Spanish cuisine. From the sea bream ceviche to the patatas bravas, every bite will feel right.
If you’re big on tapas, Bar Isabel is probably already on your restaurant radar. Owned by the celebrated Toronto chef Grant van Gameren (of Black Hoof and Bar Raval fame), the cozy, old-world eatery has become a Spanish dining staple. Sample a few dishes and you’ll know the chefs put as much care into the grilled octopus as they do the winter vegetables.
If you’re looking for a tapas-inspired menu without the Spanish flair, make your way to The Carbon Bar. The eclectic restaurant boasts a rock ’n’ roll feel and serves up Southern-inspired bites unlike anything else in the city – like K.F.C. (Korean fried cauliflower) and chorizo stuffed squid. While the dishes are indulgent, the meat is locally-sourced from Cumbrae Farms.
For something a bit more upscale, head to King Street’s Patria, which deserves all the buzz it’s so far received. The stylish and expansive eatery features light fixtures that will transfix you before the food has a chance to do the same. The fresh seafood is sourced daily and pairs best with the many Spanish wines on offer. If the weather’s warm enough, dine on the beautiful courtyard patio.
Kensington Market is full of hidden gems, many of which people stumble upon by chance and then suddenly, it’s their new favourite watering hole. Torito is one of those restaurants. The authentic tapas joint is small but mighty, offering savoury sharing plates in a cozy, dimly-lit atmosphere that’s perfect for a date night or a Friday night catch-up with friends.