If you thought #Summer2017 was over, think again! There is no better time to sit outside on a patio with your squad or fam and soak up the last rays of summer before the dreaded cold weather starts rolling in. The Estrella Damm Tapas Journey in Toronto is the perfect opportunity to make the most of the month of August, and will give you a great excuse to *finally* meet up with friends you’ve been meaning to see, or try a new spot you’ve been meaning to try. Starting TODAY (August 11th, 2017) until August 20th, the #TapasJourney allows you to enjoy 3 unique tapas and a tall glass of Estrella Damm Beer for just $20 at 36 of Toronto’s hottest restaurants. Trust us, you don’t want to miss this delicious deal!
(tapas at Baro pictured here, tapas at Lena picture above)
We had the chance to get a sneak preview of the Tapas Journey in Toronto at Copetin, Baro and Leña, and we can assure you that you won’t want to miss out! We love that every restaurant has created three different and unique tapas that reflect their culinary style. Here we’ve laid out all 36 top restaurants in Toronto participating in this year’s Tapas Journey, and what kind of tapas you can expect to enjoy at each place.
Now you have the hard decision of choosing where to go! Our recommendation? Pick a few within walking distance of each other and create food focused “bar hop” with your friends!
36 Toronto Restaurants To Try During Tapas Journey 2017
King West’s Baro is known for their bold Latin flavours and their tapas offerings are proof of that! Sample their Beef Empanada with potatoes, peas & aji, the Chorizo con Patacón (pictured above) with chimichurri and the Morcilla which is Spanish blood sausage on an arepa with salsa verde!
Located just steps away from St. Lawrence Market is Barsa Taberna and they’re serving up contemporary Spanish gastronomy. Treat yourself to their Stuffed Prunes with valdeón cheese & almond wrapped in serrano ham, the Beef & Beer (pictured above) with beer-marinated beef heart on corn piquillo salsa, topped with chimichurri and their Pintxo on Bread with yogurt-cured trout with dill & gherkin gel!
Offering French and Spanish food in Baldwin Village is Bodega and they’re treating us to a Crispy Duck Poutine with morel mushrooms, Emmental cheese & duck confit, a Roasted Tomato and Goat’s Cheese Tartine on a fresh baguette and their Salmon Gravlax (pictured above) on cucumber with tarragon cream, vegetables & chives!
Inside the posh Shangri-La Hotel is Bosk and they’re known for turning out expertly prepared contemporary Canadian cuisine. Sample their Pan Con Tomate with heirloom tomatoes with basil on crostini, their Chorizo Bomba with saffron & bechamel sauce and the Clam Escabeche (pictured above) with ramps, chives & onions!
Known for their traditional Argentinean fire-roasting methods, Branca is offering us El Asador Smoked Salmon on crumpets with crema & onion, topped with dill & caper dust, Merguez Sausage (pictured above) with prosciutto-wrapped medjool dates & manchego drizzled with red wine reduction and a Smoked Beef Brisket Empanada with salsa de tomate!
Located in the heart of King West is Brassaii and they’re known for their sophisticated Mediterranean eats. We can’t wait to try their Spanish Beef Bomba with spicy harissa & arugula, the Boquerones Con Pan (pictured above) which is pickled white anchovy with tomato jam on sourdough and their Brûlé Artichoke Hearts with aged manchego & balsamic reduction!
Influenced by Spanish and Italian cuisines is Campo, located in the Baby Point neighbourhood and they’re treating us to Stuffed Piquillo Peppers (pictured above) with Dungeness crab & pickled red onions, Cocido De Judions which is morcilla Spanish beans & fried quail egg and their Tostada Con Sobrasada which is garlic-rubbed country bread toasted with sobrasada & queso fresco!
With traditional recipes, simple ingredients and heavenly flavours comes Carmen and we can’t wait to try their tapas especially when they have such charming names! Luis’ First Dish In Canada (pictured above) is a steak tartare with quail egg yolk & sea salt, A Moment In Spain is a braised octopus dish with potato confit, olives, peppers, paprika & sea salt and their Ending On A Sweet Note is blue cheese and apricot marmalade braised with cava!
Meaning “drop-in” or “community” in Latin American, Copetín is brand new addition to King St. East and let us tell you, it’s absolutely stunning! We were treated to Chef Claudio Aprile’s delicious Ricotta Tostada (pictured above) with beets & cashew mole, the Garlic Shrimp and Gundilla Pepper with tomato on grilled bread and his Grilled Lamb Kabob with smoked eggplant & yogurt!
A Cantonese term of endearment to show respect to an elder, DaiLo is the perfect place to treat your parents to delicious and unique treats! Sample their Hakka Shrimp & Pork Wontons with XO chili sauce and a nut crumble, the KFC Tofu with green curry slaw & Asian BBQ sauce and their Vietnamese Sausage Pogo (pictured above) with banana ketchup and yellow mustard!
Known for their bold combination of Middle-East, Israel and Canada is Fat Pasha and we can’t wait to try their Chopped Liver (pictured above) with caramelized onions, radish, gribenes & hard egg on challah, the Chicken Schnitzel with harissa, caraway cabbage slaw and a full sour dill pickle and the Matjes Herring with sumac, onions & garlic labneh!
Ever wanted to dine with Superman and Wonder Woman? Now you can at Figures, a comic book inspired restaurant serving up delicious eats like Bread & Olives with garlic, chilli & sourdough, Baccala (pictured above) which is salt cod with aioli, lemon & smoked tomato and Jalapeño Poppers with chorizo with feta, cilantro & pressed yogurt!
Experience art and great food all in one at The AGO with Frank Restaurant‘s tantalizing offerings like their Swiss Chard & Smoked Gouda Croquetta (pictured above) with béchamel and charred corn relish, their Coriander Lamb Skewer with ginger, chili flakes & pepita-lime butter and the Crispy Blue Corn Asiago Tortilla with adzuki beans, toasted cashews & lime!
JACKPOT CHICKEN RICE
The newest addition from the team behind Patois is Jackpot Chicken Rice with a South-East Asian flair! We will def be stopping in to try their Mongolian Lamb Hoagie with chili lamb, crispy enoki, provolone & kewpie on a bun, the Salt Cod & Shrimp Siu-Mai with romesco sauce & iberico ham and their Thai Apple Salad (pictured above) with lime, chili, peanuts & crispy shallots!
KANPAI SNACK BAR
Inspired by Taiwanese night-markets and serving up sharable plates is Kanpai Snack Bar located in Cabbagetown. They’re serving up Kung-Pao Cauliflower (pictured above) with edamame beans & kung-pao vinaigrette, their Player Hater which is golden fried chicken skin tossed in Taiwanese five-spice and their Heads or Tails which is rice panko & coconut-dusted whole shrimp with sweet chili dipping sauce!
Serving Mediterranean dishes infused with a California vibe from the team behind Campagnolo is La Palma and we can’t wait to try this new hotspot! Treat yourself to their Stuffed Oliver All’Ascolana which are green olives stuffed with house-made pork & beef sausage, the Chicken Liver Crostini with cipolline agrodolce & aged balsamic and their Albacore Tuna (pictured above) with compressed watermelon & sumac!
LE SÉLECT BISTRO
Highly regarded as Toronto’s most authentic Paris bistro is Le Sélect Bistro in the King and Portland area. Don’t miss out on their Croque Madame which is a classic gratinéed sandwich with ham and cheese and a quail egg, sunny-side up, the Croquettes De Brandade De Morue which is a Fogo Island salt cod potato croquettes served with a sweet pea aïoli and their Socca à la Merguez D’agneau (pictured above) which is lamb sausage, aubergine, ricotta & heirloom tomatoes on a chickpea crêpe!
Experience authentic South American cuisine in a beautiful setting at Leña where you’ll be offered Crispy Baby Sardines with habanero mayo, their Mussels Escabeche (pictured above) which is poached and chilled mussels served with roasted red pepper & shoestring potatoes and their Salted Baby Potatoes & Chorizo Migas with sherry aioli & olive oil!
Offering a modern take on Italian-inspired seafood, meat & pasta dishes is Locale Mercatto and we can’t wait to try their take on tapas with their Sardines Scapece with with pickled fennel, sultanas & pangrattato, their Fiori E Tartufo (pictured above) which is zucchini blossoms & summer truffle on crostini and their Farinata which is frisée & crispy pancetta on a chickpea pancake!
Meaning ‘the hummingbirds’ in Spanish, Los Colibris is known for their high-end Mexican eats in the trendy Entertainment District. Sample their Panucho De Cochinita Pibil (pictured above) from Yucatán: Tortilla with refried beans & pork in achiote seed, the Empanada De Huitlacoche from Veracruz: Empanada with corn, jalapeno, cotija cheese & salsa roja and their Gordita De Pulpo Enchilado from Mexico City: Refried beans & octopus in árbol & guajillo pepper adobo!
One of our faves in the city, Marben is turning out twists on English classics like their Cauliflower Custard Tarts with a black pepper shortcrust and parmesan, their Foie Gras & Tarragon Croquette with English-style pickle and their Rabbit & Sage Terrine (pictured above) with with apricots, pistachios, aioli & pickled chanterelles!
PS. You can enter to WIN a $150 gift certificate to Marben by entering our Summer Food Giveaway HERE.
Inspired by authentic restaurants in Mexico City, Milagro honours Mexican traditions with their rustic cuisine and their tapas menu is no exception! Don’t miss out on their Salbute En Racado Negro which is pork in black adobo on corn gordita with refritos, their Tacos De Costilla Res De Pasilla which is a braised short rib in pasilla adobo with grilled pineapple salsa and their Calamares En Vinagreta (pictured above) which is poached calamari & potatoes in a lime vinaigrette & poblano!
A neighbourhood gem in Queen West is Nuit Social and they’re known for inviting and warm ambiance and flavourful eats. Dig into their Crispy Frog Legs (pictured above) with honey mustard & house-made death sauce, their Bratwurst Hash with sauerkraut & creme fraiche and the Warm Cauliflower Salad with radish, toasted sunflower seeds & honey pea shoots!
Named one of YYZ’s best restaurants by Toronto Life, Patria is an authentic Spanish eatery turning out classic and breathtaking dishes like their Ajoarriero which is a salt cod stuffed piquillo pepper, their Croqueta De Anguila with smoked eel and their Bocadillos De Calamares (pictured above) with squid ink & aioli!
PETER PAN BISTRO
A Toronto icon, Peter Pan Bistro brings a contemporary vibe with classic dishes but with a modern and playful twist. Bite into their Devils On Horseback which is dates wrapped in bacon with blue cheese dressing, their Welsh Rarebit which is an open-faced grilled cheese and their Deviled Egg (pictured above) with aruca & crispy chicken skin!
“Provo” is derived from the Italian word for “to try”, and that sense of exploration is carried through to the menu at Provo Food Bar, where plates are designed for sharing. Bring your #squad to try their Octopus Antipasto (pictured above), their Paccheri Pasta with eggplant, zucchini & mozzarella; topped with tomato sauce and their Zucchini Fritters that are lightly fried to the perfect golden brown!
With a forward-thinking take on Indian cuisine, Pukka offers full-flavour dishes that dance on the palette. Sample their Smoked Trout with garam masala & beetroot cured & served with mustard raita, their Malai Chicken Tikka (pictured above) with tamarind chutney and their Spinach Tikki which are corn, spinach & cheese fritters served with mint chutney!
RACA CAFÉ & BAR
Parkdale’s own, Raca Café & Bar, serves up French and Italian-inspired dishes that leave you wanting more! Dig into their Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Dates (pictured above) with blue cheese & aged balsamic, their Toasted Crostini with smoked ricotta & heirloom tomatoes and their Salmon Sashimi with nori seaweed & avocado pepper salsa!
Mediterranean eatery, Ricarda’s, is all about delicious food coupled with laughter and hearty conversation — what’s not to love? We are dying to try their Scotch Quail Eggs done in a Mediterranean style, their Braised Beef Cheek (pictured above) with spiced port wine, smoked roasted red pepper & chimichurri and for dessert their Macaron with poached thyme pear, candied walnut, roasted figs & 24K gold!
Rickshaw Bar is inspired by South & Southeast Asian street food and we can’t wait to hop in to try their Aloo Puri which is spiced mashed potato with yogurt, mint tamarind chutney & boondi, their Chicken 685 (pictured above) which is fried chicken with curry, Kashmiri chilies, mango & pickled onion slaw and their Beef Cashew Koftas with spices, caramelized onions & Thai chilies!
SALT WINE BAR
At the top of the Ossington strip, you’ll find Salt Wine Bar, a communal tapas joint and they’re turning out Iberian/Canadian tapas like Ceviche With Scallops (pictured above) with orange, cucumber, fennel, mint & chili, their Grilled Octopus with crispy new potatoes & iberico chorizo in romesco sauce and their Spicy Lamb Meatball with chickpea purée, cured olives & dollop of lemon yogurt!
SCARAMOUCHE PASTA BAR & GRILL
Celebrated by critics and customers for more than 35 years, Scaramouche’s more casual sibling restaurant Scaramouche Pasta Bar & Grill resto is serving up seasonal menu items in a relaxed setting. Dig into their Salt Cod Croquetas (pictured above) with saffron sweet onions, their Spanish Sausage with romesco sauce & roasted black olive crumble and their Grilled Shrimp with gazpacho relish!
THE CHEF’S HOUSE
At The Chef’s House, an innovative student-focused concept restaurant, students from George Brown Chef School and the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management are turning out delicious tapas like their Pickled Sardines & Vegetables, Egg & Asparagus (pictured above) with chorizo and their Salt Fish Croquette with piquillo peppers!
THE GOOD SON
Reflecting the melting pot of cultures that exist in the restaurant’s Queen West neighbourhood, The Good Son is cranking out wood fire-grilled tapas like Steak Tartare with grilled ciabatta & soft boiled quail egg, their Chicken Liver Mousse (pictured above) with Ontario rhubarb, blueberries & maple walnuts and their Wood-Grilled Octopus with fregola, charred rapini & piquillo pepper!
TORO WINE BAR & TAPAS
Known for their modern approach to authentic Mediterranean tapas, Toro Wine Bar & Tapas is dishing out Spanish specialties like Flaming Chorizo with a walnut romesco sauce, Camarones (pictured above) which are grilled shrimp skewers with dry-cured chorizo & poached peach and Pulpo which is Grilled octopus, charred corn, sweet peas, roasted pepper & jalapeno pesto!
Found in the lobby of the Le Germain Hotel, Victor Restaurant specializes in comfort fare inspired by the ethnic diversity of our city! We will def be sampling their Smoked Cheese Empanadas with caramelized tomato & chimichurri, their Chipotle & Molasses Glazed PorkRib (pictured above) with coleslaw & cornbread pudding and their Lamb Albondigas with romesco & toasted almonds!
(Story by Assistant Editor, Blair Stutz)