http://barsataberna.com/ 647.341.3642 $$$ dinner Mon-Wed, lunch Fri-Sun
Second stop on our birthday trek brings us to Barsa Taberna, located in the historic, yet charming St. Lawrence market area. As we approach I notice a charming side patio and all I can think about is how I miss summer. Stepping down a few steps into a wildly colourful cavern, adorned with jarred pickled vegetables, lavishly lit by coloured glass lighting. The room is also flooded with natural light which plays into the natural blue and brick hues of the room. Blocks of wood taken from the old buildings structure, shaped into odd modernish bar stools, are surprisingly comfortable. Servers are playfully knowledgeable.
The menu is tapas style, focusing mainly on Spanish dishes. Sangria’s are excellent and a must especially the house specialty. Oh ya, when the drink menu is larger than the food menu, know you are in a good place.
6 different sangrias to choose from, all unique and freshly made: white, red, rose, sparkling, cider and the gourmet sangria – a collaboration of Chef Michael Smith’s and mixologists. Today chardonnay, amaretto soaked sliced peaches, tarragon, blue grapes and Hennessy VSOP fill our glasses, not one piece of sweet soaked fruit goes to waste.
We also order the cheese plate for 2 which today includes: waltzing Matilda, Cabralies Blue, Fennu Greek, and Drunken Manchego sided with sugary pear, fruit jam and candied almonds. Banderillas, perfect for picking, include house pickles, quail egg, marinated goat cheese and fennel. Pok pok prawns are so lightly dusted they almost aren’t, glazed in sweet pineapple, feathered with green papaya.
Patatas bravas – fried to crisp, though still piping hot and fluffy inside, tossed in lightly spiced housemade ketchup, drizzled with roasted garlic aioli – Yummmmm EEEEE. The menu changes often, with the season (good thing). Great place to unwind after work.