Toronto loves Tapas. In my two weeks exploring the city, I am starting to see a trend emerge. Cool venues, social and friendly people, and lots of fabulous plates of great food to share. What could be better? Not much in my opinion because I love tapas, and I love sharing food with fabulous friends. Bar Raval is the perfect place to enjoy both. This College West hot spot is always packed whether it’s 8 am or 8 pm, from coffee to cocktails you are covered. After an exhausting day exploring the city, I’m looking forward to a fun-filled evening enjoying tapas and conversation at Bar Raval.
Bar Raval is located at the corner of College and Palmerston Street at 505 College Street West. The inside is intimate with a gorgeous wood bar being the focus. Let your eyes wander the room though because the wood work is a piece of art. There is also a wicked patio to enjoy if the weather is nice enough. Located at the back of the patio is a Raw Bar, which serves Oysters and other raw delicacies when weather permits.
First order of business after grabbing a table is of course cocktails. Four different cocktails for four different people. Mine is the Hell’s Kitchen with its signature spirit being Lot 40 Rye. Lip-smacking delicious.
Not that our thirst has been partially quenched we start to tackle our hunger. Monica has been here many times, it is one of her favourite places, so we leave the ordering in her capable hands. Bring on the feast! The first plates to arrive are Boquerones, aka fresh Anchovies, and the Galician Octopus. I will be honest I did not try the Boquerones as I’m a bit off on fish however I pretty much devoured the Octopus, which was tender and delicious. I loved the celery and scallions bite against the tender Octopus, yummy.
The next plates to arrive were Shishito Peppers and Hacienda Zorita, a six month aged Goat Cheese. These went down like candy. To hell with Edamame, I want grilled Shishito Peppers as a snack from now on.
If you think we are done, you are wrong. Three of the best plates are still to come. A Mushroom Tower that is the bomb. We ate it from the top down and then at the end ate the bread that was soaked in flavourful garlic butter.
There was a plate of Croquetas and a plate of Morcilla and Egg, which is a house made Blood Sausage topped with an egg on a slice of Baguette. We are starting to enter the “OMG I am so full stage”, but it is hard because everything is so good.
It is hard to believe, but we actually order dessert. The only we do so is because we saw a table next to us have what looked like the fluffiest cheesecake ever. We are right, the Basque Cheesecake is like eating air. My favourite was the Olive Oil & Ricotta Cake. My kind of cake, it is moist and dense yet still light and full of flavour. A perfect way to end a few hours laughing with friends.
Now we are stuffed to the max. If you are looking for a fun night with friends, you can’t go wrong with Bar Raval. Be warned you may have to wait in line as this place is very popular. It is worth the wait, I promise you. Oh and I should add the service was friendly and prompt with none of the attitudes you sometimes find at trendy hot spots. Two thumbs up Bar Raval.