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Barsa Taberna: a hint of Spain in the heart of Toronto

The bar counter, in Corian has original bar stools created specially by the +tongtong studio, that resemble the “make-shift” chairs often found in the tapas bars in down town Barcelona.The atmosphere is assured by 3 recessed LED lights embedded in an iron structure with external elements that ironically resemble bull horns. Directly in front of the counter, there is a small dining area. The red chairs here – all identical – create a sharp contrast to the asymmetrical bar stools: the geometric pattern on the floor is repeated in a large mural decoration, created using 1,400 bottles of coloured glass.

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A taste of Barsa Taberna’s new menu

Barsa Taberna, located next to the St. Lawrence Market at 26 Market Street, takes pride in their interior design, resembling that of Barcelona by John Tong‘s collaboration with the restaurant owner, Aras Azadian. The 19th-century-built restaurant is revamped with works inspired by Gaudi, Picasso, and Dali which incorporate the city’s contemporary culture with bar stools, colourful bottles, abstract bulls, and flamboyant mosaics creating a dynamic atmosphere.

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Thrillist: Toronto’s 11 Most Important Openings of the Year

2014 was a good year for restaurants. Openings in Toronto seemed like a daily, maybe even hourly occurrence — but not every new spot is equally deserving of your hard-earned dollars — so please allow us to direct you to the 11 most commendable eateries to cut the ribbon this year…

Barsa Taberna
St. Lawrence Market
The area around St. Lawrence Market is becoming more and more diverse where eating options are concerned. Barsa Taberna is one of the standouts in the neighbourhood and it’s smartly taken the concept of Spanish tapas to a fresh new level by incorporating flavours from around the world. So while the underlying idea might be Spanish in nature, you’re likely to find it tweaked with unexpected ingredients (dashi, or tamarind for instance) that elevate every bite.

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Toronto Tapas

Pintxos! The Secret to “Happy Hour”

A huge tradition in Spain, people swarm into bars and patios after work to enjoy Pinchos and cocktails with the ease and convenience of selecting whatever catches their eye, rather than reading off a menu. It’s the perfect concept for the downtown Toronto crowd to enjoy over happy hour, and Basra is proud to be one of the first places in the city to make this experience accessible.

Pinchos or ‘Pintxos’, small bite sized snacks that are traditionally from Northern Spain and typically eaten in bars (tabernas) socially among friends and family. Pinchos often feature a combination of fresh, seasonal ingredients – such as cheeses, cured meats, smoked fish, among many others – prepared and placed on a piece of toast and fastened with a ‘spike’, commonly a toothpick. The key to a great Pincho begins with fresh bread. It’s your vessel to hold all the salty goodness you’re about to enjoy. From there the possibilities are endless. Slices of cured meat with a hardboiled egg, poached fish with aioli or something as simple as an olive tapenade. With the right beer or wine they form the perfect bridge into dinner. Keep them small and simple…and don’t forget the Pincho! “Michael Smith (Executive Chef at Barsa Taberna)

Barsa pinchos will be changing daily and never on the menu. The ingredients are inspired by what’s in season and available by its next door neighbor, The St. Lawrence Market. Eat, drink and settle the bill with the number of toothpicks left from snacking, and enjoy alternating daily cocktail promotions Monday to Thursday from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Toronto Tapas

Biz Bash, “The design team + tongtong made the Spanish Tapas Restaurant into a living art space”

With Picasso providing inspiration, the design team of Tongtong made the Spanish tapas restaurant Barsa Taberna into a living art space. The eatery, which opened in May, restored the original stone brickwork and heavy wooden beams in the grotto-style dining room, located in a 170-year-old heritage building in the St. Lawrence Market. But the standout is the mosaic wall, which contains 1,400 variously tinted wine bottles. The restaurant seats 84 indoors and 64 outdoors on a patio.

Toronto Tapas

Eligible magazine, “Perfect date spot”

Date Night In Barcelona, Canada

Ever been to Barcelona and now miss it? Or maybe looking for the perfect spot for a first date? Then Barsa Taberna is the perfect place for you.

Eligible Magazine recently attended the media launch for this artsy and intimate modern tapas restaurant/bar and let’s just say es magnifico!

Barsa Taberna presents a sophisticated iteration of a typical Barcelona tapas bar. The sharing plates’ concept allows for an intimate and social dining experience, and guests are encouraged to order multiple dishes to emulate the experience of dining in Barcelona. Executive Chef Michael G. Smith offers a diverse range of inventive and electrifying small plates from around the world, complemented with a vibrant Barcelona-inspired atmosphere.

“Around the world small shared plates are part a range of cuisines: in Korea it’s Anju, in India it’s Thali, in Japan it’s Izakaya and in Mexico it’s Botanas,” said Barsa Taberna Executive Chef Michael G. Smith. “Our vision with Barsa Taberna was to incorporate global small plates and Tapas into our menu, while staying true to our roots in Barcelona and Spain.”

Barsa also offers regular Flamenco guitarist performances during dinner service and a monthly Barsa Soul party, where the restaurant transitions into a lounge with feature DJ appearances. The perfect combination of delicious food, the sharing concept and a Flamenco guitarist will assure your date that you’ve given special consideration to the time you spend with her/him.

Barsa Taberna is located on Market Street September 23, 2014, directly beside the historic St. Lawrence Market.

Toronto Tapas

Review: Barsa Taberna’s multicultural tapas menu delivers some inspired dishes

Barsa Taberna 2 star½ – Toronto Life
26 Market St., 647-341-3642

Squint in this cavernous underground space late at night and you could be in a new-generation Barcelona tapas bar. At Barsa Taberna, the 19th-century stone arches and rough beams contrast with a backlit wall panel that’s a sexy Rorschach-like study in cobalt, black and white. After-workers and Corktown’s pretty young things suck back pitchers of white and red sangria, the sparkling version bright with cava and fresh berries. In handshake distance of St. Lawrence Market, the wildly multi-culti menu (somewhat) makes sense. Subcontinental suggestions (vindaloo quail, masala octopus with pappadum) and Asian accents (pok pok prawns, crispy chicken meatballs on bok choy) are sometimes inspired. The pork tortita, for instance, is an okonomiyaki-like soy-glazed cauliflower pancake bursting with succulent chunks of pork. And whatever market stall yielded a seemingly random assortment of yellow beans, green peas, merguez and shitakes should take that combo to the bank: the daily paella was seductive, sunchokes smoky and soft, mushrooms taking on a calamari-like quality. More traditional tapas might disappoint (chorizo croquettas are puck-shaped tater tots, though Kozlik’s mustard with aioli makes good local dipping; sea bream ceviche lacks a chunky cut, citrus bite and leche de tigre roar), but the traditional desserts are triumphs. Crème Catalan tops silken, tangy sheep’s yogurt custard with lighter-than-air brittle of almond, lavender and crunchy salt; sangria cake is squares of tres leches-soaked sponge jewelled with slices of compressed melon. Well-priced wines from as little as $28 a bottle and clever tapas pricing (any six for $60, 12 for $120, or the whole tapas card for $210) beg your indulgence.

Toronto Tapas

Best of Toronto Review: Barsa brings world cuisine to your table

Market St. – the small street beside the world renowned St. Lawrence Market – has had a renaissance in the last few months. Several years of revitalization culminated this year with the opening of many new dining spots in this newly reborn strip. At its the northernmost end, you’ll find Barsa Taberna – a restaurant whose concept is inspired by the dining culture in Barcelona.

If you’ve ever visited Spain you’d know that dining there is a very social activity. Hence, their plates are designed for sharing. The portions are smaller, but you sample many more dishes with the people you’re dining with. These small plates are called tapas. Barsa is all about honoring the Spanish dining tradition, and so tapas comprise most of the restaurant’s menu. The tapas are divided into hot, cold, and fried, ranging in price from $7 to $15. There are a lot of options, so to make things a bit easier, you can choose the Chef’s Tapas Tasting where the chef chooses 6 or 12 items for you. We opted for the 6 items to start.

 

Toronto Tapas

Notable: A slice of Barcelona has finally arrived in Toronto.

“Around the world, small shared plates are part a range of cuisines: in Korea it’s Anju, in India it’s Thali, in Japan it’s Izakaya, and in Mexico it’s Botanas,” Executive Chef Michael G. Smith noted. “Our vision with Barsa Taberna was to incorporate global small plates and Tapas into our menu, while staying true to our roots in Barcelona and Spain.”

 

Toronto Tapas

Toronto Life Review: Barsa Taberna’s multicultural tapas menu delivers some inspired dishes

Squint in this cavernous underground space late at night and you could be in a new-generation Barcelona tapas bar. At Barsa Taberna, the 19th-century stone arches and rough beams contrast with a backlit wall panel that’s a sexy Rorschach-like study in cobalt, black and white. After-workers and Corktown’s pretty young things suck back pitchers of white and red sangria, the sparkling version bright with cava and fresh berries. In handshake distance of St. Lawrence Market, the wildly multi-culti menu (somewhat) makes sense. Subcontinental suggestions (vindaloo quail, masala octopus with pappadum) and Asian accents (pok pok prawns, crispy chicken meatballs on bok choy) are sometimes inspired. The pork tortita, for instance, is an okonomiyaki-like soy-glazed cauliflower pancake bursting with succulent chunks of pork. And whatever market stall yielded a seemingly random assortment of yellow beans, green peas, merguez and shitakes should take that combo to the bank: the daily paella was seductive, sunchokes smoky and soft, mushrooms taking on a calamari-like quality. More traditional tapas might disappoint (chorizo croquettas are puck-shaped tater tots, though Kozlik’s mustard with aioli makes good local dipping; sea bream ceviche lacks a chunky cut, citrus bite and leche de tigre roar), but the traditional desserts are triumphs. Crème Catalan tops silken, tangy sheep’s yogurt custard with lighter-than-air brittle of almond, lavender and crunchy salt; sangria cake is squares of tres leches-soaked sponge jewelled with slices of compressed melon. Well-priced wines from as little as $28 a bottle and clever tapas pricing (any six for $60, 12 for $120, or the whole tapas card for $210) beg your indulgence.