Category: News

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.

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Barcelona Inspires a Bold Dining Space in Toronto

In an 1850’s heritage building across from the historic St. Lawrence Market in downtown Toronto, Barsa Taberna presents a more sophisticated iteration of the often-typical tapas bar. The 275-square-metre space, originally used as horse stables for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, features original stone walls and arches that instantly conjure the old world. In contrast, +tongtong installed bold graphic murals, giving the space a modern, vibrant ambiance.

A unique, Gaudí-inspired illuminated glass wall panel is constructed of 1,500 hand-cut wine bottles, while local artist Pascal Paquette was enlisted to assist with the creation of a glowing panel of LED backlit acrylic, which is decorated with vinyl adhesive graphics reminiscent of a Picasso painting. The bold theme continues with the flooring, which is a combination of treatments: oversized CNC adhesive stencils on concrete, which was then painted with epoxy, and floor tiles by Refin with similar – but much smaller – graphics, in traditional earth tone colours.

A custom LED light fixture stretches over the entire length of the bar, with slender uplighting extensions which +tongtong describes as representing “the motion vectors of several charging bulls.” The bar stools were also designed by +tongtong, in three versions constructed of old-growth pine on a metal frame. The bright red of a matador’s cape is reflected in the Herman Miller dining chairs.

Outside, an expansive front patio seats up to 75 people. This outdoor space is the result of the recent redevelopment of Market Street. Taylor Smyth Architects restored several buildings, while the entire street was resurfaced with stone-coloured brick. The developer’s original plan was to dedicate the street to pedestrian use – at least during the summer – but this is still under consideration by the city. For now, removable bollards block off the patio areas, while allowing for street parking during the winter months. As the formerly neglected heritage neighbourhood enjoys renewal and growth, Barsa Taberna takes a leading role in reshaping its cultural cachet.

DineTO: Best Toronto Restaurants for Sangria

By far, the prettiest in the city, thanks to the white ceramic painted pitcher. And they’ve got three to choose from:

Sangria Blanco ($36/pitcher) Gerardo Chardonnay, Calvados, green apples, grapes, basil and mascerated cantaloupes

Sangria Rojo ($19/half, $33/full pitcher) Rarnese Montepulciano, Spanish Brandy, Peach Liquor, Red Wine Orange, Mascerated Strawberries

Sangria Cava ($20/half, $38 full pitcher) Giro Ribot Cava Brut, Spanish Brandy, Mascerated Mango & Blueberries, Fresh Raspberries, Raspberry Syrup

No matter which you choose, between these and their patio, your summer is made.


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DineTO: Raising the Barsa

Not even Nostradamus could have predicted that one of the most exciting local dining experiences today could be had in the converted stables of an RCMP Division. Part of a massive, pedestrian-friendly, historic St Lawrence Market area transformation sits Market Street’s new Barsa Taberna, among other new eateries.

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Toronto Life: Introducing: Barsa Taberna, a not-strictly-Spanish tapas restaurant near St. Lawrence Market

Name: Barsa Taberna
Neighbourhood: St. Lawrence Market
Contact Info: 26 Market St., 647-341-3642, @BarsaTaberna, barsataberna.com
Owner: Aras Azadian
Chef: Michael Smith, formerly the chef de cuisine at C5 in the ROM

The Food: At heart a tapas restaurant, Barsa’s menu is divided into “cold,” “hot” and “fried” dishes, while several larger plates are also available for diners who prefer not to share. Spanish staples like patatas bravas (i.e. fried potatoes with aioli) complement some of chef Michael Smith’s own, not-strictly-Spanish creations, like grilled octopus with Indian-spiced chickpea stew, or a Korean-style torta stuffed with kimchi.

The Drinks: Barsa’s signature sangria includes a unique blend of liquors, syrups and house-macerated fruits.

The Place: The 170-year-old heritage building is a part of the Market Street revitalization, which has brought a raft of new restaurants to the western side of St. Lawrence Market. Barsa’s interior takes a cue from Gaudi and Picasso’s Barcelona: the grotto-style dining room has a slightly subterranean feel, with original stone brickwork and heavy wooden beams overhead, and a kaleidoscopic mosaic wall contains fragments from 1400 variously tinted wine bottles. The 75-seat patio will be opening early this summer.

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