Address: 1560 Yonge St, Toronto, ON
When I visited: 2013, dinner, 4 people
Cuisine: Spanish Tapas
Rating: $$$, 4
Although I went to the restaurant late last year, the post is still relevant as many of the items I have ordered are still on the menu. Cava is tucked away in an alleyway near Yonge St. and St. Clair St. in Toronto. Inside, they invested in beautiful artwork to spice up the décor. The food was also beautifully presented and full of flavour.
Here what I recommend (ranked in order of preference):
1. Cava charcuteria. It consisted of orange fennel salami, mortadella, breseola, chicken liver and foie gras mousse, all made in-house. I did not see this on their current menu, so perhaps this was a weekly special. I hope that Cava brings this dish back because this dish was memorable, with the mousse being my favourite.
2. Grilled sardines “avalon” which consisted of 3 large sardines. This was an amazing value!
3. Eggplant with questo freso, honey and tomatillo sauce. I am picky about my eggplant dishes and not a fan of mushy eggplant unless it’s baba ghanoush. This dish was cooked to perfection.
4. Salt cod cake with piperade and chipotle crema. It was not overly salty and was packed with fish rather than tons of fillers.
5. Smokey octopus with clams, charred red onions, capers and mint. it had a great combination of flavours with mint to brighten up the dish. On their current menu, they have a “Pacific octopus and chorizo stew” which I am sure would be delicious.
6. Fresh corn tamal with wild mushrooms and pasilla chile-wild plum sauce. The presentation was beautiful!
7. Veal sweetbreads with radicchio-poblano chile salad and walnut vinaigrette. This was the first time I had sweetbreads and have had it at Scaramouche and Bar Isabel since. I enjoyed this sweetbread over Bar Isabel’s because it was extremely buttery, soft and savoury.
As for the Chipotle-caramel popcorn, it came in a cute cone and was great to munch on in between dishes. Because I did not taste the chipotle at all, it seemed a bit odd to be eating caramel popcorn at a tapas restaurant.
As for dessert, I was impressed with the creative description and presentation of their desserts including the lemon-pistachio baked Alaska and the honey crisp tarte tatin with bacon brisee, and ginger-cardamom ice cream.
Great news is that Cava partners up with the chocolate store next store, Xococava for their truffles. They had unique flavours including black trumpet mushroom and coriander lime truffle that were worth trying, even at $2 for a small square.
As for drinks, they did not specialize in cocktails, but did have an extensive wine menu that nicely accompanied the tapas. As for the bill, I paid $55 including tax for all the food plus a virgin mojito, which was an amazing deal for all the delicious food!
Cava is a restaurant with “small plates and big flavours”. If you love seafood like me, the menu will be sure to please. Aside from trying more menu items, I would come back to try the Paella which is a staple in Spanish cooking and take advantage of their half-price corkage fee on Sunday’s. Happy eating!
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