Even though I do love Winter and Summerlicious – the city-wide event created to help get people through the doors of some of Toronto‘s best restaurants during the slowest seasons – it can often feel as though you’re getting a second rate dining experience. When I worked as a hostess during university at a couple of participating restaurants, I found that the general attitude towards ‘licious guests was that they were cheap, and the kitchen would offer up a half-assed version of the real, full price dishes.
Personally, I can’t stand that many restaurants have that attitude towards the event and its guests when they’ve opted in to participate. Considering we’re in one of the buzziest food cities in the world, I love that special prix fix menus can help make it more affordable for foodies in Toronto to be able to explore and discover more restaurants around the city, myself included.
This Friday, August 14th, Barcelona madness will takeover Toronto for Canada’s inaugural Tapas Journey, that will last for 10 days until August 23rd. As I discovered last night on a private media preview of what’s to come, guests of the 20 participating restaurants will be able to enjoy 3 unique tapas plates paired with one Estrella Damn beer for just $20 throughout the ten day period. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
From my first hand experience, I can tell you that these restaurants are going above and beyond to impress with not only the flavours and ingredients, but just how far they can stretch your dollar. In fact the launch of the Tapas Journey has got me so excited that I’ve already book my Friday night date night to take place at two participating restaurants to extend my personal #TapasJourney in Toronto.
Keep reading for what we enjoyed at 3 top Toronto restaurants on our #TapasJourney preview!
1. The Good Son
Our first stop of the evening was at The Good Son on Queen West at Dovercourt. I actually hadn’t been to the location since it changed over from Nyood, and was pleasantly surprised upon walking in. The grand space has been re-vamped with the feel of a modern and quirky gastro pub that reminded me of a bigger version of some of my favourite spots in London, UK. Their tapas got our night off to a great start, and would be more than enough to share for two. Their #TapasJourney menu with Estrella Damn features:
1. Grilled Octopus Crostini
Chimichurri, piquillo and aji amarillo peppers
2. Steak Tartare
Soft boiled quail egg and hand-cut fries
3. Papas Bravas
Scallion aioli, San Marzano tomatoes and chicarone
2. Mamakas Taverna
I’ve been dying to visit this trendy greek spot that is a fairly recent addition to the lower Ossington strip, just north of queen. The decor of Mamakas Taverna is undeniably adorable, and the hustle and bustle proved to be worth it for the tasty tapas that were laid out in front of this. They included:
1. Beef Heart Souvlaki
Grilled beef heart, roasted onions, clay pepper, oregano and tzatziki.
Caul fat wrapped offal sausage, buffalo yogurt, charred green onion and pepper.
3. Paxos on Toast
Pickled green tomato, anchovy, cured pork fat and fried bread.
3. Salt Wine Bar
Although I really loved all of the restaurants we toured, and the food, I have to admit that I think Salt Wine Bar may have been my favourite of the three. It’s very laid back inside, and I loved that the walls were lined from floor to ceiling with wine bottles, which reminded me of my time in Paris. The 3 tapas were delicious and well balanced. It was clear that Chef Dave Kemp had put a lot of thought into the experience, and created a sequence that was light, exciting, and fulfilling. Here’s what we had:
1. Sea Bream Ceviche Verde
Sea bream ceviche with avocado, tomatillo and jalapeno garnish with tortilla chips
2. Pork belly pinchos with ancho glaze
Roasted tomatillo sauce, crispy pork belly skewer with smoky ancho BBQ sauce
3. Pan Con Heirloom Tomatoes
Heirloom cherry tomatoes on ciabatta with Spanish olive oil, cilantro and sherry vinegar glaze
Since there are 20 restaurants participating in the #TapasJourney in Toronto from August 14-23rd, I won’t list each and every one, but I will highlight a few others I’ve got my eye on to try out that include Carmen, Patria, Byblos and East Thirty-Six.
And if all this great food and drink for just $20 at all of these great restaurants in Toronto wasn’t enough, Estrella Damm is also giving you the chance to WIN a trip for 2 to MIAMI to atten the Estrella Damm Gastronomy Congress and see Ferran Adria, the world’s most awarded chef! Check out the details below!
Good Luck and ENJOY!!
(Photography credit Jeffrey Chan courtesy of Estrella Damm)
The post Don’t Miss The Chance To Take A Tapas Journey in Toronto with Estrella Damm from August 14th-23rd! appeared first on Gracie Carroll.