By Liza Zawadzka
If your idea of Spanish food begins with gazpacho and ends with tortilla, you probably haven’t been to one of the city’s finest restaurants.
CAVA, tucked away in Delisle court on Yonge Street, has been seducing Toronto with the flavours of Spain for the last seven years. Seriously upscale, the front of house service is flawless, the decor is elegant, but guests are too blissed out with eating to pull any pretentiousness you might find in other “fancy” restaurants.
Chefs Doug Penfold (recently returned from a research trip to Spain) and Chris MacDonald launched their new menu recently. Rest assured, the edamame bruschetta is still available – soft and crunchy bread is slathered with edamame and heaped with grilled green onions and sundried tomatoes. Taking it off the menu would have been grounds for another Upper Canada rebellion.
You may as well start with eponymous sparkling wine – the pink Cava Rosado Brut is sharp and lively. Avid collectors of wine, tequila and sherry, the chefs have curated a comprehensive wine list, which the staff are happy to help you navigate.
Pinchos – little snacks – are the core of the menu and are small enough to allow for lots of grazing. Oysters are plump and sweet, the Supergilda comes with a sardine skewered into the bread with an olive-topped spear.
The black kale with machengo cheese and a poached egg is ridiculously creamy and the papas fritas sprinkled with deep fried herbs are probably the best fries you’ll have in your life.
Good things come to those who wait, and the paella, made for a minimum of two people, is no exception. Although you’ll have to control yourself from munching through the pinchos for about a hour, you’ll find the room you need to consume the buttery soft beans, juicy clams, chorizo and chicken, with the rice sopping up every flavour in the pan.
Try, try, to leave room for dessert.
The chocolate souffle, made with intensely dark chocolate, is light and airy, perfect accompanied with a plummy sherry.
If you need to keep a little CAVA in your life to help fend off the bleak winter days, you can stop off at XOXO, CAVA’s candy shop. Their chocolates will make your eyes roll back in your head.
It’s no secret CAVA is one of the city’s best restaurants, so avoid disappointment – you’re best to book a week ahead for a Saturday night seating.
“If you want to make good food, you have to eat good food.” -Jiro Ono. From cafeterias to highfalutin tearooms, stalwart fixtures to the newest chef of the block, Liza Zawadzka takes you on a tour of the best food Toronto has to offer.