Summer Nights Out And About: Bar Isabel

It’s been a while since our last post and a thousand apologies to any friends and family who are wondering where the heck we’ve been. Let’s just say a lot of sandwich slinging, lake fishing and restaurant eating.

It’s hard to ever move past the last restaurant the crew got to experience. We were so thankful to be treated like royalty with complimentary amuse bouches, a four-course chef’s selection and digestifs, oh my! Nevertheless, we had the chance to dine in one of Toronto’s favourite Spanish-style restaurants, Bar Isabel. And, what a treat.

The service was great with our trendily clad server starting the evening off with a, “have you been here before?” Our answer was a unanimous “no”. He took our menus away, asked if we had any food allergies and to just trust him with the dishes. Alright, then.

The evening started off with raw scallops smothered in a light aji Amarillo paste, followed by breads and cheeses. The spread looked like something straight out of Spain: smaller portions, all sharing style. Bread, pickles, Galician razor clams, chorizo, jamon and, of course, cheese. All set on a marble table in a dark, ambient atmosphere — a scene right out of a Hemingway novel.

spread

Next up, we had a taste of the patatas bravas with boquerones and morcilla. These chunky, fried potatoes were tossed with whole anchovies and blood sausage. As an Irishman, Kev thoroughly enjoyed the nostalgia of being reunited with the blood sausage.

patatas bravas
Patatas bravas.

We also had the spicy beef anticuchos, deliciously tender and easily devoured from skewers:

skewers

It was time for the main course. We didn’t know what to expect, other than more meat, and what we received was a feast for the eyes. A fresh side dish of spicy cauliflower and romesco to go along with a quarter of an octopus. Perfectly grilled and perfectly impressive.

octopus far

octopus

Perfectly content with the meal and wine and some digestif that we can’t remember, our server came over to make sure we had room for dessert, or postre. One Basque cake and sherry cream to rule them all.

dessert

Bellies full and spirits high, we made our way towards Little Italy to have a little nightcap. Salud, Bar Isabel.

crew

chef kev

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