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Apr 11, 2007 02:51 PM

tapas in toronto

what is the review of COCA on Queen W ?

any other recommendations found in little italy, queen west or east?

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  1. I had an excellent meal at Torito on Augusta in Kensington Market on Saturday night. We had bread drizzled with olive oil and cheese (which came with delicious garlicky olives and pickled onions), ceviche, smoked trout with potato salad and a parsley aioli, chorizo and potatoes in a tomato sauce, crab cakes and peppers stuffed with salted cod. My favourite was the ceviche - the flavours were so crisp and fresh I could have eaten nothing else all evening. The chorizo was lean and had a nice bite. The crab cakes were a bit dull so I would pass on those next time.

    They don't take reservations, but we got there around 8:30, there were three groups ahead of us and we only waited about 20 minutes for a table. There seemed to be a pretty good turnover of tables between 8:30 and 9 and while we waited the staff were very attentive, bringing us wine and nibbles at the bar. Dinner for two plus a bottle of wine was $95. I would definitely recommend it.

    2 Replies
    1. re: midtowngirl

      I dont know how I feel about Torito's. We have been there twice and while I found the service to be very attentive and pleasant, I found the dishes relatively standard. I may have to eat there again to form a solid opinion of the place but, as of now I am undecided as to whether Torito's get so much praise because there is a dearth of quality tapas in TO or because I am missing something

      1. re: midtowngirl

        I've only been once to Torito and will be going back because the meal was very good overall and the service was exceptionally good (for Toronto - esp. a "trendy" place in Toronto). But unlike "midtowngirl" my seviche was very mushy, which will happen if it's been sitting in its marinade for too long. This was a Tuesday, and they are not open Sunday or Monday, so I really hope I wasn't eating last Saturday's ceviche..... also, the garlic shrimp dish, which was deliciously garlicky, was produced with mushy shrimp. For either of these dishes the fish should be impeccibly fresh, crisp and springy, not mushy.

      2. i've been to coca once pretty much right when the opened and since then there's been a raise or two in pricing which priced it right out of competition with anyone else considering it wasn't incredibly impressive to begin with.

        horse tenderloin was tough and dull, charcuterie plate was just ok, best thing were the truffled quail eggs but unfortunately they're a tiny bite, wines were nice however and i enjoyed some port. it was reasonable... then it's just become expensive.

        i second midtowngirl's suggestion of torito, again went pretty close to the beginning and every subsequent visit it gets better food wise. i find the service very consistent, not pushy and in your face but around just enough to get your orders in and be helpful. i haven't found their wine selection to be anything impressive and the sangria a bit expensive.. the food however. yum.

        i went this past thursday and the ceviche has in the past overly limey but there was the perfect amount of citrus kick plus love the crispy corn kernels. the smoked trout potato salad is fantastic with a good healthy portion of the trout and a really lovely creamy avocado topping. we ordered the special oxtail that evening and i was expecting a braised meat around some bone... we received something more along the lines of a patty with densely packed meat in a massive portion that would put any 8oz burger to shame. andulisian (sp?) chickpeas were great as always and the steak was cooked perfectly rare and melt in your mouth awesome with a lovely runny fried egg. i could go on and on.... the sauces were dead on to. rich with flavour and beautiful.

        we were seated immediately at 7:30.

        oh, and we ended up having about 6 dishes between two and were stuffed to the brim... otherwise i would have gotten the chocolate flan. great texture, perfect sweetness...

        1. I agree with the Princess of Pinstripe on Coca. Pretty spot, but the food was underwhelming (I have a review posted, if you want to search).

          Another option on College is Senhor Antonio's. SA's is the tapas bar at Chiado. The room adjoins the main restaurant, but has a slighly more casual (although still quite elegant) vibe. It was about six months ago since Mr. Rabbit and I dined chez Senhor Antonio's, so I can't quite recall all that we ate, but I remember it being quite good. Note that Chiado is Portugese, so there are some slightly unusual offerings (nothing really wonky... heavy on seafood, some interesting Portugese wines... looove vinho verde).

          You can check out the tapas menu at -

          2 Replies
          1. re: Rabbit

            I've been to Coca twice- I wouldn't go again.

            1. re: Rabbit

              Senhor Antonio: I still remember the big Serrano ham that they claim had to be smuggled in from Spain. It's not an authentic tapas bar unless there is at least one big ham in view at all times.

            2. Many thks for your thoughts -- trying to bring a group of 10 or so. so need a restaurant that takes reservations? do you know of any tapas restaurants that takes reservations in little italy, queen w or e?

              3 Replies
              1. re: nritchie

                You have to clarify a bit here...

                Do you mean "tapas" as in authentic Spanish-style tapas? If so, there are really only a handful of places in Toronto that do that sort of thing (Embrujo Flamenco, for example) and none of them are really in the neighbourhoods you're talking about. The only exception being Plaza Flamingo at the corner of Bathurst and College, which is just east of Little Italy. I've never been to this place so I can't tell you what the food is like, but I'm sure another hound can help you out there.

                If you mean "tapas" as in "small plate dining", then you have a couple of options in the Little Italy area. First, Mini Market by Tempo at College and Clinton does Asian small plate stuff (e.g. Thai curry braised beef brisket, mango salad, etc. in smaller portions). Also, Li'ly has a very modest selection of "sharing plates" that take on a mediterranean theme. I've been to Mini Market by Tempo and the food there is decent, decor is casual and trendy enough, staff are generally friendly. Don't know whether or not they take reservations, but the space should be large enough to accommodate a group of 10. I've not been to Li'ly so I can't help you with any thoughts on that place.

                1. re: Juniper

                  thks for clarifying -- i defintiely mean "tapas" as in "small plate dining" - and been to mini mart, pretty good -- going to check if they take reservations.

                  How is your sushi review juniper? looking at same thing 10-15 people, is there an all you eat sushi place -- heard sushi on bloor is very good.

                  1. re: nritchie

                    In terms of AYCE sushi, I would say that Sushi-D on College (@ Montrose, I believe) is one of the better places. Most AYCE sushi places I've been to will place a paper-thin slice of fish on a fist-sized portion of rice and call it sushi. Sushi-D, in my experience, makes reasonably proportioned nigiri and maki sushi in comparison.

                    As for Sushi on Bloor, I'm not aware they have AYCE there... the last time I went there was about 2 years ago and they didn't have it then, which is not to say that they haven't instituted that concept since then. It's a good place for an everyday fix since the price point is pretty good for what you get. But if you are a true sushi aficionado (like, someone looking for a world-class sushi experience on par with those in places like Japan, San Fran, Los Angeles, Vancouver, etc.) then this isn't the right destination for that.

                    As to other AYCE places around town, I don't know much about those but I know that there have been tonnes of threads about AYCE sushi in the past, so I would recommend searching the archives for ideas.

              2. Went to Coca in January, wouldn't return. Food wasn't all that great.