Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Urban Eats @ Patria Restaurant, Toronto

Oh Patria, how I love thee! I recently had the pleasure of dining at newly opened Patria restaurant, a collaboration between hospitality gurus Hanif Harji of ICON legacy and Charles Khabouth of INK Entertainment (of Weslodge Saloon). 

Patria, a gorgeous restaurant venue, delivers delicious authentic Spanish cuisine with very hospitable staff. Using fresh and imported ingredients, Patria serves traditionally prepared dishes that are simple and classic, yet very flavourful. The menu has a variety of warm and cold tapas featuring specialty meats, daily sourced seafood, cheeses, olive oils and spices, as well as paellas ideal for sharing with a group of people.   

I was impressed as soon as I walked through the doors. Patria’s inviting open concept design is full of character, from striking lighting fixtures to a beautiful hand stitched textile installation (the piece is made up of 17,000 knitted stitches and 500 man hours!) spanning an entire wall. It is clear that a great deal of thought and attention was paid to the design of the space. The same can be said for the devotion put into preparing their dishes. 

What better way to start the evening than with a Jug of Sangria. Mixed the night before, the ingredients fuse together for a more concentrated and bold flavour. This Sangria is Awesome with a capital A! Strong and full, but oh so good. You can choose from red or white wine Sangria. I opted for the red made with brandy, port, sweet vermouth, spiced poached pear reduction, orange juice and pear nectar. The jug may look small, but don’t let that fool you! It felt bottomless. A good value, it pours about 4-5 glasses worth.

It was very hard to choose what tapas to try, but upon the recommendation of our server, we selected the following:  
Gambas Al Ajillo ($12) – Gulf shrimp, garlic, parsley and lemon. The shrimp, wonderfully accented with oil, parsley and lemon was very meaty, perfectly cooked and tasted very fresh.   

D. O Idiazabal ($8) – A pressed cheese made from unpasteurized sheep milk with quince jam and Sourdough bread. I like strong cheeses with a bit of sharpness to them. This cheese had a firm texture, with a gentle sharpness that wasn’t too harsh, and a creamy finish. Topped with a Quince jam, this added a really nice subtle sweetness that softens the bite of the cheese.  

Pan Con Tomate ($4) – House made oven baked bread, fresh tomato and olive oil. Simple but tasty, their dense homemade bread is topped with a light tomato spread and olive oil.  

Datilles con Tocino Iberico ($9) – Dates, Iberico bacon, Manchego cheese and quindallas.  This dish was fantastic. They may be bite sized, but they explode with flavour. Savoured slowly, this dish made my eyes roll to the back of my head because it was so darn good. A wicked combination of tastes - smoky, savory and salty bacon, sweet dates, rich cheese and a peppery kick.   

Patatas Bravas con Huevos Fritos ($8) – Crisp potato, spicy tomato topped with a fried egg.  A basic dish with a surprising amount of flavour. The potatoes had a soft centre with just the right amount of crispness and seasoning, paired with a delicious tomato sauce. A very tasty grouping.

Leche Frita con Helad de Azafran ($6) – Fried milk, Saffron ice cream and honey. I wasn’t sure what to expect from fried milk. With a soft and creamy centre, this dessert was very rich and sweet.  

Located at King St West and Spadina, Patria is open 7 days a week for dinner, serves lunch Monday to Friday, and a brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Patria is a great place to come together to socialize with friends and family over shared food. Despite having just recently opened, the restaurant was packed. Looks like the secret is out!  Patria definitely leaves me wanting to come back and try more.  

Natalia Dziubaniwsky is a lover of life, avid traveller, animal lover, movie buff, hobbyaholic, volunteer and is always seeking a new adventure. Interact with her on Twitter @taliasfootsteps or simply follow her footsteps through her blog.

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