Bar Raval – Little Italy, TO

Bar Raval
Little Italy, Toronto
http://www.thisisbarraval.com/

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I am a fan of Bar Raval. I went once before this for a drink and ended up ordering the foie gras pintxos, on the back of that I knew I needed to come back to try more.

I went with an appetite to make sure I could try as many things as humanly possible, unfortunately 5 plates and a dessert was all I could muster. We ordered the shrimp & scallop ajo blanco, chorizo con papas fritas, smoked mackerel, croquetas and the foie gras, cherry & PX sherry vinegar.

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Out first was the ajo blanco, it was delicious, the scallops and shrimp were great, the texture and presentation of the dish was on point however the soup was missing a final piece, the chili’s were good but it was fleeting and scarce, had there been a few more the dish would have been perfect

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The smoked mackerel was next, I’d had it recommended to be me and was a little unsure what to expect. One bite in and any doubt or preconceptions I had were gone. The mackerel was smoked perfectly, it had enough smoke to give flavour but not overpower, the oil was flavourful and the texture was simply divine.

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The next dishes out were the croquetas and the chorizo. The croquetas were piping hot and crisp while containing inside a creamy and salty filling that rivaled some of the best I’ve had; truly a next level croquette.

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The chorizo was just a good but it was more a simple wholesome dish, simple flavours paired and executed well to leave you with a satisfying dish.

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Last of the mains were the foie gras pintxos; the whole reason I’d gone back, and once again the reason I be going back. Completely on point and amazing; the foie gras seared to perfection, subtly salted and placed on top of toasted bread that has just the right amount of cherry and PX sherry vinegar. A classic dish that was flawless in every way.

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Before leaving I ordered a piece of their cheesecake, I’d seen it on the way to another table and it looked like everything I could ever want in a cheesecake. When it arrived it did not disappoint, a creamy, light filling with a nice darkened exterior, the only thing missing was a slightly tart raspberry coulis to complete it.

Bar Raval is somewhere I’d keep going for two reasons, foie and gras.

 

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La Carnita – Little Italy, TO

La Carnita
Little Italy, Toronto
http://lacarnita.com/

One taco tuesday I decided it was time I went to La Carnita to try their famed “In cod we trust” taco. Their menu is short and sweet, a couple of apps and 6 tacos to choose from.

Out of the six I chose four, the chicken, the tuna ceviche tostada, the beef cheek and of course the fried cod.

I was excited for what was to come and boy did it take some time, the place was packed and we waited a good 25 minutes before the food arrived.

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They all arrived together, colour coordinated and looking good. I separated mine for everyone’s and went for it.
I started with the chicken, it read very strangely; being served with a peanut mole and it didn’t work for me, the chicken was crisp and the toppings fresh but it was like eating a satay taco, and I’m not into fusion tacos. In addition there was little to no prescience of the Rossy’s hot sauce.

Second I gave the beef cheek a go, this was a good taco, everything worked and it was pleasing with a good hit of spice.

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I’d left the seafood ones for last, this was rather tactical as I had a feeling they would be better and I wasn’t wrong. The tostada was great, a balance of creamy, spicy and crunchy with a great ceviche flavour.

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Lastly the most talked about, the “In cod we trust”, in terms of tacos it wasn’t my favourite for the night, the tostada was, but in terms of fish tacos it was great, crispy fried fish with the right accompaniments. I couldn’t ask for more, except maybe some hot sauce.

Their rotating specials and the pork ribs on Sunday will have me going back to La Carnita soon enough.

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