Toronto has a love of tapas, and destinations for small, shareable plates are popping up all over the city.

Perfect for a date night, ladies’ night, or a pre-show snack, here is a roundup of the best Spanish tapas in Toronto.

Carmen

A sophisticated locale on Queen West near Trinity Bellwoods park, Carmen Toronto offers carefully crafted menus and an elegant yet laid-back vibe. Here, top-quality ingredients take centre stage, and the tapas are simply presented with a focus on flavour, like traditional charcuterie with a drizzling of olive oil. You’ll also find a great selection of vegetarian tapas like the tomates verdes fritos: fried green tomatoes with flavourful roasted pepper and corn chutney and cojita cheese. The paella del Carmen, topped with an artful spread of seafood, colourful basil and cherry tomatoes, is a sure-fire crowd pleaser. Unique citrusy cocktails and an extensive list of Spanish and Argentinian wines will satisfy your thirst.

Madrina

Madrina is a newcomer to the Toronto tapas scene, rounding out the city’s offerings with a menu focused on Catalan flavours. Authentic Barcelona-style classics meet bold, innovative flavours in this Toronto Distillery District hotspot. The carefully crafted drinks menu includes an extensive wine list representing the lesser-known regions of Spain including some interesting Cavas; the city’s best offerings of vermouth, sherry, and sweet wines; pitchers of Sangria; and some unique items like homemade chamomile soda.

As for the tapas, expect flavourful and reasonably priced. Don’t miss the Salt Spring Island mussels escabeche with paprika, white wine, and saffron foam; or the decadent lobster salad cones with yuzu dressing, tobiko roe and gold flakes.

Bar Isabel

One of the city’s top-ranked restaurants for several years running, Bar Isabel serves up contemporary Spanish dishes in an intimate location on College Street. The décor will strike you as soon as you step through the door, featuring an elegant tiled floor, dark cherry wood paneling and low lighting reminiscent of a Spanish tavern. The tapas-style menu featuring fresh local ingredients and Spanish imports is where you will find some of the city’s best seafood, including a to-die-for grilled octopus. The skilled and knowledgeable staff will guide you through your selection, including the elaborate wine and cocktail menu featuring some rare finds from Spain. Unquestionably one of the best Toronto tapas restaurants, Bar Isabel is a favourite with locals and visitors alike.

Patria

An authentic Spanish eatery on King West, Patria is a can’t-miss among Toronto tapas restaurants downtown. Classic Spanish cuisine including traditional paellas and fresh fish, octopus and shrimp, charcuterie boards and cheese platters, featuring products imported directly from Spain, are beautifully presented in this location in the heart of the Entertainment District. For starters, try the pimientos de padrón (blistered peppers with sea salt) or the dates with bacon, Manchego cheese and guindillas. With its high ceilings and elegant décor, as well as its outstanding Spanish wine list, Patria is a great choice for a special night out.

Fabulous flavours on small, sharable plates – these tapas restaurants will allow you to taste the best of the Iberian peninsula, right here in Toronto.

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