Before or after a performance at The Sony Centre check out Barsa Taberna for a tasty tapas meal. It can be found just down the street from the Sony Centre for Performing Arts – think Spanish, relaxed and delicious. Be sure to grab a special discount off your food/drink receipt when you show your Sony Centre for Performing Arts ticket before or after your show! A perfect way to stretch your dollar, feed you and your guests and keep the good energy flowing!
When you enter the space at Barsa Taberna, you are immediately filled with the ambiance of Spain. Mosaic tiles, white wood, marble, a lively communal space, cavernous but bleached white stone walls and an aesthetic that is warm, friendly and very inviting. For a space tucked underground – the light and the ambiance is dynamic and wonderful for entertaining.
The design team of +tongtong studio outfitted the restaurant furniture to resemble that of what you would find in tapas bars in Barcelona. Earthy, comfortable and oozing a familiarity where you could keep ordering gorgeous food.
A Sony Centre dining partner, Barsa Taberna’s philosophy is contemporary Spanish cuisine. Its roots in the traditional Spanish Cocina – meaning, tapas to larger plates that include the recipes and ingredients from the Iberian Peninsula. Barsa’s menu is designed to pay tribute to the avant-garde movement of the Nueva Cocina Española in what they call contemporary Spanish gastronomy.
At Barsa, art is not optional. It is in their salt and pepper, think Gaudi, dare Dali and play Picasso. A Sony Centre dining partner, Barsa is housed in a 19th century heritage protected building where internationally acclaimed designer John Tong has recreated the atmosphere of Barcelona, while paying tribute to the City’s culture and immortalized artists.
We started our meal with a large icy pitcher of Cava Sangria. The fruit was literally rammed to the top of the pitcher and the Cava was of top shelf quality. We loved the ingredients of Cava, Torres brandy, mango, raspberries, blueberries and light syrup. I wonder if Barsa Taberna does a bar takeaway? Yummy and really who needs the summer to enjoy Sangria? I encourage you to indulge in a pitcher as you start your meal while you warm up with lovely conversation. Your cheeks will be rosy in no time.
For our starter we commenced with the Ensalada de Betarraga y Petra’s which consisted of lightly picked beets, poached pears, hazelnut praline and whipped goat cheese. The plate was simple but echoed of a refined dessert disguised as an appetizer. The pears are soaked in sangria and burst when they hit the tongue. Think a celebration on a plate. The sweetness of the beet was a lovely contrast to the sangria soaked pear. The hazelnut had the texture of brown sugar and illuminated each morsel.
A simple bonjour to pureed parsley and noted nuts appeared on each plate. They giggled symbolically in unison. They pulled a cohesive story together for the entire meal and provided an honourable nod to Spanish cuisine. We loved the Chef’s Table like presentation and quality as each plate gracefully arrived at our table.
The Ceviche de Vera consisted of scallop with orange, hazelnuts and Merken Chili. This plate was a muted heavy weight. The scallops were beautifully curated on the plate with ample doses of citrus per bite. Epic. The stealth hazelnuts and Merken chili amplified our swooning. A casual affair with the ambiance of an evening in Madrid.
The Trucha Al Pil-Pil consisted of pil-pil oil poached trout with chili, garlic, currants and aioli. The gorgeous trout was prepared so beautifully that it literally sang in our mouths. The other ingredient participants simply provided the symphonic score. Each bite was buttery and quietly resolute.
The Gambas con Ensalada de Cebada consisted of Chile shrimp, Moorish barley salad and walnut romesco. This plate’s story was about elevating the opera of the evening. The Chile shrimp were next level in size, quantity and flavour. The shrimp was so huge that it took up our entire mouths. The walnuts were cooked in paprika and could be just as easily be eaten in a bowl while watching a baseball game in the city. Perhaps, Barsa Taberna is onto something? The Moorish barley never to take second stage ached a generosity perfect for a Sunday afternoon at home with a good book in bed. Each ingredient cumulatively slayed in one final stomp.
The Robalo a la Parilla was a whole grilled seabass – chick pea hummus, pequillo peppers, sun-dried olives and roasted garlic. This plate was another winner. Think robust flavours, righteous and royal. For a rainy night in Toronto the sea bass filled our bellies and hearts in goodness, laughter and smiles. The fish was top grade, flakey and sweet. The roasted chick peas deserved a plate all on its own. The hummus was fluffy and provided a perfect bed to comfort the fish.
We were advised by the culinary artistic, Chef Andres Salomon, to come back and visit him in August and September when his pick of the best fruit and vegetables will be at its peak in the city. Picture a wonderful show at the Sony Centre and then be transported to an evening in Spain with top grade ingredients for your body and tapas dishes for the soul care of Barsa Taberna.