A Chef Anthony Walsh creation, Leña pays homage to his Argentinean mother-in-law, Elena, from whom he has drawn great culinary inspiration, and embodies what he experiences in her kitchen – a passionate food philosophy that brings people together.
Imaginative yet rooted in tradition, Leña’s cuisine showcases the vibrant essence of South American cooking, with unique Spanish and Italian influences. It, along with stylish design, warm character and lively tunes, promotes a “live to eat” ethos and fosters a convivial spirit at the table. Above all, Leña celebrates authentic, flavourful food and drink, enjoyed amongst old and new friends.
Tucked inside the first level of Sak’s at the Hudson’s Bay on Yonge Street, Leña is full on swoon worthy. Think European decor, delicious drinks, shareable plates and eats that will make you feel like you have been transported to Argentina for some authentic familia cooking.
The wallpaper found on the bottom floor of the space and inside the menu is dark navy with animals of every type strewn about, is a stand out motif in the space, vintage paintings and portraits hang by the doorway, stain glass windows that echo art deco, a luxe bar that could be used in period film and a marble floor that you will want to take home with you. Leña will make you catch your breath. It’s a stunner.
We started off with the Salt Cod Fritters which came with caper & dill crema. Delicious and perfect with a cocktail in tow. Warm, toasty and genuine.
The Broken Avocado Salad followed with kohlrabi, toasted pepitas, smoked paprika & orange vinaigrette is a must. Although we shared this plate in anticipation for our main, it could have been eaten solo. Simple, fresh and the avocados as usual stole the show. Top grade in quality and refinement.
For our main we savoured the 8 oz grilled ribeye, shaved cucumber, piquillo pepper, pickled red onion salad, with a made in house lemon vinaigrette (parsley, mint, coriander) and a green tomato compote with sherry vinegars and cloves. Robust, flavourful and infused with so much delight we were hard pressed to dig into dessert even after a brief respite.
For dessert we tucked into a Torta De Queso, burnt cheesecake, candied lemon. It was creamy and the perfect mix of decadent and refreshing. Order a milky tea on the side for a little extra celebration.
The architecture of the space is worth dwelling upon whilst you dine. Breathe it in. Argentinean, clean and a nice refuge from shopping or a lunch break from the hustle and bustle of the downtown artery – we will visit Leña again. Tourists and visitors will enjoy the overall experience. Leña is brimming with a Canadian kindness, hand to mouth service and a genuine respect for creating and delivering cuisine that will not only fill one’s belly but one’s heart.