Cava, Spanish Cuisine
Tucked away in a little strip mall alley on Yonge just north of St. Clair is a delicious Spanish tapas restaurant, Cava.
I found Cava on BlogTO’s list of best Spanish restaurants in the city, but other than that I had no idea what to expect. I will just get this out of the way: it was awesome. The service was fantastic, totally a stand out for me, and the food was incredibly delicious and just different enough that I felt like I was having a real culinary experience. I went last week with my friend Hannah, and I don’t think there is anything that could have made our dining experience better.
Just a note if you would like to eat here, I would recommend making reservations.
I loved the wall our table was up against.
Now that is a creative way to use broken dishes.
Since Cava is a Spanish restaurant, we needed Sangria, a typical beverage in Spain (and Portugal).
Any excuse for sangria, I say.
Cava is a tapas bar, featuring many small dishes that are designed for sharing. Hannah and I started with the pincho of gamay-poached foie gras ($9.50) and pincho of avocado and avruga ($4.50).
Technically the pincho menu items are for one, but we ordered so much food that we just split them. Two highlights right here, both were delicious. The fois gras especially. Who knew duck liver was so tasty? I DID NOT. Would recommend trying both of these.
Next we had the jamon trevelez ($17).
This was the most expensive dish we ordered, and I probably could have done without it. It was good, but basically prosciutto and not exactly what I was expecting (though I don’t know what I was expecting). Don’t get me wrong, we ate the whole thing, but both agreed we would have preferred to spend that $17 on something more interesting. Or something that included bread.
Next we had the grilled oyster mushrooms with pear, rice and pipian ($12).
I really, really liked this dish, though I didn’t think the presentation was the best.
And the fried eggplant with queso fresco, bonito, and tomatillo sauce ($11.50).
AMAZING. So good! There were big chunks of melted cheese on the bottom and they totally made it. I loved this.
And then our favourite server in the entire world, Theran, brought us the venison anticucho with warm red cabbage ($15.50), as a surprise. For free!
He said he just wanted us to try it. I am not exaggerating when I say this was the best venison I have ever eaten in my life. It was tender and juicy and not too gamey. Thank you, Theran!
Next we had the “Supergilda” ($5 each).
Which is…a sardine. I have always avoided sardines and have been pretty confident that I do not like them. But since everything we were eating was so good I figured if I was going to like any sardine, I would like a sardine from Cava. We were in an adventurous mood, so we went for it. It may have been our favourite dish. I still don’t know if I would like a canned sardine, but I sure liked that sardine!
We finished with the duck empanadilla with wild plum ($6 each).
It was a last minute addition for us, but no regrets there. Delish.
And THEN there was dessert. Churros (with chocolate sauce on the side for dipping) and…wait for it…GOAT cheesecake!
Where has goat cheesecake been all my life? Why have I never made this? It was wonderful!
Theran also brought over some squares for us to try.
Because he is the best. We loved that Theran.
Pretty sure he liked us also. Theran is off to France at the end of June, for an undetermined length of time. Just living the dream. I was trying to convince him to start a blog about his French adventures, so I hope he does because he’d have at least one reader. He is truly a big part of why our Cava experience was so great, so you better go there before the end of June if you want him as your server!
Honestly, the service here was better than any other restaurant I can remember. Not even just Theran, I felt like we had a team of staff dedicated to our table. They all went above and beyond.
I would really like to try all the Spanish restaurants in the city, because Spanish food is pure deliciousness, but if I can’t I am so glad we went to Cava! You gotta go!
(If you’re new around here, I am trying to eat at traditional restaurants from every country in the world, but in my home city of Toronto. More info here.)