A tasty trend has taken Toronto’s Little Italy by storm: tapas-style dining. Whether it’s a mouthwatering board of shareable charcuterie or a curated collection of small tasting plates, Little Italy Toronto is the perfect neighbourhood to sample some of the best international foods the city has to offer. And don’t you dare leave before you’ve had dessert!
There are more than enough eateries to choose from in Little Italy Toronto, but some stand out as exceptional. A new local favourite for its Barcelona-inspired atmosphere is Bar Raval, a Spanish restaurant offering up excellent tapas ideal for sharing with one or 10 of your friends. As soon as you enter, you’re struck by the decor. Smooth dark mahogany winds its way around the space in undulating waves. Bar Raval is as much an architectural marvel as a place for dinner, and you have a hard time not ordering everything on the menu (so you can stay a little longer). Start with freshly baked bread and olives and work your way up to rich, satisfying dishes like Galician octopus, served in giant juicy chunks—and don’t miss the foie gras with cherry and sherry vinegar, a perfect balance of creamy, salty, and sharp. The atmosphere is consistently full, friendly, and chatty, making it an authentic spot for a proper Spanish experience.
What’s the perfect accompaniment for small sharing plates? It’s creative cocktails, of course. And Little Italy Toronto has a wealth to choose from. Head to Bar Isabel, another spot with an irresistibly warm atmosphere, before, after, or even between courses. If you’re daring enough, ask for the “dealer’s choice” and let the bartender make you a totally personalized drink. Allow yourself to be wooed by the sultry dim red glow of the restaurant’s interior—the perfect backdrop for some evocative tipples with names like “…A Woman Scorned,” which is made with bourbon, Amaro Averna, Campari, a cinnamon-clove tincture, bitters, orange zest, and something called “Deathwish Syrup.” There’s plenty on offer in terms of tapas here, too. Order the cheese and the meat plates to try a selection of the restaurant’s best—an ideal pairing for your heady cocktails.
Since tapas seem to be the order of the night, why not do dessert the same way, too? Starting from Trinity Bellwoods Park, Tasty Tours‘ chocolate tour lets you sample the best desserts in the area while learning about the history of chocolate. You even get to chat with store owners about how they create their sweet treats, and buy goodie bags to take home with you.
After a day of decadent food and drink, you find many locals sitting, lying, and “walking it off” through lush green Trinity Bellwoods Park—a lovely oasis in the heart of the city. You and your friends might have a hard time deciding what the best course of action is, but you really can’t go wrong with any option.