If you’re looking to bring a little heat to your BooknBrunch event, look no further than the Caliente spot Barsa Taberna. The stylish Barsa Taberna brings incredible Spanish cuisine and arty Barcelona style to the hip streets of downtown Toronto. Built into a 19th Century heritage building just steps from the St. Lawrence Market, you could easily feel like you’re walking into any tapas bar along Las Ramblas, and it’s the menu that makes this imaginary escapade in Catalonia quite believable.
Presentation, Quality, and Taste
Being a fan of eggs Benedict, I was keen to try the Messi Benedict served with the house chorizo and jamón, and it certainly lived up to my expectations. The egg was perfectly poached, the melt in your mouth jamón serrano a delight, and the sweet smoky flavour of the chorizo was a flavour sensation and all brought together with a delicately spiced hollandaise. Also on offer was patatas bravas, a classic tapas dish of cubed potatoes served with aioli and a rich spicy tomato sauce, with the optional accompaniment of a fried egg. Or you could choose the equally classic tortilla Espanola, made in the traditional way and served with salad and vegetables.
Service and Atmosphere
We were kindly invited to arrive at the restaurant slightly before its usual opening time, allowing them to deal efficiently with a larger group of 25 people. It did, however, mean that we had to create our own atmosphere initially, but this was quickly accomplished after introductions among the newcomers and discussions about the book got underway. We probably should have paired the book to the Spanish theme, and maybe we did inadvertently in that the controversial A House in the Sky – a Memoir, by Amanda Lindhout and Sarah Corbett, generated plenty of discussions and the heated debate equalled and perhaps even exceeded the heat of the food!
That’s the thing about a book club; when you bring together a diverse group of people there is never a shortage of opinions. So yes, it got hot in that restaurant that day and the heat wasn’t generated solely by the fiery delights on offer.
The Bottom Line: 4.5/5 Brookie Stars
Barsa Taberna is a little downtown gem that you don’t come across too often. The reason I dropped a half point is down to the lack of atmosphere during our visit. However, go when service is in full swing and I have no doubt it would be very close to a five.
Be sure to follow Barsa Taberna on Instagram.
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With 30 years of general management experience in the global insurance industry and having lived in 4 countries, Jacqui now spends her time between London and New York where she continues to pursue her passion for writing, food, books and travel.
A Reiki practitioner, yogi and huge animal advocate, her home isn’t complete without a furbaby or three. In addition to being a BooknBrunch contributor, she writes for industry publications.
Favourite book: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
Favourite brunch dish: avocado toast with tomato and chilli