I don’t often gush about a restaurant but it has to be said that Patria cannot help but be a huge hit. Where do I begin? Patria was suggested by one of our group as our next restaurant destination to celebrate the upcoming holiday season. Half of us had been to Spain this year and the other half in the past, so what better place to meet, reminisce about our trips and enjoy some great tapas?
Located at 478 King Street West, Patria serves authentic Spanish cuisine and has been getting a lot of buzz with good reason. They originally had a soft opening to introduce the restaurant during TIFF but are now officially open and getting rave reviews. They have gone the distance to make Patria authentically Spanish by importing certain ingredients and decorating the room in Latin Chic. It’s a bit noisy and can easily be missed from the street as it is tucked away down an alley next to Weslodge and does not have noticeable signage, but the staff is very attentive, knowledgeable and the food is excellent.
Between the five of us we ordered a wide selection of tapas that were simply delectable.
I could not get enough Croquetas when I was in Barcelona and the Croquetas de Jamon (traditional ham croquettes with aioli) and the Croquetas de Manchego (leek & Manchego croquettes with aioli) did not disappoint. Their perfectly fried crispy exteriors cuddled soft creamy interiors that are simply heaven and brought me back to Spain as I sipped my Sangria.
My new favourite are the Datiles Con Tocino Iberico (dates filled with Manchego cheese & quindillas then wrapped in Iberico bacon). These bite sized treats are bursting with perfectly complex flavours and are melt-in-your-mouth amazing.
The Pimientos de Padron (blistered peppers with sea salt) are a tasty compliment to everything. When you order a dish of these delectable peppers you are playing Russian roulette with the heat factor. You never know if you are going to get the sweet one or the one that will, to quote a friend, “make your eardrums sweat”.
Papata Bravas Con Huevos Fritos (crisp potato cubes & spicy tomato with a fried egg on top). Pierce the yolk and mix it into the potatoes for a wonderfully buttery flavoured dish.
The seafood is not a constant as they import it in either from Spain or Florida so you never know what will be available on the menu the day you arrive.
I am not a fan of octopus but their Pulpo a la Gallegos (octopus on sliced potato fingerlings in a smoky paprika olive oil) has converted me. At least I will be enjoying it at Patria if nowhere else.
We also had the Calamari a la Planca and Gambas Al Ajillo (shrimp sautéed with garlic, lemon and parsley) as well as the crispy grilled-to perfection pickerel special of the day and cod baked in a sea salt crust. All incredibly moist and tasty.
To finish our meal we had the Secreto Iberico con Pimientos Del Piquillio y Mermelada (Iberico flank steak with piquillio pepper jam). Absolutely outstanding, incredibly tender slices of flank steak on a sea of red pepper jam.
After all of that, we were so stuffed that we didn’t even get to the dessert or cheese selections. If you go for their paella, the staff will inform you that you should expect to wait at least 30-45 minutes so that the flavours have a chance to blend and absorb into the rice.
I will definitely be returning to try more dishes and will have my camera ready for photo ops.