If you are the first three guinea pigs, unknown to each other, to start a new series about dining out here for Leaside Life, what better place to choose than where you can order many small dishes?
That’s another way to say tapas bar, known here as Tinto Bar de Tapas, 1581 Bayview.
Our three eaters (you can become one; see the explanation at right) were Lynne Griffin, the actress who spends most of her time in Leaside (see June/14, Must you live here to be a Leasider?), Ken Ramstead, a writer and editor for the Salvation Army, who lives on Leacrest, and Paul Boston, of Randolph Rd., a high-performance business team organizer.
Since the point of ordering many small dishes is to get as many tastes as possible, the three ordered three each and tried every one.
All rated as delicious, but two were favourites.
Griffin: “I like to order shrimp, as I believe it (and most seafood), is a true test of a restaurant’s culinary delicacy. The shrimp were big and juicy, still retaining their delicate flavour, with a spicy garlic sauce for which a second plate of bread was offered for the drippings. That plate went back to the kitchen clean!
“Next I had the dates wrapped in bacon with Fontina cheese snuggled within.
“This dish, as well as the garlic shrimp, were highlights and given a second and third ‘thumbs up’ by my companions, Ken and Paul.”
A second dish was ordered.
Boston: “To be honest, my favourite food of the night was one of my partner’s dishes, garlic shrimp. At first I was thinking it’s just garlic shrimp, simple dish, nothing new to experience here. Boy, was I wrong. The shrimp were some of the freshest I have had in a long time (and I ate lots of shrimp over the holidays), and the garlic sauce gave them a very warm kick. I think I might have even broken into a sweat at the time, which was OK, because it was a very cold night.”
Ramstead: “The unqualified hit was the dates, stuffed with cheese and wrapped with bacon. It was truly exquisite.”
Ramstead did have a sort of disappointment:
“As a beer aficionado, I was disappointed somewhat by the lack of choice – not everyone lives for wine – but I hope that this will improve over time. However, the Estrella Spanish beer I chose amply complemented the meal. As for the wine, the offerings seemed to satisfy my two compatriots.”
The other dishes:
Kale salad was perfectly wilted yet crisp with a generous portion of asiago cheese, corn soup sweet and delicious, calamari stew tender with artichokes, salt and buttered almonds, zesty marinated octopus, and salmon, one of the less spicy dishes but balancing out the other selections, thanks to the chickpeas and tomato sauce.
“While we did wonder about the backgroud music – a mix of ’80s standards – it did serve to complement rather than drown out the table conversation as is common with too many restaurants these days. In short this restaurant more than lived up to our expectation and we awarded it 4 ½ out of five stars.” Ramstead