Cava Restaurant

I am a very lucky girl. One of my close friends took me to Cava as my Christmas gift. It’s a Spanish restaurant on Yonge St here in Toronto. If you go to the website, you should know that it’s simple and indistinctive presentation is not indicative of the quality of the food.

Now unlike with Italian, my experience with Spanish food is quite limited. (I had a friend from El Salvador whose mother would make paella for me when she came to visit because of all of his Canadian friends, I was the only one who spoke Spanish to her (albeit badly) to try to make her feel more at home.) Paella and chorizo sausage are just about the breadth of my experience in this arena; anything else was purely by accident and not design.

When I walked in, someone immediately took by coat and I was shown to our table. While I waited for my friend to fight her way down Yonge Street traffic, the waiter took my drink order, talked to me about the menu options and even pre-ordered our paella because it takes almost an hour to prepare. That’s right; your food doesn’t sit there waiting for you to ask for it. At Cava, it’s made to order. I’ll come back to that though. Parking was super convenient; there’s a parking garage right behind. I think my one complaint is that even before the place filled up (which happened around 8 pm) it was overly warm in the restaurant.

My friend has been to Cava before, so I was guided by her choices and to a lesser degree we took some advice from our waiter as well. The first thing we had was the charcuteria, which is all about meat. A few chunks of in-house chorizo, a health serving of smooth and creamy foie gras, some thick-cut mortadella and a thinly sliced beef whose name is now escaping me. Served with all this meat were some warm, toasted pieces of bread, a really nice spicy mustard and some hot pickled peppers. It was fantastic. Next up was the eggplant with queso fresco (a semi-soft cheese) and tomatillo sauce. Aside from the paella, this was actually my favourite, and normally I don’t like eggplant at all. I highly recommend it because it’s quite a light dish and the flavours are very well balanced. Scallops is the other dish we had. With cauliflower of all things. It struck me as weird too, but it totally worked. What I enjoyed about this dish is that they didn’t muck around with the scallops too much; instead they let their natural flavour shine through.

Last, and certainly far from least, was the piece de resistance, the paella. This is not a dish for the faint of heart. (And I don’t say that because the prawns were looking at me as I was eating.) The rice was very intensely flavoured. It was a complicated palate, a little spicy but not and it stayed on the tongue even after swallowing. Even to my limited Spanish cuisine exposure, this is definitely a very classically spiced dish. The rice was a perfect foil for the richness of the prawns and chorizo that top the paella. You can’t go to Cava and not order it.

For those who are either concerned with these matters or, like me, would need to budget for them, you can expect to pay around $60-70 per person, which for a celebration seems reasonable to me.

Final verdict? While visiting Spain might be wonderful and certainly appears somewhere on my list of places I’d like to see in my lifetime, a trip to Cava is ultimately more affordable. Try it and be sure to let me know about your experience.


And that’s my foodie 2¢ for today.


~ by leslies2cents on December 22, 2011.

2 Responses to “Cava Restaurant”

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