Cava Restaurant Toronto

Though a lot of patrons were sad to see the haute spot Avalon close down after its very successful stint that lasted over a decade, Chef Chris McDonald seems to have moved on to better things in life. In an arcade mall located just off Yonge Street and north of St. Clair he has opened an extraordinary restaurant, Cava. In this restaurant, McDonald has departed from his usual style and offers his patrons a selection of simple, tapas-inspired small plates that emphasize on Spanish and Mexican accents. It created such a stir on its opening that it earned itself the “Best New Restaurant” votes in Toronto Life Magazine 2007.

Though the restaurant is a little hard to find, it’s well worth putting in the effort to locate it. And once you reach the mall, you might be a little dampened by the lack of cheer and life of this practically forgotten place, but in the last few years, Cava seems to have changed all of that. Even though the restaurant isn’t as large as you would like to be, that doesn’t stop people from descending in hoards to book a table for themselves. It would be well to book your table in advance, since it is very difficult to find a spot in peak hours. Sometimes, you may have to book almost a week in advance, but the wait only increases your anticipation of the good things to come.

As you enter the restaurant, you notice that the décor has been kept to a bare minimal and simplicity is the keyword here. In fact, it seems that the walls have been studiously under decorated, probably to draw your attention to the bar. The seating is traditional table style and can accommodate up to 50. The menu changes seasonally and wine lovers can choose from a collection of over 20 wines that are offered by the glass as well. The service is attentive and waiters are always at hand to help you in your selection of food and wine.

So, once you are here, what do you try? Practically everything in the menu is a revelation and if there was a way you could sit here and eat from morning to night, we’d recommend you try everything on the menu. The recommendation still stands, only you will have to make multiple trips back to the restaurant; which, undoubtedly you will, once you’ve tasted the forbidden fruit!

Some of the dishes to try are crisp-fried Japanese eggplant paired with fresh cheese, honey and a tangy tomatillo sauce, the Cava charcuterie with Genoese salami, chunky spicy chorizo, a purple duck bresaola (air-dried) and foie gras, the amazingly juicy venison on a skewer served on a bed of crunchy red cabbage, the thick and satisfying black bean and oxtail soup and Jamon Serrano, a large plate of roughly hand-sliced, cured pig.

On your way out, don’t forget to grab a sweet from Xococava, McDonald’s chocolate shop right next door. They are absolutely out of this world, as is the entire dining experience at Cava.

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