2016 JOANNE KATES 100 BEST RESTAURANTS

The Spend A Little list represents Joanne’s favourite 50 Toronto restaurants at which two people can eat for under $65 excluding taxes, tip and drinks.

#8 Bar Raval

Bar Raval

Grant van Gameren, of the superb Bar Isabel, opened Raval to mimic the tapas bars of Barcelona. Its look is pure Gaudi, mahogany carved into great swooping curves and cutouts, a triumph of gorgeous whimsy. It’s a bar. You stand. No cutlery save for a tiny fork, mostly finger food — pintxos — small bites either speared on toothpicks or on great bread. Grant is a pickle addict. His crunchy dills and chile-pickled guindilla peppers, jazz spears of melt-in-the-mouth tuna confit. Lightly pickled tender white anchovies play nicely with marinated red peppers on bread. Small clams which are canned as soon as they’re harvested in Spain are the best thing I’ve ever had from a can. Similarly charming and delightful are small chunks of grilled octopus. Raval is open seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. Go for breakfast. Grant’s fresh flaky dulce de leche doughnuts are the sexiest carbs in town. Pintxos like morcilla sausage topped with a fried quail egg make bacon ‘n’ eggs seem antique. Be Catalan!


  • Bar Raval
  • 505 College St., Toronto (map)
  • www.thisisbarraval.com

  • Chef: Grant van Gameren
  • Sous Chef: Ryan Baddeley, Keenan McVey
  • Cuisine: Spanish
  • Cost of dinner for two: $60
  • Hours: Mon. to Sun. 8 a.m. to 2 a.m.
  • Reservations: No
  • Meals served: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Veggie-friendly: Yes
  • Wines available: 30+
  • BYOB?: Yes
  • Corkage fee: $30
  • Patio: Yes
  • Private party area: No
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • CC accepted: Yes
  • Parking: Two parking lots behind building
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