On the menu at Bar Chica, a new cuisine on King West for Toronto-style tapas
Name: chica bar
Contact: 75 Portland St., 416-479-9779, barchicatoronto.com, @barchicatoronto
Piece: King West
Previously: Bar Buca
Owner: Scale Hospitality Group (Shook, Lapinou) and INK Entertainment (Amal, Akira Back)
Chief: Business executive Ted Corrado (The Drake) and chef Kevin Lee (Noma)
Accessibility: Fully accessible
Those looking to escape to Barcelona even for one night, Chica is not your ticket. This is Toronto tapas: plates rooted in Spanish tradition but reworked with Ontario ingredients and a predilection for flavors from around the world. So if you’re looking to get away from it all and eat your way from playful plates that don’t respect any food coloring book, this is the place. “Since we own Patria down the street, I wanted there to be a real distinction between the two Spanish restaurants,” says Hanif Harji, founder of Scale Hospitality Group. “While Patria does classic, traditional large format, Chica’s small plates aren’t strictly Spanish – they’re innovative, technique-focused and fun.”
There’s an equal emphasis on wine and cocktails at Chica. Oenophiles will revel in the depth of the Spanish bottles on offer. They carry all the expected varieties (tempranillo, garnacha) as well as some less common ones (bobal, listán negro, albariño, hondarrabi zuri). Although the focus is on lesser-known Spanish producers, the selection is complemented by a handful of French and Germanic options. Bottles start at $60.
“We consider Chica to be Patria’s hip younger sister. More adventurous, fun… she stays out later,” says Harji. Designer Danielle Adams (Toronto Beach Club) was commissioned to create a space that was both elegant and relaxed. She achieved this by tearing up the coffee bar out front and transforming the room into a fully upscale dining room.