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Restaurants

Patria

Posted by Liora Ipsum / Reviewed on November 8, 2012 / review policy

patria torontoPatria is now officially open to the public after a 2-month-long soft opening that's had food enthusiasts drooling in anticipation since a sneak peak during TIFF. After opening American comfort concept Weslodge Saloon this past summer, owners Hanif Harji and Charles Khabouth are tackling this neighbouring restaurant which aims to offer a taste of regional Spain.

patria torontoUpon entering, it's the bar that makes the first impression, as it prominently showcases an array of house-baked breads, imported cheeses, wines, and beers. Inside the dining room, the Spanish theme is dramatically interpreted by Commute Home with rich colours, eclectic painted antiques, and a fabulous embroidered mosaic from Marlo Onilla of Biography Design.

patria torontoHarji and Khabouth note that Spanish cuisine is not well represented in our city, despite the fact that Restaurant Magazine has crowned Spanish restaurant elBulli nĂºmero uno on its worldwide Top 50 best restaurants list for a record five times. Now, Executive chef Stuart Cameron (also of Weslodge) is ready to showcase what we've been missing by importing the best of the best, straight from the motherland.

patria torontoNaturally, we sample small plates from the tapas bar first, like the Pan Con Tomate ($5), that pairs the simple flavours of fresh tomato and glorious olive oil on house-baked bread, or you can choose to add roughly sliced Serrano ham ($6).

patria torontoNext is the 12 Month Manchego Cheese ($8) paired with sweet quince jam, followed by the savory Pimientos Rellenos De Buey ($12), which highlights the same Manchego cheese, although this time it's grated finely atop piquillo peppers stuffed with braised oxtail.

patria torontoFor me, the stars are bite-sized offerings such as the bacon-wrapped dates, Datiles Con Tocino Iberico ($9), as well as the Pulpo A La Gallegos ($15), featuring Spanish octopus from tonight's seafood menu (note: it changes daily) and potato in a smoky paprika olive oil.

patria torontoFor heartier appetites, there are rich pasta dishes suitable for sharing such as the squid-ink-dyed Fideos Negros Con Chocos ($18) and the Fideos Con Almejas Y Chorizo ($16), made with Fideo pasta (an imported short angel hair variety) tossed with clams, diced chorizo, and topped with a creamy aioli that's meant to be stirred in at the table.

patria torontoIn true Spanish fashion, there are also several rice dishes to be shared, like the Paella De Conejo Alcachofas ($45) with chunks of tender rabbit, artichoke, Serrano ham, and green beans.

patria torontoThough desserts like the Leche Frita Con Helado De Azafran ($6) are tempting, we are too stuffed to even consider it. For my next visit, I've already made note to bring more friends and sample more plates, but for now I am leaving exactly as Patria intends: with a full belly and warm heart.

patria torontoPhotos by Jesse Milns

Discussion

33 Comments

rick / November 8, 2012 at 01:56 pm
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Khabouth for MAYOR!
Ken / November 8, 2012 at 02:21 pm
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How does the food taste? How does it compare to the dishes at Cava? elBulli, while physically in Spain, wasn't really "Spanish" cuisine.
The mancheego cheese dish sounds like it's taking a stab at Alinea's mancheego dish.
Igor Kenk / November 8, 2012 at 03:20 pm
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Did you pay for your meal or were you comped?
Max / November 8, 2012 at 03:27 pm
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It's genuinely really good. It's a larger place than Cava - it feels less like a chef-owner place, obviously. And some folks will use that, I think, as a reason to suggest it's "less authentic." it's bigger than cava, with a much grander scale. in terms of flavours, they do compare well. small plates, interesting items, imported products as needed. I really recommend it. full disclosure, I know people who are involved with it but Ihave eaten there three times and was happy every time.
rick mcginnis / November 8, 2012 at 04:01 pm
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It looks nice, but the real joy of eating tapas in Spain is that you can get it anywhere, and it's cheap. Literally every bar has a selection, from a few bits of cheese and olives to fantastic great displays, but they're generally just a buck or two a plate. Pan tomaquette for $5 is a bit much - it's literally just good bread rubbed with a ripe tomato and a pinch of salt.
shane / November 8, 2012 at 04:05 pm
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Is this an advert or a review? There seems to be virtually no analysis of the tast of the food, which is striking odd for a review. To me, this looks like an advert rather than a review. Was the meal paid for? This is a very odd resto. review, and to me, seems like a paid advert. Could we have some disclosure here? If my suspicisons are correct, this is not the way to do things. We need critical commentary in a review, or, please clearly stte that this is a paid advert. Disclosure is required.

Thanks
shane / November 8, 2012 at 04:06 pm
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wow, that thing i wrote above is packed with typos....please forgive them language scholars...
V / November 8, 2012 at 04:37 pm
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I am a huge fan of Spanish cuisine having eaten at Spanish restaurants not only in Toronto but around the world and was at first very skeptical. Despite my skepticism, I still opted to check it out opening night and was blown away by the quality and taste of the food and the fact that the service was impeccable (something that is almost unheard of at TO hot spots). The chick pea tapas dish is full of flavour, Pan con Tomate brought back memories of being in the Spanish countryside and the cheese & wine selection made me giddy. My only complaint is that I wish I could have eaten more.
weird / November 8, 2012 at 08:53 pm
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Is this another commercial?
Andy2466 / November 8, 2012 at 09:30 pm
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Elbulli is a Catalan restaurant, not Spanish. And some of the dishes like bread with tomato (pa amb tomàquet) are Catalan.
Alexandra / November 8, 2012 at 10:23 pm
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I agree with commenter above. It always makes a restaurant sound ignorant of the different cutures that make up federal Spain. "Pa amb Tomaquet" is a Catalan table tradition and sounds golbalized for the worse when said in Spanish-language translation: "Pan con Tomate". It's like having 'FriesWithCheeseGravy' at a Canadian Restaurant in Madrid. If you are going to include quintessential Quebeqois food, don't translate it into the other national language or you sound inauthentic / moronic. Get it? And it's true- Ferran Adria and el Bulli aren't really Spanish. Decidedly Catalan in a time of great nationalist momentum.

I love Spanish food though! Happy to see it! Just do some basic research before making the menu thanks. I hate mediocrity. Xox. Love, alex.
MD / November 8, 2012 at 11:30 pm
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Andy2466 and Alexandra, I can imagine that both of you guys are from Cataluña but listen, at least for the moment Ferran Adria, el bulli and Cataluña...are SPANISH!!!
Chino / November 8, 2012 at 11:31 pm
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Toronto's take on Spanish food, even Mexican food, is disappointing. Will likely be a couple of months before I go here, but let's hope that by then they have their sh1t together.
ab / November 8, 2012 at 11:55 pm
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I am from Spain, I moved 3 years ago to T.O. and I go back home very often. I am sorry, but there is no such a thing as paella with serrano ham or the chorizo dish shown in this post in Spain. I don't know about the quality of this restaurant, what it sounds to me it's another restaurant trying to sell as a Spanish restaurant but half of the courses don't even exists in Spain.
Also,one slice of cheese and little of "membrillo" 8$!?!? Are we nuts!!!
Anyway,hope the food is good and glad that somebody is thinking about bringing food from Spain,because there are many organic and amazing products worth to give a try!
mafalda / November 9, 2012 at 09:07 am
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I concur with MD, being myself Basque and very proud of it.. I am very proud to say that the Basque region is in Spain.. therefore I am Spanish... to all of you Catalans ... do not ever forget that. What makes me proud of being Spanish is the diversity that Cataluña, Castilla, Valencia, Andalucia, Galicia, Cantabria, Euskadi, Navarra, Murcia, Asturias, Aragon, Madrid, La Rioja, all of the beautiful Islands ... brings to Spain... How lucky and fortunate can we be?
alex / November 9, 2012 at 09:55 am
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These guys don't have a website?

Unfortunately, unless Toronto gets a large influx of immigrants from spain, spanish food will be confined to the realm of high-priced themed restaurants like this one.

Maybe the crappy spanish economy will urge some spaniards to move here, canada should set up an immigration office in madrid or something.
notbasque replying to a comment from mafalda / November 9, 2012 at 02:59 pm
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I know many Basques and all of them would rather cut their tongues out than utter the phrase "I am Spanish". I don't know what type of Basque you think you are,but it is not the real type.

Also blog to does not claim that this is a "review" so quit your typical Torontonian complaining.
mafalda replying to a comment from notbasque / November 9, 2012 at 03:33 pm
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Sorry, did you say that you were Basque or Spanish? Just because one doesn't believe in the Basque political movement, doesn't mean that they are not 'truly' Basque. My family fought in the Civil war in Spain, fought for their right of language and religion .. fought for the right of choice ...
Joe Mama / November 9, 2012 at 10:57 pm
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$15 for 7 bites of Octopus? That's ridiculous...Looks like I'll be carrying on the tradition of never setting foot in a Charles Khabouth Restaurant.
MD replying to a comment from notbasque / November 10, 2012 at 11:43 am
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Notbasque,are you spanish? Because obviusly you don't have a clue about spanish people. I'm spanish, not basque but I have A LOT of basques friends and ALL of them are very proud of being spanish and basques like mafalda, not everybody believe in the independence...I don't know what kind of friends do you have but probably they are not the real type. So I repeat for you and the catalans guys, Cataluña, Pais Vasco, Ferran Adria, El bulli, pa amb tomaquet...all this things are basques/catalans but also spanish!
Rebecca / November 14, 2012 at 01:39 am
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In short: Patria was fantastic.

The tapas was delicious. Everything was so rich in flavors! Not to mention an amazing pairing of many difference ingredients to create a whole new taste I've never had.

The service was perfect. The staff not only had a passion for guest service but of the quality of their food.

The over all cost was also quite reasonable. I went with 3 others and in the end we spent $50 per person which included all our food, bottle of wine, dessert, and tip.

I can't wait to go back!
El loco / November 15, 2012 at 11:31 am
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To all the snobby Spaniards posting here, take a chill pill and relax!

I know you all think Spain is the centre of the universe and the food down there is the best of the world and that everything in Canada sucks but of course we don't expect a Spanish restaurant to be "the real deal spanish" restaurant here in Toronto and we it's never going to taste exactly the same as your mother land but I've been to this place and it's fuckin good. I'm Mexican and I don't expect every taco in the world to taste like they do down in Mexico so chill the fuck down and enjoy all the great restaurants we have in the city and stop complaining if paella is suppose to have chorizo or chicken or noodles or whatever.
jigga replying to a comment from El loco / November 16, 2012 at 08:40 pm
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+1,

If they really want authentic spanish food, MOVE BACK!. Accept the fact, at least they made a good attempt...not perfect, but still.
FoodieForLife / December 19, 2012 at 12:27 pm
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I love everyone's passion! So what we don't agree at least there's a conversation happening! But we shouldn't be know-it-all's if we don't know what we're talking about.

... and insider FYI - Kabouth is a partner in the project for financing. Hanif Harji (blowfish, colborne lane, nyood, kultura, etc) was the concept, menu, design creator
Al replying to a comment from jigga / January 4, 2013 at 05:54 pm
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I'm Spanish and I can even admit that sometime Spaniards get carried away with authentic this and authentic that, but let me make a clear distinction for you. You say you don't give a fuck if a taco is exactly the way it is done in Mexico. True, but you also don't get charged $45 for one. My point is that Spaniards tend to come down harder on some of these so called Spanish restaurants since they take the whole Spanish tapas thing and really go over board with charging many times $15 for 2 or 3 gambas. I would be perfectly fine paying average prices for Spanish paella or tapas that is not that authentic. However most Toronto restaurants for Spanish food and it's not even up to par at times. That's why Spaniards get a little pissed about it.
Al replying to a comment from notbasque / January 4, 2013 at 05:57 pm
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So you have to be a ETA to be a real Basque? Moron.
Megan / February 10, 2013 at 02:41 am
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I just had one of the best meals of my life at this place...the food was insanely tastety! The service was superb, and the atmosphere was everything I ever wanted for a Saturday night out...warm, cozy, and comfortable :) can't wait to go back...keep up the A++ business, you guys are fantastic!!! :) :)
Jhustyn / February 11, 2013 at 12:17 am
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What is the dress attire for this place? is a dressy or a casual type place ?
Alex / February 15, 2013 at 11:40 pm
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Remember that Spain and its culture are one of the European meticulous ones. In terms of food, it's the preparation, quality and freshness of ingredients, and the level of authenticity. Their culture and food are art, even if casual. So expect some harsh or critical tones whenever it's about the cuisine, especially done outside of Spain. And yes, the takes on it outside of Spain are either overdone or overpriced. Pride of culture and quality quality quality, that's one thing North Americans lack and that they don't understand latin people, culture and their mentalities. Sometimes this lack of understanding or lack of relation spills into political and economic issues, and social issues. And some food for thought, Basques (basque region) is found at the northern Spain and southern France area, so there are Basques in Southern France as well.
Ana replying to a comment from Andy2466 / September 13, 2013 at 06:43 am
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Barcelona is part of SPain, and always will be.
Ana replying to a comment from Andy2466 / September 13, 2013 at 06:44 am
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BArcelona is part of Spain and always will be.lol
Ana replying to a comment from Andy2466 / September 13, 2013 at 06:45 am
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Barcelona is part of SPain and always will be.lol
Vito replying to a comment from El loco / March 22, 2014 at 06:23 pm
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As usual, here is a Mexican talking shit about Spanish people whenever they see a chance... Please Mexicans, get over what happened between the Spanish Crown and Mexico around 500 years ago and GET A LIFE! Spanish people critizise the fact that in Toronto Spanish restaurants overcharge for low quality Spanish food. They clearly ripp people off and don't even serve quality Spanish food. That is what bother us the most. That and that many times they call a "Spanish" dish to something that is not Spanish at all.

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