la bartola toronto

Toronto restaurant pauses all operations because of new lockdown

Toronto Mexican restaurant La Bartola has temporarily closed, its owner saying the latest province-issued stay-at-home order forced his hand.

Chef Ivan Castro, who opened his restaurant in Little Italy last summer, announced that this Sunday would be La Bartola's last day of service for a while. 

"We put everything on the line to bring our culture and share it with the beautiful community we've had the pleasure to serve," said Castro in his post. 

"But we also acknowledge that we've taken a beating, and this last uppercut has been financially, physically and emotionally crippling." 

La Bartola arrived at 588 College St. eight months ago, where Castro has been serving meat-free tostadas, sikil pak and cocktails. 

la bartola toronto

La Bartola first opened last summer when patio dining was permitted. Photo by Fareen Karim.

There have been a few months of patio season, including an abrupt announcement that allowed outdoor dining in mid-March, but few people have actually been able to dine inside the colourful restaurant, which Castro designed as an ode to Mexican women.

"We know we're strong, our team (our family) is fantastic, and we'll rise back up," Castro said in the same post. "But we need to retreat for a minute and tend to our wounds to come back stronger." 

La Bartola will stay closed until this current lockdown is over, at least.

Lead photo by

Fareen Karim

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