Bar Chica acts as a little sister to Patria, embodying a more intimate, young and energetic venue serving Spanish tapas, with an intricate cocktail list.
This is the newest venture for two legendary restaurateurs and CEOs from Toronto, a partnership between Charles Khabouth of INK Entertainment and Hanif Harji who runs Scale Hospitality.
After running Patria, they saw a demand for a spot that served food until the late hours, a place with bite-sized portions that would still fill you up, but not to the extent of a huge dinner.
The atmosphere here is inspired by bars in Barcelona alleyways, where there's a happy balance between alcohol and small plates to keep you going for the rest of the night.
A full-sized open kitchen sits beside the bar in the back of the space serving food until 1:30 a.m. You can smell whatever is cooking, making it feel like you're waiting for dinner at a friend's house before a night out.
To start, we ordered the Croquetas de Jamon Con Trufas ($14.00), an elevated version of a ham croquette that still maintains a crunchy exterior and a soft interior.
Bits of ham are stuffed into a creamy black truffle sauce, with a generous sprinkling of manchego cheese on top.
Cocktails at Chica span between citrus and fruity notes, with a strong alcoholic base across the board.
Take the Te Amo ($17.00) for example: Ketel One vodka, Tio Pepe Fino Sherry, and Yellow Chartreuse make for some strong sipping. But, it balances out with the strawberry and aloe syrup, lemon juice and angostura bitters that peak your taste buds.
This has to be the best-tasting dish we had the entire night. Maiz y Sobrasada ($15.00) has a delicious layering of dried corn chips, smoked corn kernels, and a corn foam cooked down with milk and butter, then topped with scallion oil.
Amazing flavour, and well worth trying if you come here.
Our last plate was the Prucha con Pan ($22.00). A piece of trout is the centre of this dish, which soaks up the mojo rojo sauce and scallion oil that pools at the bottom of the plate.
Mojo rojo is a combination of spicy, rich peppers and a blend of spices, that complements the fish and slivers of pickled pearl onion served with it. Mucho Gusto ($19.00) is Chica's take on a spicy margharita. Leyenda Mezcal and a pepper-infused Cazadores Blanco tequila adds some bitterness to an otherwise fruity combination with watermelon syrup and lemon juice to finish it off.
Bar Chica's exterior has somewhat of a speakeasy aesthetic with dark shaded windows covering the entrance.
You'll have peace of mind knowing the bar is tucked into Portland Street away from the masses of crowds pouring out from King West's nightlife.