Bar Reyna is a regal two-storey spot in Yorkville . The menu, from chef Omar Ma, draws inspiration from Mediterranean regions and offers an eclectic selection of table snacks, single bites and shareable entrees. It's also the destination for what might be one of Toronto's most lavish cocktails.
Her Royal Highness ($30) arrives in metallic pineapple tumbler. It's is a three-ounce bevy of vodka and rum scented with saffron and cardamom and sweetened with almond syrup.
Prices are fitting for Yorkville, but the mains seem quite reasonable; a brisket and ribeye burger for $18 isn't too shocking; the medley of shellfish in the Cataplana doesn't disappoint, even at $58.
You might get into real trouble with all the little nibbles and small plates. You're going to want to get the zucchini fritters ($9) and maybe a half dozen oysters ($20).
Sour dough bread dressed with sweet roasted eggplant and pomegranate seeds? Yum. CruditĂŠs with dip ($18) sound refreshing. Tartare ($15)? Yes please.
As if all that's not tempting enough, there are five types of fries to choose from, including grana padano fries with truffle aioli and za'atar-spiced fries with harissa ketchup.
Skip the pulled duck lettuce wraps ($15). The flavours of orange, harissa and amba (spicy mango sauce) are good but this dish is a mess to eat.
The char-grilled octopus ($22) over romesco sauce with fried shishito peppers is more delicate. The tentacles are deliciously crispy on the outside but are still tender on the inside.
I didn't spend much time inside the restaurant, instead I sat on the patio. The decor from Solid Build & Design is more feminine than anything I've seen previously from the studio behind gruff urban bars like Home of the Brave and El Rey . Jewel tones and gold accents fill the room, while ornate pendant lights dangle from the ceiling like jewelry.
That aforementioned patio? It's glorious. The goal is to install a retractable roof over the serene backyard space and it should be all-weather ready by winter.
Photos by Jesse Milns .