My friend and I have been talking about going out for tapas for a good two months. Finally for a girl’s night I started to research our options in Toronto. After reading blogs and reviews, I chose Patria as the top contender and made the reservation.

Atmosphere: After walking through Patria’s front gates at King St, we found the hidden front entrance. The dining space is gorgeous with high ceilings, contrasting colours and walls of windows. I loved the visibility of the ham slicing station at the bar. We started our evening early and were seated by 6pm before the space filled up, which it quickly did by the time we got our bill around 9pm. When making the reservation, I was advised of a seating limit of two hours and they only had time slots at 6:15 or 9pm. Patria would be a great dinner stop on a night out with it’s prime location next to nightlife.

Service: During our meal we were well tended with water being refilled, dishes cleared quickly and easily ordering additional drinks. With the arrival of each dish was a different server who diligently described the dish in detail. I have to admit though I only understood about 10% of each description. Every server had an accent and with the noise level in the restaurant I ended up smiling and nodding a lot. By 9pm as the standing area around the bar filled up the hosts did start to rush our table to wrap up. Our table was checked on a few times while we chatted instead of settling the bill. I understand the need to maintain reservations, a little more subtlety would’ve been appreciated.

Food: For drinks we ordered a couple of pitchers of the white sangria, which was fruity but not overly sweet. One pitcher is a good portion for 4-5 glasses. Between the five of us, we ordered a fair number of dishes and in general had a great meal. The presentation on each dish was beautiful and the portions just right for a bite.

The menu listed each dish in Spanish with an English description underneath, this meant we ordered some dishes with very little understanding of how the components would be put together. It was a lot of fun to have the dish arrive and be surprised.

We started with the Croquetas de Jamon (traditional ham croquettes & aioli sauce), which had crispy exterior, not oily and soft ham filling. Next was the Pulpo a la gallega (octopus on top of potato slice) off their special menu. I loved the presentation of the dish, the octopus was soft and I liked the light flavours of the olive oil and paprika. We ordered one of their cheeses that’s served with a slice of quince jam and sourdough bread along with the Ensalada Rusa (Spanish potato salad). The dish wasn’t what I expected but I think it’s what we ordered. There wasn’t much potato but I liked the ham and crunchy bread stick things.

The Pimientos Rellenos De Buey (oxtail stuffed picollo peppers) were delicious and the only dish I wish had a bigger serving. With the Pimientos De Padrón (blistered peppers and sea salt) our server warned us that some of the peppers might be very spicy and it would be hit or miss. We only got two spicy ones out of the whole plate and they were delicious. I loved the charred flavour of the peppers. A lot of mayonnaise was involved with the Patatas Bravas Con Huevos Fritos (potatoes and fried egg). The Jamon Serrano (24 month cured salted serrano) was a good drink downer.

We felt the need for some more greens and ordered the Ensalada De Aguacate (avocado salad with butter lettuce). The avocado was perfectly ripe and sliced very thin. My favourite dish of the night was the Paella De Carne Mixta (paella with confit duck leg, braised lamb rib, quince and fresh beans). The rice was infused with all the flavours in the dish, the savoury of the duck and the sweetness of the quince. The lamb was a little lost for me and I couldn’t pick it out. I was scraping the burnt rice off the pan, making sure I didn’t leave a single tasty grain.

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