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Bar Isabel, Toronto » Canada's Top 50 Restaurants List

Bar Isabel, Toronto

BAR ISABEL, Toronto, Ontario

bar isabel toronto

Bar Isabel has become a Toronto favourite in less than a year. (Julia Pelish/Vacay.ca)

Chef/owner: Grant van Gameren
Website: barisabel.comCuisine: Spanish
Telephone: 416-532-2222. Twitter:@BarIsabel797
2015 Rank: 4. 2014 Rank: 2
Price Range: $6-$59; primarily share plates
You Must Order: The Grilled Octopus ($34 for half; $59 for whole).
Need to Know … from Sloan keyboardist Gregory Macdonald: “Still my favourite restaurant in Toronto. Hospitality done right. Knowledgable, friendly staff that makes everyone feel like a VIP. Incredible cocktails. Everyone I've taken here has been blown away. And an awesome interior design.”

Slow Food advocates David Kirkwood and Sarah Crawford say: “A high-energy scene with an old-world vibe. The flavours are big, expressive and balanced. The casual atmosphere belies the extremely high standards of their ingredients and dishes. The food is in the Spanish idiom, and authentic to a degree, but expressed creatively with the kitchen's own sensibility. Technique and precise cooking times are apparent. Hipster-looking servers are very well informed on both the food and wine. The place is equally good for a group chow-down of epic proportions, a foodie 'chef's choice' dinner, a seafood-focused menu, or an all-tapas snack-fest.

Steve Dolinsky of ABC Chicago says: A taste of Spain, and then some. Expert technique and some of the most pristine ingredients, combined with stellar service.”

Kasey Wilson, host of radio’s “Best of Food and Wine Show,” says: This evocative grotto decked out in wood and decorative ornamental floor tiling will captivate your senses, whether with the alluring tapas line-up on the plate, or cocktail, microbrew or wine in a glass.

Ross Munro of PEI Culinary Adventures says: “Great food, great drinks, great people. Most of all, it's all on point. Flavours, service, timing. They make it all work; it’s seamless. Grant van Gameren is a master at technique ... period.”

MasterChef Canada contestant Mike Green says:A classic, always on, outrageously good octopus, arguably Canada's top dog for tapas. I just wish the wine list wasn't so expensive.”

Food writer Mayssam Samaha says: “A lively and fun bar serving a series of Mediterranean-inspired small dishes.”