Patria (Toronto)

Location: Toronto, Canada
Address: 478 King Street West
Type of Meal: Dinner

Patria is hidden away amongst a condo building making the environment eerily calm. Look for a wall with a decorative "478” on it and turn into the roundabout driveway to avoid missing the place. 

The surroundings is not Barcelona with its bustling streets and daintily furnished dining rooms; Patria is large and stunning with high ceilings and carefully strung cleavers. But, there’s also a warmth to the restaurant – both in terms of décor and service. Thankfully, music also plays at a reasonable level to allow conversations to flourish across the table.

Since the paella is freshly made, we started with some tapas to wait out the 45 minutes. The seleccion de embutidos ($16) was promising containing four thinly sliced meats: iberico lomo (dry cured pork loin), iberico chorizo (a spicy sausage), jamon Serrano (dry cured ham) and macron salami (a fattier sausage cut). It was a thoughtfully curated charcuterie board with pork of different flavours and fattiness. I tend to like the leaner cuts where the meat’s flavour is more pronounced so the iberico lomo and jamon Serrano were the highlights for me.

Patria meat platter

Be sure to get a side of toasted bread ($2) which is wonderfully flavoured with a liberal douse of olive oil and salt. The bread lover in me rejoices and wanted a second helping; but then memories of the paella returns so I curb my enthusiasm.

Patria bread

The croquetas de manchego ($8) appeared to be a popular dish order amongst many tables. It was creamier and lighter than expected, reminding me of well mashed potatoes mixed with hints of cheese. It was okay, but could have been hotter.

Patria croquetas

After a precise 45 minutes, the hot pan of paella del patria ($49) arrives. Mixed throughout was a liberal portion of seafood - bay scallops, shrimp, mussel, cuttlefish and monkfish. For me, with the exception of the shrimp, everything could have been cooked less as I found the seafood overdone. But, the rice was creamy and flavourful having soaked up the seafood juices, tomato and saffron. 

Patria paella

My suggestion is to be patient and wait five minutes before digging into the paella. The first bites were decent, but the later ones even better after the rice had a chance to settle down and develop a crust on the bottom.

Patria also has an enticing dessert menu. We couldn’t help but order the leche frita con helado de azafran ($7), cubes of silky fried milk encased in a crispy coating. The saffron ice cream was a highlight adding an element of savouriness to the dish, bringing back the seafood flavours of the rice we just had. The sweet drizzles of thick honey and floral petals tied everything together so nicely. This is a dessert I highly recommend ordering.

Patria fried milk

I had my doubts about Patria, worried it’d be another restaurant known more for its atmosphere than food. But, I was proven wrong. The food was delightful, the service was friendly and yes the atmosphere one to behold. All in all, a wonderful experience. 

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

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