Tapagria Spanish Tapas Restaurant (Thornhill)

Dinner at Tapagria Spanish Tapas Restaurant happened on their patio, where they transformed the parking lot as much as possible by covering a section with AstroTurf, a tarp, and string lights. The simple tables weren’t fancy, but the ones found outside at restaurants in Barcelona aren’t either - try to block out the cars and imagine yourself surrounded by the historical architecture of Spain.

Perhaps think of it as being on La Rambla where it’s crowded, hectic, and there’s tons of kitschy things happening on the iconic street. And like a La Rambla restaurant, which is typically geared towards tourists, you’ll find an extensive menu of Spanish favourites at Tapagria: pintxos (small sandwich bites), tapas (different small dishes), larger sharing plates, and paella (a rice popular rice dish that is made to be shared).

While waiting the 45 minutes for a paella, it’s important to get a few small bites to tide the stomach over. The truffle paste and Manchego pintxos ($12) was a strongly flavoured bite with the truffle dominating against the delicate toast and the buttery cheese binding things together. It’s tasty but given its powerful flavour is best eaten last amongst the sandwiches.

Surprisingly, for something that’s cooked in fat the duck confit pintxos ($14) were a little dry. Tapagria puts a dollop of mango chutney on top - a nice pairing with the fowl – but there wasn’t much of the condiment, so it didn’t really hydrate or flavour much. Perhaps a drizzle along with a condensed red wine reduction would help to give this pintxo some pizazz.

I enjoyed the nice creamy texture of the jamon croquettas ($12) but found the varying pieces of ham mixed in them confusing – one bite included diced pieces, so it was almost like having a croquette with sweeter chorizo, while another had pulled pieces. Truthfully, I was expecting slivers of thinly sliced jamon to be ribboned amongst the silky potatoes. Nonetheless, the dish’s flavours were on point.

Still, the paella de Tapagria ($56) was the star of the show. It’s a creation that can’t be rushed as you want to let it sit until there’s a bit of a crust on the bottom. While it wasn’t covered with a lot of ingredients, there was enough shrimp, squid, clams, chorizo, and chicken to go with the shallow flavourful rice. Some reviews claim it’s too salty, but I found it be seasoned nicely and like the hint of chili that makes an appearance. 

The caramel flan ($12) was very thick, possibly from the Spanish recipe incorporating condensed milk compared to the whole milk that’s used in French crème caramel. It feels like you’re eating a cheesecake (without the cheese flavours) that’s covered in a thinned caramel sauce. While not necessarily terrible, I do prefer the delicate crème caramel consistency and will stick with the churros or Spanish toast next time.

The most important part of the meal is to just take your time with it … arguably this may be difficult with the one and a half hour seating limits, but during our dinner wasn’t actually enforced. It’s the conversation over sips of wine and bites of food that really creates the Spanish experience and that is well within your control.  

Overall mark - 7 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Thornhill, Canada
 Address: 230 Commerce Valley Drive East

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - 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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