• Sylvia

Discovering the Distillery District: Madrina Bar y Tapas


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I have lots of love for my city! Torono, T.O., T-Dot, the 416, known more hipply as the 6ix, Toronto is a place of true wonder.


We have skyscrapers, greenery, kindness… what else can you ask for?


Oh yeah! Foods. We have a whole spectrum of great eats in the city.


This is essentially what my welcome speech to Debora sounded like. For those of you who haven’t followed any previous blogs or social media, Debora is my non-blood related sister from Italy. We met five years ago during an exchange program and have been inseparable ever since.


After my many endeavours back to Italy for both school and pleasure, I thought it was about time that she returned the favour and came to visit me instead. Thankfully, she was thinking the same thing! For one whole month we are to reunite in Toronto! Yay!


Obviously, much has changed since the last time Debora was here. So many different restaurants, favourite hangouts, and new spots to see with fresh eyes!


Partly to celebrate Debora’s arrival and partly because I am a very hungry, very curious girl, we headed downtown for a dinner at #MadrinaTO.


Madrina Bar y Tapas is a new Catalan-style tapas bar located in the Distillery District. First impression walking in, it is sooooo trendy!


Funky hand-drawn designs scatter all along rustic brick walls, while hand-painted porcelain tiles line tabletops, transporting the diner into a Spanish wonderland.

Throughout the entire dinner I couldn’t stop finding new conversation pieces based on the eccentric and intriguing décor. Everything is just so funky and one-of-a-kind that you really have got to take a look for yourself.


The staff was also super friendly. Everyone had a cool and effortless vibe about them, which kind of made me want to be friends with them?! Is that weird?


Anyway, no one made us feel like we didn’t belong. Our servers answered all of our questions and were delighted to try and make our experience at Madrina a great one.


Moving on to the menus, both the drink and food menus were quite extensive and versatile.



After much consideration, Debora and I decided to have two white sangrias. Garnished with orange, apple, and watermelon (and almost the size of a small fishbowl!), our sangrias definitely quenched our thirst and got us excited for what was to come!


As for eats, our menu looked a little like this:

  • Gordal Olives (marinated olives)

  • Salchichón Ibérico de Bellota (cured meat)

  • Crab Montaditos (open-faced sandwich)

  • Patatas Bravas (potatoes millefeuille)

  • Tortilla de Patatas

  • Papas Arrugados (blistered baby potatoes with sauces)

  • Mini Empanadillas (cod with honey and truffle)

  • Ibérico Ham Croquetas

  • Oxtail Mini Baguette

  • Crema Catalana (whipped custard with almond and caramel tuille)


I can’t even choose what my most favourite taste of the evening was. Everything was so flavourful and unique. The sheer #artistry involved in each dish is beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. From frying to foam, curing to marinating, blistering to layering, the culinary techniques and genius of the chefs at #MadrinaTO is truly something that diners can expect to marvel at.


I really enjoyed tasting all the different potato dishes, each more unique than the next, varying in texture, seasoning, and accompaniments.


I was also a huge fan of the Mini Empanadillas. The combination of flavours was #simplydecadent. Just a touch of honey and truffle balance cod foam so delicately. Who would think that cod foam would taste so fresh and be so fragrant?



Of course, what is dinner without ending on a sweet note? The Crema Catalana was to die for. Not too sweet and just the right size, this whipped custard and crunchy topping was a perfect end to a perfect night!


Bottom-line, Madrina Bar y Tapas is also reasonable in terms of cost, unlike some other nearby tapas-style restaurants that I’ve dined at. I felt that I ate very well and my bill reflected that. A solid double-dollar-sign kind of dinner.


This is definitely in line to become one of my favourite spots to eat, drink, and enjoy the company of friends.


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So, phase one of my journey to infuse some Toronto culture into Debby has begun! You can follow the rest of our Italo-Canadese adventure in the Firenze Foodie Feat section!



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