Foodservice Friday: LaVinia restaurant

Friday, November 20, 2015
I'm fortunate to be part of a group of friends that celebrates our birthdays together. And when my turn came around earlier this month, they showed how well they knew me by choosing the ideal place to celebrate. Not only do I love trying new restaurants, tapas-style eating is one of my favourites, with share plates where we all try a little of everything.

"Tapas-style" is a phrase that gets used a lot, but in the case of LaVinia restaurant, it couldn't have been more authentic. The restaurant's spiritual inspiration is Madrid, the true home of tapas. And LaVinia was the real deal - from the crab croquettes to the Paella Valenciana to the mango cheesecake, every dish we ordered was full of flavour, and beautifully presented.

Photo courtesy of LaVinia
When I contacted chef Fernando, he said the inspiration behind LaVinia was to provide an authentic experience of Spain, and specifically of Madrid - not just with the food, but through every ingredient, the wine, and the service. He's been with many Michelin star restaurants, and has cooked beside Juan Marie Arzak, Adolfo (of Toledo, Spain), and Ferran Adria. Yes, that would be the great Ferran Adria of elBulli, often called the best restaurant in the world. So now I'm one degree of separation from Ferran Adria. The mind reels.

I think the measure of a great cook is his or her ability to prepare a really simple dish, and that was the case here. My favourite part of the meal was the plate of mushrooms sautéed in garlic and olive oil - simple, elegant, and exquisite. Don't just take my word for it, try it - and anything else on the menu!
Photo courtesy of LaVinia

2350 Lakeshore Blvd. West
(647) 748-2350

(All opinions are my own, and I received no compensation for this post.)


Angie's Recipes said...

wow that paella looks really great and I do want to try their mango cheesecake!!

Unknown said...

Oh, boy, lucky you! It sounds like you had a terrific celebration---and I'd be all over those mushrooms, too :)

Unknown said...

Happy belated birthday! It's so nice you got to celebrate with your friends and at such a great restaurant.

lisa is cooking said...

Happy Birthday! Sounds like a delicious lunch. The paella looks fantastic.

Cheri Savory Spoon said...

Happy Birthday Beth, looks like a wonderful restaurant.

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

I know I would enjoy the restaurant…it sounds perfect for a gathering of friends. May you have many more happy birthdays with them.

Monica said...

What a great way to celebrate your birthday - at a wonderful restaurant, among good friends! That paella sure looks amazing. Tapas in general is such a lovely way to eat with good buddies.

Unknown said...

What a nice way to spend your birthday, lovely that you always celebrate together. I love tapas.

Julie said...

We have a favorite tapas restaurant in town and they serve paella. We always end up filling up on the tapas. So fun to celebrate birthdays with a group!

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