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Food & Drink

What’s on the menu at Baro, King West’s new Latin American compound with a password-protected lounge

By Caroline Aksich| Photography by Caroline Aksich
What's on the menu at Baro, King West's new Latin American compound with a password-protected lounge
And here’s the main-level bar.

Name: Baro Neighbourhood: King West Contact: 485 King St. W., 416-363-8388, barotoronto.com, @barotoronto
Owners: Valdez Group Chef: Steve Gonzales (Valdez)

The food

“If Valdez was Latin street food, then Baro is ‘nuevo Latino’,” says Gonzalez. This translates to a few Valdez favourites (chaufa, chorizo with arepitas) along with new plates like Japanese-flavoured ceviche that’s cured in a ponzu-lime mix and plated with nori, edamame, lotus root and radish. “Don’t call it fusion though—I fucking hate that word,” says Gonzalez. There’s a mix of snack-size and full plates on offer: Think guava chicken wings ($11 for three) and a chicken breast plated with avocado rice, spinach, saffron jus and plantains ($30).

Guacamole, salsa and a basket of mixed root vegetable chips including yucca, purple potato, taro and plantain. $15.
Guacamole, salsa and a basket of mixed root vegetable chips including yucca, purple potato, taro and plantain. $15.

 

Chorizo de Valdez is made with Perth Pork that’s blended with hot paprika and Gonzalez's signature blend of Latino five spice (cumin, coriander, cardamom, clove, black pepper). The links are served with mini arepas. $12.
Chorizo de Valdez is seasoned with hot paprika and Gonzalez’s signature Latino five-spice blend (cumin, coriander, cardamom, clove, black pepper). The links are served with mini arepas. $12.

 

Of the five ceviches on the menu, the Nekkei is the least traditional. Hamachi gets a quick toss in ponzu and lime before being plated with firm tofu, edamame, lotus root, radish and nori. $25.
The Nikkei—hamachi tossed in ponzu and lime, with firm tofu, edamame, lotus root, radish and nori—is one of five ceviches on the menu. $25.

 

A Valdez favourite, the chaufa, has made it onto the Baro menu fully intact. The OG dish combines duck confit, rice, edamame, egg, Anaheim chilies and tobiko. Each order gets mixed table-side in a bibimbap bowl. $25.
The chaufa, a Valdez favourite, lives on at Baro. The dish combines duck confit, rice, edamame, egg, Anaheim chilies and tobiko. Each order is mixed table-side in a bibimbap bowl. $25.

 

The alfajores are made with gluten-free shortbread cookies, dulce de leche and coconut. $6 for three.
The alfajores are made with gluten-free shortbread cookies, dulce de leche and coconut. $6 for three.

 

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Gonzalez, swaddling a tamale.
Gonzalez, swaddling a tamale.
The drinks

An impressive selection of South American spirits (piscos, cachaças and more than 25 bottles of tequila), and a cocktail menu that lists familiar favourites (pisco sours, mojitos, margaritas) with house specialties.  

The Baro Sour mixes two piscos (Gobernador and Pancho Fierro) with passion fruit, guava, raspberry blossom honey, ginger, lime and egg white. The restaurant's name is emblazoned on top using house-made vanilla-almond bitters and a stencil. $15.
The Baro Sour mixes two piscos (Gobernador and Pancho Fierro) with passion fruit, guava, raspberry blossom honey, ginger, lime and egg white. The restaurant’s name is emblazoned on top using house-made vanilla-almond bitters and a stencil. $15.

 

The YYZ is the combination of a Cuba Libre, a Fernet and coke and a Toronto cocktail. The boozy drink combines eight-year-old Bacardi with Fernet Branca and house-made cola syrup. $14.
The YYZ combines 8-year aged Bacardi with Fernet Branca and house-made cola syrup. $14.
The space

The 4,000-square-foot, three-storey textile factory was stripped to its bones and then converted into four separate spaces. The 90-seat dining room takes up the entire ground floor and is decked out in Amazonian foliage with brass and marble accents. Tucked behind the more casual second-floor raw bar is Escobar, an invite-only lounge that requires an ever-changing password for entry. The third and final floor is an event space that can accommodate over 200 guests.

Here's the lobby.
Here’s the lobby.

 

This tunnel leads to the main dining room.
This tunnel leads to the main dining room.

 

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The dining room takes up the main floor.
The dining room takes up the main floor.

 

Quite a few guests will get kitchen-side seating.
Quite a few guests will get kitchen-side seating.

 

And here's the main-level bar.
And here’s the main-level bar.

 

toronto-restaurants-bars-clubs-baro-steve-gonzalez-latin-american-king-west-hallway-mural
The Frida and bird murals were a collaboration between local artists Tisha Myles, Jack Phelps and Rabab Ali.
The Frida Kahlo and bird murals were a collaboration between local artists Tisha Myles, Jack Phelps and Rabab Ali.

 

Here's the raw bar.
Here’s the raw bar.

 

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It has some pretty comfy-looking seating.
It has some pretty comfy-looking seating.

 

And here's Escobar, the password-protected lounge.
And here’s Escobar, the password-protected lounge. Photo by Caroline Aksich

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