Introducing: Tinto Bar De Tapas, a bold new addition to Bayview Avenue
Name: Tinto Bar De Tapas
Contact Info: 1581 Bayview Ave., 416-485-1581, tintobardetapas.com
Previously: The Mad Italian Gelato Bar
Owner: Nota Bene alumn Otta Zapotocky, who also owns L’Avenue bistro across the street
Chef: Robert Leonard, who previously worked at Lee and Mildred’s Temple Kitchen
The Food: “Everyone’s calling us Basque, but we’re not,” says owner Otta Zapotocky. He characterizes the food as a mix of French and Spanish, with a dash of Latin American. There are subtle Asian notes, too, like a starter of blistered shishito peppers and a soy-spiked baby octopus dish. Tapas options are divided between hot (chorizo mussels, bacon-wrapped dates, escargot) and cold (ceviche, carpaccio, charcuterie).
The Drinks: Tropical mojitos and caipirinhas, plus by-the-glass sangrias loaded with brandy-drowned fruit. The 34-bottle wine list mainly sticks to Spanish-speaking nations with a few Portuguese and Italian options.
The Place: With its bold colour palate and blaring classic rock, this restaurant is an outlier on the quiet Bayview strip. Diners have to stand up to read the marker-scrawled tapas menu, which is hand-printed on almost every wall of the 35-seat restaurant. Food is prepared in the small open kitchen, which doubles as a bar.