By: Natalia Dziubaniwsky
It can be easy to run out of date night ideas. If you’re looking for a romantic spot that’s cozy and atmospheric, then Bar Reyna Cocktail and Snack Bar might just fit the bill. Located in a two-storey house in Yorkville, Bar Reyna serves a diverse menu of sharable plates which explore different regions of the Mediterranean.
Their newly launched Thursday Jazz Nights up the romance ante. Ask for a seat in their private year-round back patio; recently listed as one of the best new patios by NOW Magazine.
Fitted with cushy pillows, hanging lights and table lanterns, it’s the perfect place for you and your plus one to enjoy each others company and share a meal, all while listening to a smooth serenade by local musician Jessica Rose.
If you come hungry, most guests order between 5-6 plates; selecting a mix of light bites, table snacks and entrees. While deciding on what plates to order, make sure to also spend some time reviewing their cocktail menu. I wanted to order one of everything, but just like love, that could be reckless.
They have a classic cocktail list, along with a list of their own unique creations called Reyna’s Libations. The names of their libations are just as fun to read as they are to sip.
I opted for their spin on the classic Old Fashioned; Romeo’s Revenge with Lot 40 rye, yellow chartreuse, cynar and vanilla bitters topped with fresh lemon zest ($16). It’s an expensive cocktail, but oh so smooth! I sipped this one all evening.
On to food.
We started off with the stuffed falafel (smoked hummus, mint zhoug, house pickles – $7) and zucchini fritters with roasted tomato aioli ($8). Both were really tasty, I especially loved the mint spread that came with the falafel, it is so darn good.
Just keep in mind that these are small plates, so might have to order a few with a group.
Then came a choice of Reyna’s Fries ($10). This was a hard decision. There are 5 types to choose from – Greek, Arabic, Portuguese, Spanish or Italian. We settled on the Greek fries topped with oregano, shaved feta, olive oil, lemon and feta dip.
A nice basket of shoestring fries, these were gobbled up quite quickly. I would have like the fries to be a tad bit crispier, but had no problem enjoying these.
Lebanese Tacos ($15) – Two house-made flatbreads, spiced chicken, garlic mayo, pickles, tomato salsa and crispy onions. These were really tasty and stuffed with just the right amount of toppings to avoid any messy spills that so often comes with eating tacos.
The flatbread was a nice size and thickness. Thin enough not to take away from the flavours, but sturdy enough to keep everything nicely tucked in.
Chargrilled Octopus ($22) with romesco sauce, fried shishito peppers and capers. The cook on this octopus is probably the best I’ve had. The meat was so soft with a light crisp on the outside. The char gives it a nice smoked flavour.
The evening was finished off with a Caramel Puff dessert; a caramel filled phyllo pastry topped with a nice scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.
Jazz Night takes place every Thursday from 8-10pm. Bar Reyna also serves brunch on weekends. Visit them at 158 Cumberland Street, Toronto.
— Natalia Dziubaniwsky