With vaccine passports introduced in Ontario, more people feel comfortable dining out in restaurants since other patrons will be double vaccinated. As a result, the main dining room at Baro Restaurant on King Street West, which has been closed for the past year, just reopened. My dining guest and I were invited to a complimentary meal to experience Baro’s Latin cuisine.
We arrived at 6:15 p.m. on a recent Tuesday night, just before fall weather was dramatically ushered in. Was it the warmer weather or the pent-up demand that led to Baro being already busy at an early-week dinner hour? We quickly found out it was the superlative food.
When we arrived, we were offered cocktails or wine. My friend ordered a glass of Chardonnay while I, the teetotaler that I am, ordered an orange juice. Our server then reviewed the menu with us and made a few recommendations. Baro’s Chef Brent Maxwell has created a menu of popular Latin dishes updated to reflect modern cuisine with an emphasis on seafood.
We decided to start with the Scallops Aguachile Ceviche, which featured bay scallops with aji amarillo aguachile, pomelo, grapefruit, valencia orange, cucumber, jalapeno, annatto oil, chili and mint. This was the perfect appetizer to begin our meal because the citrusy, mildly piquant flavours really opened up our palates. The sweetness of the orange and grapefruit was the perfect complement to the slightly briny taste of the scallops.
We chose two hot appetizers: Grande Mac Empanadas and Pulpo a la Plancha (marinated octopus).
I enjoyed the flaky pastry and tasty filling of the empanadas – ground beef, lettuce, American cheese, pickle, onion, and sesame seeds – there was just very little filling in these popular Latin American appetizers.
The marinated octopus with passion fruit lulo, chili oil, potato, crispy quinoa and cilantro was a little chewy, but delicious. There was a definite kick to the sauce so beware if you don’t like things too spicy!
About the music: we both loved the Latin rhythms and I even felt like getting up and dancing Salsa a few times…but, the beats were a little too loud to carry on a conversation without speaking really loudly.
For our mains, my dining partner ordered the Ravioli while I ordered the Catch of the Day, which was grilled seabass.
My dining partner, who is Italian, has had her fair share of pasta! While she enjoyed the ravioli morsels, she thought the sauce could have been thicker. The Porcini and Portabello mushrooms did add a nice pop of flavour!
My grilled seabass completely hit the mark! The fillet was tender and perfectly cooked and served in the most delicious spicy salsa. I could not get enough of this dish! The portion was exceptionally large so you could get away with splitting this item between two people as long as you order a few appetizers!
We ordered a side of Roasted Brussels Sprouts with aji panca (a Peruvian red pepper paste) and soy. These sprouts were perfectly cooked to reveal a nutty flavour and were made more delicious accompanied by their piquant sauce. This side is a must-order dish when visiting Baro.
My dining partner and I both agreed that the food at Baro Restaurant rated a 9 out of 10. If you haven’t visited this popular King Street West restaurant, get thee to Baro asap!
Baro Restaurant, 485 King Street West, 416-363-8388
You might be interested in reading, “Enjoy These Food Festivals in Toronto in Fall 2021“.