Welcome to Embrujo, the least Greek restaurant on the Danforth strip. Embrujo Flamenco Tapas Restaurant is an authentic slice of Spanish cuisine, served in an intimate bistro setting and run by three lovely, hard-working sisters. Their Winterlicious 4-course meal for $69 (plus tax and gratuities, until February 10th) lavishes your taste buds with warm flavours and hearty combinations. We were lucky enough to be there during a special Opera-infused night, where singers from the Royal Conservatory of Music serenaded diners with “Carmen Habanera”, a Winterlicious feature presented by American Express. They’re eager to throw more Opera events in the future, so follow them on Twitter or sign up for their newsletter to stay in the loop. If you’re a fan of tequila, Embrujo is planning an all-tequila dinner special happening in the spring. All courses feature Tequila as an ingredient. Much classier then the typical bar shot!
“Why can’t we do this every night?” a middle-aged couple said to each other at the next table over, after Carmen (and our meal) was complete. First, warm bread and an orange-pepper ketchup was served. Then we were treated to quite the feast: Sopa de Cebolla con Azafran to start (onion soup with sherry and saffron), then Datiles con Bacon (bacon-wrapped dates in a sweet and salty sauce so yummy, I just had to finish it on its own), Paella Montañezca (traditional rice dish with rabbit, chorizo and chicken) and for desert I had the Crema Catalana con Frambuesas y Pedro Ximenez (Catalan-style cream with raspberry sauce and tangy Pedro Ximenez sherry.) Embrujo takes pride in using natural ingredients, and importing many from Spain.
Everything was absolutely delicious and we left stuffed to the brim with goodness. The onion soup was creamy yet light, and beautifully garnished with slivered almonds. The dates were the perfect guilty pleasure, and the Paella was layered with rich flavour, like fresh lemon, onion, and the tender game taste from the rabbit. The heat in the chorizo was promptly cooled by the cold creamy desert that finished things off. Pair all of that with a “Salvador Dali” martini – vodka, apple schnapps and green apple juice- and you can call it winter, summer or even fall-licious. I’ll bite anytime.
Wednesday through Sunday enjoy a live Flamenco show right in the middle of the restaurant on a raised stage. Embrujo likes pairing music with dining so everyday people of Toronto can experience something as formal as the Opera in a relaxed and intimate setting. At one point during dinner, a cute young male Opera singer serenaded a woman a few tables away from us, grabbing her hand and lamenting to the heavens, as her blushed crimson cheeks jumped out through romantic candlelight. In its own world, and in its own unique way, Embrujo is a little taste of something warm and different to experience during this cold – now more snowy – winter season.
~ Becca Lemire