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Cava


Endy'
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tried Cava over the weekend, here's what we managed:

caramel-chipotle popcorn

salad of watercress, roasted beets, Valderon cheese, almonds (red wine vinaigrette, I think)

charcuteria (pork rillettes, venison summer sausage, venison bresaola, pork hunter's sausage, served with rye (?) bread, mustard, cornichons)

pinchos of avocado and avruga

tuna ceviche

Serrano ham

cavatelli with arugula

salad of fennel, orange, olives (and 1 more thing I've forgotten?)

porky beans with 48-hour pork belly

thoughts -- liked the wide selection (several dozen items) and the chance to try some things I haven't tried elsewhere. From what I could see, wines only available in 125 and 250mL pours (but I didn't look that closely). Very loud space...in a kind of weird location. Portions smaller than, say, JKWB, but that gave us the chance to try more things, which I liked. But I found myself ordering the "boring" cavatelli (and the beans later) because I felt like I needed the starch "balance" after so many just-meat and just-veg dishes. Food was nicely simple, pretty satisfying, not quite comfort food but that sort of idea.

service was a little uneven...took a really long time to get some plates cleared even after several servers' visits to the table, other times they were right on top of things. I was in the middle of pouring some water for my companion when a server came over and did it for me...and I don't want to seem like an ass, because I appreciate the gesture, but I really don't mind doing it and if I'm already in the middle of it...found that a little overbearing. There were 4 servers working what they say is a 60-seat house (I'm not sure if that ratio is on the lean or rich side). I suspect the service issues will work themselves out as things get more settled there, though, the servers all seemed interested and well-meaning, so it's probably just a question of being used to the space.

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I think I'll give this a try some time this week, Endy'. I'm a shameless cevichephiliac, and you've piqued my interest.

I haven't visited a Jamie Kennedy anything since I was severely underwhelmed (on several occasions) during his ROM days. Should I reconsider?

Colour me curious.

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Ate there about a week ago, just haven't had a chance to post my review or photos. Based on the service issues we had I won't rush back. I'll post here in the next day or two when I get a moment....

Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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Jake, to be fair, they really did just open...or did you find the food unable to overcome the service problems?

Melianne, I like JK Wine Bar a lot, because they're open Sundays, the atmosphere is nice, sitting at the open kitchen is entertaining, and the food is tasty. JK Restaurant I've only been to once, and it was fine, but there's too many other places to try in that price range for me to go back yet.

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So which is the 'most recommended' tapas place in T.O.? I've found JKWB inconsistent and am still bothered by the odours (or, more politely aromas) from the open kitchen which interfere with my wine enjoyment.

Cava has just opened so I'm waiting for them to settle in. I had the opening special deal which was fairly good value, but at full prices I will expect more.

Lee seems to have better food, but lesser wines. And I don't like the way that the dishes come out randomly (at the kitchen's pleasure).

So #1 for me is still Senhor Antonhio (at Chiado). My most recent visit was spectacular - every dish was perfect and the wines were all interesting (I even went out and bought a case of 1 of them - Agent only!) and 3 of my friends have followed suit after tasting it at my place last week. But it is the most expensive restaurant of those mentioned. And all hit (or push) $150 for two (with wine, typically 6 glasses for us between two) so the marginal cost at Chiado is well worth it for me.

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Endy', believe me I'm being fair. I am very familair with both BOH and FOH issues and have eaten out enough over the years to be confident in my judgements and opinions. The service issues I was referring to were not just settling in, and I will endeavour to explain in the next day or so. Rudeness and misinformation at any level are unacceptable.

Estufarian, I completely agree with regard to Senhor Antonio, lovely food and service. Nor have I had a bad experience at JKWB, both the service and food are great.

Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 years later...

I've been back a couple of times and, although it's not 'bad', I alway seem to expect more than I receive. Maybe I'm getting grouchy (even grouchier?) but I find Cava extremely noisy and I don't find I can trust the servers recommendations. Everything is 'purportedly' superb - and I haven't found that to hold true.

As to what might be 'better' - that's a real problem on a holiday weekend. I've been more impressed with Kultura (which is now quieter on Mondays since the same team opened Nyood - which I also like) - but not sure they'll be open this particular weekend. Mondays are always tough, so I mainly go 'ethnic', although this year have been to Splendido and Coca a couple of times (but Coca is much more casual, and Splendido much more formal). Also tried Lucien - which might fill the bill - generally open Monday. Not the blockbuster the reviews made it out to be, but still interesting.

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