LaVinia is one of the few restaurants in Toronto offering authentic Spanish fare. My wife and I came here for our anniversary and I have been craving for a good Paella. The last restaurants we tried in New York, Sevilla was okay but did not fare enough to what I was used to. Having Basque friends who do catering, I became familiar on what to look out for in Spanish cuisine and since then have on the search for a great, tasty Paella.
LaVinia is cozy restaurant with wooden interiors and red-painted walls much like the Spanish flag. The staff was nice and quick to seat us. We were handed the menu and my wife and I ordered the sopa de ajo, paella valenciana and the fish of the day.
Since I do not eat pork, I requested if they can cook it in utensils that have not been with used with the said ingredient and they were very respectful. Fernando, the chef and owner, even came to assure me that it's nothing to worry about.
The first to come was the sopa de ajo and it was warm, creamy and not overwhelming in its garlic taste. The paella soon came after and after one bite, I was hooked. This was the paella that I had been looking for, perfectly cooked bomba rice, juicy and moist chicken and the hint of saffron. It was divine and felt like the first time I had an authentic homecooked paella years back. The fish of the day was surprisingly good. I mean after having Paella, my standards for flavour were now higher but its taste took me by surprise. It was perfectly cooked and the fish retained its moisture with a simple, clean taste and yet, good.
Last we had was the tartufo and it was okay but at this point, I was not complaining. I did not come here for desserts anyway. It was the paella that we came here for and finally found one close by.
We could not finish the large portions, so we ended up bringing them home to my kids. As soon as we got home, my son smelled the paella and next thing I knew, it was cleaned off and he was asking me when we could order from LaVinia again. We're definitely coming here again.
Thank you, Fernando and your staff, for making our anniversary a memorable one.