3.85 Stars – Overall Experience
3.50 Stars – Price
4.25 Stars – Service
3.75 Stars – Food
4.25 Stars – Atmosphere
CALÇOTS & ESPÁRRAGOS PLANCHA
PATATAS Y PADRONES
Spanish Tapas anyone? Labora Restaurant & Bar located in Campo Food Hall in Toronto is serving up just that. With a sultry, hip vibe, find out if the food lives up to the atmosphere.
With a food hall as its main concept, Labora Restaurant & Bar offered an beautiful atmosphere that definitely reminded my husband and me of Spain. Bottles of wine, packed restaurant late at night, deep rich colours, all made for one sultry and hip atmosphere. Really beautiful unique touches with the lighting and small potted plants on the window which helped to brighten the otherwise dark space. My only complaint would be the booths with wood benches. It would have been great to have a bit of cushioning there. Definitely a great spot for a romantic date or fun dinner out with friends.
Our hostess and server were both extremely friendly and helpful. After dropping off a wine filled bottle of water (love having water on the table to help myself with) the waitress went over the menu in great detail and made sure to point out some fan favourites. A little on the slow side for ordering, but other than that a really good service experience.
With Spanish Tapas, it feels hard to classify something as a main or appetizer so I will just group all the food together. We started off with PAN TUMACA which is essentially a toasted bread rubbed with tomato. We went to Barcelona during our honeymoon and this was one of my favourites! Simple yet so flavourful. I have to say I,was a bit disappointed as it didn’t taste quite like it did in Spain. I recall the tomato being a very light accent, while the one at Labora was a bit heavier and not quite as much of a flavour punch. It was still good and the bread was crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside so I can’t complain too much.
Next up was PATATAS Y PADRONES which is essentially potatoes (fried I believe) and grilled padron peppers. It was served with a chive aioli sauce, but unfortunately being 8 months pregnant I have to stay away from raw eggs so didn’t get to try the sauce. The potatoes were really delicious and very crispy on the outside while remaining soft and fluffy on the inside and the padrones were delicious! I always enjoy these as a great bite and never find them too insanely hot either.
Last, but certainly not least was the CALÇOTS & ESPÁRRAGOS PLANCHA, which essentially is grilled/charred asparagus and scallions topped with a romesco sauce and roasted almonds. Unfortunately, my husband wasn’t feeling well so we packed it up to go and ate it at home (picture below was taken at home not at restaurant), but I have to say it was definitely my favourite part of the meal. The sauce was absolutely incredible with tons of flavour and the almonds added a great crunch to the dish. I will attempt to make my own romesco sauce in the future I think!
Spain doesn’t tend to be the most vegetarian country, but there was still lots for me to choose from on the menu and I felt full after the meal.
The main thing for me that brings this restaurant down is price. I found the dishes to be pretty expensive considering the portions or in some cases what it actually was. The PATATAS Y PADRONES for instance was $14 and was really like a fancy (and delicious I will say) fries and peppers. Although the portion was suppose to be for 2, it wasn’t that big. After tax and tip our meal was close to $60 (my husband did get a BOCATA DE CALAMAR which was a mini calamari sandwich as well). They suggested ordering around 7 tapas dishes (or slightly less if we ordered the bigger plates), but I honestly can’t imagine how expensive that would have been considering the meat dishes were quite a bit more.
Time of Dinner: 8:30 pm
Date: Thurs July 5th, 2018
For more information be sure to visit their website at https://www.campofoodhall.to/