Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Origin: Tapas, Godzilla & A Young Stormtrooper
For my first night in Toronto, I wanted a more casual restaurant, something close to my hotel. After a few hours traveling in the car, I just wanted a place to relax but I still wanted good food, especially if it were locally sourced. So I decided on Origin, a tapas-style restaurant owned by Chef Claudio Aprile, who also owns Colborne Lane. The kitchen at Origin is run by Chef de Cuisine Steve Gonzalez, who has long worked with Aprile. It is a casual place, with a quirky and fun style, and was quite busy on a Sunday evening.
The menu is eclectic, with plenty of Spanish and Asian influences, and consists of Sides & Snacks ($3-$9), Raw Bar ($9-$17), Mozzarella Bar ($16), Chilled ($9-$16) and Hot ($6-$27, with a single $79 entree). Many of their ingredients are locally sourced. In general, their small plates are meant to be shared, and I am a big fan of these type of places as it is a great way to sample a variety of dishes. There were plenty of items on the menu which appealed to me, so it took some time to decide on what I wanted that night. They also have a full bar menu, including a number of local wines and beers.
Overall, the service was very good, with the cooks sometimes serving us our food as we were sitting in front of the open kitchen. I very much enjoyed all of the food, which evidenced compelling blends of different tastes and textures. Though it is not inexpensive, you are getting high quality food so the prices are not outrageous. Plus, it has a fun vibe, definitely avoiding pretension. I would return and recommend that other visitors to Toronto check it out.