Restaurateur Grant van Gameren has the Midas touch. Every place he’s opened has received rave reviews. Including this vibrant Spanish room, famous about town for its whole grilled octopus. Since opening in 2013, Bar Isabel has sold over a million dollars’ worth of the stuff, it’s that good. Some of the tapas here is by-the-book Barcelona (jamón croquetas, patatas bravas); other plates are pure van Gameren, like smoked sweetbreads with raw tuna and persimmon brown butter. Although the food is serious, van Gameren doesn’t take himself too seriously. Jokes pepper the menu. Cocktails have cheeky names like Hank Hill, a refreshing summer bracer named after the Texan cartoon dad from "King of the Hill."
Subway: Ossington, then bus 63 S to College St.Phone 416/532-2222 Prices Tapas $4–$22; large sharing plates $24–$72 Cuisine Type Spanish Web site Bar Isabel
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