On Saturday evening I had dinner at Baro, one of the newer restaurants on the King West scene. I was very much looking forward to it as it has been extremely popular and, as such, a difficult spot to grab a table on a Saturday night. Because my expectations were so high, I was a little nervous that I'd be let down. Almost immediately after we were seated, however, I could tell it was going to be a fabulous experience.
If I had to describe the atmosphere at Baro in one word, what immediately comes to mind is 'lively'. Upbeat Latin music playing in the background, a large and very friendly wait staff (our server was excellent), and a full house of Saturday evening diners excited to see what was in store. The interior of the restaurant was very tastefully decorated, with an abundance of live plants lining the windows on the ground floor - it almost felt like you were sitting outdoors on a patio.
As someone who thoroughly enjoys dining out, atmosphere is often one of the key determinants of my overall experience. Fortunately, the cuisine at Baro was not only on par with the setting, it may even have surpassed it.
As a party of two, we decided to start with a margarita and the "CGS", or the chips, guacamole, and salsa. Both came out almost immediately after we had been seated. The margarita was one of the best I've had to date - not too sour, and a generous amount of salt lining the rim. The CGS was not your standard, run-of-the-mill dish either - there were several different types of "chips" made from various fruits and vegetables, most notably plantain and eggplant. The guac and the salsa were incredibly fresh, and the portion sizes were very generous.
Because I love to try as many different items on the menu as I can, we decided to share a number of platicos instead of ordering two mains. Our favourite was the cachetes, or the fried cod cheeks with lemon and sweet chili mayo (as a Newfoundlander, I was excited to see their cod dish features Fogo Island cod!). Next, we had the chori papa at the recommendation of our server, which was bursting with flavour - a sort of 'build-your-own tortilla' with chorizo, potato, peppers, goat cheese, and chipotle golf.
That was easily enough to fill two hungry diners, but we still had another plate on the way - the picada. This plate came with a number of items: wings, croqueta, morcilla, arepitas, pork belly, and chorizo. This was my least favourite dish of the evening, although this could be due to the fact that we had to take it to go and reheat it later - we were that full.
Overall, I would highly recommend Baro to anybody looking to try something new. I will for sure be back myself - maybe even just for the margaritas and the CGS!