Cava, Friday night, 1 week post-opening: I have high hopes for this place. They are offering a "preview" tapas menu which is great value at $30/person for at least 6 or more small plates... we lost track. The current menu only has a handful of a la carte options but I was told the final menu will have more choices. The food overall provided a variety of tastes, with good balance of flavours although heavy on salt (OK with me but some might object). Highlights included a very tasty duck ravioli and a whole sardine. The carmelized popcorn to start was a bit weird though. Desserts were absolutely fabulous, perfect bagnette with hot chocolate, very light and moist sponge cake and a scrumptious rice pudding/creme brule. Overall dinner for 2 with tapas and dessert, coffee and 3 drinks was < $120. Some of the usual "new restaurant" pains: very slow to be seated (despite reservation & table being ready); waiters didn't know all the dishes (but were very friendly); and the room is VERY VERY noisy (I really hope they will realize/fix this... all hard furnishings without even a curtain, and loud spanish music to boot).
Sat night: Johny Bananas (open about 2 weeks): They don't have their liquor license yet, but the non-alcoholic drink list is extensive and interesting - I had a sort of chocolate/cinnamon milkshake that was delicious. They will be offering all these drinks with alcohol, too, plus more standard cocktails, so it promises to be a very fun spot for drinks. The menu is short and selective, all Mexican (and the owners are genuinely from Mexico), and sounds interesting. The chicken mole burrito was very tasty, not too messy and had good mole flavour without too much heat. The room is very casual but colourful and fun, not too loud, and the service was actually great for a new spot. I'll go back later for a more extensive dinner with cocktails, since I love Mexican food and the Toronto options have been so limited.