What's the vibe:
Restaurateur Nicki Laborie is adding yet another link to her chain with the introduction of Reyna on King. In addition to the Yorkville staple, which opened in 2016, and a follow-up location inside Assembly Chef’s Hall, lovers of the cocktail and snack bar will now be able to find Mediterranean small bites, freshly baked pastries and specialty drinks in the growing foodie row of Corktown just east of Parliament on King.
Sitting somewhere between a café and a late night date spot, the lush spot aims to cater to snack-seekers at all times of the day, with an espresso machine and grab-and-go breakfast and lunch options available from 10:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m, plus a full-service lunch and dinner menu.
Nestled underneath the leafy ceiling and exposed lightbulbs, and between whitewashed walls and a stripped back bar area, and you'll feel like you're hanging out in Santorini – a mood that's likely to stay with you once you start ordering from the European-focused menu.
What to drink:
In a fitting tribute to its regal identity (Reyna is Spanish for 'queen'), the cocktail menu contains a selection of aptly titled signature concoctions. Choose from majestic tipples like Reyna Royale with fig-spiked vodka and chamomile syrup, the King's Retreat with gin and kiwi bitters, or Queen's Absolution with Creme de Violette and egg white.
Purists can stick to the classic side of the cocktail menu, or choose local brews from Burdock or Blood Brothers. The wine list is as European as you would expect, with a couple of Canadian and U.S. offerings thrown in for good measure.
What to eat:
Aside from the Lamb Baklava ("If I took it off the menu, I think people would shoot me," says Nicki Laborie), all dishes at Reyna on King are completely new – and reasonably priced with many around the $6 mark. Like its Yorkville predecessor, the Corktown menu travels up and down the Mediterranean coast with nods to Spain and Greece, before switching over to underrepresented cuisines with dishes like za-atar spiced Arabic fries and Middle Eastern favourites like the eggplant tostada with fried luffa bread.
Ariel Coplan (Thoroughbred) is heading up the kitchen at the new east side location, serving up a blend of Mediterranean flavours in a fun and casual way. Their pogo stick elevates the classic carnival snack with lamb merguez sausage, harissa mustard and date ketchup. Likewise, their burger eschews a meat patty in favour of a Mediterranean spin, with falafel, tzatziki and cucumber conspiring for a lighter bun. Meanwhile, their croquettes up the ante with manchego and Spanish aioli.
Locals can stop by for morning coffee or grab premade sandwiches or freshly made quiches during the daytime. But with weekend hours keeping Reyna on King swinging until 2 a.m., you might find yourself back here to soak up after work beers.
Dinner and drinks: around $60
354 King St. E., 647-748-4464; reynaonking.com