21 Questions with Ramon Simarro, Executive Chef at Madrina Bar y Tapas


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We ask our favourite restaurant personalities 21 questions to get to know them in a different light.

In this edition of 21 questions, we get to know Ramon Simarro, who relocated from Spain to be the Executive Chef of Madrina Bar y Tapas, the newest restaurant in Toronto’s Distillery District. Chef Ramon Simarro whose experience consists of both Michelin-star restaurants and popular casual eateries focuses on seasonal products alongside authentic ingredients from Spain to re-imagine a menu that marries innovation and fun with Barcelona classics. Learn more about him below!

Where were you born?

Barcelona, Catalonia

Where did you grow up?

Barcelona, Catalonia

Your first job?

Tall de Conill, a traditional Restaurant with over 100 years of history. I have learned there the basics of the Catalan cuisine

Biggest inspiration?

Mediterranean Sea and the memories of our weekly visit to the local fresh food market with my parents when I was a kid

Top 3 ingredients in your pantry?

Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Spanish Saffron, Arbequina olives.

Piquillo Pepper, anchovy, manzanilla olives

What do you make for a lazy supper?

Toasted bread rubbed with a good quality tomato, salt, olive oil and chorizo sliced over the top

Favourite vacation spot?

Menorca, Balearic Islands in Spain

Favourite food city? 

San Sebastián in the Basque Country

Favourite item on your menu?

Our version of the most classic tapa, Patatas Bravas

What’s the last [Netflix/Television] show you binged?

Chef’s table with pastry chef Jordi Roca & Money Heist (La Casa De Papel)

Favourite Instagram account?


Go-to lunch spot in Toronto?

Tachi, a stand up omakase bar at Assembly Chef’s Hall

Favourite restaurant to celebrate a special occasion?

Buca Yorkville

Toronto’s best coffee…

Cluny Boulangerie @The Distillery District, love the cafe latte + pain au chocolat

Barcelona’s best-kept secret?

Neighbourhood of “Sarrià” in the north part of the City, is like a little village with Cafés and a bar with the best patatas bravas of the city “Bar Tomás

Chef Ramon Simarro’s patatas bravas

What’s your favourite thing to do outside of work?

Time with my family

What food trend needs to go?

Not really interested in food trends, I prefer to experience real cuisines

Name 3 guests at your ideal dinner party?

Ferran Adrià, Pep Guardiola (Former FC Barcelona coach), Elon Musk.

3 things you’d tell a new restaurateur?

Be patient and humble, it takes time to learn the profession, it will be rewarded afterwards

Eat and experience at other restaurants in your days off, makes you understand why you are working and the guest perception

Find the balance in your life, don’t forget family and friends

What would you tell your friends to do if they only had 24 hours in Barcelona?

Walk through the streets of the Gothic Quarter & La Barceloneta neighbourhood, visit ‘La Sagrada Familia’ Gaudi’s Cathedral, ‘La Boqueria’ food market and eat at la Boqueria’s bar ‘Pinotxo’

Who should we interview next?

El Catrin Executive Chef Olivier Le Calvez

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