Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette’s Toro has been one of Boston’s culinary staples for years. The South End Barcelona-style tapas eatery offers a modern take on Spanish fare using locally sourced ingredients alongside an eclectic cocktail and wine list. For proof of Toro’s popularity, look to the trail of people waiting to be seated snaking through its door, spilling over to the pavement every night. (Tip: Going to Toro for lunch on a weekday guarantees a patio seat.)
Dining solo at Toro can be a little difficult since one can only eat so much on his or her own. Three, on the contrary, is never a crowd for tapas places. Food comes in smaller portions, perfect for any trifecta of friends. You get to taste a bit of everything and you never get too full at the end of the meal – sounds like a great summer plan.
Not to be missed is the atun crudo — six thick slabs of Asian-flavored marinated yellowfin tuna with spicy cucumber and avocado puree. We also raved about toothsome paper-thin jamon serrano and cured duck ham with orange zest and espelette pepper.
Critics’ favorite grilled corn with aioli and cotija cheese does not disappoint, and neither does the smoky quince-glazed duck drumsticks.
“Toro” is Spanish for “bull,” and different parts of the animal are represented well in its food selections. Among the likes of tongue and skirt steak, corazon (heart) is a bold choice. It is grilled and sliced atop baguette toast slathered with spicy and nutty romesco sauce. I love this dish with all my heart. No pun intended.
Not all of Toro’s dishes come in small plates. Go big with the roasted bone marrow platter. There is something magical when you spread that gelatinous essence of life that oozes with fatty goodness on the crispy toast, and spoon a heap of oxtail marmalade on top. The tangy citrus-radish salad rounds up the flavors. Pure deliciousness.
Skip the dessert and dive into the paella of Valencia-style rice filled with shrimp, clams, mussels, sausages and chicken. It is worth the 30-minute waiting time.
Three is never a crowd for Toro. Or four. As they say; the more, the merrier. That applies to food and friends alike. Toro does not take dinner reservations, but it does accept lunch and brunch reservations for parties of six or more.
Location: 1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118
Hours of operation: Lunch Mon-Fri 12 pm–3 pm; Dinner Sun 5 pm–10:15 pm, Mon-Thu 5.30 pm–10:15 pm, Fri 5:30 pm–11:45 pm, Sat 5 pm–11:45 pm; Brunch Sun 10:30 am–2:30 pm; Bar Mon-Thu 12 pm–12 am, Fri 12 pm–1 am, Sat 4:30 pm–1 am, Sun 10:30 am–12 am