Review: Torito Tapas, Toronto

I was looking forward to orchestrating a fun evening in Kensington Market with a few special friends. One of my favorite things in life is connecting people who I feel will get along smashingly. A mingler, an observer and a matchmaker.

I grabbed a Bixie bike on a hot Sunday afternoon just after 4pm and zoomed across College Street. I then headed south on Spadina through the whispers and odours which pour out across the heart of China Town. I arrived at Anice Jewellery to be greeted by the owner, a beaming Brittany who seemed so in the zone as she chit chatted about her new shop while creating a few vintage inspired adornments.

Joaquin arrived just before 5pm. I met Joaquin years ago in Madrid and knew he would love everything about Brittany’s shop. A landscape architect with an eye for shapes and colour he appreciates the delicate nature of the treatures one can only hold in their hands. Joaquin had Brittany craft him a necklace with bits and pieces of his choosing as well as a leather bracelet, both which she was able to whip together in under 20 minutes.

After a quick torrential downpour we walked north on Augusta and arrived at Torito Tapas. Knowing that I was going to be meeting Joaquin at the Anice shop I wanted to suggest dinner at a spot in Kensington which was on my restaurant to do list. Funny enough the day I started doing my research Joanne Kates’ 100 was released and low and behold Torito was on the list! Done and done!

We met Joaquin’s boyfriend Matt in front of the restaurant and spent the next two hours feasting on tapas. I thought it was so hilarious that we ended up at a Spanish restaurant: a connection to Joaquin’s roots (he played the role of Spanish culinary spirit guide). Funny enough it was also where we both met, which created an excellent opportunity for storytelling. We collectively sifted through the menu and chose eight dishes to share amongst the four of us. Over dinner we chatted about good food, Spain, iced tea, jewellery, Kensington Market, hot summer nights and our love for Toronto. Just as we were ready to leave I had one of those moments in life where you realize the obvious. I whispered to Joaquin, “my favorite thing in the world is enjoying great conversation over good food with inspiring people.”We should all seek to do that more often. And with sweet Spanish kisses thrown into the hot and humid Toronto summer air we blew home.

We sampled (*notes my favorites):

Torito Sangria

Watermelon and Jicama Salad *

Spanish Tortilla *

Patatas Bravas with Aioli  *

Pork Baby Back Ribs with Honey Mustard Glaze

Steak Frites with Peewee Fried Egg and Chimichurri Sauce  *

Pan con Tomate

Orange and Clementine Salad with Piquillo Peppers

Grilled Spanish Chorizo  *

#344 restaurant reviewed in Ontario since moving to Toronto in 2010. 

Torito Tapas Bar on Urbanspoon

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