This South End tapas spot is one of those fun places that hits the sweet spot between bar and restaurant, and makes you want to linger with people for hours. But more importantly, this food is too good to not be shared with as many people as possible. You might even start enlisting strangers.
The menu here consists almost entirely of small plates, and you’re going to want to sample each one, so either bring as many people as you can or combine tables with the party next to you. Definitely start with a couple of their classics - the grilled corn, and the white anchovies - but don’t be afraid to branch out, because plates like the uni bocadillo or smoked duck with za’atar, are the only ones of their kind in the city.
photo credit: Emily Kan
Don’t skimp on the drinks, either. The entire concept of tapas was invented to make us feel better about sitting down in a bar and drinking for hours at a time (one of many reasons why we wouldn’t mind a vacation home in Spain). In keeping with that tradition, Toro has a cocktail menu filled with ingredients you keep telling yourself you’re going to put in your home bar but never will, and a manageable wine list that you can read without feeling like you need a bookmark. Even if you’re planning to do a full dinner elsewhere, Toro is a great place to start or end your night in the South End with drinks and snacks. In fact, if you don’t leave work early to snag one of Toro’s outdoor tables on every 80 degree day, you’re doing summer wrong.
So go ahead and join a softball league, a knitting circle, or a book club (yes, those still still exist). Take your new friends and sit out on the sidewalk patio on a warm afternoon. Then make more friends by offering a bite of grilled octopus to everyone who walks by - the mailman, the dog-walker, the jogger who was probably going to down a bag of chips as soon he finished his run anyway. Share this place with the entire city of Boston, because between the tapas, the drinks, and the setting, this is one of the very best restaurants we’ve got.
Pan Con Tomate
If we had to live with just two basic ingredients for the rest of our lives, bread and tomato might be what we’d choose. The dystopian state that imposed this rule on us would definitely suck, but at least we’d always be able to enjoy this perfect dish.
Unfortunately, Toro removes the heads from their anchovies, so you can’t pick them up and pretend they’ve jumped out of the sea to grant you three magic wishes. Fortunately, though, they’re delicious.
Croquetas de Bacalao
We bet you didn’t know that you’ve been wanting to eat fried lemon rinds, did you? Once you try them with these cod fritters, please sign our petition to mandate that they replace onion rings at every seafood shack in New England.
Maíz Asado con Alioli y Queso Cotija
Go ahead: turn your hands into a cheesy, buttery mess. You can take the corn out of the street, but you can’t take the street out of the corn.