I have ALOT to say about this place…brace yourselves…
Toro Bravo is a Spanish-inspired tapas restaurant. They pride themselves on blending unique (and new) elements into the Spanish style. As a newbie to Portland, I had heard amazing reviews about this restaurant from friends for the past month and have been dying to go! They don’t take reservations so I’ve been told to go early or expect to wait. Well…I went with a group of four other ladies on a Tuesday night at prime dinner time. We must have hit the jackpot because we got in and were seated in 10 minutes. The hostess was really nice and accommodating and took our drink orders while we waited — we started with a sangria pitcher. I am pretty picky with my sangria – usually it’s too sweet, but this one was perfect with tart berries included to tone it down. And pitchers were a great deal for $25.
We immediately got cozy and felt at home – splitting a large wooden table with another group. The dishes we tried were all delicious – my favorites were the brussel sprouts with a sherry reduction and the Eggplant/Lamb Ragu. The Brussel sprouts come shaved, with bits of Applewood smoked (i.e. the tastiest) bacon thrown in that add the ideal amount of saltiness to the dish,.
We also ordered the clam cataplana, the Raddichio salad, Chicken Catalan and the Lemon Ricotta cheesecake with basil sorbet for dessert. I wouldn’t ordinarily order a Raddichio salad because its plain and the other salads often sound so much more complex. But sometimes, my friends, simpler is better. The moral of the story is that I’m now in love with this Radicchio salad. The Manchego Vinaigrette dressing makes it impeccable and the green olive toast is to die for. They grill the toast with a bit of olive oil or butter (some type of delicious fat) and then mush olives on it as a topping, and YOU GUYS. WOW.
The basil sorbet was interesting – not my favorite flavor of sorbet but it’s worth trying. I guess I’m just a sucker for sweeter ice cream flavors. But the cheesecake was so soft and delicate and very light. They also provide a graham cracker crust for topping that gives it the little bit of crunch it needs.
Overall, the plates are all on the smaller side (but then again, its tapas), but it’s a great experience. Bring your friends, your relatives, your significant other, or just bring your appetite to try some of the best tapas in Portland. You won’t be disappointed.
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