Spanish Cuisine Brings Flair to I-Drive
by Dave Nevill Jr. of OrlandoFoodScene.com
Located in the heart of the I-Drive corridor under the shadow of the Orlando Eye, you’ll find the new Spanish inspired concept Tapa Toro. Owned by the same family that brought us the always entertaining Tavern Opa, this new addition is sure to break the mold of traditional “tourist town” fare. Chef Wendy Lopez was kind enough to guide us through their menu, which features a generous selection of tapas dishes, paellas, and other hidden gems.
The interior design certainly evokes Spanish themes, with accents of vibrant red throughout. Inside, you’ll find hardwood floors, beautiful tiling around the 12-seat paella pit, and traditional and digital art adorning the walls of the dining area. A generous bar and lounge area combine with patio tables to accommodate any occasion. At night, you’ll often be entertained by live musicians and flamenco dancers. With seating for nearly 300 guests, Tapa Toro is also well-suited for private groups and receptions.
When dining out, it’s always fun to start out with something that everyone can share. Tapa Toro has you covered with almost 20 tapas dishes to choose from. Standouts include the Pulpo A La Plancha, Embutidos, and the king of all meat dishes – the Kurobuta Tocino. Seldom is there a dish that makes such an impression that I consider taking a second to-go, but this fantastic crispy pork belly was just such a dish. Served with Marcona almonds and a carrot puree, this sweet and salty pork masterpiece is not to be missed!
Our visit wouldn’t be complete without trying one of the signature paella dishes. The chef suggested that we go for the mariscos (seafood), which was cooked right in front of us at the custom-built paella pit. Getting into the action and watching your meal prepared in front of you is such a neat experience, and one that you should ask to try. The rice was cooked perfectly, the seafood was fresh, and the presentation from start to finish was a lot of fun.
Make sure to check out their extensive selection of Spanish wines, signature cocktails, and tasty sangrias. The restaurant is open for brunch, lunch and dinner from noon until midnight. Tapa Toro might be in the shadow of the Orlando Eye, but the restaurant is a shining beacon to food lovers in an otherwise forgotten corner of town.
8441 International Drive Suite 260 | Orlando, FL 32819