I do not normally post my restaurant reviews on the front page of my blog but I have had so many people ask me about food recommendations on my travels that I decided to share this one. Brunch is perhaps one of my most favorite lazy weekend activities and there are plenty of great places to brunch in my town. Orlando is a big foodie town, we have new restaurants opening weekly on some side of town. I can’t think of a cuisine that isn’t offered here. But when it comes to brunch, some places are OK and some places are exceptional. Tapa Toro Orlando is one of those exceptional places.
Looking for an amazing brunch in Orlando? Check out @tapatoroorlando for some unique Spanish… Click To Tweet
Located in the touristy International Drive district, Tapa Toro is a Spanish small plate and family style paella spot. On the regular lunch and dinner menu, offerings include empanadas, grilled octopus, lamb chops and seafood paella. However, starting at 11am on Sundays, Tapa Toro becomes a brunch mecca. Bottomless Mimosas and Sangria fill the glasses; grits and pancakes fill the plates. Flamenco Dancers stroll the restaurant, inviting brunchers to join them.
I recently gathered with a group of blogging friends to take in the amazing food. We first learned how to concoct our Bloody Mary beverages. Tapa Toro features EG Vodka (Enlightened Grain) , an American made spirit featuring a n unfiltered vodka, a rosemary lavender flavor and an Early Grey sage variation. The Bloody Mary’s are made with gazpacho in place of a traditional bottled drink mix. And it is spectacular. Even if you don’t drink alcohol a Bloody Mary is a must here.
We then had an opportunity to try most of the brunch menu. Executive Chef Wendy Lopez takes great pride in everything she serves, including the most amazing Yogur con Frutas – house made yogurt with granola, honey, pears and berries.
Tres Lechones, or Three Little Pigs was very popular at the table- cheese grits served with pork belly, chicharrones and chorizo. Chicharrones, I learned, are fried pork rinds, but not the greasy snack we Americans find at the local 7-11. Tapa Toro, like everything else on the menu, makes chicarrones from scratch and they are non-greasy, super crisp and delicious!
I think the hands down favorite among most of the group was the Milanesa de Pollo, or Chicken N Pancakes. Chef Wendy informed us that chicken and waffles is so passé, while chicken and pancakes are the new thing. A fried egg and a house honey glaze was the topper on this dish, making this a Brunch staple here.
We tried the Bocadillo de Embutitos, a focaccia sandwich with ham, chorizo, serrano peppers, olive spread and olive oil. While I am not a person that will normally eat ham or chorizo, this was maybe my personal favorite of everything we tried.
We also tasted the Montadito de Pollo a la Parrilla (grilled chicken on ciabatta bread with a chorizo hummus) and the Guisado de Res (braised beef stew).
For dessert we all had bites of the Torreja de Churros, also known as churro bread pudding topped with nutella ice cream and whipped cream.
And we couldn’t leave without indulging in a traditional glass of sangria.
I think I may have found my new favorite spot for Brunch. And while many of the dishes we tried were meat based, the kitchen is very accommodating to many dietary restrictions including Vegetarian, Vegan and Gluten-Free.
Thank you to Chef Wendy and the staff of Tapa Toro for hosting us!! I am fairly certain we all left with our bellies full and our hearts happy. Brunch is served every Sunday from 11am – 3pm and features bottomless mimosas and sangrias, along with DJ entertainment and Flamenco dancers. Visit the Tapa Toro website here.