I am an Australian freelance writer living in Adelaide.
Published January 28th 2012
Update January 17th 2019
El Toro Espanol Restaurant is now closed.
Spanish cuisine and tapas comes alive in Adelaide at El Toro Espanol (meaning "The Bull" in Spanish). Located on the main street in Semaphore, it's a bit of a blink-and-you'll-miss-it place given its previous dwelling as a café with a shop-style front, however the bright red paint, bull horns and smells wafting from the kitchen will draw you in.
Main dining area. Photo courtesy of El Toro Espanol on facebook
The interior is magical and you feel as though you could be in Spain. Ruby red walls and white furniture surround you. My partner and I went together, but next time, we'll be bringing a group with us. While tapas is about sharing small plates, the menu is so extensive that we wanted to try everything and given there was just two of us, we couldn't justify that. The prices of each dish was very justifiable though, from $4-$7.
We ordered Champinones- mushrooms sautéed in garlic and sherry, Chorizo Fritos- lightly fried chorizo sausage and Patatas Bravas- crispy fried potatoes with spicy tomato sauce and sour cream. Each came in ruby ceramic dishes and oozed freshness. The mushrooms were perfect buttons, the chorizo was soft and had a slightly crisp skin and the potatoes buttery and flavoursome. We downed this with a glass each of house-made sangria, the only way to drink it ($7.50).
While you can order a meal meal including a veggie stack, steak, salad, pork belly or jamon all made with a Spanish twist, we couldn't not try the seafood paella for two ($45). Freshly cooked in the paella pan that ensures fluffy rice on top and a stickier, crispier rice on the bottom, it did take a while to come out. The wait was worth it as colourful peas, red capsicum, saffron rice, mushrooms and onion were covered in mussels and prawns. Delicious.
Seafood paella. Photo courtesy of El Toro Espanol on facebook
The service was friendly and efficient, given the restaurant was full and being a Sunday evening. I would definitely recommend visiting for the breakfast meals on offer too. The Matador ($18.90) of bacon, chorizo, black pudding, tortilla, beans, mushrooms, roast tomatoes and grilled flatbread sounds fit for a king and enough to last you til dinner! There's even a separate dining/function room that can accommodate twenty people with some privacy. Make a group booking at El Toro- you won't regret it.
Function room/group bookings. Photo courtesy of El Toro Espanol on facebook.