Toro Restaurant & Bar: Japanese and Mexican Fusion

Enter two different worlds.



Once upon a time, there were three brothers with great passion for exotic and exciting flavors, always scouring the entire Pacific in search of a culturally diverse gastronomical experience. The adventures of the food-loving brothers have inspired them to share their experiences to the world, and what better way to do that but to put up a restaurant?

However, each brother has his own favorite cuisine: the other loved Mexican, the other loved Japanese. And thus the birth of Toro Restaurant & Bar, to serve us a fusion of Japanese and Tex-Mex, a collision of East and West. "From Okinawa to Tijuana," says their website. Even “Toro” is a combination of two cultures: Toro is the Spanish word for "fighting bull"—but it is also a Japanese word representing a specific cut of the tuna belly. Clever.

And last night, I had the pleasure of visiting the result of the brothers’ bold and creative inspiration in the year-old Toro Restaurant & Bar, in the heart of Bonifacio Global City.

THE FOOD
If you love Japanese or Mexican—or a fusion of both—Toro Restaurant & Bar is a commendable option if you want to dine out and experience a blend of the East and West. If the combination sounds a bit odd, then you'd be delightfully surprised that indulging in the creative dishes infused with flavors from two different cultures actually complement each other. Tacos and maki? Cajun and katsudon? It's delectable— and fun at the same time. 

We were eight in the group and were served an 11-course meal—each one a bestseller in the house: beginning with the East West Salad, a crunchy, rich superb starter of organic greens, candied walnuts, cherry tomatoes and apples, drizzled with sesame dressing; and then finished off with the fantastic dessert of Butterfinger Shot: Irish cream, butterscotch schnapps, and milk.

Our dinner indeed was a funky, rich, fun, and satisfying combination of tacos, spicy maki, finger chili, jalapeno, katsudon, and tuna, among others. Who says Tex-Mex and Japanese do not go hand in hand?

Toro is recommended for group dining; ordering a variety of cuisine to share among the group will provide you with the full East-West experience. "A party in the mouth," chuckled one of the owners, Vinesh, who sat briefly with us. Also, the restaurant is friendly to all types of diners as they have a wide selection of wine, and a variety of dishes for the vegetarian, the health-conscious, with cuisines that are good for the heart.

East West Salad PHP270
Organic greens, candied walnuts, cherry tomatoes and apples, drizzled with sesame dressing
Spicy Ahi Tuna Maki PHP310/6 pieces
Ahi tuna with generous portions of spices and herbs
Mini Tacos Served Two Ways PHP340
Bacon bits, vegetables, guacamole, cheese, sour cream, pork, and chicken

Dessert: Butterfinger Shot PHP160
Irish cream, butterscotch schnapps, milk
THE AMBIANCE
Cozy, dimly lit, the soft glow from the chandelier, Japanese lantern-inspired light fixtures, the prominent color being red (symbolizing blood from Spanish bull fights)...the ambiance is aesthetically pleasing and relaxing— not to mention artistically clever, infusing Japanese and Mexican art and symbols in a very subtle way. The interior is not too minimal, but not overly decorated either. Perfectly balanced. The only striking decor is a mural of a blue-eyed Japanese geisha covering one entire wall, merging symbols from the two different cultures.

The cozy high backed chairs and the rectangular dining tables are set not too far apart, so that the not-so-big restaurant feels more intimate and serene.

It was dim when we were sat down by the service crew; we were only illuminated by the soft yellow light of the restaurant and by the tiny lighted candles inside small cups set on our table. When food was served, an overhead light was switched quietly—not blinding, but just enough to take in the colors of the food.

The red-blood bar, with cascading water behind the wine shelves
Japanese-Mexican mural by artist Alfredo Galvez
Intimate and serene

THE SERVICE
The service crew, in plain all-black casual wear, were friendly and competent. When Vinesh was giving us an overview and history of the bar and restaurant, he mentioned that they take customer service seriously—and it was evident indeed; the service was quick and efficient. While dining, a single waiter stood in a respectable distance from us but would magically appear from time to time to refill glasses and clear plates, discreetly and quietly.

With well-trained and respectable crew, the service was very good, making the dining experience even more pleasant.

The friendly waiter took a group shot of us.

OVERALL VERDICT: 4 out of 5 stars
Rather pricey, of course, and this is the type of restaurant for special gatherings and intimate dinner dates. With our group of eight, with an 11-course meal, the bill reached a little bit over PHP 8,000, therefore a single diner should have at least PHP 1,000 to dine in Toro.

With a nice ambiance, excellent customer service, and bold and daring cuisine, Toro Restaurant & Bar is a notable and memorable dining experience.

For more photos of the food (including a description, price, and rating) and interior, CLICK HERE.


Toro Restaurant & Bar
Unit 6, Ground Floor One McKinley Place,
4th Avenue between 25th and 26th street
(Located behind Mini Cooper showroom)
Bonifacio Global City
Taguig City, Metro Manila
Philippines

Contact Details: Make a Reservation
Phone: (02) 846-9681
Mobile: 0917-555-TORO (8676)
Email: info@dinetoro.com

Operating Hours:
7 Days a Week: 11:30am-3pm, 6pm-12am
___________________________________________________________________
I would like to thank OpenRice.com, Asia-Pacific's Premier Dining Guide, for the invitation; and Toro Restaurant & Bar for offering a fantastic dining experience.

Comments

  1. Aww.. I'm so envious! I want to join you guys here since Japanese cuisine is my ultimate fave. Anyway, glad the food has gotten better na compared to achie Kay's trip to Toro. Hopefully I get to eat here soon too :)

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  2. Yeah, I had a wonderful experience. Visit one time and take Kathy with you again. Hehe. :)

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  3. Glad to hear its much better na :)

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  4. For the first time, I was intrigued with the salad. :) The tacos and dessert looks good too. :)

    http://www.dekaphobe.com/

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  5. ah..jan pala yun :) mukhang masarap nga :)

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  6. This is interesting and your review made me want to visit them soon. I don't remember having tried Jap-Mex fusion before, this may be a good start. Thank you for sharing this!

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  7. The food looks amazing and I love that mural! This was a wonderful post :)

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  8. cool.. hope to visit this place one day since I'm from Pampanga and I don't know how to go there.. I'm just familiar around North Edsa part.. haha.. :)

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  9. i want to try that butter finger shot!

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  10. The salad looks fantastic, the colors, the texture, everything just seem to blend together. How was the taste?

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  11. hmm the fusion of japanese and tex-mex makes this resto unique. But it is quite pricey

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  12. @Cooking Strategy

    The taste was wonderful! Rich, a very good blend of the apples, the walnuts...there's a hint of vinaigrette. I loved it! The crunch, and mixed in with nori... My friend loved it sooo much that she was trying to memorize it in order to recreate it at home. :D

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  13. Wow! Such a lovely place to enjoy good food and hang out with friends! I'll keep this restaurant in mind when I happen to be at The Fort. Visiting back from Delight My Appetite!

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  14. Hi Stephanie! It was nice meeting you that day. :) But anyway, the food was great right? Haha! Some of them I just don't dig because they're too spicy for me. Haha

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