Located at the elegant Jumeirah at Etihad Towers hotel, Toro Toro Abu Dhabi officially opened back in September 2017. The concept was developed by award-winning chef Richard Sandoval, who currently has over 40 restaurants in his portfolio. Upon arrival, guests are greeted by two signature 900kg white bulls, which make for a pretty fun and quirky photo backdrop. The restaurant’s entrance is marked by digital photo frames, dark wood elements and cattle skulls on the walls. All of a sudden splashes of vibrant colours appear, while charming hostesses offer the warmest welcomes. The décor offers unique elements throughout the restaurant such as Mexican handmade carpets, handcrafted mosaic frames from Peru, and a constellation of seating, complementing the energetic Latin vibes.
The restaurant is split into a lower deck for diners and an upper lounge deck for drinks and bar bites. Our experience started in the lower deck for dinner, where a sensational aroma, of churrasco being grilled to perfection from the open kitchen, teased all our senses. Like Latin culture, the food at Toro Toro Abu Dhabi offers a kaleidoscope of flavour on the taste buds. From sweet and savoury to hints of spicy, this is a place where every essence works perfectly with the other. Sead, our waiter for the evening, explained that the menu is based on Peruvian cuisine, however incorporates dishes from other Latin American countries like Argentina, Venezuela, Brazil, and Mexico. Latinos believe that food is a celebration and is meant to be shared, and Toro Toro Abu Dhabi offers the ideal base for sharing dishes.
Our culinary journey included: Amarillo ceviche (55AED), a delicious seafood ceviche with “aji Amarillo”, a Peruvian yellow chili pepper sauce. It was a refreshing dish, however slightly too sweet for our palate and lacking the bursting citrus flavour we were hoping for. The creamy Smoked Guacamole (48AED) came with a theatrical style, presented on a black slate and covered in glass filled with smoke, served with tortilla chips. Our next dish was Cachapas (59AED) – a Venezuelan dish resembling a corn based pancake with tender pulled beef, mozzarella and halloumi. The sweetness from the corn, the saltiness from the beef, and that oozing melted cheese – in our opinion, is the ultimate comfort food. We also enjoyed the Chicken Tacos (48AED) which were perfectly grilled and served in a soft shell tortilla, with a nice kick of jalapeño aioli. We also enjoyed the Pescado de Callao (139AED), a steamed sea bass, which arrived to the table in a sealed banana leaf. When our server unveiled the dish, a blast of fragrant lemongrass and ginger filled our noses. To accompany the fish, we had the Potato 3 Ways (39AED) – which, very simply put, is mashed potatoes, roasted potato wedges and crunchy potato chips served in a bowl with demi-glace sauce. We always leave room for dessert, and these ones ticked all the boxes. To start we indulged in the Tres Leches (39AED) – a staple in Latin cuisine, served with a milky sponge cake, creamy custard, passion fruit sorbet and garnished with beautiful berries and flowers – art on a plate. We then enjoyed the Chocolate Fondant (49AED) served with vanilla ice cream and berries, which was without a doubt the best one we have ever had. To give it an authentic touch, the ice cream is prepared at the table, initially in soft form and transformed in front of us, using liquid nitrogen – it certainly caught the attention of all the diners.
The restaurant also offers a stunning lounge area on the upper deck, which features both an indoor and outdoor bar, set against the gorgeous views of the Arabian Sea. The drinks menu offers a wide range of options, including beautiful cocktails served in quirky glassware, with garnishes, and eye-catching names. Our first choice was the Latin Lover (39AED) – a perfectly sweet drink made with pomegranate and cherries, followed by Rio Tinto (59AED), a refreshing combination of gin, tequila, strawberry and peach – served in a fun upside-down pineapple glass. The Ultimate Bliss (55AED), is based on gin, Parfait Amour, lemon juice, and arrives in a very theatrical style to the table, leaving behind a cloud of smoke in our glass. The lounge offers comfortable seating, whether that is in the form of a high chair next to the bars, or cosy sofas dotted along the upper terrace deck. The ambiance on a Friday night is vibrant, with the resident Cuban band and DJ taking centre stage when it comes to entertainment. Toe-tapping beats fill the air as people start dancing to the energetic Latin sounds, making it impossible to simply sit still.
The level of service at Toro Toro Abu Dhabi is one of the best we have experienced in the city. Our waiters Sead and Joy were exceptionally polite, friendly, and knowledgeable on all the food items. We felt so comfortable selecting the dishes they recommended, while the restaurant manager, Aziz, was the most genuine host offering true hospitality to each and every guest.
Insider tip: The restaurant is open every day from 12pm – 3:30pm for lunch, and from 7pm – midnight for dinner. It hosts a Ladies Night, Caballero Steak Night, Friday Brunch with beach access, and is easily becoming one of Abu Dhabi’s best hot spots for every type of occasion.
Review and photography by M.M exclusively for The Huntr