Introducing: Carmen, a new Spanish restaurant on Queen West from the owners of Torito
Contact info: 922 Queen St. W., 416-535-0404, carmensayz.com, @carmensayz
Owners: Veronica Carmen Laudes and Luis Valenzuela, both of Kensington Market’s Torito
Chef: Luis Valenzuela
The food: Traditional Spanish tapas like patatas bravas ($7) as well as more modern creations like little bites of puréed avocado wrapped in jicama ($6). The selection of 30-centimetre paellas for two includes the atlantica ($38), which is topped with a whole lobster. Carmen also serves individual plated mains, like quail stuffed with chicken confit on mole ($20).
The drinks: The house cocktail list features red and white sangria ($12), served in mason jars. The wine list is mostly Spanish, although the two draught beers are from Flying Monkeys in Barrie.
The place: For her namesake restaurant, Laudes aimed for a more feminine aesthetic than the bull-themed one at Torito—hence the Goya portraits, porcelain figurines and black and white photos of flamenco dancers. The airy yellow and red dinning room is currently open for dinner, and Carmen will soon be adding lunch, brunch, after-work cocktails and even a late-night menu.
By the numbers:
• 70 seats, including 11 at the bar
• 45 minutes for a paella, from order to table
• 4 fried green tomato slices, stacked, in the tomate verde frito