How do you review Portland’s Toro Bravo that has already been critiqued by every mainstream outlet and social media platform out there — multiple times? If the chosen establishment meets or exceeds expectations and it has been reviewed by everybody in Portland along with all their dogs (and I mean that literally with respect to Rip City), then it’s time for lemonade and scoobie snacks in review land.
The bottom line is everything on the Toro Bravo menu is good or great (rest assured MagoGuide will work hard to confirm this with multiple return visits—someone has to and it might as well be us). So try a mix of inside and outside your usual food preferences. Spherical olives and fried head-on anchovies are not to be missed any more than signatures like the coppa steak and paella.
Mago Tip: Get outside your dining comfort zone and sit at the chef’s counter. If at all possible, sit at “kitchen 1”, which is the first two seats immediately to the right of the pass. Order a couple tapas or pinchos to nibble on with your first drink and then look at what is coming through the pass. Order what looks good next, the runners will be happy to tell you what the dishes are as they pick them up. This puts a kind of dim summy twist onto the tapas experience, substituting for the sumptuous displays that often grace Spanish tapas bars.