Have you heard of Carmen restaurant on Queen St West in Toronto? If not, you must not be a big Paella fan. This place, known for it’s delicious tapas, seafood paella and wonderful sangria, is a delightfully funky Spanish hideaway off of busy Queen St West. Catering to a younger crowd — the setting is lively yet relaxing. The decor is colourful and fantastic.
What to try:
Last night I enjoyed their red sangria. What was nice about it was it wasn’t too sweet, just the perfect blend of savoury red wine and sweet liquored fruits. It was served in a mason jar, which was fun and unexpected.
Then, I tried the deep-fried green tomatoes. Four medium sized tomatoes arrived stacked in between layers of goats cheese and raisins, but it was a lot more gourmet than I am describing. While there wasn’t a hint of tomato in taste, the flavours were unique and the dish was a hit.
Next arrived a fried plate of artichokes – my favourite of the night. Drizzled in an aioli that stole the show. These soft and delicious bites just melt in your mouth.
After that – the ceviche. When ceviche is good, it is really good. This was the case here. It arrived in the form of tacos. The lemon-y fish was placed inside 3 lettuce leaves as the taco shell, and it was exactly what I needed after two deep fried plates. Fresh and oh so summery!
Finally, the paella arrived. It was really great. A bed of moist risotto-like rice, with clams, mussels, shrimp, scallops, chorizo and chicken beautifully arranged in an iron skillet with basil leaves scattered. This meal made me want to book a plane ticket to Spain and go on a paella expedition.
The server was also a dream. He was attentive and helpful and very handsome I might add!
The meal was $140.00 with 4 drinks total. A tad more expensive but the paella and tapas experience is worth it. Check out Carmen on 922 Queen St West for your final summer dinner out!
Featured Image Source: wherejesseate.com