Gerardo De Anda was flipped into the air by a bull while participating in the traditional run in Pamploma, and perhaps that gave him the courage to team up with his sister, Vanessa, to open their first restaurant in the fickle San Antonio market in February. My husband and I met Gerardo, the charming owner of Toro Kitchen + Bar, when we stopped in for an early bite last Saturday night. The casual yet sophisticated ambiance and cozy space—warm wood, white brick, with nods to the Spanish menu in the artwork and wine—immediately reminded us of the now-defunct Malaga, one of our favorite restaurants in Austin. We have been lamenting the lack of tapas restaurants in San Antonio for years, so we were thrilled with the variety of tapas the Toro menu offers. Three of our favorite were Jamón Serrano con Melon, a tasty Serrano ham with cantaloupe; the Al Ajillo, a nice garlic & chili spice sauté, which we had with shrimp; and the Queso de Cabra Frito, a fried goat cheese with caramelized onions and honey. They have award-winning paella on the menu, too, which smelled incredible as it arrived at a neighboring table.
The patio, with both shaded and sunny seating areas and a large fountain at the center, is a perfect after-work retreat, especially with the addition of happy hour weekdays from 4 to 7 p.m. A Spanish guitarist sets the mood on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., and brunch is available on Saturday and Sunday.
If you haven’t found Toro yet, it may be because it’s a little hidden. Tucked into a space in the Mediterranean-style shopping plaza at Tuscany Stone and Loop 1604 in Stone Oak, you almost have to be looking for it to see it. From the looks of the full tables, plenty of folks are doing just that.
Check out Toro Kitchen + Bar at 115 N. Loop 1604 E., Suite 1105 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to midnight; and Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. For more information, click on Toro Kitchen + Bar. (And a special bonus—you can also find the video of Gerardo’s bull encounter there.)