Paella Makes The Soul Happy At Carmen Cocina Espanola

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Got a craving for Paella? You know that Spanish meal that has a special skillet and combines rice, meats, seafood and spices into one glorious creation. Yes, that’s the dish. Are you craving it now? I certainly did while I was in Toronto. Perhaps it was all the great Tapas Bars I was visiting that put me in the mood for some Paella. Whatever the reason I want some and the best place to get it happens to be Carmen on Queen Street West. An intimate restaurant where the food does all the talking and your tummy does all the smiling. It’s soul happy food at Carmen, and I’m inviting one of my best friends to share it with me.

Carmen Cocina Espanola

I arrived a bit before my friend, so I got the lay of the restaurant, studied the menu and most importantly ordered a couple of drinks for us to start.

Carmen Restaurant Toronto

Inside Carmen

Knowing that Jacqui was coming straight from work, I thought I would surprise her with taking care of the ordering. A couple of Estrellas to start and to go with them Croquetas de Jamon Serrano y Manchego and Jicama de Aguacate. Beer with friend Cheese and Serrano Ham balls with Jicama purses filled with Avocado and Pico de Galla. The Croquetas were crunchy on the outside and melt in you mouth goodness on the inside. The Jicama purses had Avocado, do I need to say anymore?

Croquettas de Jamon Serrano Y Manchego

Jicama con Aguacate

Jacqui arrived just before our appetizers did but shortly after we finished them the Chef sent out two more Tapas for us to try, Tomate Verde Frito Con Queso Feta, Maiz Y Pimentos and Gambas Al Ajillo “ESTILO CARMEN”. It may not look it, but the stack is breaded fried green tomatoes Spanish style. The standout favourite of the dishes so far. Nomnomnom. As for the Grilled Shrimp they were bathed in gorgeous garlic and serrano chili oil bringing out all their flavour with just a little kick of heat.



After a little pause to rest our happy bellies, the Paella finally arrives. I had ordered it before Jacqui sat down because each Paella is made to order and takes at least 25 minutes to prepare. There are five different Paellas to choose from, I chose the house special Paella Del Carmen. One slight adjustment to the Paella, I asked for no clams as I don’t like them. Mussels, Chorizo, and Rice. They are all there cooked together in one pot. The serving spoon is flat so that we can scrape the rice from the bottom of the dish. This is the absolute best part in my opinion. Spectacular.

Paella del Carmen

We are so full but…. I can’t resist dessert. Rice Pudding and Strawberry Cheesecake. Yes we left a few pounds heavier, but we left full and happy. A great meal with a great friend equals a great time. I couldn’t ask for any better.

Dessert Carmen Style, rice pudding and cheesecake

If you’re craving Paella, and you are in the Toronto neighbourhood head straight to Carmen, you won’t be disappointed.

Carmen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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Disclosure: Review

My dinner at Carmen was hosted however my views and opinions are 100% my own. This post was not seen prior to posting.

About Author

Marc Smith is a former event planner turned vagabond adventurer. He loves strong Americano's, great wine, cold beer and zip lining over tree tops. Formerly of Vancouver, most of Marc's time when not travelling is in Canada's largest city, Toronto. Follow along on his nomad adventures and discover places to stay, things to do and where to eat & drink as he explores the world one city and region at a time.

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