Torero Tapas Bar Opens in Italian Market

December 4, 2013
by Danya Henninger

“There are a few Spain-inspired restaurants in Philadelphia,” Miguel Martí Rossello begins, “but none of them are really like what you find in Europe.” He pauses for effect. “I am from Spain. I worked in restaurants there for 23 years. I wanted to show Philly something authentic, just like you’d find on a street over there.”

With the opening of Torero at 940 S. Ninth Street, that vision has come to life. In the midst of the Italian Market, on the same block as Di Bruno Bros. and Villa di Roma, Torero is a tapas and paella restaurant with a full bar. Seats for 35 are spread throughout banquettes, a high communal table and the counter that surrounds the open kitchen. Images of toreros (bullfighters) cover one wall, and the other is decorated with a handmade wine rack.

Originally from Mallorca, Marti has been in Philadelphia for three years, and spent all of them as chef at pan-Latin spot Mixto. (At the owner’s beseeching request, he’s still spending three or so hours a day there, helping with ordering and organization.)

Martí’s specialty is tapas and pintxos - he uses his grandmother’s recipes - and they’ll be the main event during daily 5-8 PM happy hour at Torero. Two-ounce pours of beer (zuritos) or wine (chikitos) go for $2 each, or get either with a pintxos for $4. Assorted hot and cold pintxos, laid out on platters along the counter, will be three for $5. We sampled a skewer of tender, North African-spiced pork, toast topped with creamy crab-spinach dip and a folded crepe-omelet with broccoli and cheese.

Torero will open daily at 10 AM, and serve a full menu of both brunch and dinner dishes through 10 PM every night. Look for cured meats - "Real jamon, the brand they serve in Spain!" - cheeses, seafood, soups, paellas, rice dishes and more, with nothing over $30. On Friday and Saturday, Martí intends to stay open through 2 AM and serve food through 1 AM, providing a much-needed late-night stop for the neighborhood. Check out the full menus for food and drink below, and stop in for a taste of Spain.