RESTAURANT

Review: Authentic cuisine wins over cheesy Corrida exterior

IF I HAD not needed to write a restaurant review this week I probably would not have chosen Corrida de Toros for dinner. With its large store-like front windows, its outdoor seating in the Slovak capital's pedestrian zone, and the loud music which plays at disco volume all day long, Corrida gives the impression it is one of Bratislava's 'see and be seen' places.
I'm not very familiar with Spanish cuisine, so I took a Spanish-speaking friend along to judge the quality of the menu. It was a wise decision, because we encountered some confusion even while choosing soups.


INTERIOR needs no music.
photo: Saša Petrášová

Corrida de Toros Restaurant

Where: Laurinská 7
Tel: 02/5443-5741 or 0903/288-818
Open: Mon-Thu and Sun 9:00-24:00, Fri-Sat 09:00-03:00
English menu: Yes
Reservations: Yes
Rating: 7 out of 10

IF I HAD not needed to write a restaurant review this week I probably would not have chosen Corrida de Toros for dinner. With its large store-like front windows, its outdoor seating in the Slovak capital's pedestrian zone, and the loud music which plays at disco volume all day long, Corrida gives the impression it is one of Bratislava's 'see and be seen' places.

I'm not very familiar with Spanish cuisine, so I took a Spanish-speaking friend along to judge the quality of the menu. It was a wise decision, because we encountered some confusion even while choosing soups.

Gazpacho was an obvious pick, as the cold tomato soup is a classic, but we chose the almond soup as well, largely out of curiosity. In Spanish the soup was called garlic, and that's what it turned out to be - a cold, creamy garlic soup with almonds and grapes. The gazpacho, meanwhile, was served in an original way, with all the vegetables and bread crumbs in small side bowls next to the soup. Both choices were delicious.

Vegetarians have to stick to the starters and salads in Corrida de Toros, because the main dishes are largely meat. With three different paellas (rice dishes) on offer, I chose the Valencia variant with chicken and rabbit meat, which was served in a pan with fried paprika. My friend opted for the stewed lamb.

For desert we chose cinnamon and lemon flavoured Andalusian ice cream served with whipped cream and fruit, and an Italian espresso to finish off the fiesta.

The attentive, smiling waitress was a plus, as was the interior, decorated with Spanish folklore items. One almost wonders if the Latino pop music in the background is really necessary, as Corrida's pictures and ceramics are far better at creating atmosphere.

The menu offers a very satisfying range of wines and cocktails, but lacks a very important Spanish feature. According to an Andalusian tradition, tapas (starters) are supposed to be served free with the drinks. The free food is supposed to prevent people from getting too drunk, and the small plates can also be used as covers for glasses and cups to protect them from insects. I would warmly recommend that Corrida de Toros adopts this tradition, even though it doesn't seem to be plagued by insects, and even though people might abuse it by pigging out on free starters rather than ordering meals.

Still, in for a peseta, in for a peso.

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