Must Try: Carmen

From the owners of mainstay Torito Tapas in Kensington comes Carmen, a seafood-heavy Spanish tapas restaurant that replaced the void left by Caju on Queen West. It’s a happening stretch of WQW to be sure, with Ursa and A-OK Foods already having made waves amongst the city’s foodie scene.

Carmen is deceptively large inside – the back space is double the width of what can be seen from the street. Already, this new restaurant has garnered accolades thanks to their always-fresh paellas, but that’s hardly the only reason to book a seat.

On a recent visit, we ordered a selection of top recommendations from the top of menu. Fried artichokes are accented by a garlicky cream sauce. The kale salad may be simple, but it’s refreshing alongside an order of perfectly grilled shrimp. And, of course, the paella deserves all the fame and glory it’s been offered; made fresh each time it’s ordered, and with a 45-minute wait before it will arrive at your table, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more authentic version in the city.

Right now the city is seeing its up-and-coming food trend – Spanish and Latin-American cuisine-heavy spots are opening almost weekly. While there will be a host of other restaurants with doors wide open by end of year, Carmen is one you certainly don’t want to overlook.

Photos courtesy Carmen