We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Delicious Tapas and Paellas” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Carmen

Carmen
922 Queen Street, Toronto, Ontario M5T 2L9, Canada
416.535.0404
Website
Improve this listing
Ranked #577 of 6,548 Restaurants in Toronto
Price range: $25 - $41
Cuisines: Spanish
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: Shaw St.
Transit: Queen St. W. @ Shaw St. Queen St. W. @ Strachan Ave. Ossington Ave. @ Queen St. W. N. Side
Toronto, Canada
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
“Delicious Tapas and Paellas”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 3, 2014

Location - street parking (green Ps around as well)
Decor - simple with dim lighting and comfortable
Overall - excellent

Variety of tapas from traditional to unique...tried almost all of them as we were there in a group and you cant go wrong with anything you choose. I really enjoyed the cod fritters (not sure of the actual names but its in the description), the fried green tomatoes, the shrimp and the rib eye skewer.

We shared all the paellas and all were delicious, If you enjoy fish, many had good commments on mediterranean bass paella. I only had the seafood that was in it and it was delicious.

We also ordered the white sangria which was fabulous!

Must must must recommend the cheesecake! i couldnt get enough of it. I've had cheesecake at many places and this is at the top of my list. its like a shortbread cookie melting in your mouth with a light topping and a gooseberry to top it off.

Overall a great experience. Service was amazing and food was absolutely delicious. I would definitely go back and have already recommended it to some friends.

Great place to go and share some tapas and have some drinks.

Tapas go from about $6-$14 and dessert from about $8-10. You can always check out the website as i believe it may show the prices.

  • Visited May 2014
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

23 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    9
    9
    4
    0
    1
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Toronto, Canada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Superb dinner!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2014

Last week I took my daughter and fiancé to Carmen to celebrate their engagement. Not only were the tapas wonderfully inventive, but the paella was outstanding in that each component was cooked to perfection, culminating in an outstanding culinary experience. Deserts consisting of homemade sorbet and an exquisite goat cheesecake were to die for. The best part of the meal however was the service by a genuinely interested, kind and prompt waiter and the chef who came to discuss with us special requests we had made. He included components and dishes not included in the menu at no extra charge!
Needless to say, the atmosphere was cheerful and upbeat. A meal to be remembered and repeated as often as possible!

  • Visited March 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“WOW”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2014

My husband and I went here for dinner on Friday night as our last night out before our new baby arrives and Carmen did not disappoint! I dined here last spring for a work dinner not long after it opened and I was happy to see they had changed their menu around a bit. It wasn't that I didn't like what I had before, its that I was happy to try new things! We shared: the ceviche, sausage and potato, kale salad, avocado and jimica puree, and the fried green tomatoes as starters and all were very good. Being pregnant, I probably should not have had the ceviche but I couldn't resists and it was one of the best I have ever had. We then shared the paella with the rabbit, escargot and artichokes...it was so good and we were surprised at the size of the piece of rabbit we were given as it was huge...we thought for sure if would be smaller pieces mixed in rather than a breast of meat. Everything tasted really, really good and the weight staff were friendly and knowledgeable about everything on the menu. the best part is, the prices are SO reasonable, our bill was $147 and my husband had a cocktail and two glasses of wine! We will be back for sure after the baby arrives.

  • Visited February 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
Top Contributor
63 reviews 63 reviews
26 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
“Best Paella in North America and Better (Different?) Than Many in Spain”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2013

I live most winters in Spain (summers in Canada), so I've eaten my share of tapas and paella. On the latter, I've had a few better paellas in Spain than those served at Carmen but not many (and forget those horrid frozen jobs so many tourist restaurants in Spain serve -- that ain't paella!).

The big difference is Carmen's are more highly flavoured, especially with garlic, which the Spanish don't tend to like as much of. One could see it as zesty vs subtle or flavourful vs bland. Think I've tried all of the paellas at Carmen over 4-5 visits and enjoyed them all but my favourite is definitely the house special paella mixta with seafood, chicken and chorizo. The first time I went, this past spring, it was topped with grilled garlic scapes as they were in season. So, ok, maybe not altogether traditional but so good! All of the paellas make a big main dish for two but my companion and I inevitably fought over the socarrat (the crispy bits that stick to the bottom of the pan in a properly cooked paella).

Ditto the tapas at Carmen. They do offer a selection of more traditional ones although most of them are more imaginatively presented than you'll get in many Spanish places. I love their take on pan con tomate, their patatas bravas are again better than so many I've had in Spain (outside of a few spots in Madrid) and the morcilla y garbanzos are to die for -- if you like blood sausage. Their tapas Vangardia are just as good -- and I'm not the only one who loves the fried green tomato dish, which I think I've shared on every visit. However, I may be the only one not as impressed by the guacamole and jicama combo.

The sangria is fine and the wine list adequate although I think they've been out of our first choice on two visits -- something for management to watch. Service on every visit has been great -- friendly, helpful and professional.

Only caveat is that Carmen's isn't a spot for a romantic dinner for two: built with a lot of hard surfaces (as so many modern restaurants in Canada are) and inevitably busy with several large convivial tables, the noise levels ramp up the later the evening gets. But that's part of the fun.

Believe residential neighbours are resisting the opening of the patio at the back but hope that comes for next summer, perhaps with an earlier closing to quiet late-night noise fears.

  • Visited September 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Top Contributor
106 reviews 106 reviews
71 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
76 helpful votes 76 helpful votes
“Very relaxed atmosphere.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 24, 2013

The seating is a bit cozy against the wall, but I guess that is part of the charm and it gets quit noisy so most of the time you don't notice your neighbors. The bigger tables in the middle are very roomy, but reserved for more than two. The atmosphere is very relaxed and natural. The smells and sounds from the open kitchen, and background music along with the tapas style of eating make for a very comfortable gastronomic night out. Your taste buds will love it. They have a small but adequate selection of beers and wine mostly all Spanish which was OK with me as I love Spanish wines. This is a great place for a nice couples dinner if you go early, or with lots of friends if you go a little later. We were there on a Sunday night and it was still packed so I would recommend a reservation.

  • Visited October 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Carmen also viewed

 
Toronto, Ontario
Toronto, Ontario
 

Been to Carmen? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Carmen, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.