Atmosphere : 3.5/5
Food : 5/5
Service : 4/5
Value for Money : 4/5
Overall : 4.5/5
Casa Del Toro is a small but equally lovely tapas restaurant across the road from the Creegan library on the St. Patrick’s campus in Drumcondra. With good food and a warm and friendly atmosphere, it is no wonder it has been nearly full every time I’ve been there. Having opened just over two years ago, it is clear to see why this place is still going strong.
The atmosphere in Casa Del Toro is relaxed and friendly. On arrival, we were served a complementary glass of sangria. The staff were all helpful and polite to us and the other customers seemed to be enjoying themselves. Spanish music is a near constant in the background, but it is a pleasant undertone in the overall sound of this restaurant and is in no way too loud that one couldn’t have a polite conversation over it.
The food itself was delicious. Casa Del Toro boasts an impressive range of tapas from across the various regions in Spain with both traditional and contemporary options to choose from. I had the garlic and chilli prawns, albóndigas (spiced meatballs) and truffle fries. As with my other experiences here, the food was exceptional and I would happily pay for full size portions of any of these in a more traditional restaurant. Others I dined with had tempura cod, sea bass with chorizo and pato crujiente, a starter-type dish similar to a duck filled samosa.
Vegetarian options are also featured prominently on the menu and looked as good as my own food tasted. They also usually have a few lovely specials up on the chalkboard on the wall aside from the regular menu, which are on par with the rest of the fare.
There is one place where I feel that Casa Del Toro falls down food-wise and that is in their desserts. Now I may be being overly critical here, but as this is a food review, I’m obliged to point it out. After the excellent quality of the tapas beforehand, the desserts afterwards were merely ok in comparison.
The cocktails are also a nice addition to a meal here, however as Casa Del Toro is also a wine bar and as I’m not a wine drinker myself, I had to rely on others to tell me it was very nice.
The service in Casa Del Toro is excellent. The staff are always friendly and always very helpful. They also were keen to make sure everything was okay during the evening. You might even see some familiar faces as some of the staff are DCU students.
Value for Money
The pricing on the menu in Casa Del Toro is very reasonable. The food well deserves the price you pay for it. I had three different dishes for under €25, and with one or two drinks and a dessert, it was still coming in under €35.
I wouldn’t say many could afford to go regularly on a student budget but it would definitely serve as a nice treat during a break from all of the studying you’re doing.
Unfortunately, the restaurant doesn’t offer an early bird option or a student discount and it stopped opening for lunch during the summer of 2016. This may act as a deterrent to many of you considering going there, but I encourage you to give it a try.
The restaurant is located across the road from the library end entrance to the St. Patrick’s campus. It is an easy 10-minute walk from All Hallows and a slightly longer walk or a direct bus from the Glasnevin campus.
Overall I can say that Casa Del Toro is one of the finest restaurants in the areas surrounding the DCU campuses. It is also one of the best restaurants I have been to in the whole of Dublin and would highly encourage anyone to try there at least once.
For more information, Casa Del Toro can be found online at www.casadeltoro.ie and on their Facebook page Casa Del Toro Dublin.
Colm Seán Mansfield
Image Credit: Colm Seán Mansfield