Posted by Jen Sahi on 10th April 2019.

Toro Toro is one of those restaurant stalwarts that's been delighting diners in Dubai Marina for nearly a decade - a dependable place with Richard Sandoval's name behind it where you know you?ll get consistently good food, drinks and music.

It's heaving on a Monday night, which just so happens to be Ladies Night, so all tables are reserved and it takes me an hour of waiting as a walk-in to get a table.

This is my third visit to Toro Toro and it's been busy every time. And it's no wonder as there's something for almost everyone - large cocktail tables for big parties, low tables for intimate dining, bar seating and lounge seating - so you'll feel as comfortable visiting with workmates as you will on a first date. The vibe is young and trendy with Latin-inspired beats that get progressively louder as the night goes on. The interiors are sophisticated yet subtle, dark yet well-lit, all with a nod to South America with brown leather chairs, Aztec patterns, Amazon-inspired vegetation and mounted bull horns.

They had a big refurb late last year and revealed their new menu at the same time, showcasing an updated array of dishes that meld Latin America flavours and ingredients with contrasting tastes and textures.

It's a sharing concept with mostly small plates and a handful of main courses, and the dishes we order are all distinct and delicious. The Huachinango Ceviche is a classic sea bass ceviche in a leche de tigre marinade with crunchy corn, sweet potato and red onion. The Grilled Octopus is a fat tentacle cut into bite-sized chunks, coated in a spicy-sweet anticuchera BBQ sauce and served alongside an Argentinean-style potato salad.

The Cachapas is a sweet corn pancake filled with stretchy halloumi cheese and served with a tart pico de gallo, both which provide a savoury contrast. The Peruvian Tuna Tataki, in its tangy sauce of smoked aji amarillo, is complemented by garlic crisps and sweet caramelised peppers.

The surprise star of the evening is the dish I begrudgingly ordered - a dull-sounding Quinoa Solterito Salad with roasted vegetables, canary bean hummus, aji amarillo dressing and a swath of reduced balsamic that somehow makes an addictive combination. The Smoked Guacamole is the only dish I didn't love as it seems more whipped than mashed.

The portion sizes of the mains are sizeable and we are nearly defeated by the 300g Wagyu 8-9 Grade Ribeye Steak (a decadent steak served on a bed of potatoes with a side of chimichurri and barbecue sauce) and the Arroz con Mariscos (the Peruvian version of the paella, a skillet of al dente rice topped with prawns, calamari, octopus and mussels).

But we aren't defeated enough to skip dessert, and we can't pass up the Mascarpone Purple Corn, with a sorbet made from purple corn, the antioxidant-rich superfood, or the classic Dulce de Leche Cheesecake.

Definitely one of my new old faves - just make a booking in advance if you?re going on Ladies Night.

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