By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Jun 07, 2022 at 7:02 PM

The wait for Tauro Cocina has officially come to an end, as the restaurant prepares to open its doors beginning at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, June 8 at 1758 N. Water St., the building which most recently housed DiModa Pizza, but was also the longtime home of Trocadero.

The family owned concept, which weaves together traditional Italian fare – including pasta, pizzas and entrees – with Mexican-inspired ingredients, is operated by Chef Alberto Valdepeña, his wife Ahide and their three sons, Berto, David and Marco. Together, they’ve created a restaurant that reflects both their personal journeys and the spirit of hospitality which drew them to the restaurant industry.  [Read more here]

Inside the restaurant, guests will find a welcoming environment that contains a mix of old and new, from the bright triangular bar at the front of the restaurant to the cozy dining room and  the counter that surrounds the pizza oven, where the smell of wood infuses the air as the pies bake.

And yes, one of the city's most beloved patios will be reopening again, as weather permits.

Photo: Tauro Cocina

On the menu

On the menu, guests will find simple appetizers like house bread served with housemade macha oil ($5); toasted baguette served with roasted poblano pesto ($7); poblano pepper stuffed with potatoes and melted cheese and served on a bed of romesco sauce ($11) mussels with white wine and chipotle butter ($13) and seared octopus with arugula and lemon vinaigrette ($13).

Photo: Tauro Cocina

There are fresh summer salads featuring arugula, peaches, beets and walnuts with balsamic glaze ($13); tomato panzanella with red onions, kalamata olives, basil, house croutons and olive oil ($13); and spring mix, figs, prosciutto, goat cheese and raspberry balsamic dressing ($13).

Sandwiches include grilled chicken with poblano pesto, spinach and tomatoes on a baguette ($15); chicken milanesa with spring mix, avocado, tomato and serrano mayo on a telera roll ($15); and arrachera (skirt steak) piled on a baguette with sauteed onions, manchego and  house macha salsa ($17).

The pizza oven, which will be fired with a blend of woods including oak, will turn out pizzas like a classic margherita and pepperoni pizzas. But guests can also order pies with more creative toppings like burrata, grilled peaches, arugula and honey basil glaze ($17); figs, prosciutto, goat cheese, arugula and balsamic glaze ($17) or Oaxacan cheese, poblano peppers, red onions and cilantro ($15).

Photo: Tauro Cocina

On the pasta side, fettuccine will be served with mezcal chipotle cream ($19), white wine and guajillo butter sauce ($21) or poblano pesto with grilled chicken ($21);  while risotto will feature spicy grilled shrimp, shaved parmesan and cilantro ($25). 

Meanwhile entrees will include seafood options like caldo mar with shrimp, mussels, fish, tomatoes, lemon and cilantro ($27); grilled octopus with romesco and roasted potatoes ($27) and salmon served with cilantro cream risotto and sauteed vegetables ($25).

There will also be hanger steak with rosemary roasted potatoes and macha salsa ($25) and guajillo pepper chicken with garlic mashed potatoes and sauteed vegetables ($23).

Limoncello spritz
Limoncello spritz

At the bar, guests will find both wine and beer, including a nice selection of wines from Italy, Spain and Portugal and beer from Italy, Mexico and Wisconsin. There’s also a list of house cocktails which runs the gamut from light refreshing quaffs like a limoncello spritz (prosecco, limoncello, club soda and lemon, $11) to a house margarita($13), sangria ($11) and a rosemary paloma with mezcal, grapefruit and rosemary ($11).

Tauro Cocina is also available for private parties and reservations for large groups. Call the restaurant at (414) 488-2941 for more information.

Tauro Cocina’s hours are Wednesday and Thursday from 4 to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 4 to 9 p.m.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.