In bullfighting, the term “alta toro” connotes an energetic bull, one who is particularly strong and powerful. This is the way Ayman Kamel wants Atlantans to think of his new Midtown restaurant. Alta Toro will serve modern Latin fare in a high-energy environment, complete with nightly live entertainment. It’s slated to open in April in the former Babalu space at the corner of West Peachtree Street and Peachtree Place.
“We’re going to feed all your senses—your eyes, your ears, your taste, your soul,” says Kamel, who owns 5Church restaurants in Buckhead and Midtown, as well as Virtue Rooftop lounge.
He was inspired by a trip to Buenos Aires, where people were dancing the tango at dinner. “I’ve always loved Latin cuisine, from Cuba all the way down to Argentina,” he says. “The menu is going to be so diverse; the sky is the limit.”
Rodney Smith, culinary director for all Kamel’s restaurants, will be curating the menu. Diners can choose tapas or select a three- or four-course pre fixe menu. Items may include ropa vieja, Argentine empanadas, Chilean cazuela and Cuban picadillo stews. For brunch, expect Mexican huevos rancheros and Brazilian pao de queijo (cheese bread). The lunch menu will feature tapas, burritos, empanadas, and other items designed to be eaten quickly.
Jorge Ortiz is designing the bar program. There will be 40 or 50 unique Latin American wines, with about 20 available by the glass. Cocktails will change seasonally and lean heavily on agave-based spirits. Ortiz is currently tasting 50 tequilas to find the best for Alta Toro. Kamel promises a diverse beer list with options from Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, the Dominican Republic, and Atlanta.
The space will be designed with entertainment in mind. The dining room will have a designated area for bands, and although the bar will be small, high-tops and communal tables allow patrons to continue the conversation nearby.
Kamel plans to decorate Alta Toro with art from all over Latin America, and a large metal tree sculpture will serve as the focal point of the restaurant. A covered patio will provide space for occasional pig roasts and paella nights.
“I want an energetic ambiance,” he says.