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?Toronto Good Mexican PLEASE???

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  • Tamara Jan 19, 2005 05:29 PM
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Where can I go for great Mexican (with a clean kitchen if you know what I mean).

Central Toronto would be ideal.

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  1. There are lots of places on Bloor St., near Clinton. Just can't remember the names.

    Otherwise, there is Gonzo's on O'Connor and El Sol on Danforth at Monarch Park Avenue.

    And please...don't generalize about ethnic eateries. There are good and bad hygiene places throughout the city.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Eva

      My fav is El Sol on the danforth at Monarch Park

      1. re: Eva

        I hate to disagree, but I found Gonzo's to be just about the worst thing I ever ate in my young life. Quite a bit of therapy has allowed me not to remember specifics, but believe we had a sample plate, and it was not pretty...The owner was a lovely guy though, I must say. As for El Sol on the Danforth, if you get past the obscene time it takes for service, it's adequate, but the aforementioned downtown alternatives are far superior in my opinion.

        1. re: Eva

          Haven't tried a lot of the others but El Sol is my favourite inthe city and beats Jalapeno's handsdown IMHO. Agree about the service though, it once took almost 75 minutes for a sampler plate to come out to us, and we swore (before it arrived) we'd never go back. HOWEVER, once we tasted the food we were back every week for the next month! Just planned to arrive before the dinner rush!

        2. m
          Margaritas mmm

          Dos Amigos at Bathurst and Davenport was great the last ttime I was there. Outrageously good mole, and enormous premium margaritas. :)

          2 Replies
          1. re: Margaritas mmm

            second Dos Amigos, never had a bad meal there and their Margarita's are to die!

            1. re: Margaritas mmm

              And a third vote for Dos Amigos. Authentic cuisine, high quality and great value. One of the rare cases in this city where you can say those three things in one sentence.

            2. Hernando's Hideaway on Yonge and Wellesley is good and another of my fave's is Tacos El Asador on Bloor between Bathurst and Christie.

              1. Depends on what you call good. If your standards are what you get in the southwest, then there aren't any "good" places here. There used to be a passable place in Missisaugua (of all places!) years ago, but they are now gone.

                I've also heard the chef at Hernando's is actually quite good, but said that people in Toronto don't appreciate real Mexican food, so he quit making it and just serves up the usual Tex-Mex.

                1. I'm Mexican and there are few "real" Mexican restaurants in Toronto:
                  Jalapeno, the best Mexican I know of (just East of King & Bathurst)
                  El Jacalito (Royal York)
                  El Trompo (Augusta) - great for tacos

                  There are some others that I haven't tried but that other Mexicans have recommended such as El Mariachi (Eglinton West or Yonge Street), La Mexicana (just north of Yonge & Bloor)

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Laura

                    I've been to El Mariachi and loved it. I have never been to Mexico, so can't comment on authenticity, but I think the food tastes great here (eg west location).

                    Also, it appears to be run by mexicans, it is clean and has a nice atmosphere. Prices are good.

                    1. re: Monte

                      Mexicans in town here did mention this specific restaurant when I inquired about a good Mexican restaurant, years ago, have enjoyed the restaurant a lot since, and being there so long also is a good sign!

                    2. re: Laura

                      I agree with all of your choices. I'm not Mexican, but have a fair bit of experience with Mexican food. The Winterlicious festival is a great time to go to Jalapenos, as it provides really good value. If you're after tacos, Mexitaco and El Trompo are both good, but unfortunately not as good as tacos en la calle en Mexico. And El Jacalito is a fun place to visit, with entertainment and a buffet on Saturday nights.

                      1. re: Laura

                        The original La Mexicana is on Bathurst, a little south of Wilson. I thought it was pretty good.

                      2. I've been on a search for 'authentic' Mexican fare in TO for years, and have recently had a bit more luck with it. I remember Dos Amigos as being OK, but a bit on the pricey side and a bit too much attitude with the service.

                        I tried Jalapeno last year for a $10 Winterlicious lunch, and it was great. By far one of the best deals in the festival.

                        Recently however, I tried MexiTaco, at Bloor and Ossington. Don't be put off by the name, because this place might just serve the best Mexican food in the city. Not being Mexican, my party was a minority here, and the food was great! We started with a platter of mixed tamales, served in corn husks, and then I moved onto some enchiladas mole. The mole was so flavourful, and even had a nice kick to it. Prices were really reasonable too. I highly reccommend MexiTaco!

                        Link: http://www.mexitaco.com

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Oxtail

                          It's actually at the corner of Bloor and Roxton, 1 block east of Ossington.

                          Just went last night, as a matter of fact. I was following this thread and, being in the area with my wife, we popped in.

                          Started with Choriqueso, kind of a bowl of cheese and semi-spicy chorizo sausage and a couple of tortillas to spoon the gooey mass into. Very tasty. You're supplied with a four-bowl condiment station, including (technical restaurant industry terms coming up here...) some green stuff (mashed chilies, I presume, not too hot), red stuff (kind of a watery salsa, I thought, nothing too eye watering), spiced (?) raw onions/ peppers and lime wedges. It smelled sooooooo good and fresh!

                          We then had the Mexitaco platter, a combo for two that included what seemed to be fresh home-made taco chips, and 8 (or 10?) soft-shelled tacos, some beef, some chicken. The taco shells were absolutely delicious, very 'corn'-y, and reminiscent of trips down to Mexico.

                          I like a bit of heat, and it was all quite fine for my palette, but my wife (not a heat lover at all, having been raised on the Prairies, poor thing) thought it too spicy. she ended up getting a Caesar salad, which I though rather middling. Neither here nor there.

                          The only real down side to the meal was that it was time-limited... no, they didn't ask us to leave... over time, the soft taco shells seemed to harden up and the contents seemed to 'cook' a bit more, thus making them dry-ish and hard-ish. The first few tacos were heaven, the last was rather rubbery.

                          So, eat fast, eat lots, and wash it down with a Dos Equis,

                          [a]

                        2. I would recommend Latitude on Harbord west of Spadina. It's not Tex-Mex in any way, shape, or form but the owner is Mexican and he strives to bring more high-end, unfamiliar (to many Toronto diners) Mexican and Latin dishes to the table. Chef used to be Pedro Quintanilla, who is now at Focaccia. Not sure who Latitude's chef is now, but I think his name is Chris. In any case, very good, inventive food coming out of the kitchen. I'm vegetarian, and while they offer a range of meaty dishes, they'll always make me something veggie, even if it's not on the menu. I believe it's also had pretty consistent 3 star or 3 N reviews from Toronto Life and NOW mags respectively.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Kajsa

                            Latitude has closed. The location is now Harbord Room, and I do recommend it, but it isn't remotely Mexican.

                          2. Love Mexican Food amongst many others ( Thai, Viet & others great ---- cannot find Macedonian, East European to any degree etc. )!!! Chowhound has been a bit on the quiet side and you have provided a recipe --- 2 soaking wet sticks, rub really hard, & ignite interest!!!

                            1. I seem to recall that apart from the excruciating wait time for the food... when it arrived it was wheeled out to us on a cart by a woman with white gloves. El Sol is a trip!

                              The food was fabulous though.

                              1. El Sol is great for mexican (esp. the chicken mole), but the service is very slow. They do Take Out except if it's a busy night.

                                Avoid the pickled jalapenos.

                                1. m
                                  MichelinStarChaser (Maria)

                                  Since I'm not from Toronto, the minute I got here I tried every Mexican restaurant and still do. My humble opinions are:

                                  1) Jalapeno on King (sorry, can't figure out how to put tilda over the "n"): great all around and their guacamole has heat!
                                  2) Dos Amigos on Bathurst: Elisabeth (server, ex-El Palenque) is the best!
                                  3) El Jacalito: and you get a floor show!
                                  4) La Mexicana: have only tried the Bathurst location. It's not perfect, but if you need a fix, it's pretty good. If it matters, I had a very bad margarita there, but most Mexican places in T.O. don't seem to do drinks very well.
                                  Notes:
                                  - A friend of mine from Mexico recommended I try Mexitaco, but haven't had a chance yet.
                                  - I don't like El Mariachi on Eglinton very much. I think it used to be better, and the woman who owns it is wonderful. Maybe she just needs to be there more often.
                                  - Used to love El Palenque on St. Clair, but then the service got really bad. They've now consolidated their 2 locations and re-christened themselves Casa de los Mariachi or something like that, so I will try it and let you know.
                                  - I tried Azteca Fiesta on Bayview when I first got here, but I don't remember much about it and I haven't been back since then.
                                  Buena suerte.

                                  1. m
                                    MichelinStarChaser (Maria)

                                    Oops, how could I forget El Sol on Danforth East-East!
                                    Excellent food but the worst and most disorganized service I have ever seen, and that was on a slow night! We handled it by ordering our drinks and some appetizers as soon as we saw our waitress (even before we got a menu, because that could take a while too!), knowing it would be a while before we would see her again, and it worked out just fine.

                                    1. Although this post is a bit dead...Partner and i went to Casa Mariachi on sunday on a st. clair west walk (craving halo halo @ the filipino take out counter)...had homemade quite good guac...tacos w/ homemade tortillas...al pastor/chorizo/beef..beer.. 30 bucks! good friendly service...We were the only ones around but we always eat at weird times..tacos were killah. fresh lite and and tangy. we comitted to eating on tuesday when they have 2 for 1. must try some peruvian and columbian food around this hood 2. recommended

                                      1. Try Milagro.
                                        Owned and operated by 2 Mexican Brothers.
                                        Very authentic, very central.