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Newly opened: La Tortillaria

The other day as I walked my pooch through Kensington market I stumbled upon La Tortillaria. It's where It's All Good used to be, behind Toronto Western Hospital. Through the window I could see a large metal machine that suggested they might actually be making their own tortillas!

Today I was at the hospital for an appointment and decided to investigate further. Happy day - it was open!. They opened yesterday, in fact. The tortilla making machine wont be pumping out fresh tortillas until the 22nd, but you can still try any of their taco fillings in a store bought soft corn tortilla. There were about 8 or so varieties of fillings from their hot table.

Having already had lunch, I only sampled a chicken one for $2.50. The chicken was full of flavour, tender and moist. I will say it was not hot enough - both in temprature and spice and I didn't notice their condiments (hot sauce, cilantro and onion) until I was done. I'm sure they would have made a big difference in the spice department, and overall texture/freshness of the taco, but I enjoyed it nevertheless.

I was also given samples of their in-house made drinks - Jamaica flower and Orchata. Both tasty, but the grainyness of the orchata takes some getting used to.

Can't wait until the 22nd to give it another go with a proper tortilla!

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  1. Sounds promising - I'd love some great tacos in this city. Can you please be more specific re: location? Thanks.

    2 Replies
    1. re: peppermint pate

      No problem! According to my google search "It's All Good" was at 68 Wales. It's north of Dundas, east of Bathurst - on the corner of Wales and Leonard. It's essentially across the street from the emergency room entrance to the hospital.

      1. re: Delish

        lol- I used to live in that building- it was all apartments at one time..

    2. I was just introduced to jamaica flower last week in mexico. I am already craving some good tortillas and tacos.
      Can't wait.

      1. Is this strictly a restaurant or will they be selling groceries? I've been interested in finding a good fresh corn tortilla supplier. I find the stores in Kensington displaying their tortillas on shelves or out in the sunshine in packages that are clearly marked "Keep Refrigerated" a little suspect.

        9 Replies
        1. re: Googs

          This place definitely sounds interesting. I've been thinking for a long time that Toronto needs a hole-in-the-wall taco stand (not sure if this place fits the description). What other taco varieties do they serve?

          Googs, I got some fresh corn tortillas at Whole Foods. They didn't taste all that great. They had two varieties, so I can't comment on the other brand. It's very easy to make your own. Get the Masa at food basics (at least the one at gerrard square sells it), a chapatti (sp?) press in little india and a cast iron pan. They taste wicked.

          1. re: grandgourmand

            Other varieties.... hmmmm. I recall one that had chrizo, pineapple, some kind of ground meat, potentially pork and/or beef chunks. There is chicken mole on the menu, but they didn't make it yesterday. Also, refried beans, but to me they looked awfully pale to be refried... Sorry to be so vague, I didn't linger too long in there.

            1. re: grandgourmand

              LOVE fresh corn tortillas! Are they that easy to make? What do you add to the Masa? I know... I know .... this is a recipe question and it will be banished - so just reply really quickly O.K.?

              1. re: KitchenVoodoo

                I've purchased masa before at Rube's Rice in the St. Lawrence Market. They sell it in bulk there. You need only mix it with water, roll it into balls, then flatten it with a press (or in my case, a heavy pot). Do a google for various instructions on masa to water ratios, techniques, etc... lots of info out there.

                I too find that most of the tortillas sold in Toronto, even when good brands, have come a long way and often been frozen -- by the time I try to heat them up, they're like cardboard :(

                  1. re: KitchenVoodoo

                    Just a quick note to KitchenVoodoo..
                    Maseca, water and lard. Maseca available in Kensington at Perola and I saw it at my local No Frills (Carlaw). Easy, easy to make and a million times better than packaged ones from anywhere.

                    There was a rumour of fresh masa in Toronto a few months ago but I never found it.

                    And I'm THRILLED to have a tortilla maker in Toronto. Visions of Mexico, can't wait !

                    1. re: Mila

                      And a pinch of salt. I forgot it once and really noticed a difference. Haven't used lard, though. Anyhow, this will probably get bumped to the recipes section...

                      Chicken mole...I'll go check it out this weekend.

                1. re: Googs

                  I didn't ask, but I don't think they'll be stocking groceries. It's pretty small. They will definitely be selling fresh tortillas and fresh nacho chips.

                  1. re: Delish

                    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

                    All I can say is, it's about time.

                  1. re: acd123

                    68 Wales. It's at the corner of Wales and Leonard. Just north of Dundas, East of Bathurst/the hospital - across from the ER entrance.

                    1. re: Delish

                      Any updates here? In house tortillas?

                      1. re: dlw88

                        Haven't had a chance to get back there yet... Hopefully next week.

                  2. This sounds like my Friday lunch plans are now a scouting mission.

                    Does anyone have any reco's if they've been there??

                    DT

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Davwud

                      I really wanted to check this out since I was in Puerto Vallarta over New Years and loved the street tacos. I must say I was a bit dissapointed because as the previous poster said the meat was not overly warm. It felt like it had been sitting there for awhile because it was a tad on the mushy side. I tried a mole, chorizo and two chicken tacos (it was for dinner). They were out of the pork tacos. I'd say my favourite was the mole but I won't be racing back.......

                      1. re: Davwud

                        I went last night for dinner, and felt like there was some promise but that they're still not over their opening kinks (let's hope that's what they are). The staff is friendly and I liked the atmosphere. I got there at about 6:30 I think? and the food was-- as others have mentioned-- not warm enough, and some items were pretty dried out (especially the ground beef). They were out of salsa (they'd broken the blender making horchata!), which is a reason to go back for another try-- maybe when foot traffic picks up in the neighbourhood and I suspect the food will be a little less left-overy. I thought the mole was really good-- the guy there said they were unhappy with any of the moles you can get in Canada so they import it from Mexico (so not home-made, but still tasty). The tortillas are now fresh-made and you can tell. I've never been to Mexico but I spent some time in Panama and it reminded me of being there. Maybe it was the dancehall music playing :-)

                      2. i've been following this thread in interest since i too would hope this place succeeds. haven't gotten around to trying it yet as not in the neighbourhood often. i do find it interesting though, so many comments about the food not being hot enough. has anyone mentioned it to the owners?!

                        1. I swung by there today and talked to the young guy who worked there. They weren't open and I wanted to do a bit of a scouting mission.
                          Anyway, they import their mole and chorizo and make everything else themselves. He gave me some leftover tortillas from yesterday to take as a sample. I tried one in the truck when I left and it was fantastic. I ate it plain and it tasted great.
                          He admitted to having a few bugs to work out but said things were coming along. Take out menus and a website will follow in the not too distant future.

                          They import the coffee they sell too obviously.

                          DT

                          1. I finally had a chance to check this place out. Pretty confident I never would have stumbled upon it on my own as it is off the beaten path from Kensington. Anyway, I loved the feel of it - cute, tiny little spot with a few sunny tables out front, young and earnest owners from Mexico, small simple menu, etc. The whole menu consists of 7 or 8 different tacos and 2 juices. They also sell fresh tortillas by the half and full kilo.

                            I tried the mole and the tinga - both were served with rice and the tinga also had refried beans. I added both green and red salsas to the tinga but, as suggested by the owner, no sauce on the mole. The mole was so-so - just not a lot of flavour, really. I quite liked the tinga, though. They were sold out of the "pork in green sauce" which I'll try another time.

                            I wish I was a bit more wowed by the food. I'd definitely go back for the tinga and to try a couple of the other tacos. I like that it has a secret gem kind of feel to it and it's the sort of place I like to support - hopefully, the quality of the food will improve to match the other elements over the summer.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: peppermint pate

                              I also got to try this place out a few weeks back, and left happy. The mole is subtle, but definitely not flavourless. I took it as the most authentic mole I've ever had, and thoroughly enjoyed it. As others have said, I would have liked my tacos served to me at a higher temperature. Organization seemed a bit off, and I hope they work those kinks out soon. I'll be baaack!

                              1. re: dlw88

                                I certainly wouldn't consider myself a mole afficionado by any stretch but for me, the flavouring was a bit too subtle. Or maybe it was the flavour and proportion of rice which overwhelmed the mole. Not sure but I definitely preferred the tinga with salsas. I would definitely try it again, though.

                                1. re: peppermint pate

                                  4 of us went for lunch last week. I am now reading this thread for the first time and our thoughts are already listed. The shell is above average and the flavours are good. But the temperature is luke warm and probably even below safety code. As promising as the place appears, there is just nothing great about it to pull any of us back.

                            2. My wife and I visited here for an small early lunch on Saturday. Mixed opinions. Sadly the mole -- which was what we really wanted to try -- was "not yet ready" so we had to settle for a sampling of the other tacos. A line was very quickly building out the door and there was some confusion about what was ready and what was not. We ended up getting some refried bean, beef, and potato-with-pork-fat tacos (apologies for forgetting the proper Spanish names). We also snagged the last Jamaica juice.

                              All the food was fine, though nowhere near as good as Rebozos or Tacos Al Pastor, at least in my inexpert opinion. The tortillas were definitely the best part. I did observe the same temperature issues as others have: the food needs to be more steaming hot.

                              Most of all I fear they may be a bit of a victim of their own success at this point, at least on Saturdays, as it was so busy they seemed behind, out of stock on many things, and the perpetual line moved very slowly. People kept trying to order things that were not available -- a simple sign could have saved a lot of confusion. If I try them again, which is not guaranteed, I will make it a weekday when they are less busy.

                              1. Just stopped by for the first time. As others have said, the fillings were not exactly hot. Didn't blow me away, but it was certainly tasty. For the price (it would cost as much to get full at Toxic Hell -- er, Taco Bell) and the fresh tortillas, i'll definitely be back. Currently 1.75 for a half kilo and 3 for one kilo of tortillas (i'm pretty sure).

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: flibbertygibbet

                                  Yes, I bought a half kilo of the tortillas and made my own shrimp tacos at home last night - certainly the best I've bought in the city so far. I had a chicken tinga taco for the hell of it, and yes, good but not great. Worth a visit though.

                                2. Had a taco craving today and decided to go to La Tortilleria, its a very small place the size of a small house.I was the only customer there which kinda disappointed me because I wanted to see what other customers would order.As I entered I was greeted and was shown what they had to offer,not knowing what to have I asked what they would suggest.The man suggested I have the pulled pork in mole sauce.I agreed and asked for one to try it out.He quickly started assembling my taco with mole pork and rice,I added some salsa verde and began to chow down.The taco was very decent,no pronounced flavor did really jump out no spice or distinguised flavor, usually moles have a very deep complex of wonderful flavor.I have to agree that the soft tacos that they sell by the half or full kilo are far superior than any ive ever tasted,they have a machine that makes them and are made fresh daily.So before leaving I decided to order 1 kilo of tortillas to take home as I plan to make some tacos over the long weekend.

                                  Its great to have places like this that makes something fresh every day.

                                  1. I had recently been in and they can also make the corn tortilla's in different sizes from 10cm to 18cm, with 24 hr notice of course ~ if anyone is interested.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. I was patently dissappointed with La Tortillaria. The chicharron was underdone. As far as I know, it should be a bit crispy, but it was more like a big glob of semi-congealed mayo. The chorico was lacking in chorico! It was 80% potatoes and rice and a couple of spots of chorico. Not enough.

                                      With El Trompo right around the corner, I cant see myself going back.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: Everythingtarian

                                        go check out the taco ladies at the back of Perola's. The age old adage of ethnic food falls into place, check the clientele. Gringos like the patio at el trompo, latin folks are at the back of a cramped little shop.

                                        1. re: aser

                                          I know the Perola ladies well:) They're my papusa hookup. El Trompo is the tastiest I've had so that's where I go. I'm not sure if it's a gringo vs. latino issue, or a restaurant stop vs. grocery shopping and quick bite issue, personally. I've seen many latin people enjoying El Trompo and well...I eat at Perola! The $3/kg tortillas sound great though.

                                          1. re: Everythingtarian

                                            They ain't your pupusa hookup anymore. The pupusa lady retired. It's strictly mexican now: tacos empanadas etc.

                                            1. re: bluedog

                                              Zoinks! Well, I guess it's time to try to place 2 doors south for papusas.

                                      2. Went in yesterday and bought a kg of tortillas for $3. The mouthfeel is much better than the pre-packaged ones. I didn't try any of the tacos yet. Just from reading the menu, it appears to me the taco ladies in Perola's are doing a better job in that department.

                                        I'll definitely be back to buy the tortillas.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: aser

                                          I think the Tortilleria will be best known for the production of and distribution of freshly made good quality tortillas.That is their bread and butter right now.
                                          I cannot see them getting famous for their tacos,or making very high profit out of them.

                                        2. A kilo of tortillas to anyone who can tell me the correct pronounciation of this place. Is it tore-tee-AIR-ee-yah? tore-TEE-air-ee-yah? Tongue twisty?

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: Googs

                                            I pronounced it in my head as tore-tee-ah-REE-yah...but now i'm curious too!

                                            1. re: Googs

                                              Tore-TEE-ehr-EE-ya.

                                              Looks like tacos for dinner!

                                              1. re: Manybears

                                                And don't forget to roll that R, just a wee bit. ;)

                                            2. I checked this place out today following the recommendation of a friend... and all I have to say is that I had a little food orga*m!!! SO Good. I had a sampler of 4 tacos... the tortillas were fresh... one taco had a special pork mixture, which was full of flavour and spice, succulent and juicy... I wanted to lick the plate after that one. The tinga (shredded chicken) was moist and meaty and very flavourful. The chorizo (although a bit sparse because of it's mix with potatoes) was mild (would have liked a bit more zing!), which was easily corrected with a spoonful of their homemade salsa. Finally, the chicharron (pork belly) was quite tasty... although I've only had chicharron fried and crunchy, this was soft and meaty. Yum. I finished it all off with a glass of their homemade jamaica juice, and paid a total of $9.00 for drink and 4 tacos. I wanted to take home a 1/2 kilo of tortillas (about 25 for just under $2), but they were sold out, as the demand from local restaurants is very high. No sweat, though.. as it gives me an excuse to go back next week when I do my shopping at Kensington.

                                              The place is nice and clean (could use a bit of cool air, though... a bit stuffy on a hot day), with about 6 stools on the inside at a counter and 4 tables with umbrellas out front. It's a nice calm place out of the hustle and bustle of kensington market on a saturday afternoon.

                                              HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: cfmcgrath18

                                                chicharron is pork rind so you know, not belly.

                                              2. this is my second visit and all the tacos fillings were available and hot.
                                                I've tried all the varietites as well as both drinks and my favs are the alambre, tinga and the new conchita pibil (excellent). the chicharron is good too (it's soft and reminds me a bit of tendon). I'm not crazy about their mole but it is rich.
                                                The horchata is refreshing but the hibiscus juice is only ok. It's watery (that i like) and not very sweet (i like that too) but it reminds me of kool-aid...

                                                The guy behind the counter told me they're opening a second location very soon on st clair (at dufferin? i'm sorry i can't remember)

                                                1. LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE this place. It's my numero uno go-to place to get my tortilla fix in town!

                                                  1. Went in to try the tortillas which were really good...crispy and not overly salty!

                                                    But why is this place so smoky?...my eyes were watering just from the minute I spent in there.