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Jun 16, 2008 12:04 PM

La Taquiza: Mexican food in the GTA -- no, really!

If you're like me, you tend to notice signs that go up in some of the parts lesser traveled. For me, it was a sign that said "Opening Soon" outside a restaurant in the Pad Sites at Vaughan Mills.

I noticed it mainly because it was "Opening Soon" for a Mexican restaurant.

That was February 2007. Since then, the Pad sites have become fully fleshed out and very well traveled, I got engaged, earned my degree, and got my first post-school job. And every week found some excuse to drive by that site looking for a "Now Open" sign.

If you could yank an image-a-week from my mind, you'd get a really neat time-lapse view of the painfully slow construction and opening of La Taquizza. And as of early June, it would come to a climax with the (at last) opening of this fine restaurant.

After a year of waiting, the question that has to be answered is: was it worth the wait?

Futz yes!

When you first walk into La Taquizza, you know you'll be in for a treat. The decor is gorgeous, making it feel like you're sitting on a street-level patio in Mexico.

You'll be personally greeted by Hector, the owner and proprietor of the restaurant. He moved to Canada from Mexico, armed with an MBA and a mother who is an excellent cook. He was a bit nervous if my party would enjoy some of his more "exotic" menu choices, such as cactus salad and authentic, freshly made tortilla chips. We said "bring it on"! If we wanted the bland and normal, there's a Taco Bell in the food court. =0

The homemade tortillas are interesting. They're a lot thicker and a lot crunchier than the bagged stuff. But they're worth every penny. With the tortillas, you also get access to the 'salsa bar', a serve-yourself buffet of 5 different kinds of homemande salsa: mild, onion-and-tomato, salsa verte, jalepeno, and Spicy. They're all delicious, though the salsa verte was a bit salty. But the spiciness of the Spicy was just spicy enough.

Having gotten hold of an advance copy of the menu on their pre-opening night, we knew exactly what we wanted to order. We got:

Chicken Mole tacos
Habenero Tacos (Rajas_con_crema)
Cactus, Tomato and Avacado salad
A Black Bean that I can't remember the name of, but it refers to the type of Mexican slipper that it looks like
chicken enchilladas

Everything was very tasty. Surprisingly, the two best dishes were the Rajas con cream and the Black Bean dish-- both of which are vegetarian friendly.

There were some nice sounding desserts, such as milk cake, but we were all too full after the feast to even think about it. There was also a whole slew of other dishes that sounded very yummy, such as Mexican soup and enchiladas-- all of which is just all the more reason to go for a second visit.

The price for the meal was also very reasonable. The three of us ate (very well) for under $40 (pre-tax), without alcohol. There weren't any leftovers, but there also weren't any hungry people.

So, after over a year of waiting, I can at last say that there IS good, authentic, and affordable Mexican food in the GTA. Highly recommended!

La Taquiza

3175 Rutherford Rd
Concord, ON , L4K5Y6

(905) 669-2277
(Reservations not required, but it can't hurt)

La Taquiza
Vaughan Mills, Vaughan, Ontario

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  1. Thanks for the great review, h1234. Can't wait to try it.

    1. I was just going to post about this restaurant too. I went the week it opened and we loved it! The owner was really friendly and informative- he told us that even the chairs and tables were shipped in from Mexico from a craftsman to keep that authentic feel.

      Loved the salsa bar- I hadn't had salsa this authentic outside of Mexico of course! You can even buy some to take home (which we did, and they purposely made us fresh guacamole and fried beans to take home too, instead of giving us leftovers). We also had some delicious homemade tres leches cake for dessert. The prices were decent too. Highly recommend it if you're in that plaza for shopping!

      1 Reply
      1. re: so_lovefood

        How were the desserts? I was too full to try them. =)

      2. Ahh, concord is so not Toronto! For the benefit of those of us without a car, can you recommend a mexican place downtown, by which I mean south of Bloor st? Love mexican, would go weekly if any good!

        8 Replies
        1. re: stapler

          Personally, I'm a big fan of El Jacal ( on Bloor near Dufferin. But it's on the north side of the street, so you might not be interested... ;)

          1. re: gregclow

            OK, the north side is manageable...

          2. re: stapler

            Nope, not Toronto. But Toronto already has so many good Mexican places, from fancier Jalepeno on King to the very informal Burrito Boyz on Peter, to a Mariachi's at Yonge & Davisville.

            Outside of Toronto you have-- Taco Bell. This is the first _real_ Mexican place to open up somewhere that doesn't require a subway trip. Ok, we do have (in the same area) Taco del Mar and Mucho Burrito, but those really are just Taco Bells that serve edible food.

            There's tons of Tex Mex all over the place, but they all have too much Tex, not enough Mex. =)

            Burrito Boyz
            120 Peter St, Toronto, ON M5V2G7, CA

            Jalapeno's Mexican Cuisine
            725 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V2W9, CA

            Mariachais Restaurant
            2084 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4S2A3, CA

            Mucho Burrito
            30 Famous Avenue Woodbridge ON

            Taco del Mar
            90 Edgeley Blvd, Vaughan, ON L4K5W7, CA

            1. re: halcyon1234

              What about Rebozo's (no relation) on Rogers Rd. and El Palenque on St Clair W? Also more Tex than Mex?

              1. re: mrbozo

                Rebozos is definitely Mex, not Tex. No natchos or guac or fajitas etc. It's a very limited menu, just a small selection of tacos, tortas, a couple of entrees, some daily specials and carnitas you can order by the kilo ;-) You'll have to drop by since it's in our 'hood and check it out for yourself. They do close early since it's a family joint so go before 8. Have you been able to check out anything on St Clair W yet?

                1. re: fickle

                  Haven't had a chance yet. Been on somewhat of a restricted diet. But an old buddy who's a chowhound is coming into town to visit for the balance of the week so I may just throw the shackles off.

            2. re: stapler

              Isn't there a free shuttle from union station to vaughan mills mall?

              I'm pretty sure I saw this featured on a fashion friday (Cityline) ..

              1. re: BamiaWruz

                There is a shuttle and I'm going to take advantage of it! Weird how Vaughan is getting some nice food additions. Chicago Pizza and now this. Even Taco Del Mar is there now. I've enjoyed this in BC offers a tasty wet burrito that I used to get weekly when I lived in California. Hope they get an outlet down in the city.

                Here's info on the shuttle:

            3. You just made my mouth water, we are going to have to make the trek up there! Would you say it's kind/infant friendly?

              3 Replies
              1. re: Wil

                When I was there, people were bringing in their families. I couldn't say 100%, though-- I'm not familiar with what would exactly make it kid friendly. Though, if you call ahead, I'm sure they'll make whatever accommodations you need.

                1. re: Wil

                  I'm generalizing here but Mexicans are pretty kid-oriented, I would give the place a try... personally I hope to get my Boston-pizza frequenting friends, who live in the area, to eat here with our toddlers.

                  1. re: Wil

                    Its a very casual place with music going (kids aren't likely to disturb anyone too much), they had a few high chairs available, and service was quick. Our waitress went out of her way to be nice to our 2-year old and he had to give her a hug before we left. No kids menu specifically but he was quite happy with the guac and chips and a plain cheese quesadilla.

                  2. Went there with Mrs. Wilsnip on the recommendations above. I must say, this place had some of the freshest Mexican food we've tasted - definitely the best we've had in the city.

                    We shared the carnitas tacos (fried pork), carne tampiquenas, sopa azteca and the totopos (tortilla chips). The pork tacos were filled almost exclusively with seasoned pork and the tortilla wrappers had a nice chew to them. They did not feel or taste heavy at all. The carne tampiquenas was a flat and extremely flavourful piece of grilled beef that came with sides of rice, beans and rajas con crema. The beans were creamy and the rajas con crema (onions with a cream sauce) tasted like nothing we've tried before. The sopa azteca was described as a very traditional Mexican dish and it did not disappoint. It was a chicken broth with seasoning, avocado, tortilla bits and sour cream. It had incredible flavour especially when paired with one of the salsas.

                    The highlight of the evening was definitely the totopos. We were scared because they didn't have any when we ordered because they were making a fresh batch and they would let us know when they would be ready. Halfway through our meal, our very friendly server asked us if we would like some and they brought over a huge dish with guacamole. The chips were extremely crunchy and addictive. The guacamole of avocado, onion and tomato was the freshest I've ever had and it resembled more of an avocado salsa rather than the creamy guacamoles we're used to. Our server graciously offered to pack up the remaining chips as she probably noticed that I would have hurt myself if I finished the dish. I would have if left on my own.

                    As halcyon mentioned, there was a salsa bar with a salsa verde and a mild and spicy tomato based salsa. The spicy tomato based salsa was definitely the best and it had a nice kick. There were also jalepeno peppers, onions, cilantro and limes at the salsa bar. We washed everything down with refreshing lime infused ice water.

                    The owner was very friendly and mentioned that everything they made was made daily including the salsas which were made every few hours. His vision was to make an authentic Mexican restaurant in Toronto that he would want to go to which was something even he recognized was lacking in this city. He also wanted to create a laid back atmosphere where people could relax, grab their own salsas and enjoy a quality meal. He has definitely succeeded as we came away very much satisfied with our meal.