Itacate, 59 Beaubien E
I thought this new little Mexican place has been around long enough to deserve its own thread.
I've been twice for take-out dinners, and I really like it there. It's clearly family-run, and the service is amazing. The first time I went we waited at the counter for our orders, and the woman working the front-of-house gave us complimentary appetizers while we waited. The second time I just ordered and did some errands and came right back, but she was just as lovely.
I ordered the vegetarian burrito. Nothing on the menu is marked specifically for vegetarians, but can be ordered without the meat.Folded in a square, it doesn't look huge, but it's very filling. It comes with a side each of spicy salsa and guacamole and a separate cup of salad with creamy dressing, good for cooling the mouth.
I'm not an expert or a chef or a foodie or an expert in Latin-American foods, but I love Mexican food and Itacate tastes great to me. It's just a bonus that I like supporting them because they are just such sweet people. I like it 1000x better than El Amigo just up the block on St-Zotique.
Their website currently just goes directly to a PDF of their menu, 524kb: http://www.itacate.ca/
It is a very pretty little restaurant - I haven't eaten there yet (have pointed it out, probably on the JTM area thread. Why do you like it so much more than El Amigo?
By the way, please don't miss the oddly named "Tibet Libre"vegetarian pizza place next door. The owner is Italian and makes very good pizzas with an excellent crust.
Oh, don't worry, I frequent Tibet Libre! It's a bit pricy but very good. I like the the (oddly-named) Primavera, which is just mozarella, arugula and parmesan shavings.
I've had the vegetarian burrito at El Amigo a few times. I think their vegetables are just a random bagged frozen mixture because I've ended up with odd veggies like green and wax beans inside, which is not entirely unpleasant, just strange. I like that they give lots of food, with sides of rice and beans and salad, and the meal is usually very filling, but I find the bottom of the burrito is usually kind of soggy. And while it seems to be run by fine people, the restaurant itself is uninspiring -- kind of dirty, actually, and not a very inviting space. I guess overall I feel like El Amigo isn't really trying very hard, but they've always got people there, so they must be doing something right! Maybe their Salvadorean dishes are better than the Mexican ones. (Unfortunately it looks like their Salvadorean offerings are vegetarian-unfriendly.)
Yes, El Amigo's Salvadorean dishes are much better than their Mexican ones, and what their largely Salvadorean clientele seeks out. Alas indeed I fear the pupusas - even the ones not indicating meat content - are not vegetarian, as the beans could well be cooked with lard.
The only time I had truly vegetarian pupusas was at a community event in the neighbourhood, where a truly vegetarian option was provided (bean, cheese or bean and cheese pupusas), but prepared without lard. This was important not only for vegetarians but the large Muslim population at the event - and at least one Jewish person, one of the organisers - who is also a vegetarian.