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Chimichanga on Yonge near Eg

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Had lunch there yesterday. Not expecting much, just sat at the bar and ordered lunch. The decor is v. urban chic-ish, not mexican at all. I was handed a huge, laminated menu, in my opinion not a good sign. You see, I cooked Mexican for a living here in TO under the auspices of Chris McDonald, so my standards are pretty high.

Had the enchilades verde with beef. Sided with pinto beans cooked in pork, rice and topped with tomatillo sauce, cheese, sour cream, fresh tomato and onion.

Fantastic! As good as any mexican i've ever had in TO.

I'll def go back just to see them make fresh guac tableside. They told me they muddle it in one of those cool mexican mortar/pestle dishes.

Check it out if you enjoy good mexican. Oh, and they have a killer looking tequila list, too.

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  1. Hmmm... I was just looking over at Chimichanga's yesterday and wondering what it was like. I go for the veg dishes but if you say the side of pinto was good, that's a good sign. I just checked out the menu (http://www.chimichanga.ca/pdf/dinner_...) and it looks very interesting. Thanks for the recommendation. I'm definitely going to try it out.

    1. Next time, ask them for a selection of their salsas to try. They make them in-house, and they are extremely good. Very fresh tasting witih really good heat.

      1. likescrab, have you been to Frida on Eglinton? I'd love to know how Chimichanga compares with Frida, which has excellent, supposedly authentic Mexican food at way-too-high prices. A group of four of us ate there shortly after it opened and enjoyed our meals, but found the cost to be inconsistent with the neighbourhood and the quantity of food, and have yet to return because of this.

        Chimichanga's prices seem quite a bit lower than Frida's; just wondering whether the authenticity and the quality are there.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Tatai

          Haven't had a chance to try Frida's yet, but have heard only good things about it. Not true. I've heard the service is horrendous and the wait time interminable. That being said, if the foods good, I'm happy.

          Do you have an address for Fridas?

          1. re: likescrab

            The address for Frida is 999 Eglinton West. http://www.fridarestaurant.ca/index.html

        2. Wow, I'm surprised to read this. The take-out location they used to have down near Yonge & Dundas was dreadful, and I've read nothing but mixed to poor reviews of the Yonge & Eg location. Maybe there have been some changes since they were last reviewed.

          6 Replies
          1. re: gregclow

            I was pretty surprised too. Perhaps I'll have to try it as well.

            DT

            1. re: gregclow

              Is it really the same chain as the one that was down town? I tried that one while it lasted and the burritos were a messy, mixed up, leaky disaster. It's hard to believe that this place (which sounds like high end Mexican/fusion-something----that serves a spinach and portobello mushroom burrito!!) is related to the one that used to be down at Y & D which was very fast-food in its approach.

              1. re: Ediblethoughts

                Yeah, I'm pretty sure the two places were owned by the same people. The Yonge & Dundas location opened first, followed by the Yonge & Eg spot a few months later. They shared a few menu items, such as Baja Fish Tacos.

                1. re: gregclow

                  Did you want your order with 'real cheese' or 'gourmet cheese'? Please.

                  I guess in the future I'll implore hubby to make the guac at our table. Again. Please.

                  They obviously have some doppelganger issues they need to deal with.

                  1. re: Googs

                    'real cheese' or 'gourmet cheese'???? LOL

                    But I don't have a problem with making the guac at the table...sounds fine to me.

              2. re: gregclow

                Now i'm not sure if they have another location. The owner didn't say so and he had a lot to say!

                Oops, sorry, the stuff I've heard about Frida wasn't about Frida but about El Sol or Del Sol out on the Danforth. I've obnly heard good things about Frida. Thanks for the link!

              3. So I tried Chimichanga's for dinner and I have to say, I'm with likescrab---it's really good! We had the shrimp quesadilla, venetian veggie chimichanga and the spinach & portobello enchilada. Very tasty stuff. It surprised me when they confirmed that they are the same place as the one that existed down at Yonge & Dundas but just goes to show some places can't do takeout well. Oh, and the table staff were extremely friendly and helpful. Overall, I'd say there is no sit-in Mexican food in Toronto I like more; I'd definitely go back.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Ediblethoughts

                  Oh yeah, i forgot to mention that the service was outstanding, friendly, professional, laid back in the best sense of the word.

                2. Went to Chimichanga last night based on this thread and was very pleasantly surprised.

                  The decor/vibe is very Yonge/Eg -- young staff, young patrons (lord, I am starting to feel old!), "urban" decor. The furniture is very odd. It feels like some interior design student's restaurant project gone awry.

                  But onto the food... the menu is quite large and full of your typical North American Mexican restaurant choices: burritos, enchiladas, tacos, fajitas. You won't find any Mexican entree dishes here -- no moles, not a basic carne asada, nothing even remotely "haute". BUT, what they do make, they make with quality ingredients and they make them well.

                  We started with the biggest damn pitcher of sangria that I've ever seen. We got the red "Spanish" version with rum (vs. the "Mexican" version with tequila). It started off a tad sweet, but once the ice melted a bit, it was just right. Not as good as the stuff I make at home, but it went down well and packs a respectable punch (though that could have been due to the fact that I drank half of that huge pitcher).

                  We ordered the guacamole. I'm a sucker for good, fresh guac and I hate the nasty greenish-brown goop that so many places seem to serve. Yes, they make it tableside on a rolling cart. While it may seem a bit gimmicky, it sure guarantees that your guacamole is fresh and made to your taste. Two perfectly ripe avocados are put into a large stone mortar and pestle. There are bowls of fresh chopped jalapenos, cilantro, onions and tomatoes, plus a couple of limes and salt. These are exactly the ingredients I use to make guacamole at home (sans cilantro, 'cuz I can't stand it). You can tell the server exactly what you want in your guac and how much. The only thing I would have him do differently is to start with the jalapenos in the bowl and grind it down with some salt. But other than that, no complaints. The final product was very, very good. A touch undersalted, but I much prefer that to oversalted.

                  I had the carnitas enchiladas and hubby had the barbacoa tacos. Both were served with rice and refried pinto beans. I love, love, love carnitas and haven't found a place in Toronto that makes it the way I like it. This place got it -- tender, shredded pork that had clearly been slow braised and forked apart. It didn't need any additional seasonings and would have been delicious on its own. As it was, it was a little lost in the enchiladas preparation with all the cheese and different salsas and pico de gallo (which were all fresh tasty, btw). It would make a very respectable pulled pork sandwich (without smoke of course). Next time I would order the carnitas tacos instead, so that the pork can shine on its own.

                  The barbacoa was very tasty as well. The restaurant uses good quality corn tortillas, though I didn't ask whether they make them in house or buy them. They were fresh enough that the tacos didn't break from dryness when you picked them up.

                  The beans were really smooth and you could taste the porkiness of them. The kitchen was a little heavy handed on the salt in both the beans and the rice (which was nicely seasoned otherwised, though maybe just a touch undercooked).

                  So the bottom line is that this is not the second coming of Rick Bayless, but it uses fresh, quality ingredients and some pretty authentic recipes for the staples (the meats, beans and salsas). The price point is not cheap, though it's certainly less expensive than many spots around the area. The guacamole is $8, the barbacoa tacos were $13, my carnitas enchiladas were $19 (one of the priciest items on the menu, though). But the servings were very generous and we were stuffed before finishing our plates. I was happy with the value overall because the quality was better than I've had in Toronto in a looooong time. Sangria was $45 for the pitcher, but like I said, it was huge. Service was friendly and attentive. The place was empty when we got there, but filled up later in the evening. We left with happy tummies and would be glad to go back.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: TorontoJo

                    $45 for a pitcher of sangria?!

                    Wow....

                    1. re: Sadistick

                      That's not too outrageous compared to the sangrias I've had around the city. Most are $30 - $35 a pitcher, and this was larger than any I've seen.

                  2. I had a quick lunch there today---a wonderful enchilada verde. Such favourful tangy, spicy sauce with just the right amount of cheese and zesty salsa on top. I had the veggie version and while so often the veg fillings in Mexican food are so poorly segued into the Mexican flavours and textures but the mushroom, peppers and other veg mix here was so good. Place was dead at lunch time which surprised me. Hope they do better for dinner.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Ediblethoughts

                      i've been a few times for dinner now and the place is usually rammed! great food and fun young vibe. drinks are pricey, but we usually go for the bucket of beer (4) for $20 or so

                      i've had the enchiladas carnitas and they are delicious! the steak burrito (can't remember what it's called) is also really good

                      1. re: tygrr_lily

                        It's definitely a more pricey Mexican place but the food is good enough that I don't mind. And it is the more "hip" section of Y & E so great deals are unlikely!

                        1. re: Ediblethoughts

                          Yes, went recently and Chimichanga's is definitely worth another visit.
                          Drinks too pricey, but service and food great - love the guacamole prep too!
                          And, glad to see Chimichanga's is still there surviving the whole 2009 economy thing.

                          1. re: Christchild

                            Guacamole prep was nice, yes, and it wasn't bad guac.

                            Went with a group for beers: Nachos were pretty good. Went back another night: positively horrendous -- runny, tasteless salsa and unrecognizable ingredients.

                            This place is obviously hit and miss. It'll take a while before I go anywhere near it again. The horror, the horror...

                    2. Just curious, since I've heard mixed reviews from other Californian transplants: is this good considering that it's in Toronto (which has a reputation among expats from the American southwest for having less-than-stellar Mexican food), or would it be considered good anywhere? I guess my question is whether those of you who think it's good have also had Mexican food in California, Texas, etc and/or in Mexico. I'm incredibly homesick for good Cal-Mex or Tex-Mex and would be thrilled to find a good option here. Thanks in advance.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: Kitchen Imp

                        I haven't found any restaurants in Toronto that serve anything similar to what I can find in California or Texas.

                        The food at Chimichanga does not taste like good Tex-Mex or Mexicali food.The fish tacos at Chimichanga were strange. I doubt the chef or prep cook at Chimichanfa has ever tried a Baja fish taco. I recently tried the nachos and the "chilaquiles" at Chimichanga. Usually chilaquiles are served as a breakfast dish to use up day old tortillas, but at Chimichanga, the chilaquiles are a chicken and cheese dip (really a type of queso fundido), with fresh tortilla chips on the side. I don't plan on returning to Chimichanga.

                        I have enjoyed meals at El Trompo in Kensington Market, but I would consider their food to be more Mexico City Mexican than Tex Mex. I really liked El Trompo's tacos al pastor, but I haven't visited in a couple years, so I don't know what the food has been like lately. I also like the guacamole and appetizers at the Milagro at Yonge & Lawrence.

                        Have been meaning to try Frida's on Eglinton.

                        -----
                        El Trompo
                        277 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2M1, CA

                        1. re: phoenikia

                          It is so funny you posted this. I was reading the reviews of Chimichanga after a really mediocre experience, and thought, maybe it was just me.

                          It was packed so I was excited. I went up to the bartender and asked for a Michilada. She seemed excited to make it and this was also encouraging.

                          The drinks came and they were pretty good. So at this point I thought the food would be yummy.

                          We ordered Tortilla Soups (pay extra for chicken, bizarre). These soups were quite expensive, and the flavour was dull and lifeless. They resembled a stew more then a soup, which was off putting. I realize that since I paid extra for chicken they should not be skimpy, but there was way to much in it and the broth flavour was lost.

                          We had also ordered the Pastor, which were described as spit roasted. They came and were clearly grilled. These also lacked any flavour and were really very disappointing.

                          Upon examining the crowd, I noticed everyone ordering tex-mex. I beleive this is where we went wrong. I was so encouraged by the Fish Tacos (as phoenikia mentioned above) the Ceviche etc. on the menu I decided to try some more Mexican dishes. So I think really, the fault was not Chimichanga's but mine for not observing what the masses were eating. My only other complaint is the price, it was way to expensive, even with the Yonge and Eglinton price tag. I would rather take a walk down to Mariachi (which was closed the night, which is why ended up at Chimichanga) for a pretty good meal at a reasonable price point.

                          As for El Trompo, it is still ridiculously good. They actually use the spit (hence the name of the place), and the Pastor are the best I have had outside of Mexico (used to live there, sigh). There Michilada's are yummy and the Gringas are also worthwhile.

                          -----
                          El Trompo
                          277 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2M1, CA

                          1. re: smudgebee

                            Good to know El Trompo is still worthwhile. Hope to revisit, soon.

                            I don't think you'd have been much better off with the Tex Mex at Chimichanga. I find their Tex Mex offerings mediocre at best. I'd much rather nosh at Milagro. It's expensive for what you get, but the guac & ceviche & various botanas taste better than anything I've ordered at Chimichanga.

                            -----
                            El Trompo
                            277 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2M1, CA

                          2. re: phoenikia

                            Frida is straight-up Mexican. No Cal or Tex required. If you're looking for the real thing, you're going to love Frida. Go while the patio is still open and absolutely, positively upgrade your margarita to the fancy tequila.

                            Seriously, I don't understand why we don't discuss Frida more often on this board. Great service, food, and drinks. Pfft. What a loser!

                            1. re: Googs

                              The only thing I didn't like there (only been once) is everything seemed to be oily--tasty but in the end, too heavy. It's not that it was all super-fried----just oily.

                          3. re: Kitchen Imp

                            I think if you go to Chimichanga with California-level expectations you will be HUGELY disappointed. the quality of ingredients as well as the cooking itself is just not there. I dont even think they aspire to be in that league. even in Toronto, Milagro to the north of them is way better

                            1. re: shekamoo

                              *sigh* I'll keep hoping for a miracle (Milagro, perhaps?) and scouring the Chowhound postings. Thanks for the replies!

                            2. re: Kitchen Imp

                              El Trompo is a good option for dependable basic Mexican. Tacos El Asador also fits the bill quite nicely, with some of the best nachos I've had in years. Tiny little dice of avocado, black beans.

                              I'm waiting with baited breath (or, rather, breath that smells like bait, as I had sushi for lunch), for the opening of the Mad Mexican's restaurant on Jane, north of Bloor. Signs are up for hiring staff. Mad Mexican is the brand of chef Jose Hadad, who also runs the kitchen at Frida, a high end Mexican place on Eglinton. He sells his salsas and chips throughout the city under the Mad Mexican brand.

                              -----
                              El Trompo
                              277 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2M1, CA

                              Tacos El Asador
                              690 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6G1L2, CA

                            3. I tried it last year, and found the service particularly awful. We stood at the entrance way waiting to be seated, and were not approached after several minutes, so we chose a table and sat down. No menu's were brought over, and there was no server in sight (other than the bartender, who tried not to take eye contact with us when we were clearly scouting for our server). I went up and gathered menu's for our table. Still no server in sight.
                              Eventually she came out, and seemed less than impressed that we were there. I inquired about a dish and how it was made- and she read the exact verbiage from the menu back to me. Needless to say- not helpful. I've been a server in the past and I know how demanding it can be. But this was terrible. Hopefully things have become more organized since then. I'm still not keen to go back.
                              I will end on a good note- the tequila menu is fabulous! If I remember correctly I had the Mezcal. Delish! That was our silver lining to this experience!

                              1. I dined here this past weekend, and the Chorizo Burritto ($17.99) was delisious. The runny egg was a bit of a challenge for me to dig into, but I managed to get the full experience. It was surprisingly tasty.

                                COMPLAINTS:
                                - The service was AWFUL!, there were only 3 other couples there for lunch, and it took forever to place our orders, and to get our meals to the table

                                - Usually restaurants serve bread once your order is placed, NOT HERE, You are chrged for a measly bowl of cold tortillas and salsa. I wouldnt ccomplain about this normally, but if you are expected to wait 15min before you place your order and another 25 min to be served, then the least they can do is give you a bowl of chips to squash those hunger pains.

                                I have been told that the service is downright questionable on the weekends (esp on Sat).

                                For parties of six: 15% gratuity automatically added, for parties over 6: 18% is added.
                                I usually leave my server 20% for great service, but if the service is not there when you visit, then i suggest talk to the manager.

                                In short, this place has great food, but bad service.

                                -----
                                Chimichanga Mexican Grill & Tequila Bar
                                2360 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4P2E6, CA