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Jan 7, 2009 08:28 AM

Great Mexican in Toronto?

Any recommendations for sit-down places (Burrito Boyz for example)? Used to LOVE La Mexicana in north part of city but was pretty disappointed when I went last summer.

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  1. My favourite Mexican is El Trompo in Kensington. Good assortment of tacos (4 per order), excellent coffee (cinnamon!), guac and salsas. My personal favourite there is the Huevos Rancheros, which for 6.99 includes tortillas and a cafe de olla (cinnamon coffee).

    Also, for an informal Mexican-esq restaurant, try Tacos El Asador, just east of Christie station. Solid tacos, burritos, soups and salsas. I also love that they give you a bowl of jalapenos and onions with each order.

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

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

    4 Replies
    1. re: Rudiger

      I second El Trompo. There's also La Tortilleria down in Kensignton Market and, when they were there, those wonderful ladies in the back of Perola. And although it's not Mexican, Tacos El Asador is my favourite place in town for latino cooking.

      I've heard great things about El Jacal but haven't been, yet.

      Two to avoid at all costs are El Sol on the Danforth, nothing but grease and gristle and Mexitaco at Bloor and Shaw, an exercise in tasteless cuisine.

      1. re: escoffier

        I'm curious as to why you find Mexitaco to be so bad. In my line of work, I deal with a lot of Mexican visitors to Toronto, and that's the place they consider the best and most authentic in the city.

        1. re: ziggystardust

          I've been three times over a year and a half, and each time I've found both the food and the service to be lacking. They've managed to consistently get our orders wrong, they've served us food that had to be sent back to be reheated, somehow they put meat in the vegetarian order (twice), and really, the food is boring and bland - there's no spice, no heat, no passion in the preparation. If I'm looking for that kind of thing, I can find it all over the city. If I'm looking for well executed and tasty Mexican food, I'll head to El Trompo or Dos Amigos.

          But that's just me - chacun a son gout.

        2. re: escoffier

          Another big vote for El Trompo! The Spicy Chicken Tinga in soft taco is authentic fresh and Mmmmmmmm so tasty!

      2. El Jacal (Bloor & Dovercourt)

        Dos Amigos (Bathurst & Dupont/Davenport)

        Mexitaco (Bloor & Ossington)

        El Rincon (Christie & St. Clair)

        El Palenque (West of Christie & St. Clair)

        4 Replies
        1. re: rjp123

          I've been to all of the above and they are all great and very authentic.

          Jacal & Mexitaco are a little more casual than the others.

          El Rincon & El Palenque tend to be busier later in the evenings and have live music a few nights a week.

          Dos Amigos is a family operation and always has cheerful atmosphere.

          1. re: rjp123

            I second El Jacal (My FAVE!), but am not a big fan of Mexitaco. It may be authentic, but I don't think it's very good.

            Also, don't forget

            126 Rogers Rd, Toronto, ON M6E, CA

            1. re: redearth

              Third vote for El Jacal. Very casual, family-run place. Excellent food. Great value.

            2. re: rjp123

              Went to Mexitaco yesterday and I've just found my new favourite Mexican place. Wonderful enchiladas and great green and red sauces---that red sauce has a great kick. I wasn't as impressed with the sangria--kind of bland and not really clear if there was any wine in it. They also never did bring us our guacamole but the service was friendly and the food came out fast (so fast, that I gave up on the guac). Definitely going back there--just no sangria next time.

            3. If you can make it out to Hurontario & the 401 (Mississauga) , the best I've ever had is El Sombrero

              1 Reply
              1. re: duckdown

                I live in the south end of Mississauga and don't get out much - however had the opportunity to be on the 401 heading west to Oakville and stopped in at El Sombrero for lunch. It was quite good - better burrito than burrito boys - not quite as good as Mex I Can however very good for Mississauga.

              2. My husband and I LOVE Burro Burrito on College, just west of Clinton. It is so much better than Burrito Boyz!!!! The debit machine is often down, so bring cash. I have no idea why there aren't permanent lineups out the door of this place.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Sarah Cat

                  Burro Burrito, Burrito Boyz, etc has about as much to do with Mexican food a chop suey has to do with Chinese food.

                  1. re: evansl

                    Chop Suey is primarily a Western term, but it refers to a dish that has deep roots in Chinese (esp Cantonese) cuisine....not sure that is what you meant in your post.

                    1. re: T Long

                      In both cases we're looking at a culinary caricature--that's evansl's point, OK? There's also a homey Southwest American dish called "tamale pie" that may share ingredients with a tamale but no culinary DNA. I'm afraid much of the "Mexican" food in TO is like this, more haute "Taco Bell" than regionally-informed cuisine. It can be tasty, true, but it's rarely the real deal--a point we've bashed endlessly on the TO board.

                    2. re: evansl

                      Mission-style burritos aren't authentic Mexican either, yet this is the style most people wish to see emulated.

                  2. The best and most consistent Mexican I've found in the GTA is at Mexico Lindo at 200 Harwood Ave S.

                    The first time I went to Mexico Lindo, they had Nopal on the specials menu. The second time they had Lengue. They are a family-run restaurant with decent food.

                    Burrito Boyz is not "traditional Mexican" but a close approximation to the San Diego style burrito.

                    Another good place in the west end is Mex-I-Can in Hamilton, which is more like a Mexican grocery store with a food counter. Great street foods in a fairly authentic (read: no frills) setting.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: Mike from Hamilton

                      IIRC mission-style burritos (a la Boyz et al) originated in San Francisco.

                      1. re: Dimbulb

                        Oops my bad, but you do agree that Burrito Boyz et al are not traditional Mexican food...street or otherwise...

                        1. re: Mike from Hamilton

                          Has anyone tried Cocina Lucero (formerly Arre Burrito) at Yonge & Maitland? It's the same owner, after a Restaurant Makeover last year. When I watched the episode, I learned that the chef is the owner's mother, and her food was certainly authentic. She said she ran a restaurant in Mexico until local officials demanded 'protection money' and when she refused, they closed her down. Lynn Crawford certainly seemed impressed by her food.

                          When I walk by every evening after work (it's on my way home) I see one table with patrons, that's it.

                          1. re: czthemmnt

                            We tried it Friday and it was full. I guess a lot of people watch RM as I did.
                            The food was good except the burnt black beans. The prices too high for what it is and the service is HORRENDOUS!!!
                            If they don't do something about that forget it. They are billing themselves as a higher end Mexican Restaurant but with service like that they should rethink their strategy....Too bad I don't see them lasting unless major changes are made PRONTO!

                            1. re: notfussy

                              We went in there not too long ago. It wasn't busy, probably 3 tables with people sitting. After not being aknowledged for about 15 minutes we left. There's obviously some very serious service issues there.

                            2. re: czthemmnt

                              I hope this place makes it because from the RM show, can really tell even Chef Crawford was impressed with Lucero;s cooking. Can tell she really knows how to make authetic dishes. What notfussy has described is a real pity.