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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.

                      2. Hiya. Having trained under a mexican chef for one year, the best mexican i have found in to was at dos amigos (aside from the carnitas and posole i made).

                        1. My fav. is Mariachais Restaurant near Yonge and Eglinton. Every time I go, i'm never disappointed.

                          1. Any recommendations for the best Taco Al Pastor in Toronto?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: limequeen

                              El Trompo has em. And they are delicious!

                            2. I ate at Jalapeno last week. My enchiladas were pretty good. The other food at the table looked good too. I think Burrito Boyz and the like are abominations. First off, grilling a burrito filled with shredded lettuce is just disgusting. I've heard it said among purists that lettuce has no place in a real burrito. So, don't get it grilled, you say. When I've done that at BB, their tortillas are pretty poor when they're not grilled. I haven't had a burrito in years due my general disappointment. I'm still longing for something along the lines of what I've enjoyed in SF and San Diego.

                              1. So I live in Mississauga and we were craving Mexican and I found this little gem on another web site. It had excellent reviews so we went. It's just east of the 427 on Dundas.

                                Food was very, very good. My bf grew up in Texas so he knows his Mexican. And the margartia's are TO DIE FOR! Traditional, not the slushie kind. I've never liked margaritas until this one. Anyway, we had the gucamole appetizer (little salty-but it could have been that batch as they make it fresh to order), I had the chicken mole enchiladas and my bf had the beef soft taco. DELICIOUS!

                                Service was great. The owner served us and his wife is the chef. She is from Mexico.

                                The place is on the smaller side, but the norm for many privately owned Toronto restaurants. Anyway, for the west enders... give this one a try.

                                Calli Cafe Latin Lounge
                                (416) 234-7765
                                4906 Dundas St. W.,
                                Etobicoke, ON M9A 1B5

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: rostafoya

                                  I think that's the place I noticed this summer when my wife dragged me to a knitting store nearby. Meant to try it, haven't gotten around to it.

                                  1. re: rostafoya

                                    I was there a little while ago and totally agree. Great food, killer mojitos.

                                    1. re: rostafoya

                                      I'm very sad to report that they have closed. :-( We lived nearby and loved the place--good, *real*, Mexican food, and now they're gone...

                                    2. I've tried pretty much all of them in the GTA and have found only a couple with decent food with consistent quality and good value. It depends what you are looking for. If you want fast food, check out Mucho Burrito. Its one of those fast food type joints appearing all over the city (usually near movie theatres like colossus), but the food is quite decent! For one thing, their hot sauce is actually HOT and the pulled pork has some real flavour :)

                                      If you want Tex-mex style food, then check out El Sombrero (just south of 401 and hurontario...same plaza as My Apartment). Food is really good - especially the burritos. But, keep in mind, its more tex than mex :) Still, much better than your average mexican place.

                                      Finally, if you want really nice food with more of an authentic touch, then for me, there is no better place (out of the ones that I have tried so far) than Little Mexico in Vaughan. Its just east of the big auto mall there with 7 dealerships. I think the street is called "woodstream". If you go there, try their Tortilla soup (yummy!), item #17 (I think its pork ribs in tomatillo sauce), Chicken mole (really nice...NOT sweet, but very flavourful!), chicken enchiladas and tacos. If you like it hot, ask the server for the special hot sauce on the side. Stay away from the margaritas, though. Not worth it. Get a Tecate, instead :)

                                      Let me know what you think after you try them :)

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: a2mann

                                        good reccomendations... +1 on el sombrero! i go there all the time... always tasty

                                      2. I really did like the food at El Sol when I was there a couple weeks ago. 1448 Danforth Avenue, Toronto (near Coxwell Subway station) http://www.elsol.ca/

                                        Food was excellent. Only problem I found was the service. Won't do seperate bills even though the order is completely hand written and punched in at the end. Also the carts moving across the floor rattle, so don't go there for a romatic dinner. A loud group would probably not notice.

                                        1. Hey I recommend Mariachi's. Back when I used to live at Yonge and Eg I would go ALL the time. The sangria is cheap and amazing, I've probably had everything on the menu and nothing has disappointed. The salad kind of sucks but the tacos/burritos/enchiladas/taquitos has been awesome and authentic. Service is great too, however expect a line up on weekends.

                                          1. El Rincon Mexicano (653 St Clair West) has some great and authentic eats; they even have menudo on the regular menu.

                                            1. right, know i'll get smacked for this but i do really like chimichangas on yonge just north of eg. great service, nice room but most importantly they make carnitas like maria taught me, slow cooked, tender, delish! guac's pretty good, too.

                                              1. Heading to Dos Amigos for Cinco de Mayo celebrations! Hope they have something special.

                                                1. One of my coworkers is from Mexico and he recommended El Trompo. He said it was authentic and reminded him of home.

                                                  6 Replies
                                                  1. re: TOchowgal

                                                    Yeah I'm not sure why El Trompo does not get more respect around here. The tacos al pastor taste just like ones I ate in Mexico City.

                                                    1. re: childofthestorm

                                                      Love El Trompo. I think a lot of the reason people say that there is no good Mexican food in Toronto that can even begin to compare to food in Mexico is because things tend to taste better when you're vacationing on the beach.

                                                      1. re: tjr

                                                        I live in North York so I could either go downtown (to El Trompo or El Jacal) or uptown to Little Mexico. I'm looking for real Mexican food, not Cali-mex or Tex-Mex. If you had one shot, where would you go? Thanks.

                                                        1. re: Aleta

                                                          Where is Little Mexico? I was not aware of any neighbourhood with enough of a concentration of residents and shops/restaurants to be called that.

                                                          1. re: TorontoJo

                                                            Ha, ha. Wouldn't it be great if we had a Little Mexico? No, it's the name of a restaurant in Woodbridge and I got the info from this thread (see Feb. 2009).

                                                          2. re: Aleta

                                                            Rebozos on Dufferin & Rogers


                                                            Perola's on Augusta in Kensington, the taco stand in the back of the market is only open Sat/Sun.

                                                    2. I recently visited Cocina Lucero with 5 of my close friends. I specifically asked if the margaritas are made with lemon. After I ordered a pitcher of it (for 28$), the waitress brought us some nuclear green colour mix that we couldn't drink. We returned it after she explained that the second "grade" of margaritas was made with lime, just not this one. So we ordered the next level up, which took ONE HOUR to come to the table, no word of a lie. They must have pressed two dozens limes or lemons in there (for 39$ per pitcher now). Still nasty coloured, we couldn't taste the alcohol at all and it made me sick enough after three sips that I had to trade seats with someone to be closer to the hallway, just in case. My boyfriend and I felt sick until the next day, because the margaritas were just so acidic and bitter, compared to what we are used to drink in Mexico.

                                                      2 guests liked their food out of 6 - the four of us would NEVER go back.

                                                      As predicted by many before, the service was excruciatingly slow. Also, when asked for hot (picante) sauce, they brought us President's Choice. My friend who lived in Mexico for five years insisted on getting something else and got Grace brand hot sauce instead.

                                                      Never again - really. BTW for GREAT margaritas go to Dos Amigos. Unfortunately I always found that the food does not match the quality of the drinks. The guacamole and choriqueso are exquisite, though.

                                                      I tried the choriqueso at Cocina Lucero and thought it was also horrible.

                                                      1. Have you tried Milagro across from Metro Hall? They have a location at 783 Queen West. A group of us went several weeks ago and the food was delicious.

                                                        This is their website: www.milagrorestaurant.com

                                                        One of my friends has been there 3 - 4 times and her favourite is Polo con Mole poblano. We also had the Enchiladas, Carnitas Panchos and their daily special drink. It also came with a bowl of tortila chips with salsa as appetizer. All of us were very full from this meal and would go back again for our next gathering.

                                                        5 Mercer St, Toronto, ON M5V1H2, CA

                                                        1. As a Mexican I can tell you to go Chipotle on Dundas and yonge you will love tha burritos, take the carnitas burrito everything is made by scratch very good place...

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: Rafael640

                                                            Rafael, I might take away your passport for that remark! (Just kidding.) Chipotle is fine for what it is (fast food American-style burritos). I recommend you try the carnitas at Rebozos. They are off the beaten track but if you go around to any of the annual summer Mexican festivals at Harbourfront or Nathan Phillips Square they always have a booth and there are always plenty of carnitas.

                                                            1. re: basileater

                                                              Two favourite mexican places El Trompo amazing accross the board. Second in Bradford of all places called Mexicanada on the main drag next to the CIBC saw mex migrant workers going in there followed them smart eh? Paid off! Super pozole, flautas you name it great food. They got a great write up in the star last year brisk business. Note Highland Farms sells Sidral Mundet (apple cider soda from Mexico) bought all they had at Rutherford Rd location refreshing and not as sweet as domestic sodas. MMMM carne asada

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

                                                              Highland Farms
                                                              850 Ellesmere Rd, Toronto, ON M1P, CA

                                                              1. re: TheDewster

                                                                We've been to LM in Bradford too. It really is great.

                                                                The guy who owns it is really nice and they get tons of migrant workers. They do close for January and February.