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New Mexican restaurants.

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Wondering if there are any in Montreal. I have a craving.

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  1. You might try Quetzalli, the restaurant that took over the "Los Classicos" location on St-Laurent opened couple of weeks ago.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Maximilien

      Now that's interesting news. Do you have any more info? Is it the old Classicos owner?

      1. re: sweettoothMTL

        The same people as before are running it - the food is virtually identical, though perhaps a slightly smaller menu, and no liquor license thus far. Service seems a little better too, with several new wait staff and shorter wait time for the food. I was a regular before they closed, and am absolutely thrilled that they're back!

    2. Or are you talking about cuisine from "New Mexico"?

      1. I like Itacate. It's a small place, clean but not fancy .The people are very welcoming. Mexican coffee with cinnamon and the triple x house hot sauce you have to ask for and which should be respected mmmm......

        15 Replies
        1. re: texaspeppers

          Itacate is a small restaurant located at 59 rue Bernard E. just east of St-Dominique, prettier and far more spotless than "hole in the wall" usually indicates. Small family business. I hadn't posted it in this thread as while it hasn't been in operation for many years, it is only "new" in the sense that it has moved two doors east, to slightly larger premises, with a slightly more extensive menu. Very nice place. www.itacate.ca

          1. re: lagatta

            Of course, if the OP means "New" as in New Mexico, they're probably out of luck. Haven't heard of that particular cuisine being served here... Tex-Mex would be the closest we have, and AFAIK there's no place in that genre that's in favour with 'hounds.

            But for straight-up Mexican, Itacate is good, and pretty authentic according to a friend who's spent a great deal of time in Mexico.

            1. re: texaspeppers

              Itacate is on Beaubien, must have been a typo.

              I second (third...fourth...) the recommendations for Itacate, EXCELLENT food and super friendly servers. I am eager to go back and explore more of their menu!

              1. re: karela

                I also recommend Itacate. I went for the first time this Friday. Great authentic food. I`m Latin American and I have no complaints about their food. Their mole was a touch on the sweet side but the tacos al pastor were amazing. Their XXX sauce is actually hot, not wimpy hot like most restaurants. The prices are really good as well.

                1. re: karela

                  My brain hasn't been working properly of late - I have been working very hard on something non chow-related. Yes of course Itacate is on Beaubien, there is practically nothing at all on Bernard E.

                  Lovely little place.

                2. re: texaspeppers

                  I went to Itacate this weekend and I'll join the chorus of cheers for this charming little resto. I wasn't too hungry so I only had the tortilla soup and the gorditas de chicharron. I had a bite of my friend's tacos dorados and everything was very good although a tad undersalted for my taste. I shall return to sample other dishes. The horchata was great.
                  BTW what's with lollipops at the cash that taste nothing like the flavour advertised on the wrapper?!? LOL I took a lime one and it tasted and smelled like bubble gum! Too funny!

                  1. re: hungryann

                    I was there on Saturday too, (we were probably there at the same time). My wife is now addicted to this place.

                      1. re: hungryann

                        We're planning on heading to Itacate in the next couple of days. I looked at the Google maps, but can anyone who has been there give me an idea of the parking situation? Are there any lots nearby, or do we just have to keep our fingers crossed for metered parking closeby?

                        1. re: Erica2125

                          There's quite a bit of side street parking.

                          1. re: chilipepper

                            Agree - plenty of street parking, both free and metered. Just watch out for resident-parking areas/hours. You shouldn't have a problem.

                          2. re: Erica2125

                            There are no lots in the area (that I'm aware of) but we always end up finding a spot on Beaubien or one of the side streets (beware of permit spots). Worse case scenario you go around the block once. It's definitely easier to find a spot around Iticate than say looking for a spot on St Zotique for Bottega.

                            Erica, I would recommend a reservation too.

                            1. re: ios94

                              Thanks to everyone for the advice on parking. We had a chance to go there this weekend and it was fantastic, best Mexican/Texmex I've had in Montreal. We started with the guacamole and chips, very creamy and delicious. My husband doesn't usually care for guacamole and he ate almost the entire portion and raved about it. I had the chicken enchiladas verdes, chicken was moist and the green salsa was fantastic. My husband had the carnitas burrito, and that was even better. Everything just tasted incredibly fresh, even the pico de gallo on the side of the burrito dish tasted like everything was diced up right before it was delivered to the table. Prices can't be beat, this is one of my new favorites. And, I didn't realize they are open for lunch as well!

                              1. re: Erica2125

                                Their weekend brunch is super yummy, too!

                  2. I've enjoyed "Taco Express" in Chateauguay (10min over the mercier bridge)....very tasty and authentic.

                    Sure will try some of the other suggestions...it's tough to find someone around here that will turn the heat up and season they way things should be.

                    1. Just tried Itacate. Service was ok a little disorganized.I ordered Tacos de cameron al chipotle. It was tacos with Shrimp in some chipotle sauce. Although the shrimp was a bit overcooked it was delicious! There was only 8 small shrimps divided into 3 tacos. I was still hungry by the end so I asked for a small guacamole and got a tiny one. Luckily I was only charged 1$ for it:> Id definetly go back. Im disappointed in myself for not trying the xxx sauce.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: jay_81k

                        What about Tequila Taco? It's on the corner of Sherebrooke and St-Laurent.
                        Has anyone been there? what's it like?

                        1. re: Dusty08

                          I went a couple times. Was really impressed the first time I went. I had authentic tacos that came with salad and guacamole and rice. Was very reasonably priced aswell. But then I just found it grosser and grosser each time i went back. One example is that they put everything on the same plate, so your salad dressing gets all over your tacos and just ruins them completely. I brought somebody there the last time I went and she agreed that it was gross for that reason. I guess if I go back Ill just ask for the salad on a different plate. its worth a try though, wouldnt mind knowing what other people think.

                          1. re: Dusty08

                            I've been there a few times and have loved it every time. I'm from the States where Mexican is commonplace and had been scared away from Montreal Mexican by the 3 Amigos and the place on St-Denis across from the Carré St-Louis (Mañana?).

                            I initially thought Tequila Taco was going to be much blander and more expensive than it was. A plate of 3 small tacos is around $10. Delicious tacos (many flavor combinations to choose from) on chewy flavorful tortillas. There is salad nearby, but I didn't find it offensive in the slightest.

                            I've also tried the choriqueso and guacamole of the appetizers (around $7, I think) and both were great. The choriqueso is exactly what it sounds like, savory spicy sausage chunks melted in cheese. It's a calorie bomb, but worth it. The guacamole is tasty, too, but don't expect too many chips. They come arranged like a hedgehog, or a mutant stegosaurus on the guac.

                            Go and enjoy it!

                            1. re: Claire Ann

                              I ate here for the first time last night. It wasn't mind blowing and I prefer the kind of homestyle food that Hecho en Mexico offers, but it was still delicious and good value. My friend and I ordered 4 appetizers to share and that was more than enough food!

                              I thought the guacamole was a little bland, but liked the refried beans. We also had the sausage and cheese which was just ridiculously indulgent and delicious. We also had the tacos, second from the bottom of the list, which were nice, especially with the accompanying salsas. A very nice point was that since there were two of us, the waitress asked the chef to make a fourth (usually served in threes) so we could have two each. On that note, service was excellent throughout the evening, a definite high point!

                        2. I thought I saw one on Monkland as I whizzed by on the 103 yesterday, same side of the street as, and not far from (but east of), the Wild Beans Café. It looked like it was below street level.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: bakersdelight

                            You must mean Amaranto. It's been there for at least a few years, but lately they seem to be doing a bit of a better job promoting themselves at street level, with a sandwich board, menu outside, etc. I finally ate there recently and it was actually really, really, good! I had the chicken enchiladas verde, which rival the ones at Au Coin du Mexique - I actually found them even better, a little more refined, if you will. They were served with an elegant mound of Mexican rice, and a little side bowl of beans. My friend enjoyed her tacos al pastor. The service was very friendly but professional, even though the place looks like someone's living room. There's a wall full of Mexican groceries including things like bags of epazote - and a chalkboard list of other groceries for sale, including Oaxaca cheese, homemade tortilla chips and salsa.

                            5974 Monkland; 514-510-1225

                            1. re: kpzoo

                              Amaranto is excellent (I've praised it in many threads over the years), my wife and I would frequent a couple of times per month when we lived nearby. We still try to make it out there when we can but visits are unfortunately less frequent. They've been opened since at least early 2007. Coincidentally we tried Iticate for the first time just this past weekend, it was very good as well, the Tortilla soup had great flavor, the Gordita appetizer was excellent, the enchiladas with tomatillo sauce (salsa verde) were ok but not as good as Amaranto. Iticate melted a cheese on top whereas Amaranto uses a feta type cheese sprinkled on top which gives is a much better saltier taste. My tacos carnitas were packed with relatively moist pork but it could have used a bit more flavor.

                              1. re: ios94

                                do they serve any amaranth then? it sounds wonderful. I'll have to visit soon!

                          2. Amaranto is not good, atleast from my experiences there. Itacate is much better. If youre going to try one or the other definetly go to Itacate.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: jay_81k

                              What was not good at Amaranto?

                              1. re: kpzoo

                                I don't believe they serve amaranth, (didn't even know what it was but just looked it up).
                                Too bad you had negative experiences jay, what was wrong?
                                They don't have an extensive menu but what they have I find they do very well and they cook the majority of the meal from scratch. Almost everything is as fresh as can be.

                                1. re: ios94

                                  I just didnt find it tasty. The last time I went it was for a birthday party and they set it up Buffet style. we had 3 different mains and a couple starters, from what I remember it was a cactus salad & Guacamole for starters, and some beef , lamb & Chicken Mole fajitas.. I dont think anybody there found it any good. But the people were nice!

                                2. re: kpzoo

                                  I've been to Amaranto and I have never really enjoyed it. The tacos al pastor were good but I never really liked anything else I'm not exactly sure if it's because I don't like authentic mex that much. But once I had the chicken tacos and they were barely edible. The shell was wrapped around the filling and it was as hard as a brick. And also everytime you order chicken, they seem to make it intentionally very very dry.

                                  Also I find that they don't have enough variety and items are always missing form the lmenu

                                  1. re: Ghostquatre

                                    That's odd about the chicken. I've only been there once but the chicken enchiladas verdes were luscious - not dry at all.

                                    My issue with them is they only seem to be open half the time they're supposed to be. Tried to go again last night - this time, got wise and called first. Owner apologized because a large group was taking up the whole place but encouraged us to come tonight instead.

                                    1. re: kpzoo

                                      Speaking of dry chicken at Montreal Mexican joints...
                                      I find the chicken in the Coin du Mexique dishes (enchiladas, chile rellenos, etc) to be incredibly dry, it's the same story every time we go. Perhaps they should think about putting a bit of dark meat in there?
                                      We were just reflecting on that over the weekend when we were there.

                              2. Well, it seems this has become a general discussion of Mexican restaurants...

                                My Mexican girlfriend and her friends just went to Iguanas Ranas and felt it was very good and authentic. I haven't been personally, though this weekend we went there and bought carnitas, barbacoa, tortillas, and all the fixings and made tacos at home. The meat was delicious...not dry at all.

                                The place is very much a local hole-in-the-wall but, as I said, it gets the seal of approval from a bunch of Mexicans! Oh, they also have Mexican karaoke on Friday nights and live Mariachi music on Saturday nights (so the sign says).

                                It's on Rue de l'Eglise just east of Decarie, b/w du Collège and Côte Vertu metro stops, VSL.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: foodinspace

                                  I have now personally eaten at the restaurant. Great!! Though I haven't been to Itacate so I can't compare. I think it's cheaper. We were a group of 7 and had more than enough tacos for <$10/pp. For groups, at least, they bring the meat, tortillas, and fixins separately so one can build their own tacos. Again, I was there with a group of Mexicans, and everyone liked it. There is live Mariachi on Saturday night...

                                  I am now off to the new Mexican restaurant (La Cantina) that just opened on Centre and Shearer in the Point...

                                  1. re: foodinspace

                                    Yes! Just went with some friends today over lunch and both of them felt that it was as close as they'd ever gotten to authentic Mexican cuisine in Montreal. We had some tacos carnitas, gorditas and quesadilla queso. I would recommend it for its rusticity!

                                    1. re: mtlmaven

                                      Correction: I passed by the door after work last night and noticed that they are closed all weekend. I guess that it makes sense. Most of their business would be lunch business from the old Northern Electric building.

                                  2. Cafe Cantina Taqueria at the corner of Centre and Shearer in Point St Charles. The owner is from France and runs it with his wife from Quebec City. Great tex-mex food as made by mexican americans as opposed to the usual slock. He own a taqueria in France before. Monday through Saturday until five or so. The sign says it closes at 6pm, but I've never seen it open after 5:15.

                                    1. I have to go along with many on this post and say that Ithaca is fantastic. Went today with my husband and son and we had a wonderful meal that was fresh, authentic and yummy. We had some gorditas de chicheron, the house burrito and the burrito de Pastor. The only problem is that we almost had too much food. I would go again any day!

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: mtlmaven

                                        I think you mean Itacate and not Ithaca, but it can be your Ithaca if you choose and you could return very soon ;)

                                        1. re: mtlmaven

                                          The burritos are insanely huge. Definitely a sit-down type of burrito.

                                        2. Just tried this place on St Denis called La Matraca. They only have tacos, but they are very authentic and pretty delicious. Definetly as good or better than any Ive had. I had the Tacos Al Pastor, and the Gringa. Both good, but liked the Al Pastor better. It was about 6$ +tax for 3 small tacos. There was also an option of ordering them in singles for slightly more. Only downside I found was that there wasnt much meat in them which I personally dont mind, and theres no Guacamole or anything like that, but they do give you three types of salsa to put on your tacos.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: jay_81k

                                            Is that the small place on the corner of St-Denis and Sherbrooke?

                                            If so, I've tried that one about a month back and while it was a decent meal, I didn't really find it to be all that great. The tacos were okay, they had many different variations and menu options with just about every kind of filling from meat, chicken, fish, veggie, etc. But I found the price a bit high for what you get and while they were tasty and filling, they really were not exceptional or very memorable. I'm often driving past and it's unlikely I'd stop in again anytime soon... what this city really needs is a "Pick's" or "Buns" style version of West Coast taco trucks - a small counter joint where one can order moderately priced San Diego/Bay style Mexican street food!

                                            I absolutely love Mexican but there's really just not a single restaurant that I've been to in this city where I'd ever go out of my way to return for this kind of meal. Perhaps I'm just being too picky... but to me, great Mexican should be cheap, filling and messy! We don't have anything like that in Montreal.

                                            I'll have to give Itacate and that taqueria in the Point a try though,,,

                                            1. re: OliverB

                                              Ya wrong place, the place i was talking about is like St Denis near Mt Royal I believe.

                                              1. re: OliverB

                                                Well, Mexican friends here would find that a bit simplistic. Not that they are at all averse to the Mexican version of poutine, but it is one of the most ancient and varied cuisines in the Americas and all...

                                                Sweet little Itacate is anything but messy.

                                            2. Oops... I just realized that the place that I'm thinking about (that didn't leave me overly impressed) was probably on the corner of Sherbrooke and St-Laurent, not St-Denis!

                                              Again, everything was pretty good but I'd never recommend or go out of my way to return. Maybe due to the location and the interior decor which they try to "fancy" up with the bar, etc. but prices were a bit high for the offerings too.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. This weekend I went to "El Rey del Taco" at the Jean Talon market. I was craving for some real tacos. I am from Mexico City so I know the real thing.

                                                I had the carnitas (you can think of the mexican version of pulled pork) and the tacos were good. Of course, missing was the rare cuts (buche, nana, cuero, etc) but the can't complain with the meat.

                                                I had also the Tacos al pastor. They have the spit but I got the meat from the grill. To have excellent pastores, you need the meat to come straight from the spit and I will love to go later in the evening to try them. Meat was good, but nothing great.

                                                My wife and kid ordered the parrilla mixta, with cuts of chorizo, beef, chicken, picadillo. The problem was that the dish is so big that at the end the cuts are cold. I will talk to the chef to give him ideas.

                                                I think that will be the place when I have the cravings. I went to La Matraca and got the cardinal sin in tacos, cold tortillas with the pastores but the gringa was quiet good.

                                                11 Replies
                                                1. re: mzalce

                                                  I just tried Iguanas in Ville St Laurent today at lunch, I had a Puerquita (Gordita), it was very very tasty and seemed to have been freshly made.

                                                  Then I had their Pozole, with generous amounts of beef and pork (a few different cuts were included). The soup itself was missing some kick but they bring you a bunch of condiments (onions, cilantro, two different salsas, radish, etc..) so you could control your own taste and spiciness.

                                                  There were a few other customers in there, but I was the only non Spanish speaking one. lol...A good sign, I guess. It looked like "mom" was back there cooking too another good sign.

                                                  I will be back especially considering it's a 5 minute drive from the office.

                                                  1. re: ios94

                                                    Sounds great, must try! Here's the contact info again since it's buried way above:

                                                    Iguanas Ranas
                                                    1486, Rue De l'Eglise,
                                                    Saint-Laurent, QC H4L 2H6

                                                    1. re: kpzoo

                                                      Yes, thanks kpzoo. I actually meant to include their website before, the menu is of course included. The website is only in Spanish.


                                                      1. re: ios94

                                                        Thanks for the link. Wow, that does look authentic! Now I really can't wait to try it! ;-)

                                                        How does it compare to Le petit coin du Mexique, if you've been there?

                                                        1. re: kpzoo

                                                          Anyone know about the place on decarie? Something with bbq in the name...if I could get a name it can help me...thanks! Its in between cv metro and du college....

                                                          1. re: humbert

                                                            Do you mean M. Enchilada d' O specializing in authentic carnitas and barbacoa? I have been meaning to try it as well.

                                                            1. re: hungryann

                                                              Kpzoo, I've actually only been to Coin du Mexique once about 3 years ago and I only had the tacos which I remember being ok. I remember the wife waiting for her food while I was served so that kind of killed it for us. It was a Friday night and they were really busy so comparing it on that sole visit isn't really fair.

                                                              1. re: hungryann

                                                                Yes I think thats the place, there is nothing on the net about it so far....

                                                            2. re: kpzoo

                                                              I've had a look at their website. I'm sort of worried looking at their menu!

                                                              Some dishes include "poussin", the french word for chick (baby chicken). What is up with that?? Please tell me it's a translation mistake!

                                                              1. re: SourberryLily

                                                                It's not uncommon to eat poussin. It's just a young chicken around 1lb in weight.


                                                                1. re: SnackHappy

                                                                  Thanks. I was afraid it would be something like eating the chick while it's still in the egg.

                                                    2. I ate at Itacate a few weeks ago and had a very good meal for under $20. It wasn't a knockout experience but pretty good for Mexican in this city. I guess that isn't saying a lot, but I'll surely be back.

                                                      I also finally tried Iguana Ranas on De L'Eglise and Decarie the other day and was very impressed with the authenticity... a small family run restaurant/convenient store with some great shelf stock of imported sauces, chiles, salas, chips, candies, etc. The family are Mexican imigrants and the owner himself (an extremely nice man- the entire family for that matter!) doesn't even speak English. His daughter handles all the anglo service and orders.

                                                      I forget everything that I tried - it was a small takeout order but the sopes that were recommended to me was outstanding! Unfortunately my burrito and chilaquile carne asada were inedible due to the quality of meat sourced. It both smelled and tasted like dirty feet and was entirely unappealing... I guess I'll stick with the chicken and vege dishes upon return though I still long for a real California style burrito/taco experience in this city!

                                                      I know that food trucks are banned and illegal due to civil bylaws but one idea I had which I don't understand why it isn't put into action is that someone should take the concept of the "taco truck" for instance, and apply it strictly to home and office delivery. So you would have a travelling kitchen equipped to make burritos, tacos, chilis, etc but rather than serving to street customers, why not have several at various posts in different neighborhoods serving telephone orders for office workers and residences. People can call in and the restaurant comes right to their door with cheap and piping hot street meat! I just really want to see a taco truck in Montreal!!!

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: OliverB

                                                        Interesting you should mention the quality of the meat sourced at Iguana Ranas. I had ordered a pork burrito and that smell was a total turnoff! The rest of the food was great but that meat smell was deplorable.

                                                        1. re: mtlmaven

                                                          I literally dumped my order in the trash... it smelled like old dog meat and tasted worse. I'll never order anything but chicken there again... not that I'd ever be out that way for Mexican anyhow. The meat was gross.

                                                      2. Went to Itacate last week. Overall good impression.

                                                        Service was very friendly and warm.

                                                        Of the six of us, here is what I heard:
                                                        1. Burritos were very good.
                                                        2. Fajitas were not at all interesting
                                                        3. I had the tortilla soup which really hit the spot. But one notch below the soup at La Guadeloupe Mexicaine on Ontario.
                                                        4. My wife and I both had the Tacos al Pastor, which were quite good but not the best I've had in Montreal. I enjoyed the Pastor more at El Sombrero on Belanger (and even at Popocateptl, also on Belanger) One minor complaint about the pastor: unlike most restaurants where you are given a small bowl with onions and cilantro, Itacate's Pastor came with the onions and cilantro already on them... I personally love cilantro and would have liked to garnish my own tacos (i.e. the way they are served in Mexico!)

                                                        For fans of spicy salsas, note that their habanero salsa is very mild (how do you even do that?!?). I should have asked for the xxx.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Rizzo1

                                                          thats amazing, thank you guys, for all these choices, April is gonna be my Mexican fiesta month, and i'll be back with my reviews!


                                                          i know BorritosVille is great but no meat....

                                                        2. Is there such a thing as quality tex mex? 3 Amigos atmosphere and menu, but better quality food...and drinks that are not-so-watered-down...?

                                                          3 Amigos
                                                          1657 Rue Sainte-Catherine W, Montreal, QC H3H1L9, CA

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: J1836

                                                            If you emphasize the Tex, the short answer is "yes." It's called Icehouse.

                                                            1. re: EaterBob

                                                              I tried Ice House. Too cramped for my liking and wasn't thrown back by the food. I hear they have a terrace up, so I might give it a 2nd try..

                                                              I went to Itacate on Beaubien yesterday (yes, not Tex Mex). It was REALLY good despite being too tiny and cramped for me.

                                                              Great appetizers. One small note, the habanero sauce was surprisingly not that spicy and the one up, ''xxx'', was extremely (and probably too hot for the avg.). They need to make a sauce between the two.

                                                          2. Cafe Cantina in Pointe St Charles (on Centre street) is GREAT! I pretty much live on the Burrito Carnitas and Chicken Quesedillas. Pretty tasty double chocolate cookies for desert! 1880 Centre street.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: fooditude

                                                              +1! Definitely more "California"-mex. Personally, I prefer the carnitas to chicken any day, but have never had a bad experience there. The burritos are giant. Also a nice spot for just coffee and dessert (desserts seems to rotate a bit - tried the flourless chocolate cake and the lemon tart). Fresh juices are delicious if pricey. I would say the food is pricey except the portions and quality make it worth every penny (A take out burrito runs you $10).

                                                            2. Reviving an old thread to ask if anyone knows about a Mexican place Casa Figueroa? A coworker catered a small party from them and had nothing but good things to say. What's the word on chow hound since I've never heard of this place: www.casafigueroa.ca

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: hungryann

                                                                Better be really good at those prices. $14 for Tacos Dorados? Does it come with anything else?

                                                                BTW, I moved from Pointe St Charles several years ago. I'm curious to know whether Cafe Cantina still exists; hopefully their business is doing well?

                                                                1. re: foodinspace

                                                                  I don't know what the plates are served with. All I know, is my coworker paid 350$ tax in for 15 people.

                                                                  1. re: foodinspace

                                                                    Yes Cafe Cantina is still open, but they close early, haven't been in over a year myself