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Agave Y Aguacate - delicious Mexican

jlunar Mar 27, 2011 12:12 PM

Saw Petek mention this in another thread and it reminded me that I hadn't heard anyone talk about Agave Y Aguacate here yet. And it really deserves to be talked about.

I first heard about Agave Y Aguacate from Steven Davey’s review in NOW Magazine. I hadn’t noticed the rating he had given it at the time – 5 N’s – but wholly concur after making my own visit to this one-man operation. Everything is made fresh and to-order – tostadas are fried, guacamole is prepped, tomatoes are sliced – all while you patiently observe and salivate. Watching Francisco Alejandri work is fascinating, as it reveals the care he puts into the creation of every dish. And the results are worth it.

I started with the green tostada. The guacamole is heavily laced with lime – just the way I like it – and piled on a freshly fried tostada with lightly marinated tomatoes and a slice of queso fresco cheese. It is then topped with crema, as well as a guajillo chili and tomatillo salsa. This dish, while rich and creamy from the guacamole, cheese, and crema, gets balanced out by the acid from the tomatoes and lime. The salsa gave things a vague hint of heat and a little sweetness. I splashed some of the habanero sauce that was on offer beside the table, but the sauce wasn’t very hot and I thought the dish was better without it. The fresh and bright flavours really took me away from the dreary rain spitting from the grey sky outside.

Like the green tostada, the flank steak salad had great fresh flavours – lime, fresh red onion, vinegar, jalapeño, tomato, coriander – mixed with the shredded flank steak. This was sided with tortilla chips that are fried to order, apparently. I missed this part as I was dorking away on my cell, but I remember hearing the sizzle from the fryer. I could have used more jalapeño for more kick, but the flank steak salad was a really beautifully crafted dish with awesome layers of flavour. I also somehow thought this was a sandwich when I first read the menu. Must read slower.

No photo (gasp, I know) of the pinto bean soup I had taken home to eat. This soup – again, made to order(!), like every thing else – was piping hot when it went into the container. A container that had fresh chunks of avocado in it. And if you’ve ever cooked avocado, you’ll know it gets bitter. Otherwise, this carefully crafted soup was quite good and filling. Made with ancho chiles, more of the queso fresco cheese, and topped with tortilla strips and crema.

Remembering that the NOW review had directed readers to not leave without the lime Charolotte, I got this dessert to-go as I was both full and out of time. Lime-custard layers alternating with Maria biscuits topped with fresh lime zest and dose of arbequina olive oil. This is a dense and creamy confection, lightened by the citrusy zing of the lime.

I missed out on a few things on the menu, but the one thing that I wished I had ordered: the hibiscus agua fresca. Sounds refreshingly delicious! Will have to save that for my next visit. To make your own visit to Agave Y Aguacate, look for El Gordo’s Fine Foods with signs on the outside for churros. Then, head past the bakery toward the various food vendors at the back. Though this is a counter-only kind of place (with maybe five seats shared in the entire place), optimally, you want to eat the food as soon as you can. Take-out isn't the main thrust of this place.

Most dishes hover around around the $5 mark (cash only), so things aren’t expensive, but portions are more snack-sized than meal-sized for the items I tried at lunch. I went during a slow period, so had no issues with the speed of preparation, but I can imagine things getting pretty slow during peak times. Fast food, this isn’t, so don’t be in a rush if you visit Agave Y Aguacate. Quality takes time, and this is well worth the wait.

Photos and menu on the blog: http://www.foodpr0n.com/2011/03/20/ag...

Agave Y Aguacute
214 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON , CA

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  1. TorontoJo RE: jlunar Mar 27, 2011 12:15 PM

    Sounds fantastic, especially in our Mexican-deficient city. I think another cheap and cheerful Kensington Market/Chinatown tour is in the cards for me!

    1. t
      Tatai RE: jlunar Mar 27, 2011 01:35 PM

      Francisco needs to open a sit down restaurant. Having recently tried his "non-fast" take-out food and watched as he fastidiously and passionately prepared each component of every dish, I can only imagine the depth of his culinary prowess. Also not to be missed are the tinga (chicken) tostada, which I liked even more than the green tostada, and the meatball sandwich.

      Just remember that you really have to be patient. I waited about 30 to 40 minutes for my 3-item order and it wasn't that busy (2 people ahead of me). I'd happily do it again.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Tatai
        jlunar RE: Tatai Mar 28, 2011 07:36 AM

        He'd have to train up some staff, otherwise speed issues would be even worse...! hee hee.

        But really, the dude is really passionate about crafting his dishes.

        Gotta try the tinga tostada and meatball sammy next! The rest of his food was awesome.

      2. f
        froglegs RE: jlunar Mar 31, 2011 05:11 AM

        Thanks for posting this. Sounds fabulous. Might be a great way to spend a leisurely few hours one afternoon. I am going!

        6 Replies
        1. re: froglegs
          insideman RE: froglegs Mar 31, 2011 06:51 AM

          The food was good here. Good, not great. The meatball sandwich was tasty but needed much more zip to claim it as a "Mexican Meatball". Tostadas were tasty and the soup was decent. It was mega-slow!!! I know some of you are fawing over his passion and attention to detail but alot of the slow down would be avoided if he tackled some proper mise-en-place before he opens shop. There is no justifiable reason to hold things up while you julienne tortillas, sorry. If a major portion of this work was done before service he'd have more time to lift his head up, charm customers and most importantly serve customers and turn over customers. I'd mos def hit him up again but if there is a line 10 people deep I'd most likely not wait it out. Which is unfortunate because the food doesn't equate to a wait like that. Good food, quickly.

          1. re: insideman
            froglegs RE: insideman Apr 2, 2011 12:23 PM

            I guess you are right. The guy should get his act together . As they say....the customer comes first!

            1. re: insideman
              KitchenVoodoo RE: insideman Apr 2, 2011 09:02 PM

              What's the best time of day - do you think - to experience this guy's food without a major linelup?

              1. re: KitchenVoodoo
                Herb RE: KitchenVoodoo Apr 3, 2011 05:20 AM

                I go by all the time and have looked in to see if there's a lineup. Usually, there isn't.

                I first went a couple of weeks ago before he was "discovered." If you go earlier in the week the only time I've seen a line (ie 3 people) is right at noon. Earlier than that or after 2, there's nobody. However, Sat and Sun the place is crazy busy as are the churros and empanada places he shares the space with.

                Best bet is to place your order, pay and come back in 20 to 30 minutes after you do your other shopping. Or, if you go mid-afternoon, you can watch him put everything together - quite fascinating if you're interested in cooking "real" Mexican food. He's very friendly. I heard he cooked at Scaramouche (?).

                If you just want cheap slop on a plate with no wait, there's plenty of places nearby.

                1. re: Herb
                  KitchenVoodoo RE: Herb Apr 6, 2011 08:39 PM

                  Thanks Herb, no cheap fast "slop on a plate" for me - I want the real deal from Mexico! Am prepared to wait, but not for hours. Can't wait!

              2. re: insideman
                opifan64 RE: insideman Sep 5, 2011 06:00 AM

                @ insiderman.... couldn't have said it better myself. The food is good but people seem to hold up the slowness as some kind of shining virtue.

            2. n
              nart RE: jlunar Apr 6, 2011 08:29 PM

              i'm looking to go to agave tomorrow, however i've read that seating is limited. can someone confirm if there is any seating at all please.
              i plan on going with my boyfriend who currently has a broken ankle so he'll need to sit down!

              3 Replies
              1. re: nart
                num nums RE: nart Apr 6, 2011 08:44 PM

                Unfortunately, there's no seating at all. Just a bit of a standup counter area.

                However, there is a bench and exactly 2 seats next door at Segovia. The owner of El Gordo inside where A y A is and Segovia are related. So maybe if you ask at Segovia if you can sit there they won't mind. You can always get some of there alfajores and some sweet empanadas for desert. Or get an order of their feijoida to take home for dinner later. Or some of their sausages. Or try their tasty pulled pork sandwich . . . :-)

                1. re: num nums
                  Herb RE: num nums Apr 7, 2011 04:32 AM

                  There's one small table in a corner on the upper level next to the hot sauces. I sat at it — it must be there! Segovia is a butcher shop - no seating that I can recall.

                  1. re: Herb
                    aser RE: Herb Apr 7, 2011 12:00 PM

                    there's a small table w/ two chairs in segovia, it's there. I sat in it eating feijoida a few weeks ago.

              2. aser RE: jlunar Apr 7, 2011 02:21 AM

                It's a decent spot, but no, not knocking out the missing taco ladies from Perola's. Best way to describe AYG is on some Rick Bayless Xoco steez. Hopefully he realizes having a few 9 pans of mise is perfectly acceptable and won't be detrimental to freshness. It's ok, fine dice some onions in advance, not a big deal if they're an hour old.

                Btw, a new taco stand took over the back of Perola's a few weeks ago. I haven't tried it yet but took a pic of the menu hanging up on the wall (tacos, quesadillas, tamales, chile rellenos, pozole).

                247 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T, CA

                3 Replies
                1. re: aser
                  petek RE: aser Apr 7, 2011 12:48 PM

                  Does he not have any refrigeration to keep his mis?

                  1. re: aser
                    shekamoo RE: aser Apr 7, 2011 03:35 PM

                    exciting! Perola's is badly missed!

                    247 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T, CA

                    1. re: shekamoo
                      aser RE: shekamoo Apr 7, 2011 07:46 PM

                      here's the menu, similar to taco ladies....

                      petek - lowboy fridge

                  2. p
                    peppermint pate RE: jlunar Apr 7, 2011 02:11 PM

                    I've been thinking about this ever since you posted. I'm planning a visit to Kensington tomorrow afternoon and I might order this and do my shopping while I wait. I'm not exactly clear on the location - do I go into El Gordo, and it's in the back? Or is it in the laneway between El Gordo and Segovia? I'm confused...

                    El Gordo
                    214 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON , CA

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: peppermint pate
                      num nums RE: peppermint pate Apr 7, 2011 07:42 PM

                      It's inside El Gordo. Since last year they've been subdividing it up. First there was Pancho Bakery taking up the front left, then there was the arepa guy. Ag y Ag (need to come up with an official short form...) is where El Gordo used to have a big, underused case on the left side of the upper area. As for the table in the back, I had no idea it was meant for seating. When I was there last weekend it seemed like yet another stall is eventually going to be setup there based on a bunch of boxes laying around it.

                      But that's just part of the ramshackle charm of the place. They at least should change the exterior signage so it's more clear there's a bunch of things in there, not just El Gordo. It's like they are a mini Milvan food court now,

                      El Gordo
                      214 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON , CA

                      1. re: num nums
                        huskylord RE: num nums Apr 8, 2011 09:51 AM

                        I'm assuming cash only?

                        1. re: huskylord
                          jlunar RE: huskylord Apr 8, 2011 09:53 AM

                          Cash only!

                        2. re: num nums
                          peppermint pate RE: num nums May 2, 2011 08:07 AM

                          We went here on Saturday (belated thanks for the directions, num nums) and really, really liked it. I was a bit apprehensive about getting there at lunchtime on Saturday on one of the few non-rainy days in recent memory. While waiting for some grilled cheese sandwiches at The Grilled Cheese, we popped in line here with the intention of ordering to pick up later. Instead, we were maybe 8th in line and waited maybe 25 minutes and took our food with us (while still waiting for our grilled cheese sammies, but that's another story...). There was a second person working, who handled the orders and cash, so maybe that sped things up a bit? Francisco kept his head down, working feverishly throughout while the woman helping him offered smiles and some chit-chat. There also appeared to be some things prepped.

                          We had the tinga tostada, the tostada verde and the lime charlotte - all excellent! These are beautifully flavoured dishes prepared with the freshest of ingredients, cooked and assembled with passion and artistry. Each dish had a great mix of textures and flavours. - looking forward to returning many times in the months ahead.

                      2. t
                        ta0126 RE: jlunar Apr 8, 2011 11:21 AM

                        more coverage

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: ta0126
                          Platoputas RE: ta0126 Apr 11, 2011 12:51 PM

                          Whoa. The Eye Weekly review seems to have taken Agave Y Aguacate from hidden gem to mainstream must-eat. It inspired me to check it out this past Saturday (April 9) and the place was rammed, even at 4:45 p.m. (which I thought would be considered an "off-peak time" but clearly I wasn't the only one. There were at least 12 people waiting for food and I didn't have the patience so I left. I'm guessing midweek is the best best.


                          1. re: Platoputas
                            thebutcher RE: Platoputas Apr 11, 2011 07:44 PM

                            I went too on Saturday and the line-up was too long for me - went a few doors south to La Tortillia.3 tacos (freshly made) for $6.49 (choice of toppings).delicious and great value.

                            1. re: thebutcher
                              aser RE: thebutcher Apr 11, 2011 09:28 PM

                              Keep in mind last Saturday was the first super warm weekend of the year, Kensington was packed everywhere.

                              Again, the food here is decent, but not worth a 12 deep wait. Especially since you have so many options in Kensington.

                              Spicing level is gringo, didn't recall seeing any tapatio lying around to kick it up a notch. I'll ask if he's willing to jack it up, plan on going tomorrow.

                              1. re: aser
                                Herb RE: aser Apr 26, 2011 05:15 AM

                                There's a wall of hot sauces on the north wall next to the table including Tapatio.

                                1. re: Herb
                                  jlunar RE: Herb Apr 26, 2011 09:26 AM

                                  I only tried a couple and didn't think they were very hot. Here they are:


                                  Didn't try the Tapatio though.

                                2. re: aser
                                  basileater RE: aser Apr 26, 2011 02:02 PM

                                  Of all the Mexican hot sauces in the world, why Tapatio? (A sauce like that just doesn't match the food to me. I don't use it much, but it strikes me as more of a Valentina type of sauce that is better with chips or popcorn than real food.)

                                  If you are ordering something that involves the owner chopping a chile (e.g. the flank steak salad), I bet you can ask him to make it a little more spicy for you. Let us know how it goes.

                                  jlunar, from the sauces you have listed, Tapatio is the mildest and probably the worst-tasting of the bunch, so you have not missed anything. I don't know the two sauces on the left, but you will find the Yucateco sauces much spicier if you haven't tried those yet. Red is the mildest, but still very hot, then green, then the XXX one. They taste good but have a very specific habenero flavour. Give the sauce a try first (and your food) to make sure that you will like the combination. Start with just a drop, and beware, the XXX one is very hot and also has the propensity to flow freely from the bottle.

                                  Personally, I would rather eat the food without spice than add the flavours of those sauces to most of the food there. Hopefully in the future he will have homemade spicy salsas on hand. If he doesn't, that is fine with me. I love chile, but Mexican food doesn't always have to be spicy. The women in my family don't use more than half a serrano in anything they make.

                              2. re: Platoputas
                                jlunar RE: Platoputas Apr 11, 2011 07:44 PM

                                well. crap.

                            2. Bobby Wham RE: jlunar Apr 25, 2011 01:52 PM

                              Man I'm still craving it since i ate it......need my fix

                              1. i
                                insideman RE: jlunar May 3, 2011 05:07 AM

                                Went back here this past weekend and it hasn't gotten much better on any level. Having eaten some superior Mexican streetfood in Chicago, NYC and LA I can't understand what all the fuss is about here at all. First, the wait for food is just flat out ridiculous. It isn't even because of mass lineups either. This knucklehead simply cannot organize himself properly. While I waited 30+ minutes for TWO TOSTADAS!!! I watched this guy scramble like some greenhorn who was thrown into the trenches. No clue at all! Spinning around, useless steps and a staff of two who were just as confused and useless. Part of me just wanted to ask :

                                "What the fuck are you doing?"

                                I don't want to hear the excuse of him not wanting to "compromise the integrity of freshness". Ok? Sounds like an excuse to be stupid. He's using tomatoes in winter/spring and the rest of the components are likely coming from China and South America. Which is fine. Don't get me wrong, I'm not hung up on that. Just give it to us! It's a fucking Tostada! I could be halfway through a tasting menu at Canoe in the time it takes to get a deep fried tortilla with some cooked chicken on it.

                                Secondly, this food just isn't that good at all. His guac is pretty good, I'll give him that but the rest is mediocre at best. There is no way the food stacks up close to anything by Rick Bayless at all. Someone mentioned the similarities between this place and the excellent XOCO. No way! Not even close. Roy Choi also does cirlces around this guy with a superior product(by that I mean Mexican streetfood). Food that is designed to be fresh, quick and excellent. This place just continually falls flat on a level where his American counterparts thrive.

                                Not to hate on homie here but the fanfare for this food is just not justifiable. He needs to get his act together on many levels. There is no reason for a wait more than 10 minutes. No reason to not have menu items at all. No reason for the owner/operator not to engage his customers. No reason to be spinning around like a shit house rat!

                                This place is not the real deal!

                                10 Replies
                                1. re: insideman
                                  peppermint pate RE: insideman May 3, 2011 07:16 AM

                                  Okay insideman, but don't hold back, tell us how you really feel...:)

                                  Ha, we obviously had very different experiences there this weekend.

                                  1. re: peppermint pate
                                    JennaBean RE: peppermint pate May 3, 2011 07:53 AM

                                    I feel a bit terrible saying this, but 25 mins for takeout tostada? What's going in here? Even if there were double the people in line ahead of you it really shouldn't take that much time. I'm guessing this guy has never been on a line before.

                                    1. re: JennaBean
                                      peppermint pate RE: JennaBean May 3, 2011 08:29 AM

                                      Well...in terms of logistics, there were probably 7 or 8 people standing in line ahead of me, each of them ordering 2-4 items (tostadas, flank steak salad, dessert, etc.). There were also a few people who had obviously ordered earlier, then wandered off and popped back to pick up their items. So maybe 20-30 individual items were prepped ahead of mine - in that context, a 25 minute wait didn't feel crazy to me.

                                      But more than that, I think it has to do with your expectations, needs and the experience you're looking for. I had planned to pop in, order and wander off but then the wait seemed not too bad and I was enjoying the view. I loved watching him craft each little dish, the way he sliced and fanned out his tomatoes, a sprinkle from on high of sea salt, now slicing the perfectly ripe avocado, a designer squiggle of crema, etc. With the lime charlotte, they could have just plopped the premade dessert in a box but instead, they took an extra minute to squeeze a few lime drops with an old fashioned juice presser, zest some fresh lime with a rasp and drizzle the olive oil. Whether or not he's ever been on a line is immaterial to the equation, as far as I'm concerned - this is the antithesis of line cooking. Interestingly, it took us close to 45 minutes to get our sandwiches at The Grilled Cheese that day and there, the wait was misery, courtesy of a particularly irritable cook who sent out some pretty nasty vibes to the waiting patrons (though the sandwiches were good).

                                      I love americanos but i hate when the crema is broken by water added in haste. If you're in a hurry to grab your morning cofffee, as we all are on some days, you might scowl at someone who adds the water more slowly. I personally appreciate the extra time and care it takes.

                                      So I'd say it depends on your mood and expectations - if you're in a hurry for a quick bite, give this place a miss. If you've got some time to wait, I'd recommend it, and even more so if you enjoy watching food prepared with care and love.

                                      1. re: JennaBean
                                        Herb RE: JennaBean May 3, 2011 09:34 AM

                                        @ JennaBean: Not unless you count Scaramouche and JKWB.

                                        1. re: Herb
                                          JennaBean RE: Herb May 3, 2011 09:46 AM

                                          That's really sad then. :-(

                                    2. re: insideman
                                      aser RE: insideman May 3, 2011 10:15 AM

                                      comparison to xoco wasn't based on food quality, but on target audience. Food there to me again is just avg. People eat the "artisanal", "hand-crafted" steez up.

                                      1. re: aser
                                        Bobby Wham RE: aser May 5, 2011 04:26 PM

                                        It has the best flavour for Mexican I have tasted in Toronto, can you recommend another spot that you can sit down in where the food is on par?

                                        1. re: Bobby Wham
                                          aser RE: Bobby Wham May 5, 2011 09:58 PM

                                          I like Rebozos more, but it's a little out of the way for the downtown crowd. It's right around the corner from that tiny ass house that went viral a few yrs ago. They serve off cuts as specials on the weekends, which aren't listed on the online menu.


                                          I haven't tried it yet but the reincarnation of tacos at the back of Perola's on the weekend gets my hopes up.....

                                          Finally, there's a spot called Tierra Azteca @ Bloor & Dufferin that serves up really homey food. There's a bare bones menu but most of the times the options aren't even available, they just tell you what they have for the day, their english is spotty though. It's basically a bodega w/ a Western Union outlet inside and some seating in the back. Not as good as Rebezos or the taco ladies @ Perola but it really captures the typical bodega vibe found in many US cities. I've never seen a non-Latin in this spot. One time a customer sitting at the next table even asked me...."How the hell did you find this place?" I'm obviously out of place there as a chinaman. I found it because I live nearby...

                                          247 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T, CA

                                          1. re: aser
                                            Bobby Wham RE: aser May 6, 2011 10:31 AM

                                            Thanks for the recos! ya, i'm looking forward to trying Perola's again, but still, sometimes in in the mood to sit on something other than a milk crate to enjoy my tacos. I used to enjoy El Jacal but they don't have enough fresh items on the menu, and the tacos are pretty greazy, but yummy!

                                            1. re: aser
                                              hari mirch RE: aser Sep 4, 2011 09:54 PM

                                              The tacos al pastor at La Tierra Azteca are pretty good. I've had them four times, three times they were excellent, once a little greasy. The weekend carnitas wasn't that great. The chilaquiles plate is definitely filling although I like a little more bite in my chilaquiles (both in terms of flavour, and texture), and the beans are fairly bland but typical, I think. I eat there fairly frequently.

                                              During weekdays the menu fluctuates daily and isn't printed up. There are no prices. It's been my distinct but hopefully wrong impression that there is a gringo tax depending on who is at the cash - the price varies between $10 for 4 tacos and $12 for 4 tacos. $12 is a bit steep to me, especially considering the basic ambience.

                                              I also prefer Rebozos in that price range.

                                      2. s
                                        Snarf RE: jlunar May 9, 2011 07:48 AM

                                        Went on Saturday to check it out. There were five vendors in the space. The arepa guy (looked good), a fresh juice stand, El Gordo Empanadas, A y A, and a pupusa griddle operated by one of the El Gordo team. Time being a consideration, we tried out the pupusa guy. They are somewhat larger than the standard, about the size of a small plate, and they are willing to mix and match fillings for the grand sum of 4$. We shared one filled with chorizo, spinach and garlic, which came with a purple cabbage salad, avocado paste, tomato salsas, and three different fresh salsas, each of varying heat. The salsas were a blend of bell and hot peppers (jalapeno, scotch bonnet and habanero) . Texture was perfect, and having the salsas fresh without any hint of vinegar was amazing. They aren't adjusted for the pale. One of my better Kensington food experiences of the last few years.

                                        El Gordo
                                        214 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON , CA

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: Snarf
                                          Spice City Toronto RE: Snarf May 25, 2011 06:32 PM

                                          Good news! There is now a beautiful patio behind the building where you can enjoy your food. It's a lovely little space with tables and flowers.


                                          1. re: Spice City Toronto
                                            jlunar RE: Spice City Toronto May 26, 2011 09:49 AM

                                            woo, good news!

                                            1. re: Spice City Toronto
                                              Marumari RE: Spice City Toronto Sep 12, 2011 11:47 AM

                                              Dunno if I would call that patio 'beautiful'. It's just a gravel lot with some plastic tables, with the sun beating down on you. I guess it's authentic, at least

                                              1. re: Marumari
                                                justsayn RE: Marumari Sep 12, 2011 12:25 PM

                                                Hate that patio when the sun is beating down!!

                                          2. d
                                            dyc999 RE: jlunar May 25, 2011 06:45 PM

                                            jlunar, your review was fantastic! It was so descriptive and compelling I now I have a craving for this place! Damn you lol.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: dyc999
                                              jlunar RE: dyc999 May 26, 2011 09:48 AM

                                              Hee hee, thanks! I see Spice City mentioned a patio, so I'm looking forward to my next visit... seating!!!

                                              http://www.foodpr0n.com/ -- food. is. love.

                                            2. TorontoJo RE: jlunar Jun 4, 2011 02:54 PM

                                              Just a note that they are changing up their menu next week.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: TorontoJo
                                                Spice City Toronto RE: TorontoJo Jun 4, 2011 07:50 PM

                                                Yes, TorontoJo is correct. Agave is switching to a summer menu soon. They're getting rid of the soup and adding a few new items.


                                              2. atomeyes RE: jlunar Jun 21, 2012 03:12 PM

                                                its a shame that no one's talking about AyA anymore.

                                                i took my wife there, promising her one of the top 10 dishes in Toronto.

                                                The anita tostada is practically flavour perfection. unreal. the smell of them preparing it: unreal.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: atomeyes
                                                  autopi RE: atomeyes Jun 21, 2012 04:00 PM

                                                  i would be more inclined to talk about them if i could ever manage to eat there. i think i've tried to eat there three times now, and they always seem to be closed, or in the process of closing.

                                                  1. re: autopi
                                                    blitz RE: autopi Jun 21, 2012 04:09 PM

                                                    ditto what autopi said. went one time and it wasn't open. went the same time another week and it was. i don't like to be disappointed like that.

                                                    1. re: blitz
                                                      atomeyes RE: blitz Jun 21, 2012 08:02 PM

                                                      did you guys go during the winter or early spring?

                                                      I don't think they were open much in the winter. after the big reviews (and lines), they hit a giant lull in business (or so i've heard).

                                                      i've gone twice in the past 10 days. i wish i could get past the anita tostada and eat around their menu, but its incredible.

                                                2. y
                                                  ylsf RE: jlunar Aug 17, 2012 10:08 AM

                                                  Just to update this thread, they are now closed in Kensington Market -

                                                  But are serving on the weekends at Harbourfront - http://www.harbourfrontcentre.com/blo...

                                                  Hours here -


                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: ylsf
                                                    petek RE: ylsf Aug 17, 2012 10:49 AM

                                                    Sad but good for him.
                                                    I wish him all the best,and hope he'll open something permanent soon..

                                                    1. re: ylsf
                                                      jlunar RE: ylsf Aug 17, 2012 12:42 PM

                                                      Thanks for the heads-up! Good luck to Alejandri!

                                                      1. re: ylsf
                                                        atomeyes RE: ylsf Aug 17, 2012 08:20 PM

                                                        damn damn damn...

                                                      2. jlunar RE: jlunar Aug 20, 2012 12:22 PM

                                                        Another article on AYA's closure:

                                                        Interesting - didn't think he'd go a day w/o a customer. :( and I'd forgotten Bourdain had just been by. Sadface.

                                                        edit:// spelling!

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: jlunar
                                                          petek RE: jlunar Aug 20, 2012 12:57 PM

                                                          <Interesting - didn't think he'd go a day w/o a customer. :( and I'd forgotten Bourdain had just been buy. Sadface.>

                                                          Sad but true
                                                          The only time I had a chance to eat there was on a beautiful,sunny Saturday afternoon(noon ish) and we were the only customers.
                                                          Not even the almighty Antony Bourdain could save Agave..... :(

                                                          1. re: petek
                                                            justxpete RE: petek Aug 20, 2012 02:21 PM

                                                            Sad. I've been intending to go to Agave for quite a while now, and never got around to it. had I known he wasn't overly busy, I would have made much more of an effort to support him. I specifically didn't go the weekend after Bourdain, because I thought the lineups would be around the block. Hopefully he'll crop up somewhere else soon.

                                                            For anyone who's curious, his twitter account is http://twitter.com/AgaveyAguacate


                                                            1. re: justxpete
                                                              mstestzzz002 RE: justxpete Aug 20, 2012 06:05 PM

                                                              Last tweet was in Nov 2010. The twitter acct lists a blog - last entry was Nov 2011. I was gonna check out the Harbourfront stalls, but I guess he's not gonna be there anymore

                                                              1. re: mstestzzz002
                                                                justxpete RE: mstestzzz002 Aug 20, 2012 06:25 PM

                                                                Oops - hadn't noticed that. Thanks Mstest.

                                                              2. re: justxpete
                                                                justsayn RE: justxpete Aug 20, 2012 06:23 PM

                                                                Hours/days were so inconsistent it was impossible to be loyal.

                                                          2. w
                                                            wontonfm RE: jlunar Aug 21, 2012 06:47 AM

                                                            The Kensington space wasn't great for customers. Sure the location is great but AYA food needs to be eaten sitting down. The few tables out back were great but on my last visit there were only two... and what happens during the winter?

                                                            Hopefully he is able to get a proper space in the near future.


                                                            6 Replies
                                                            1. re: wontonfm
                                                              1sweetpea RE: wontonfm Aug 21, 2012 12:05 PM

                                                              I would have loved to have sampled AYA's food, but Kensington market is NOT car friendly. As an out-of-towner often passing through, I'd have happily eaten there many times had it been located in or around the shops at Don Mills. I've paid $14 for a few sub-par fish tacos at Joey before popping into McEwan. I'd have happily handed over a $20 for something better and more authentic Mexican.

                                                              1. re: 1sweetpea
                                                                autopi RE: 1sweetpea Aug 21, 2012 12:26 PM

                                                                Conversely, I would never have even tried to go to Agave y Aguacate had they been out in the sticks, as someone who lives downtown and has no car. Kensington was vastly preferable, and far more accessible.

                                                                I also would under no circumstances pay over $20 for "a few" tacos.

                                                                1. re: autopi
                                                                  1sweetpea RE: autopi Aug 21, 2012 12:47 PM

                                                                  What I meant was that I'd have happily spent $20 for lunch there, expecting something much greater than 3 shitty fish tacos, as Joey serves for $14 (no sides). I could have done much better at AYA, even for $14, than I've done any time I've visited Joey.

                                                                  Even when I'm without a car and in Toronto, Kensington is a destination for me, not a normal lunch stop. I'm sure that's what did AYA in. No place can survive on weekend walk-ins alone.

                                                                  1. re: 1sweetpea
                                                                    petek RE: 1sweetpea Aug 21, 2012 04:36 PM

                                                                    Cooking complex "Mexican street food" a la minute on 2 induction tops didn't help either..he needs a proper kitchen and a place with even a few tables..

                                                                2. re: 1sweetpea
                                                                  peppermint pate RE: 1sweetpea Aug 22, 2012 07:22 AM

                                                                  I actually find Kensington to be quite car friendly, so long as you go midweek (day or night) - I can almost always snag a spot on Baldwin or Augusta or even Spadina. I was really sad to see this post - I've been to Agave Y 5 or 6 times this year and loved every visit. I tended to go just off of peak lunch hours and never had to wait long. Each dish was prepared with care and attention to detail, with quality ingredients. Prices were high but the portions were generous - above all, the food was delicious. I loved the obscurity of the location but only on days when it wasn't busy. I'll look forward to his permanent spot, whenever he can figure it out.

                                                                  1. re: peppermint pate
                                                                    1sweetpea RE: peppermint pate Aug 22, 2012 07:39 AM

                                                                    I went to a couple of loncheria-type places in Mexico. They were tiny places with a stove and oven, a flat top griddle, a fridge, freezer and some prep space. A couple of soups were available, plus a handful of mix and match items in pots. Chiles rellenos might be on offer as well. Choices could be made into sandwiches or plates, with rice and beans and tortillas on the side.

                                                                    In a slightly larger space, with a handful of tables and some stools at a window counter, AYA could succeed in many different neighbourhoods making no more than the loncherias in Mexico. His twist would be innovative salsas, fresh and beautiful salads, and delectable presentation, which I always felt was lacking in all but the finest restaurants in Mexico.

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