Looking to dine out at the best Mexican restaurants in Toronto?
Our comprehensive guide to Mexican restaurants in Toronto features cheap and cheerful taco shops, mezcal bars, Tex Mex menus, fusion Mexicana concepts and fine dining rooms.
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Mexican Restaurants in Toronto with Chef Aguilar
We sat down with Rodrigo Aguilar, Head Chef of El Rey Mezcal Bar in Kensington Market to chat about Toronto’s Mexican restaurant scene.
The Mexico City native moved to Toronto in 2010. Chef Aguilar describes the evolution of the Mexican restaurants in Toronto, “I think the evolution of Mexican food in Toronto has gone from what started as family-owned and run cantinas that were mostly frequented by other Latinas, to a cuisine that is widely popular and accessible to everyone.”
Aguilar continued, “Bigger brands are now taking on the challenge of creating authentic regional Mexican cuisine that goes beyond tacos and burritos. There are cooks in this city that are making authentic Mexican food that aren’t from Mexico. I am proud of Toronto’s Mexican dining scene. I think the city is doing a good job of sharing not only the flavours, but the traditions and cultures of my country.”
So what are some of Chef Aguilar’s favourite places in Toronto to eat Mexican food when he’s not working in the kitchen at El Rey Mezcal Bar? “I love Campechano at Adelaide and Portland. They make incredible tacos using traditional masa. The Carne Asada taco is my favourite. There’s also a little Mexican restaurant in Kensington called El Trompo that I love. I could eat their Pozole every day – but it’s only available on Saturday and Sundays,” says Aguilar.
In Toronto, Mexican cuisine has recently enjoyed a boom in popularity. Aguilar describes the unique appeal of Mexico’s culinary traditions, “It’s not only the vibrant flavours that draw people in, but the experience. In Mexico we have a lot of traditions and celebrations that are tied into our food, which I think are very captivating for people. For example, when you come to El Rey you get a traditional Cantina experience. At Baro, there’s loud Latino music and more of a party vibe. Both are authentic Mexican.”
Aguilar adds, “Mexican food is also very diverse and can please a wide range of diets. It can be vegan or vegetarian; you can have a whole fish-based menu or you can experience the meat-heavy side of Mexican cooking. There’s really something for everyone.”
At El Rey, Chef Aguilar borrows memories from his childhood in Mexico when creating new dishes. “Since El Rey is a true Cantina-style restaurant, I work very closely with Owen Walker and Nick Halligan to create dishes that will compliment our drinks. When you come to El Rey and order a cocktail, there is a dish made to pair with it. Our food and drinks are meant to be a cohesive and complementary experience,” says Aguilar.
The Mexican chef adds, “Our Al Pastor tacos are definitely a favourite. I always like to keep some version of this dish on the menu as it’s a classic and very well received. We also have a Guajillo and Chicken tortilla soup on our new brunch menu that has been very popular.”
Best Mexican Restaurants in Toronto
We spent months dunking hot sauce on tacos and dipping into creamy queso fundido in search of the best Mexican restaurants in Toronto.
We’ve traveled to Mexico extensively and eaten at taco loving restaurants from Los Angeles to Miami. And while there is a time and place for Tex Mex, we were delighted to find a clutch of Mexican restaurants in Toronto serving a slew of authentic dishes.
So save yourself the flight to Mexico and eat your way through Toronto’s authentic eateries. You’ll be day dreaming about marvellous meals in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico City, Los Cabos, Merida and Playa del Carmen.
Check out our favourite Mexican restaurants in Toronto below and you’ll find spicy yet satisfying menus on Ossington, King West, Yorkville, Queen West, Kensington Market, Little Italy and Dundas West.
419 College St, 647-347-3663
Quetzal first opened on Toronto’s College Street in August, 2018. Ranked as the best Mexican restaurant in Toronto, Quetzal is brought to you by co-owners Owen Walker and Grant van Gameren (also behind El Rey and Rosalinda in this list).
So where did the inspiration for Quetzal Toronto come from? Owen Walker explains, “A lot of inspiration for the development of Quetzal came from countless trips to Oaxaca and a few other regions of Mexico. Travel tends to be a huge contributing factor to the fostering of a strong concept. The name Quetzal comes from an indigenous bird of southern Mexico.”
The chic 72 seat restaurant in Little Italy was designed in collaboration with PARTISANS (the same firm behind the award-wining interiors at Bar Raval). Walker explains the inspiration behind the restaurants romantic interior, “it is inspired by the billowing tarps and peaking sunlight of traditional Mexican mercados. Undulating ceilings are punctuated with thick Canadian Maple beams and lined by small pockets of cathedral-like light. Traditional Mexican colours like terracotta and turquoise compliment the calm, breezy dining space that represents Mexico’s heritage and cuisine.”
The space features a 9-seat bar that sits perched over a 28-foot open flame where diners can watch chefs grilling meat, vegetables and seafood. Walker adds, “A traditional comal is used to cook fresh tortillas and toast chilies and seeds, while the ceviche bar offers an array of raw dishes inspired by the flavours of Mexico.”
Chef Grant van Gameren is regularly credited for popularizing the nose-to-tail dining concept in Canada. At Quetzal Toronto, van Gameren puts an emphasis on slowing down the process of cooking, developing the flavours from wood fired grills and showcasing the simplicity of seasonal and well-sourced ingredients cooked with the blaze of fire.
- Tuna Tostada: yellowfin tuna, salsa macha, mole verde, pickled shallots
- Mamelas: blue corn masa cakes, asient, chanterelle, mushrooms, quesillo, salsa cruda
- Grilled Runner Beans: wild leeks, coconut, grapefruit, cotija cheese
- Dry-Aged Ribeye: fermented habanero salt, porcini ancho butter
- Horchata Ice Cream: piloncillo caramel, orange coral
This popular Mexican bar in Kensington Market offers the largest Mezcal collection in the city.
Celebrated cocktail creator Owen Walker manages the El Rey bar program. The drinks menu features an evolving lineup of mezcal bottles, categorized by species and annotated with places of origin and tasting notes typical of their terroir.
In the kitchen, El Rey’s Head Chef Rodrigo Aguilar has pulled culinary inspiration from central regions in Mexico like Veracruz, Hidalgo and Michoacán, as well as Yucatán state.
After opening its doors three years ago, El Rey Mezcal Bar recently launched its first brunch service in October, 2019. Chef Aguilar’s mix of traditional and modern Mexican brunch dishes includes Sopa de Tortilla, Chilaquiles and Caballero Pobre, a fried brioche bread served with ice cream buñuelo crisp, strawberries, and cocoa nibs.
- Gorditas de Camaron: thick tortilla stuffed with shrimp, refried bean, avocado
- Pepinos Marinados: pickled cucumber, morelia sauce, jicama
- Queso Fundido: hot cheese, pico de gallo, grilled chorizo, tortilla chips
- Molotes de Pollo: masa pocket stuffed with chicken, mole sauce, iceberg salad
- Cochinita Pibil: axiote marinated pork, avocado, trini pepper salad, warm tortillas
1058 Gerrard St E, 416-901-9859
Bryan Burke and Adam Dolley opened Chula Taberna Mexicana on Gerrard Street East in 2017.
Both Bryan and Adam had always been enamored with Mexican cuisine and culture and saw an opportunity to bring their passion to Leslieville. As experienced restaurateurs, the duo decided to turn their vision into a reality by building Chula Taberna Mexicana.
The Spanish word “chula” translates to hot, which both Bryan and Adam found fitting for the type of branding they wanted to have associated with the restaurant.
Chula Taberna Mexican has two patios, one on the main level with a custom-built tiki bar and a rooftop patio with a firepit and a tiki bar as well. The main patio has a capacity of 75 and the rooftop patio holds 60. Both patios get full sun all day and are set up with beachy umbrellas to keep our guests cool while they enjoy sipping margaritas.
The owners designed the space themselves, introducing hacienda-style elements like corrugated steel, Mexican murals and distinct bright colour schemes to create a unique hidden paradise atmosphere.
Chef Irina Tirtirau manages the food program at Chula Taberna Mexicana. “My culinary background is distinctly seen through my absolute love of fusion, especially Asian fusion. Many of my creations have focused on the balance between traditional Mexican dishes and Japanese Haute cuisine techniques,” said Tirtirau.
The Toronto rooftop patio in Leslieville is famous for its churro sundae, crispy battered fish tacos and chicken enchiladas. They also serve a Mexican-inspired brunch every weekend from 11am-3pm.
The largest concentration of Mexican restaurants in Toronto can be found in Kensington Market.
Gus Tacos (also known as Taqueria Gus) launched its first restaurant concept in Toronto’s bohemian market where it became so famous with taco lovers that it now has locations on Gladstone Avenue, Queen Street West and Dupont Street.
We visited the OG Gus Tacos location on August Avenue on a hot summer Saturday afternoon and hopped in line to order a plate packed with tasty tacos.
Skip inside Taqueria Gus and you’ll find casual stool seating at the front, open kitchen overlooking the checkout counter and pretty backyard patio.
Appetizers include guacamole and queso fundido, which can be enjoyed with a cold can of Mexican soda like Jarritos.
Tacos are $5 each and available with traditional fillings like asada, barbacoa, pollo, pastor, carnitas, and camaron battered shrimp. For vegetarians and vegans there’s a mushroom and queso fresco option (fresh cheese with avocado).
Beyond the taco menu you’ll also find chilacas, tortas, burritos and quesadillas.
802 Dundas St W, 416-815-8484
Looking for a Toronto Mexican restaurant near Trinity Bellwoods Park?
Fonda Balam is located on the corner of Dundas Street West and Palmerston Avenue. It was recently featured in the prestigious Michelin Bib Gourmand, which celebrates the best budget-friendly spots to eat in Toronto.
Skip inside the west end Mexican eatery and you’ll find cute counter style seating for 32 and a seasonal outdoor 24 seat patio.
The popular Mexican joint is brought to you by Chefs Julio Guajardo and Kate Chomyshyn, of Quetzal fame, with celebrity chef Matty Matheson as a silent partner and investor.
The couple create fare true to Guajardo’s upbringing in Léon, like quesabirria con consomé (crispy corn tortillas filled with stewed beef) and tongue tacos. Other Mexican street food staples like aguachile and vuelve a la vida, a mouth-watering spicy seafood cocktail, offer big flavours.
Tacos and quesadillas are the highlight here, best enjoyed with a frozen margarita, cuba libre, or tequila muddled tipple.
556 Parliament St, 416-964-1000
In 2023 Cabbagetown welcomed its first fine dining Mexican eatery, Luis H Restaurant.
Located in the former Butter Chicken Factory space, Luis H Restaurant is a friendly neighbourhood restaurant serving elevated tacos and regional dishes from Oaxaca.
The dining room enjoys a bright interior thanks to the windows that peak over Parliament Street. Black and white photos of the restaurant owners family in Mexico adorn the minimalist walls.
The cocktail bar serves up cold beers and an inventive craft cocktail list, with one drink featuring a rim of traditional crushed grasshoppers.
If you’re looking for a grab and go Mexican meal, the kitchen has a second entrance accessible from Prospect Street called El Nahual Tacos. Enjoy quick counter service to pick up tasty tacos, enchiladas and chilaquiles to eat at home.
788 Broadview Ave, 647-358-5883
El Charro is a Mexican restaurant in Toronto that originally opened on the Danforth in 2016 and now has a sister location near Broadview Station.
On a hot summer day I went swimming at the nearby Riverdale Pool and was famished after being in the sun all day. Skipped over to El Charro to enjoy a thirst quenching massive margarita and plate of tacos and it certainly hits the spot!
Serving up Mexican street food including tacos, burritos, huaraches, quecas (quesadillas) and more, El Charro serves up plenty of options, with a choice of fillings: chicken, beef, chorizo, shrimp, as well as vegetarian options including vegetables or mushroom and cactus.
501 College St, 416-964-1555
Andrew Richmond’s wildly popular SoCal-inspired taco chain first opened its doors in 2012 on College Street. The rowdy and rambunctious taco concept has expanded to include five concepts in the GTA as well as restaurants in Winnipeg and Baltimore.
La Carnita first created waves in the Toronto restaurant industry by harnessing the power of social media to promote taco pop ups. Once its Little Italy bricks and mortar flagship opened the brand already had a dedicated fanbase.
The interior of La Carnita is designed locally by some of Toronto’s best street style artists. The concept succeeds thanks to its mix of Mexican street food, graffiti and love for old school mixtapes.
- Ranchera Quesadilla: salsa ranchera, queso oaxaca, chili, mexican crema
- Smoked Chorizo Quesadilla: chorizo sausage, smoked queso oaxaca, roasted habanero, caramelized onions, sweet potato crema
- Avocado Mango Salad: red chili, crispy plantain, jicama, queso fresco, pepitas, cilantro-lime dressing
- In Cod We Trust Taco: crispy cod, voltron sauce, lime crema, pickled red cabbage, green apple, cilantro
- Barbacoa Pork Ribs: pork ribs, honey habanero sauce, mexican crema, hickory sticks, lime
600 King St W, 416-862-8226
Anejo is a Mexican restaurant located on King West in Toronto, which first opened its doors in January, 2020.
The Mexican restaurant in Toronto’s trendy King West Village is located in a 1900’s heritage building. The space was formerly the home of Bier Market and before that, the original Amsterdam Brewing location.
Anejo Toronto’s dining room offers seating for 130, while its outdoor patio offers seasonal al fresco opportunities for a hungry crowd of 100.
Jay MacRaild, Brand Manager for Anejo Restaurant explained the Mexican restaurants interior design concept, “Our design was a collaboration with Calgary based Jamie Owen design. We tried to give the room its own personality while keeping some direct connections to our original location, items like the cross wall, movie projector and inlayed tables all mimic Añejo Calgary. We have received a lot of positive feedback on our lamps made from empty Clase Azul tequila bottles. The bottles are such an amazing work of art in and of themselves so for the past 8 years I’ve been saving all of our empties in anticipation of one day using them for an art project.”
The word Añejo means aged in the context of tequila production. Dine at the King West restaurant and you’ll find a menu inspired and influenced by traditional Mexican dishes and flavours.
MacRaild described Anejo’s unique bar program, “We are a one trick pony, agave spirits with tequila in particular is all we talk about. We are definitely a concept led by our bar, every margarita we produce is hand shaken just for you and countless of hours are spent creating our own puree’s and juices to keep that connection to Mexico’s tradition of fresh ingredients.”
With a spicy margarita in hand, wag your finger down the Anejo menu and you’ll find tableside guacamole, creamy Queso Fundido, pork belly and shrimp stuffed tacos and classic crunchy churros.
- Pineapple Jicama Carpaccio: grilled pineapple, roasted vegetables, jicama, cilantro
- Ginger Coconut Prawns: black tiger prawns, tamarind sauce
- Fundido Traditional: oaxaca cheese, pico de gallo, chorizo, sautéed mushrooms, tortillas
- Chili Relleno: goat cheese stuffed publano, cornmeal crust, spiced tomato sauce, mexican rice, manchego crisp
- Steak Tacos: lime marinated sirloin, mushrooms, oaxaca cheese, pickled jicama
18 Tank House Lane, 416-203-2121
El Catrin is the best Mexican restaurant in Toronto’s Distillery District. The concept launched in 2013, taking over the former site of The Boiler House.
Skip inside the dramatic dining room and you’ll find jaw dropping features such as oversized folk art chandeliers and huge mural by Oscar Flores lit with black lights.
Hop up at the massive margarita bar and swivel around the space and you’l find a choir of glowing Day of the Dead skulls. During the warmer months of the year, El Catrin’s sprawling front patio is a popular people watching perch for tan fans.
Mexican chef Olivier LeCalvez designed a menu featuring authentic favourites with a modern twist. Pair one of the bars 85 tequilas with decadent foie gras tostadas or lobster and guacamole burritos.
- Sopes: corn flour masa, pulled beef pasilla chile stew, black bean purée, pickled red onion, crema fresca, queso cotija
- Molotes: plantain stuffed croquette, requesón, poblano, wild mushrooms, habanero yogurt sauce
- Hamachi Ceviche: sliced hamachi, hibiscus agave juice, wakame, jicama & carrot slaw, coconut avocado purée, wheatberry, sesame oil dressing
- Asada Regia: striploin, sautéed rajas poblanas, Jalapa salsa, shaved bone marrow, mezcal jus
- Carnitas Tacos: pork confit, salsa taquera, cilantro, onions
504 Adelaide St W, 416-777-2800
Located at Adelaide and Portland, this tiny tanqueria is one of the best Mexican restaurants in Toronto.
Campechano in Spanish means no fuss. Expect to enjoy an authentic Mexican meal in a casual atmosphere where taco’s are the star of the show.
Daniel Roe and Raena Fisher oversee the day to day operations while the restaurants third owner, Javier Flores, operates a number of taco shops in Mexico City.
The restaurants talented bartender works in a wee nook inside the kitchen. There are two or three stools tucked under the bar top, making it a perfect spot if you’re looking to grab a quick bite and have a penchant for people watching.
Owner and Chef Daniel Roe has found success by keeping the Campechano menu simple. “We really try to convey a classic taqueria and memories from our childhoods in our grandmothers kitchen or family gatherings. Simple, fresh ingredients used in a way that for us brings us back home and it all starts with a good foundation of our fresh tortilla.”
- Guacamole: salsa and nachos
- Ceviche: pico de gallo and nachos
- Sope: thick tortilla, beans, lettuce, and cheese.
- Costillita Taco: arbol braised beef rib, avocado, salsa macha
- Tinga de Pollo Taco: chicken breast stewed in morita
277 Augusta Ave, 416-260-0097
Located in the heart of Kensington Market, El Trompo is famous for its no-frills dining room and sun-soaked front patio.
Owners Hector and Lucero Lopez are originally from Puebla. They moved their restaurant business to Toronto to share their love for street-style Mexican dishes in Canada.
We suggest ordering a massive margarita with a gaggle of girlfriends and sharing a platter of chorizo topped queso fundido. The restaurants signature is its al pastor tacos. There are plenty of other options like quesadilla and fajitas to make a budget-friendly meal a memorable one.
- Nachos: corn chips, melted cheese, refried beans, pico de gallo
- Al Pastor Tacos: speciality of the house, marinated pork, corn tortillas, pineapple, coriander, onion
- Bistec con Queso Tacos: grilled beef, onion, coriander, onion, lime, molten cheese
- Queso Fundido with Chorizo: molten cheese with spicy sausage with flour tortillas
- Corn Quesadilla: corn tortilla filled with cheese and mushrooms or spicy chicken
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942 Queen St W, 647-706-9105
Fonda Lola opened on Queen Street West in the winter of 2013. The brand had gained a cult following with pop-up appearances, including the world’s largest tequila tasting, which had them serving over 1400 tacos in one night!
Skip inside Fonda Lola and you’ll be greeted by a rustic cantina vibe featuring corrugated metal paneling, dangling bird cages and edison bulbs. The cozy dining room is filled with antique wooden chair and tables topped with blue and white hand-painted dishware from Mexico.
The Fonda Lola menu offers a mix of authentic Mexican dishes (tacos al pastor and tortilla soup) alongside creative twists such as a “Caesar salad” featuring parmesan and candied bacon stuffed Boston lettuce scoops.
- Tortilla Soup: crispy tortilla strips, spicy chicken broth, dry pasilla pepper, avocado, cheese
- Shrimp Pop Corn: crunchy potato starch battered shrimp with chipotle aioli
- Ceviche: lime-marinated basa fish, cucumber, cilantro, red onion, tostada, cilantro aioli
- Baja Fish Tacos: corn battered basa, guacamole, cucumber, coleslaw, cilantro aioli
- Pescado Empapelado: foil roasted basa fish, garlic, butter, chipotle-guajillo sauce, rice
133 Richmond St W, 416-907-0650
Rosalinda opened its doors in May 2018 in the heart of Toronto’s Entertainment District. The vegan Mexican restaurant sits perched over Richmond Street West, a stones throw from the Four Seasons Performing Arts Centre and Toronto City Hall.
Ranked as one of the best Mexican restaurants in Toronto for vegetarians, the concept comes from the Grant van Gameren team who also run El Rey and Quetzal.
Skip through Rosalinda’s front doors and you’ll discover a design-tastic 138-seat restaurant. The interior feels like a chic industrial garden, where sun splashes through overhead windows and lush plants offer a lively green accent. The fresh vibe makes it one of the most popular vegan restaurants in Toronto.
Ask a vegetarian in Toronto and they’ll without a doubt chirp “Rosalinda is the best Mexican restaurant in Toronto.” The vegan Mexican menu celebrates the best of Mexico and Baja California, featuring big and bold flavours. Must-try’s include Rosalinda’s flautas and young coconut ceviche.
- Potato and Mushroom Flautas: poblano salsa and cashew crema
- Young Coconut Ceviche: apple, celery, pickled shallot and herb leche de tigre
- Chilaquiles Verdes: crispy tortilla, avocado, jalapeno, kale, cashew crema and queso
- Mushroom Pozole: pasilla, hominy, nappa cabbage and raw onion
- Squash Barbacoa Taco: avocado, salsa borracha, radish and chicharron
642 Bloor St W, 416-901-5188
Barrio Coreano is a sister property to the previously mentioned Playa Cabana Hacienda. Located in the heart of Korea Town on Bloor Street West, Barrio Coreano does a blissful job at marrying Mexican and Korean flavours.
Keeping with owner Dave Sidhu’s distressed aesthetic, Barrio Coreano features exposed brick, tile-flooring, salvaged neon lights and bowling alley floors repurposed into tabletops.
The concept is similar to other Playa Cabana restaurants, specializing in small plates and shareable snacks. Barrio Coreano’s kitchen does an excellent job at crafting memorable fusion dishes. You’ll find Kalbi beef and kimchi paired with tomatillo salsa and bulgogi shrimp stuffed in tiny tacos.
- Grilled Kalbi Beef: Korean Short Ribs, Arbol-Tomatillo Salsa, Cucumber-Radish Kimchi
- K-Mex Slaw: Korean Cabbage, Avocado, Corn, Queso Fresco, Ginger-Sesame Dressing
- Fried Chihuahua Cheese: Battered Chihuahua Cheese, Tofu Salsita, Habanero
- Chicken Kampungki: Rice Flour Batter, Chipotle-Sesame Gochujang Salsa, Wasabi Aoili
- Bulgogi Shrimp El Diablo: Shrimp in Red Sesame Salsa Macha
136 Ossington Ave, 416-532-6474
Reposado Toronto is a popular tequila and live music bar on Ossington Avenue. The chic and dimly lit Mezcal watering hole offers premium tequilas, Mexican tapas, live music and one of Toronto’s best hidden patios.
Skip through the front door and you’ll find exposed brick walls, a long narrow bar and the perfect pitch of subdued romantic lighting. There are a smattering of stools to hop up at the bar and four top tables near the front of the room.
Reposado on Ossington is known for having one of the best tequila collections in the Toronto. There are over 130 tequilas behind the bar, so it’s an excellent opportunity to familiarize yourself with Mexico’s finest mezcal.
Reposado is more of a bar than a Mexican restaurant, but if you’re feeling peckish while slurping margaritas there are plenty of snacks including empanadas and spicy crab cakes.
- Homemade Potato Chips and Dip
- Tequila Cured Salmon with Crostini and Spicy Pickle
- Chorizo with Feta Cheese Tapenade
- Picante Crab Cakes
- Mini Empanada Flight
214 Augusta Ave, 647-532-7104
Birria Catrina is a tiny 70 sq ft Mexican food stall in Kensington Market.
The small food counter is located at the back of a slender food court at 214 Augusta Avenue. All of the vendors in the space serve authentic Latin American dishes.
Birria Catrina is the only birria-specialized eatery in Toronto. It’s here you can enjoy the authentic flavours of Jalisco’s Birria (beef stew stuffed tacos) dunked in a rich and flavourful consome. I tried my first Birria made of traditional goat meat on a Puerto Vallarta Taco Tour and instantly fell in love!
Abraham Luna, who co-owns the business with his girlfriend Lluvia Minton, was 25 when he started serving his Toronto Birria menu, but he’s been cooking the mouth-watering dish since he was 15.
Luna and Minton season the beef with spices like cumin and thyme before stewing the meat for almost 4 hours. The fatty layer that floats to the top of the stew is skimmed and mixed with the oil they use for frying their tortillas on a flat griddle.
If you’re a newbie to the art of eating Birria we suggest ordering the classic beef stew taco dipped in consome. Our favourite is the Gringa, a traditional Birria Taco filled with melted cheese that gets nice and crispy around the edges. Creative menu items you can also sample include Birria Ramen, Pizadilla and massive Torta sandwich.
There is a small space to the left of the counter where you can crouch and devour your cutlery-free feast, or if the weather is nice grab your takeout box and walk south to the pretty park in Kensington to dip your Birria on a bench or picnic table.
Just make sure to pack lots of napkins as dunking tacos in consome can be a messy yet finger-licking-good experience.
200 Augusta Ave, 416-925-8454
Pancho y Emiliano is a friendly restaurant in Kensington Market that has been serving authentic Mexican food and drink for over 10 years in Toronto.
Chef and co-owner Serena Prontack is originally from Oaxaca. Her menu focuses on celebrating traditional Mexican recipes using fresh ingredients.
Pancho y Emiliano is perhaps most famous for its sun-soaked patio, which on weekends in the summer gets jam packed with taco and tequila lovers. Skip up the stairs and you’ll also find a cozy dining room with windows that look out over the hustle and bustle of Kensington Market.
Wag your finger down the menu and you’ll find Mexican classics like guacamole, ceviche, and plenty of drool-worthy tacos.
We highly recommend ordering a steaming bowl of Pozole Rojo, selection of artisanal Tamales, and Enchiladas de Pollo smothered in bright green tangy tomatillo salsa.
5 Mercer St, 416-850-2855
Milagro offers two Mexican restaurants in Toronto, located on Mercer Street and Queen Street West.
Founded by Mexico City-born brothers Arturo and Andres Anhalt, Milagro on Mercer first opened its doors in July, 2006.
The casual Mexican restaurant concept features cactus cantina decor and a bible-sized menu. Wag your finger through the kitchens favourite dishes and you’ll find all culinary regions of Mexico are featured here.
Milagro Cantina on Mercer Street is located in the heart of the Entertainment District. It’s a perfect spot to enjoy a pre-theatre dinner or hearty lunch between screenings during the Toronto International Film Festival.
- Tropical De Pescado Ceviche: snapper, mango, cilantro, red onion
- Queso Fundido: melted cheese, flour tortillas, add mushrooms or chorizo
- Tacos de Hongos Con Queso: griddled panela cheese, sautéed mushrooms, poblanos, red onion
- Tacos de Milanesa: morita breaded chicken, refritos, cheese, salsa de chile de árbol
- Mole Poblano: grilled chicken, homemade mole, mexican rice
552 King St W, 416-792-1878
Wilbur Mexicana is a quick service taco joint located in trendy King West Village.
The popular Mexican restaurant is named after Wilbur Scoville, the famous chemist who created the Scoville scale, which measures the pungency and heat of spicy chili peppers.
Brothers and co-owners Will and Baird Cumberland had designed Wilbur Mexicana’s interior to pay homage to Scoville’s career working in labs. The 60-seat sky-high space features countertops with stools, leather banquettes and apothecary cabinets.
The open concept kitchen allows diners to peep onto the grill while a DIY salsa and hot sauce bar features freshly made sauces to spice up your tacos.
Cocktail fans can pair their So-Cal inspired Mexican dishes with a margarita or paloma. You’ll also find a seasonal wine offering alongside a Mexican beer list featuring Dox XX, Sol, Tecate and Model Especial.
- Mexican Street Corn: charred corn on the cob, chipotle crema, cotija, chili powder
- Bulgogi Tacos: korean beef, cabbage, pear, sriracha, sesame seeds
- Cali Burrito: rice, carne asada, sweet potato, guacamole, jack and oaxaca cheese, salsa suave, sour cream
- Shrimp and Shroom Quesadillas: jack and oaxaca cheese, seared chipotle shrimp, mushrooms, verde salsa
- Al Pastor Fajitas: sizzling skillet of bell peppers, onions, asada salsa, melted jack and oaxaca cheese, guacamole, sour cream, lettuce, flour tortillas
181 Baldwin St, 416-599-2855
This beloved Mexican restaurant is now located at 5 Mercer Street.
Located in the heart of Kensington Market, Torteria San Cosme specializes in Mexico City-style tortas. The Mexican sandwich shop is owned by Arturo Anhalt of Milagro restaurant fame.
Skip inside the colourful space and you’ll find patterned tiles, eye-popping murals and colourful hand-painted typeface exclaiming Churros! Calientitos! Aguas Frescas!
The tortas are prepared using fresh buns made by the neighbourhoods favourite bakery, Blackbird. The Mexican subs are then filled with steak or pulled pork from Kensington Market’s own Sanagan’s. There are typically 8-10 tortas on the Torteria San Cosme menu. Be sure to leave room for sweet churros.
- Esquites: corn nibblets, butter, cotija cheese, piquin, mayo or crema
- Molletes con Chorizo: griddled telera, refried beans, and melted mozza
- Cochinita Pibil Torta: tangy pulled pork, pickled habanero onions, refried beans, fried plaintains
- Huevo con Chorizo Torta: scrambled eggs, chorizo, bacon, refried beans, mozza cheese, tomato, avocado
- Tinga Torta: pulled chipotle chicken, refried beans, cream, cotija cheese, avocado, tomato
2222 Queen St E, 647-827-9070
East end residents looking for the best Mexican restaurants in Toronto will be delighted at XOLA.
The restaurant’s name translates to “by the water” in Mayan, a hat tip to the fact that The Beaches neighbourhood sits perched over Lake Ontario. The tiny dining room in The Beaches has just 18 seats so it’s best to make a reservation in advance.
Xola was opened in 2013 by Mali Fernandez, the former chef and co-owner of Danforth tapas bar Embrujo Flamenco. Skip inside XOLA on Queen Street East and you’ll find a bright interior featuring dangling lightbulbs and colourful graffiti by Mexican mural artist, Andre Castro.
The Fernandez sisters from Vera Cruz run the restaurant, offering a menu filled with unique Mexican dishes. At XOLA you’ll find cricket tacos, cactus muddled guacamole and tortillas with chayote root cakes.
- Cactus and Arbol Pepper Guacamole: pineapple, cactus, arbol pepper
- Grilled Cheese X-Cat-Ik: grilled Mexican cheese, cactus salsa, fried beans, sweet potato compote, corn tortillas
- Tortitas de Chayotextle: chayote roots cakes, rajas poblanas, blue cheese, cream, corn kernels, corn tortillas
- Tacos Dorados de Pollo: crunchy taquitos filled with chicken, lettuce, sour cream, fresco cheese, salsas
- Barbacoa: braised lamb, chile ancho, pasilla, guajillo, dark beer, spices, potatoes, avocado, corn tortillas
689 Bloor St W, 416-538-9747
Tacos El Asador is an institution in Toronto’s Koreatown. After spending over two decades at Bloor and Clinton, it made a move to a bigger space farther west.
The casual Mexican restaurant features yellow painted walls, dangling lamps, picnic table and bench seating and TV screens that play popular Latin American soap operas and sports.
The family-owned restaurant is run by the Gonzalez family from El Salvador. The Tacos El Asador menu offers a selection of Mexican and Salvadorian dishes, which are served on colourful plastic plates lined with parchment paper.
Highlights from the Tacos El Asador menu include chilaquiles, tamales, pupusas, tostadas, quesadillas and both soft and crispy tacos.
Kensington Market is the heart of Toronto’s Latin American food scene. When Seven Lives opened its doors in 2012, locals patiently waited in long lines to sample the neighbourhoods latest Mexican craze.
Seven Lives is famous for its Baja-style tacos with its signature dish, the Gobernador a must-try for first time visitors featuring house-smoked tuna, grilled shrimp and cheese.
Owner Sean Riehl began Seven Lives much like La Carnita, as a pop-up concept that eventually expanded into a bricks and mortar restaurant.
Once you’ve ordered your seafood-stuffed taco, add a little heat by spooning through a trilogy of Seven Lives signature spicy salsas.
The seating is squished, confined to a few barstools, outdoor tables and petite nook by the window. If you’re here on a weekend the place can get really packed so we suggest treating tacos as they were intended, a street food enjoyed best while strolling.
1115 Bloor Street West, 416-901-0398
Located at the corner of Bloor and Dufferin, Tierra Azteca is a no frills Mexican cantina in Toronto’s west end.
The cheap and cheerful Mexican restaurant interior features a take out counter near the front door, which spills into a friendly dining room and bar. Tables are topped with vibrant Mexican textiles while sombreros hang on the walls and oversized piñata dangle from the ceiling.
Tierra Azteca caters to the local Mexican community, a sure sign the food is going to be good! During our visit the place was packed with local families munching on tacos and spooning through bowls of steaming pozole.
We were also delighted to discover a Mexican band performing during our dinner. Two guitarists and a singer crooned upbeat Mexican folk songs to the delight of the dining room.
Wag your finger down the Tierra Azteca menu and you’ll find enchiladas, quesadillas, chilaquiles, chile rellenos and a selection of tacos. In addition to the restaurant, the owners run a Latin American grocery store next door. We suggest picking up fresh tortillas and spicy salsa to take home.
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