A trip to Toronto for me is always a chance to sample from a world’s worth of cuisines. On this last visit, I managed to to squeeze in some pretty tasty Spanish, El Salvadorian, Mexican and Venezuelan meals.
The food of Spain isn’t the only allure for me, it’s also the art of tapas that draws me in. I always struggle picking something from a menu, so tapas works perfectly for me. Patria, on King St. West, is a relatively new Toronto restaurant and was the place my sister picked for her birthday meal. The food and wine were lovely, and we had a nice cross section of tapas. Marcona almonds, chorizo, manchego, pan con tomate, roasted peppers, some interesting Spanish wines, and much more…. good times!
Mexican: Agave Y Aguacate
Another relatively new restaurant, this one from acclaimed chef Francisco Alejandri, was on my must visit list and even a bitterly cold night couldn’t keep me away. I struggled to make selections from the menu – everything looked good. I ended up listening to my server’s recommendations and was very glad I did. On the left is the chicken tinga tostada (probably the tastiest thing I’ve eaten this year). On the right is the chile poblano relleno (surprisingly bright citrus flavours and incredibly inventive). A great margarita washed everything down.
Venezuelan: Cafe Arepa
The crazy cold weather kept my wandering and exploring to an unfortunate minimum. That being said, I ended up trudging along Queen West through a cold snow squall to try my first ever arepa. Cafe Arepa made my “must return” list for future trips to Toronto. I chose an arepa with shredded flank steak, black beans, queso fresco and avacado. Great news for celiacs, it’s completely gluten-free! A sugar cane lemonade was wonderful, even on a cold winter day:
Here’s a better look at the inside of the arepa and the three sauces you can choose from (I had to sample all three – a hot sauce, a cilantro based one and a roasted garlic… they were all great!):
El Salvadorian: Tacos el Asador
This place is one of my all-time favourites in Toronto. Near the Christie subway stop on Bloor West, you’d walk right by here if you didn’t know better. It’s a tight, cramped place and can be difficult to get a seat. On a nice summer day, you can grab some grub and find a park bench nearby. On this day with the windchill hitting -33C, I was lucky to find a seat inside. The challenge for me at Tacos el Asador is what to order. I decided on a large lunch starting with a chicharron pupusa. It was a great way to warm up from the inside:
No visit here is complete without some tactos. On top, a delicious chorizo taco. On the bottom was my favourite from this visit, a shredded goat taco. If it wasn’t for my desire to try new places, I’d have every Toronto meal at this joint: