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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The top 25 tacos in Toronto by neighbourhood

mad mexican torontoTacos are just one many culinary traditions that Toronto has embraced with gusto. That's an understatement. This is a food trend that has tremendous staying power. No matter if you prefer an authentic Mexican style or like the nouveau flavours popularized by the the US and beyond, there's a taco for you at a restaurant nearby.

Here are my picks for the top tacos in Toronto by neighbourhood.

See also: The Best Tacos in Toronto

Playa Cabanaknows how to build tacos with bold flavour. The crispy shelled version topped with ancho braised shortrib ($14) is one example, while the fancified tacos de langosta ($18) loaded with steamed Canadian lobster, guac and queso fresco are just undeniably delicious.

Xola is a tiny, cash only Mexican joint where snagging a table for dinner can be the devil but ordering take-out is generally a sure thing. Try the tacos de barbacoa ($18.75) featuring ancho-spiced slow braised lamb served with potatoes and topped with avocado.

Tacos are competitively priced at $3.50 per piece (or $10/3) at the Mad Mexican, a massive taco house on Jane. Each order is served with a range of house salsas: pico de gallo, salsa verde, and salsa morita, and come in options like the Yucatecan Pollo Pibil loaded with slow roasted chicken, and the Carnitas De Michoacan featuring braised pork, coriander and onions.

Tierra Azteca is a no-frills Latin grocer, money wiring operation, and most importantly, lunch counter. Find a bounty of simple but flavourful traditional tacos like el pastor and chorizo offered on soft corn tortillas or crispy hard shells.

cocina economicaCORKTOWN
Cocina Economica is an offshoot of the Playa Cabana restaurants, but rather than a raucous tequila-fuelled party, this place deals is rustic homestyle Mexican vibe. Tacos are hardly the main event, but the carne asada ($12/two) topped with nopales and salsa roja are well worthwhile.

The Combine Eatery specializes in southwest style comfort foods and tacos are a house favourite. Try the So-Cal Basa ($17) available with grilled or fried fish, or indulge with luxe lobster tacos ($22). Three tacos come with each order and are dressed up with cabbage, pico de gallo, lime crema, cilantro and cheese.

Rib eye with oaxaca cheese ($16), lamb barbacoa ($15), and braised goat with salsa verde ($15) are among the delicious options listed on the taco menu at Frida . Each order features four tacos built on corn tortillas and served with fresh house salsa.

La Tortilleria on Kipling is pretty much a tortilla factory outfitted with a lunch counter that sells tacos for $3.75 per piece. Expect ultra fresh shells topped with a half a dozen selections including chicken mole, beef chiptole, and soy rizo (veggie chorizo.)

Can a restaurant that serves only one type of taco make this list? It sure can if it comes from The Gabardine where the fish tacos ($16) rank high in public opinion. The local fave features soft corn tortillas topped with fried atlantic cod (or another fresh catch), avocado crema, cabbage slaw and salsa verde.

La Revolucion lets patrons mix a match when ordering trios of tacos. Choose from shredded chicken, chopped steak, and/or slow roasted pork paired with creamy avocado and the house hot sauce.

There are lots of really great tacos in Kensington, I should know, I've given them all a fair shot. Even still, the Gobernador at Seven Lives has me hooked. When the craving strikes, it's like no other taco will do.

The quirky Pacific Junction Hotel offers an eclectic range of taco styles. Served three per order, choose from chimichurri beef ($14), cajun fish ($13), jerk chicken ($14), and more.

El Caballito is a tequila and taco bar where the menu offers ten or so different tortillas topped with balanced flavours like cochinita pibil ($4.50) with habanero sauce and pickled onions, or chicken tinga ($4.50) with tomato soffritto and cotija cheese.

tacos el asadorKOREATOWN
Tacos El Asador is a Toronto institution that's been slinging top notch El Salvadorian favourites long before the current taco craze. The one room cantina is always buzzing with patrons packed shoulder to shoulder at picnic tables as they devour soft biftec tacos and crispy chorizo hard shells.

Completo is a South American sandwich shop where tacos are sold three at a time for an ultra affordable $8 or $9. Have these crispy hard shells packed with steak, pork, chorizo, or veggie patties, plus refried beans, mashed avocado, salsa, shredded cheese, hot sauce and sour cream.

Maizal might consider itself a quesadilla cafe, but really anything on the fresh, housemade tortillas are a winner. Try the the taco dorados ($10/three) featuring fried chicken and gauc, or the cheesy chorizo tacos ($12.50/three).

La Carnita offers inventive and always overloaded tacos served open faced. The signature "In Cod We Trust Cod" taco is a must, featuring crispy battered fish doused in hot sauce with lime crema, pickled cabbage and tart green apple.

If you love tacos and cocktails then Grand Electric is the place for you. You can't go wring with an order of bourbonade and an assortment of beef cheek ($4), pork belly ($3.60), and crispy caulifower ($3.60) tacos.

Mexico Lindo Express on Birchmount Road isn't fancy, but it'll hit the spot when a hankering for tacos ($10) takes hold. Expect to find the usual suspects including beef, chicken, pulled pork, and chorizo on soft corn tortillas.

Over a dozen types of tacos are available at Tenoch. This fun Mexican joint decorated with lucha libre masks does a killer al pastor taco paired with pineapple.

Served three per order, the tacos at Fonda Lola are easy favourites. Try the Baja Fish($15) decorated with tangy slaw with jalapeño tequila crema, or go veg with the Tofu Sofrito ($15) featuring crispy cornmeal tofu in a smoky tomato and bell pepper sauce.

Yo Amos Tacos has one outpost in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, and another in this Toronto suburb. Even with one foot firmly planted south of the border, this taqueria dishes out unique and creative interpretations. Think: tacos topped with chimichurri grilled octopus ($16), fried oysters ($17), and fried avocado ($13).

Chacho's Fine Mexican Dining dishes out sizzling steak tacos ($14) straight from the parrilla, and al pastor tacos ($12) featuring tender adobo pork sweetened with orange and pineapple.

Milagro is a chain of Mexican cantinas where ceviches, tortas and tacos all compete for attention. When prioritizing what to try first, consider the veg-friendly Hongos Con Queso tacos ($9) featuring griddled panela cheese, or opt for the Adobados tacos ($12) that pair seared ribeye with smoked bacon.

Fernando's Hideaway has been a stalwart on Yonge St. for over three decades. While its no longer the sole source for California-style Mexican food, it's still a go-to for great tacos. They even offer an indie version of gorditas ($16) featuring flour tortillas layered with monterey jack cheese and wrapped around corn tortillas then loaded with typical taco fillings including chicken, ground beef, fish, or beans.

What did I miss? Disagree with my selections in the comments.

by Liora Ipsum via blogTO

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