So long Citta, hello Macho Radio Bar! City Place clientele and condo dwellers are flocking to the new Tex-Mex spot, flanked by a sunny and colourful patio. Vv Magazine’s food writer, Libby Roach, gives us an inside look at the new kid on the block.
A little tinker and a retool have breathed new life into City Place. Citta, the rustic Italian restaurant that formerly occupied the space and shuttered after just over a year, has since been replaced by a more casual Tex-Mex themed restaurant, dubbed Macho Radio Bar.
Owned by heavy hitters INK Entertainment and Icon Legacy Hospitality (Charles & Hanif to those in the know), the rebrand to Tex-Mex is timely for summer, but also for the location – the restaurant is a stone’s throw to Rogers Centre and sporting events will be shown on Macho’s TVs (including some on the patio). Keeping with the sporty theme, Macho also features a few arcade games, like Streetfighter, Golden Tee or Pac-Man for a retro rec-room vibe.
The well trained and well versed Guillermo Hebertson is Head Chef, bringing his wealth culinary knowledge from past work in Michelin-starred restaurants and his upbringing, hailing from Mexico. Guillermo has his finger on the pulse of what’s current, with a menu that reads way beyond tacos (don’t worry – there are still tacos, of course).
Guillermo is passionate about ingredients and celebrates the unique flavours of Toronto, marrying them with his recipes – some a clear tribute to his family roots, like the Chorizo Queso Fundido ($10), a take on his mom’s own recipe. This dish is almost like a Mexican fondue, with gooey mozzarella cheese crowned with spicy chorizo sausage. A perfect starter dish, pair it with a bucket of Sangria ($25 per pitcher) and a platter of Macho Fries ($12) for a winning combo.
Greens are also well represented, with the Verde Fresca ($8) being a quick favourite. Kale salads are pretty much everywhere these days, but Guillermo’s version, with cotija cheese and puffed quinoa, are both original and quite satisfying. The Santa Fe ($8) salad is also on the hefty side, with charred corn, crispy tortilla chips, avocado, and corn nuts, making for a kitchen sink type of salad that could make for a meal.
Guillermo makes everything in-house, except the tortillas that he has shipped in fresh from Chicago, three times a week. Corn or flour tortillas are the base for their tacos, with five fillings to choose from, including a vegan option. Pork shoulder ($5) was my top pick; Guillermo butchers the pigs in-house, topping these tacos with charred pineapple and kohlrabi slaw.
Smoke Show Fajitas ($14) are almost shareable; the portion size is a good heap of chicken or steak, here seared to perfect medium rare and paired with DIY hot sauces, and a trio of condiments for cooling it down.
The bar menu is well suited to the heat, with a bumper crop of bevvies designed to keep you well lubricated, like the Michelada ($8) which is a beer based Caesar, or the Tempano ($8), a patio favourite- with equal parts frozen margarita and lager. Punchier options like the Tejano Tea ($9), a take on the classic Long Island, feature the entire bar rail and a splash of coke and lemon to finish it off. Frozen Margaritas($8) come with a salted rim and Kelvin’s organic mix for a tasty base, with El Jimador tequila fueling the drink.
The sweet stuff makes for a solid finish, and the Flourless Cheesecake ($6) is a feat. Part Crème brûlée part cheesecake and all delicious, this inventive dessert hits a floral note, enhanced with hibiscus syrup and Dulce de Leche. The Apple-Em-Pie-Nada ($6) is a cheeky name for this empanada-shaped pie pocket, stuffed with cinnamon apples and paired with in-house made coconut vanilla ice cream.
Weekends will see the patio packed for their brunch, with huevos rancheros and breakfast burritos studding the menu. Sugar seekers will dig the creative Pop Rocks Toast ($9), with corn bread, caramelized banana and chocolate pop rocks guaranteeing a sugar rush like no other.
Macho Radio Bar is open daily at 4pm, with brunch starting at 11am on weekends.
Will you visit Macho Radio Bar in City Place? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us at @ViewtheVibe.