The taco. Tiny little two-plus-bite folds of flavour wrapped up in a tortilla. Though they’ve become more inventive over the ages, the simplicity that defines a taco is in so many ways what makes them great. Tender meats or flaky fish, a dash of white onion, some fresh salsa and a sprinkle of fragrant cilantro (skip that last part on mine, but I can’t leave it out) make a perfect snack for the purist.
The taqueria – classically referring to the basic taco stand – takes on the form of small shops specializing in nothing other than tacos in Toronto. (God, what an earth shattering explanation, I know.) They often serve burritos, too. Not all taco shops are entirely avant-garde in their offerings, however, many of these short-order havens are on the good side of awesome when it comes to what defines them.
Seven Lives switched it up from pop-up to permanence in the epicentre of the taco in Toronto, Kensington Market. Uber-fresh and always interesting, these guys throw down with things like house smoked salmon, octopus and surf and turf tacos. With homemade salsas and locally sourced cheese from Global Cheese, these guys are muy sweet!
The real deal in Mexican taste, El Trompo is another Kensington Market mainstay that’s always up on their game. They’re the joint that sticks to simple yet timeless ingredient combinations like marinated pork Al Pastor, chorizo, and chicken Tinga cooked in bold chipotle sauce.
Tacos el Asador
The El Salvadorian taqueria in the heart of Koreatown; frankly, you could stick this shop in the middle of the 401 and they’d still draw a crowd. They do everything from robust stews to their signature pupusa, a traditional Salvadoran dish made with thick corn tortillas made with gooey cheese, refried beans and savoury pork.
With three locations around town, La Tortilleria has been doing it right for a long time. Serving as both a hella-good haven for Mexican treats and a commercial retail shop, they produce everything in house on the daily and ship their products worldwide.
Another multi-location taco haven, with their fiery hot sauces and wholesome hot tacos the only thing that stays cool at these shops is their aura. Always aiming to please, at Rebozos the people are friendly and the meals are marvelous.
Another Augusta Street staple since 2010, the reason that so many great taquerias can survive in such close proximity is that they’ve all got something different to offer. The true virtue of Mexican Salsas (aside from the fact that they’re freakin’ delicious) is affordability. With tasty tacos starting at just $1.99, you really can’t go wrong.
With a massive menu of Mexican delights, including nine different types of tacos, these Bloor West banditos are all up on their game, all the time. You may pay a little more than some of their counterparts, but the ingredients are fresh and the flavours are fantastic.
Como En Casa
A diverse mosaic of Mexican flavours will fill your palate at this Yonge and Wellesley taqueria. They’ve the authenticity thing on lock, doing up tantalizing tacos, quesadillas and empanadas along with a wicked list of daily stews that will have you simmering in joy.
Photo courtesy of Rebozos Website.