Toronto, not traditionally a hot spot for Mexican cuisine due to its distance, has burst onto the scene with five Michelin-recognized Mexican restaurants. These picks highlight both plant-forward eateries and establishments led by industry veterans.
Nestled in Little India, this spot is a local gem, credited to Luis Bautista and Viridiana Cano. They swiftly gathered a follow- ing for their succinct menu, inspired by the flavours of Tampico on the Gulf of Mexico. The current menu is refresh- ingly uncomplicated yet inventive, featuring a mix of botanas, tacos, tostadas and expertly crafted desserts. Recently venturing into brunch territory, the restaurant now offers more of the same goodness all day long. MUST-TRY DISH: The Wera tostada, packed with octopus, shrimp, macha mayonnaise, pico de gallo, avocado and a kick of salsa macha. 1425 Gerrard St. E.
In Toronto’s food scene, Quetzal stands as the lone Mexican eatery with a coveted Michelin star. Led by chef Steven Molnar, the restaurant is rooted in Oaxacan traditions and beautifully merges authentic Mexican ingredients with local flair. The wood-burning fire at the chef’s table adds a touch of romance, while each dish —from ceviche to tres leches cake — showcases Molnar culinary prowess. Quetzal remains a beacon for authentic and elevated Mexican cuisine. MUST-TRY DISH: The empanada Oaxaqueña, a tantalizing blend of lamb barbacoa, salsa molcajete, Valentine radish and salsa de ajo. 419 College St.
Matty Matheson strikes culinary gold once again with Fonda Balam, a Toronto hot spot that effortlessly lures in the city’s laid-back crowd. In
collaboration with life and business partners, Kate Chomyshyn and Julio Guajardo, the trio has curated a menu featuring diverse tacos and a
concise but standout dessert menu. The vibe is easygoing, with outdoor picnic tables, plastic tray service and a noreservations policy. MUST-TRY DISH: The birria taco, a fresh corn tortilla gen- erously topped with succulent beef birria, onion, aromatic cilantro and both red and green salsa. 802 Dundas St. W.
Calling all vegan enthusiasts! La Bartola, led by chef and owner Ivan Castro, is a meatfree haven that’s anything but simple. Drawing culinary
inspiration from his mom and grandma, acclaimed as his world-class cooking teachers, Ivan crafted a menu that pays homage to the incredible Mexican women revolutionizing the kitchen. Despite being meatless, La Bartola doesn’t compromise on flavour, offering favourites like herbed guacamole and sweet or savoury tamales. MUST-TRY DISH: The braised hibiscus taco featuring wild mushrooms, caramelized onions and salsa Macha. 588 College St.
True to its roots since Daniel Roe and Raina Fisher founded it in 2015, Campechano has stuck to its mission of delivering simple and authentic Mexican food. They import corn from Mexico, grind fresh masa daily and grill each tortilla to order, ensuring top-notch tacos. The menu is simple — tacos, guac, ceviche and dessert, complemented by margaritas, fun cocktails and a selection of classic and craft beers. MUST-TRY DISH: The Pescado, a crispy and delicious beer-battered fish taco filled with haddock, red cabbage and salsa morita.
504 Adelaide St. W.