For a long time I knew very little about tacos. By very little I mean absolutely nothing. I had always been a huge fan of fajitas but for whatever reason never really got to know and love tacos. I had friends who embraced fast food taco culture early in life but it never seemed like something I would be into. If we were eating together in a food court I’d always gravitate towards a burger or something Asian. I’m glad I moved to Brooklyn during my second year of grad school as it gave me a long overdue crash course in tacos. Whether they were from taco trucks, taquieras, tortillerias, or bars I became and to this day remain taco obsessed. When I moved back to Toronto I made it a priority to seek out tacos that reminded me of the ones I’d enjoyed in Brooklyn. Below is a list of the first five restaurants who I feel have some of the best tacos in Toronto.
Salt Wine Bar: Wild Boar/Black Cod Tacos
(225 Ossington Avenue http://saltrestaurant.ca @SALTwinebar
Every Tuesday Salt has Taco Tuesdays. Their menu changes weekly and there are typically 3 to 4 different options you can choose from. I ended up going with wild boar with pineapple (left) and black cod with mango (right). I loved both tacos a great deal and could have eaten a lot more. If you’re free next Tuesday night I recommend checking out Salt with some friends.
Grand Electric: Taco
(1330 Queen Street West http://grandelectricbar.com @grandelectricTO
On my first day back in Toronto I wanted to catch up with some friends I hadn’t seen in over a year. Seeing as they both lived in the west end I decided to meet them at Grand Electric, a place I had heard a lot about but had yet to visit myself. I ordered the pork belly with pineapple while my friends went for beef check and baja fish. When our food came it got really quiet as we sat in silence making them rapidly disappear. This is exactly the kind of place I was looking for. The tacos and the backyard patio atmosphere made me feel like I had never left Brooklyn. Whether you’re in the mood for Mexican or just want somewhere nice to catch some drinks, Grand Electric is definitely worth checking out.
The Big Fish: Fish Taco
(406 Queen Street West)
I had just gone to Banh Mi Boys and was walking back to my car. I saw the sign for the Big Fish and still feeling a little hungry decided to see what they had to offer. Having just finished a beef taco I decided to finish my lunch with one of their fish tacos. Made to order it was crispy, delicious, and much larger than I expected. I had a great time with this taco and want to return sometime soon for their fish & chips.
Tacos El Asador: Conchinita Taco
(690 Bloor Street West Tacos El Asador )
For awhile I have been asking friends on Twitter where they love to go for Mexican. The name Tacos El Asador became a common response and I knew this meant I needed to check it out. I went for the daily special, the conchinita taco: savory pulled pork with pickled red onions. It reminded me of taquieras I had grown to love living in Bushwick. Next time I go I plan on getting two tacos and seeing what their flan is like.
2013 is a year in which I plan to find and enjoy a great deal of tacos. I still haven’t even begun to explore what exists outside of the downtown core and am looking forward to seeing what north Toronto and the other boroughs have to offer. I look forward to learning more about traditional as well as more Asian inspired tacos as well as making some of my own. If you have a favourite taco spot of your own I’d love to hear about it.