I love Mexican food and am always looking for as close to an authentic experience as possible. Based on some positive comments I found on the Internet, my wife and I visited El Palenque at 816 St. Clair Ave. W. The restaurant is also known as Casa Mariachi.
To cut to the chase, it was the worst dining experience I've had in years.
The service: Our appetizer took 45 minutes to arrive. There were 8 other diners in the restaurant. Not once during the 45 minutes were we offered chips or even an excuse or apology about the wait.
For our main course, my wife ordered marinated calimari. I ordered a Mexican steak. The calimari was made from frozen, packaged calimari rings. Rubbery and tasteless. My steak was mediocre.
The accompanying dishes were truly horrid. The refried beans were the mush that you get from a can. Old El Paso, anyone? The rice was bland.
Then the final insult - the bill - $65. No wine. One bottle of beer and a margarita. I truly can make better, more authentic Mexican food at home.