Mexico Way

Rating: NNNNNYou don't have to fall for the Tex-Mex hybrid. There's authentic Mexican food in all corners of T.O.DOS AMIGOS.

Rating: NNNNN

You don’t have to fall for the Tex-Mex hybrid. There’s authentic Mexican food in all corners of T.O.

DOS AMIGOS (1201 Bathurst, at Bridgman, 416-534-2528) At first it might seem like the middle of nowhere, but Dos Amigos’s location caters to the nearby Tarragon Theatre crowd and Annex types. First-timers will find the food incredibly bland unless they ask the chef to cook everything full-strength. Expect intensity of flavours, not fire. Best: Pollo con Mole, a chicken breast in a deliciously rich sauce laced with garlic and crushed pumpkin seeds pineapple-marinated pork in Tacos al Pastor, with two homemade hot sauces Vera Cruz-style red snapper in a tasty lemon-garlic sauce laced with green olives addictive caramel flan. Complete dinners for $30 per person, including all taxes, tip and a glass of beer. Open for dinner Sunday to Thursday 5 to 10:30 pm, Friday and Saturday 5 to 11 pm. Bar open till midnight. Fully licensed. Access: two steps at door, washrooms in basement. Rating: NNN

EL JACALITO (9 Milvan, at Finch West, 416-894-7801) Forget the margaritas from a mix and the Tex-Mex approximations that pass for Mexican food in the Great White North. This unassuming stall in an industrial-court-turned-Latino-plaza offers fare that’s far from haute but definitely hot! Best: Carne Diablo, a thin flank steak smothered in an incendiary puree of smoky achiote sauce and chipotle, sided with black refried beans, rice and iceberg-cilantro salad slow-roasted pork — Conchinita Pibil — spiked with chilies and slightly soured with vinegar deep-fried tortilla-wrapped Flautas stuffed with shredded chicken breast a stellar hot sauce dubbed Tomorrow whose name becomes clear manana hangover cure Pozole soup with hominy soothing caramel Flan Napolitano and Arroz con Leche rice pudding for dessert. Complete meals for $15 per person, including all taxes and tip. Open Wednesday to Sunday 10 am to 8:30 pm. Unlicensed. Cash only. Access: four steps at door, washrooms on same floor. Rating: NNN

EL SOL (1448 Danforth, at Monarch Park, 416-405-8074) Decked out in folk art, this family-run cantina is easily the best in town, serving way-south-of-the-border fare. Warm service, casual digs and made-to-order, authentic northern Mexican grub push El Sol several notches above its competitors. Best: 65-spice Pollo En Mole, chicken breast in an ethereal hot-chili-and-dark-chocolate sauce, sided with roasted tomato rice and flavour-intense, slow-cooked refried beans egg-battered Chile Relleno, a huge sweet red pepper stuffed with ground beef, green olives, cubed potato and raisins in pulpy tomato sauce super chili-spiked salsa. Complete meals for $30 per person, including all taxes, tip and a bottle of beer. Open Tuesday to Sunday 3 to 11 pm. Closed Monday. Fully licensed. Access: barrier-free. Rating: NNNN SD

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