ROSA'S FAST FOODS (1646 St. Clair West, at Laughton, 416-651-1612) Expect what the names says: comfort food with a Latin American twist in little more than a cafeteria-style hole in the wall. Ah, but what a twist! Complete meals for $13 per person, including all taxes and tip. Open Tuesday to Saturday 12:30 to 9 pm and Sunday 1 to 7 pm. Closed Monday and holidays. Unlicensed. Cash only. Access: bump at door, small washroom on same floor. Rating: NNN
a block west, rosa's fast foods is another low-profile spot catering to the area's burgeoning Latin population. Though the restaurant's not much to look at, the food Argentine-born chef Rosa Sarubbi dishes up is definitely wallet-friendly.Daily specials like double slices of lean flank steak ($8.50) topped with caramelized onion and red bell pepper strips or juicy, tender-pink, skinless bone-in chicken legs and thighs ($7.50) come sided with nutty allspice-scented red beans 'n' rice as well as syrupy sweet plantain and crunchy, plainly-dressed cabbage-and-carrot slaw. A Salvadoran trio of thick arepa pupusas ($4.50) get topped with the same great slaw and a whack of Rosa's superb fire-alarm tomato-chili salsa.
Hearty beef soup ($7.50) swims with corn on the cob, fatty beef, carrot and potato, and comes served with plain short-grained rice and a grilled tortilla. A 6-inch square of old-school comfort-food lasagna ($3.50) reflects Argentina's cultural ties to Italy, while custardy coffee-infused flan ($3) puts most of the crème brûlée served in Toronto -- though there's no brûlée here -- to shame.