Happy World Taco Day! To celebrate this delicious cuisine, we've put together a guide to some of the best Mexican-owned taco spots in the city. But first, here's a bit of history on the origins of this delightful food item.
A Brief History of the Taco
Tacos are a Mexican street food dish beloved by people across the globe. Outside of Mexico, this scrumptious eat typically comes with a corn or wheat tortilla shell, which is folded in half and filled with meat and veggies. But keep in mind that "Mexicans think of a fresh, handmade tortilla filled with seasoned meat and topped in salsa, white onion, cilantro and lime," reported The Huffington Post.
The word taco originates from the Nahuatl word ‘tlahco’ which means “half or in the middle." This refers to the manner in which the food is prepared. But the corn tortilla — which is used in some of the country's most prominent dishes — is older than Mexico itself. According to Forbes, "corn's prominence reaches far back into the history of Meso-America, when this region was farmed by Toltec, Aztec, and Mayan civilizations."
Today, Mexico City is famous for its prominence of hand-eaten street food, all of which use corn as a staple ingredient.
Read on to find out where you can eat delicious tacos at Mexican-owned restaurants.
1. King's Tacos — 1190 St. Clair Ave. W
This wonderful restaurant has had Torontonians munching since the early 80s, albeit not at its current spot. Stop by to enjoy BIG portions of amazing food. The DIY tacos provide you with tortillas, cilantro, onion, lime and a choice of jalapeño, red chilli and chipotle sauces.
2. Tenoch — 933 St. Clair Ave. W
Owner Haydee Moreno told BlogTO that her restaurant is faithful to her "family's finely-tuned family recipes from their native Mexico City." Drop by to enjoy tacos, tortas and micheladas. Make sure to try the torta sandwich, a hefty eat filled with steak, pork, pastrami, ham, hot dogs, tomato, onion, cheese, refried beans, avocado and a fried egg. WOW!
3. Los Guaca-Moles — 690 Euclid Ave.
Los Guaca-Moles is owned by Lizbeth Orea, who has roots in Puebla, Mexico, where the avocado is believed to have originated from. According to their website, the word guacamole — after which the restaurant is named —comes from the Nahuatl word ahuacamolli, which is a combination of 'ahuacatl' (avocado) and 'mōlli' (sauce or concoction).
Located near Bathurst station in Koreatown, this restaurant has a main dining area and patio for all your eating and drinking needs.
4. Como y Canela — 1692B Jane St.
Located at Jane and Lawrence, this gem sits on the edge of Toronto's Weston neighbourhood. 'Comal' is a flat griddle used to cook tortillas, arepas, sear meat and toast spices, nuts and 'canela' (cinnamon). According to their website, the restaurant seeks to bring people "the foundation of a multi-sensory journey that invokes all things traditionally Mexican." No food item at this restaurant is processed or prepackaged so expect fresh ingredients.
5. Itacate— 998 St Clair Ave. W
The Moreno family — who own Itacate —moved to Canada from Mexico in 2007. The restaurant opened in 2016, with the original intent of feeding "Mexican expatriates who longed for the taste of home." Situated inside a butcher shop, this small restaurant may soon outgrow its space. But if that happens, the family wants to stay in the neighbourhood.
You won't find Americanized Tex Mex here, which means no burritos. Expect food that is made and consumed in Mexico, like quesadillas, tacos and tamales.