Last night me and a few girlfriends headed out to check out Toronto’s newest Mexican restaurant addition – Pachuco. It’s only been open since January and has been getting some good reviews. According to their website Pachuco is “Old Mexico meets new flavours” and I would say that’s a pretty good description. It’s run by the same sisters that manage Embrujo Flamenco, one of my favourite Spanish restaurants, and if you’ve been there it has a very similar vibe – maybe slightly more casual, and without the live dancing. Before I can even start talking about the food I need to address the drink menu, which is extensive and very interesting (unless you want wine, in which case this is not the place for you since there was only 1 option). I was torn between my standard Mojito order, the Chipotle Bloody Maria or one of their many margarita flavours. Lucky for me I didn’t have to choose when I opted for the Margarita Tasting ($15) which includes 3 sampler drinks. I chose the strawberry-mint, spicy mango and blueberry. I highly recommend trying out the spicy mango, it’s such an interesting and oddly yummy taste experience. Our waiter told us that when he was recently down in Mexico they offered him fruit either “mexican” or “tourist” style, so I guess this is Pachuco’s spin on Mexican-style.
To start we shared the Goat Cheese Guacamole with chile poblano and sun dried tomatoes ($9). I’m a big fan a guacamole and goat cheese so I expected to love this and wasn’t disappointed. All of the flavours were perfectly balanced, there was a hint of each in every bite. The guac was served with house-made chips which were still warm when they came to the table. We also tried the Ceviche Tia Mali ($9). For those of you who haven’t tried it ceviche is a seafood dish made with raw fish, marinated in citrus until it’s “cooked”. I love ceviche for it’s fresh and clean flavours. This version had star fruit, avocado, tequila and blue marlin. Even though it was a bit creamier than most I’ve tried I really enjoyed it.
For mains we all tried something different, I had the Taquitos de Machaca ($15) – coffee and ancho braised beef brisket. The beef was well cooked and the fresh corn tortillas served with it were warm, soft and tasty. For me, the highlight of this dish is the side salsas that come with it – spicy guacamole and honey chipotle salsa. It seems like most of the mains come with really interesting side salsas that boost the standard flavours.
Good mexican food can be hard to come by in this city, but i was impressed with Pachuco’s fresh approach to mexican. While maybe not as traditional as some may like this is definitely worth checking out. The atmosphere is cosy and fun and the food is really good. Service was a little on the slow side, but as long as you’re not in a rush it’s not much of a problem. I’ll likely be back to check out some of their other flavours – both Taquitos and margaritas!
Pachuco Modern Mexican Cuisine, 99 Danforth Avenue, 416-466-8006
Food 5/5 Service 4/5 Value 4/5 Overall Rating 4/5