Rancho Relaxo, after a somewhat tumultuous and convoluted few years, is back with Mexican food from its new “Rancho to Go” concept in the original 300 College space that used to sling margaritas and full-on sit-down Mexican.
The upstairs music venue is no longer owned by Donnie Blais, though he’s fully on board with the Stop, Drop & Roll idea that’s now going on above. It’s good to know the space around since 1998 is once again good for some fast tacos and beer before a local rock show.
They didn’t change too much about the space aside from cleaning it up a bit and opening it up a tad more. A to-go lunch counter is the biggest change. Mexican-inspired graphic art hangs on the walls that still glow a rusty orange.
Tacos are three for $10 and we sample all they have on the menu: fried fish, shrimp, jerk chicken, cauliflower, and pulled yam. The cornflake-battered basa is “famous,” crunchy and flaky, and I like the jerk mayo and mango marmalade topping the chicken.
The shrimp tacos are also great, topped with pickled onions and a punchy tomatillo salsa. I’ve always loved their veggie options like cauliflower and the yam is awesome, and I enjoy the portobello quesadillas, too: you don’t feel like you’re missing out with so many flavours.
They still get their meat from local butchers and as many ingredients as possible from Kensington Market.
You can BYOB, or build your own burrito, at Rancho for between $8 - $10. We go for pulled pork, which is moist without being soggy in a tortilla that’s nicely crispy on the outside. Other flavours include ground beef, chorizo, and faux beef and chicken.
We order a wet style burrito, actually the exact same price as regular burritos, just order it “wet”: with salsa, melted cheese and sour cream on top. This one’s a chicken burrito that makes for a good old fashioned sloppy, mild, comforting meal that falls apart in the best possible way.
They still have the little hut that serves as a bar area as well. When we visit they’re slinging refreshing Amsterdam Blonde tallboys as well as Hornitos tequila.
Whether or not this concept stands the test of time, locals are sure to be drawn in by the Rancho name and the nostalgia it offers.