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Restaurants

Toucan Taco Bar

Posted by Anna Rose Kowalski / Listed on April 10, 2012 / review policy

Toucan Taco BarToucan Taco Bar hasn't been getting a lot of positive buzz since it opened at the end of February. The Riverside restaurant is the product of Richard Henry who owns Le Canard Mort down the street. In a bit of an odd development, he decided to transform his previous restaurant in this space, Le Rossignol, into something that's I suppose more on trend than French cuisine; and offer the Le Rossignol menu at Le Canard Mort instead.

While French bistros (and Mexican cantinas for that matter) are know for their ambiance, Toucan Taco Bar has nothing of the sort. The decor is bland and "un-Mexican", there's no music and, I hate to say it, almost no hospitality.

Toucan Taco BarWe started with what turned out to be the highlight of the meal, a pair of stiff lime margaritas ($9). Served on the rocks, the cocktails had a hint of lime, a lightly salted rim and potent tequila that went straight to my head. The lime (or mix) was definitely on the light side as the drink tasted almost like a straight up shot.

Toucan Taco BarTo balance the tequila we ordered Mexico's favourite appetizer - guacamole and chips ($5). The tortilla chips were standard but delectable and the guacamole had a smooth texture full of flavour with hints of cilantro and onion that did not overpower.

Toucan Taco BarNext came the mains - pulled pork tacos ($10) and a blackened catfish burrito ($11). Two tacos came gently wrapped in soft corn tortillas and stuffed with ancho (chili) and raw cactus. The cactus had a sweet taste (when cooked it turns sour) and was a nice foil to the spicy ancho. The pork, unfortunately, was on the skimpy side and fatty as well. The side dishes didn't offer much respite. Salad was basically plain iceberg lettuce with a dash of unidentifiable dressing and the black beans resembled mushy cardboard pellets slopped on top of sticky white rice.

Toucan Taco BarThe blackened catfish burrito was even more of a let down. Served cold, it was wrapped in a standard soft white flour tortilla and offered up Mission style - but without any of the nice grill marks that are the hallmarks of Toronto-style burritos. The fish, while cold, was seared to juicy perfection but there wasn't much of it. By my third bite I was basically just eating bland rice, salsa and guac. The yellow mole promised on the menu was almost nowhere to be found.

The cold food and skimpy portions could almost be chalked up to an off night for the kitchen but there was nothing redeeming about the poor service. The table next to ours made the mistake of asking what the daily specials were to which the waitress curly replied "I don't know about the specials - read the board."

Toucan Taco BarToucan Taco Bar Menu

Discussion

67 Comments

eastender / March 9, 2012 at 10:47 am
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we stoped by last night at 8:45pm and were (rudely) told that the kitchen closed at 8:30pm. Slightly odd from a brand new restaurant, no?
ChrisToronto / March 9, 2012 at 11:48 am
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The only veggie item on the menu is natchos? That sucks.
Penny / March 9, 2012 at 12:09 pm
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I so wanted there to be a good taco place in Leslievile. I really did. Unfortunately, it was sad decor void of colour, bad soft rock radio, cold temperatures and bad service. The food was overpriced, cold shells, and generally disappointing. However, the catfish taco was great (but just so cold). Guests would come in and not be greeted and sort of just sat themselves and we watched as a table of four got up and left. It gave me anxiety to watch - took me back to my server days. Let's hope the owners are reading this and make the necessary adjustments and we'll chalk it up to growing pains. We want you to survive, but unless things change we won't be back.
Janispants / March 9, 2012 at 12:31 pm
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I went here for dinner on Tuesday night and had the best time. My boyfriend and I live in the area and I always wanted to go to the French restaurant that was here before because the atmosphere looked so romantic and cute, though, there was nothing that interested me on the menu. I got very excited when I saw the Blacken Catfish Burrito on the sign on my walk home from work.

It was better then I had hoped for, spiced just enough to feel it but not too crazy. My boy got the pulled pork and loved it too. Our waitress was also amazing. She got excited when we asked her about the food, made me a delicious sangria, and was just overall a sweet girl.

This place has a home like feel and a good atmosphere. A few more decorations would be nice, maybe more art on the walls would just give it something a little extra special. I fully recommend that you check this little joint out, but there aren't many tables, so don't all go at once.
Clay / March 10, 2012 at 11:34 am
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Stopped in last night on BlogTO's recommendation, tried the chicken, veggie, beef, catfish and cactus salad. Hard shells were a very big problem (real tacos are soft, period) and the shells went soggy fast. Cactus salad was good, fresh and summery.
Far over priced, $70 for 2 to eat and was hungry after.
Tom replying to a comment from ChrisToronto / March 10, 2012 at 01:19 pm
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I guess they never heard of beans or ground soy. Big disappointment.
Anthony / March 12, 2012 at 12:21 am
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Overpriced, VERY small portions and terrible service = Don't bother. I went with a group of friends and we all felt the same way. Server was acting like she was doing us a favour by serving us. I had to get a bite to eat elsewhere just to feel full as did others in my group. Shredded iceberg lettuce was used as filler in the minuscule gringo hard shell taco. Save your money and fly past Tucan. If you want tacos check out El Trompo
MSGezus / March 12, 2012 at 12:59 am
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Wow - a mexican restaurant with no veggie options? Way to take a typically veggie frendly style of cuisine and completely air-ball it! Fingering potatoes and blackened catfish...but no BEANS?! Was looking fwd to this as I live in the neighbourhood - but simply won't bother after seeing the menu. Clearly clueless owners/ restauranteurs at the helm - totally disappointing.
nightsoil / March 13, 2012 at 10:56 am
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budge
Gavin / March 23, 2012 at 08:34 pm
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Walked in with wife, two kids - one needing a child's seat, maybe. We were told no child's seat, sorry. Also told the food's too hot for kids. They probably wouldn't like it. Ok. We'll give our money to someone else, thanks.
Puravida / March 26, 2012 at 12:17 am
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Wow... No veggie tacos... There are bean tacos everywhere in Mexico. What's the deal here? And hard shells??? Disappointed.
Shortyyoungbuck / April 5, 2012 at 04:48 pm
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In a nutshell the food is great but the service was a nightmare. The most unpleasant, bitter woman I've ever been served by in any environment. She was very confrontational and certainly did not make us feel welcome She called us "My friends" at least a dozen times and it did not feel friendly. Too bad, food was great. Get take out and avoid her.
K-eh la / April 10, 2012 at 09:36 am
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Wow...have thought about going here...will now stay away
Don't You Know replying to a comment from Gavin / April 10, 2012 at 09:42 am
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It's your fault for bringing your crotch droppings with you.
cosmosuave / April 10, 2012 at 09:47 am
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I walk by here every day and this place was thrown together in about 3 days... The old Rossignol sign is still up... Had my doubts about trying this place but now they are confirmed...

Every resto that has occupied this space has failed which is too bad as there is not really a Mexican or Latin American resto in this neighbourhood... If it closes which I give it 6 months then El Trompo should open a second location here and they would do well... The first pic of the pulled pork taco sure looks skimpy...
crotch dropping / April 10, 2012 at 09:52 am
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crotch dropping! haha. funny, but mean.

jibbly replying to a comment from crotch dropping / April 10, 2012 at 10:01 am
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Mean and tired. We get it. Hipsters hate kids. Stay out of our shitty restaurants. Blah blah blah.
mikey no likey / April 10, 2012 at 10:07 am
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massive disappointment. real jerk's new location come fall?
mikey no likey replying to a comment from Don't You Know / April 10, 2012 at 10:10 am
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you're the waitress aren't you?
Go away. replying to a comment from mikey no likey / April 10, 2012 at 10:13 am
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No. But your kids should stay home or you should eat at Swiss Chalet.
Arooo! / April 10, 2012 at 10:33 am
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Long live Coyote Willys!!!

The only real Mexican resto on the east side.
AV replying to a comment from Go away. / April 10, 2012 at 10:35 am
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Me and my Fiancée are D.I.N.K, but you are a DOUCHE
james / April 10, 2012 at 11:03 am
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this place is whack. the waitresses are stuck up prudes. the waitresses/hostesses here really hate their lives. who are you to be bitchy and act all miserable while u make minimum wage + tips?

Avoid this place.

the owner has a few other restos downtown that are a lot better than Toucan.
james / April 10, 2012 at 11:04 am
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sorry

edit*

who are you to be bitchy and think you're better than everyone while you make minimum wage + tips? *******
John / April 10, 2012 at 11:31 am
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I have eaten at the Toucan at least once a week since they have opened and have always found their dishes to be hot and delicious. The service can be slow at times but the staff have always been pleasant to us.
Delighted / April 10, 2012 at 11:32 am
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I must say that as a East Ender I was extremely let down my experience there. The East can always use more mid priced dining options. However, I'm delighted to have witnessed a complete meltdown from this now notorious server. I actually thought she might start screaming and breaking things. Food is terrible but this sort of crazy is a sight to see. Look out for good things from the new owners of Blue Moon btw.
linda / April 10, 2012 at 11:40 am
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go to Taco Bell
Ted / April 10, 2012 at 11:46 am
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$9 for a taco??? Nothing worse than when a fast food place tries to go upscale. You just can't go gourmet and stay authentic with Mexican food. No real Mexican would eat there and neither should you!
Michael M / April 10, 2012 at 11:49 am
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Two of us went last week, we split some guacamole, I had the chorizo platter, she had the catfish burrito, we each had a margarita. The portions were skimpy, there was barely any chorizo or fish, the side salad was a few pieces of lettuce, at the end it cost $70 with tax and tip, and we were still hungry. The service was fine, nothing memorable good or bad, but we won't be going back due to the poor food.
jm / April 10, 2012 at 12:13 pm
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Myself and a friend went here last week. We got there at 8:45 and were told that the kitchen closed at 9, but that we could still order. Both of the items we wanted were not available (maybe due to the late hour). Food was ok - beer choices not that great. It was all around pretty meh. However, we didn't have a run in with any unfriendly servers. She was friendly and apologized that we were the only ones in the restaurant.
yaya / April 10, 2012 at 12:21 pm
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the waitress was wearing Mod Robes... like really?
Juan Carlos / April 10, 2012 at 01:03 pm
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Very authentic! Just like back home! Everything is made fresh and in house. Try them today! You won't regret it!
Nacho Grande! / April 10, 2012 at 01:04 pm
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Planned Obsolesce?
danielle replying to a comment from jibbly / April 10, 2012 at 01:23 pm
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Yes they do. But heaven help us when those hipsters have crotch droppings of their own - and they will - because those kids will be as miserable and self-important as their parents.
Renegade / April 10, 2012 at 01:45 pm
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Dear restaurant owners: When you're going to drop astroturf into reviews of your place, try and cloak it a little better.
Edgar Enchilada / April 10, 2012 at 02:04 pm
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Simply the best! I'm craving just thinking about this place. Don't wait, and just go and try them out! You won't regret that you did.

A lot of their stuff if under $5! A great deal, if you ask me.
Nacho Libre / April 10, 2012 at 02:18 pm
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I really wanted to like this place, as a nearby resident. But the server is seriously on the verge of a nervous breakdown. She needs to be replaced, stat. As for the food, all four tacos we ordered were cold! And it's expensive. *sigh* Back to Sneaky Disease for me, on the other side of town.
mayor dodge replying to a comment from Nacho Libre / April 10, 2012 at 03:37 pm
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To quote the reviewer: "The table next to ours made the mistake of asking what the daily specials were to which the waitress curly replied "I don't know about the specials - read the board." ---I have heard of servers getting FIRED ON THE SPOT by the owners for saying such a STUPID, IDIOTIC statement like that to a customer! Any they have the NERVE to expect tips! LOL
Antonio / April 10, 2012 at 05:10 pm
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If you're looking for the best, search no more.

I have been to Toucan Taco Bar, and I can honestly say that this is the best restaurant in Toronto! The service is warm and friendly, and the ambience is so good. Savour every scent and flavour, because you'll be wanting more!

Toucan is my favourite place to get some fresh eats. Visit them today. You'll be so glad you did!
Ricecakes / April 10, 2012 at 07:00 pm
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Sooooo bad! My husband and I were so excited for a taco place in our neighbourhood, unfortunately we will never be going back. My tacos were stale, the portions were ridiculously small and it is extemely over-priced! For 2 bottles of beer, chips and guac and 4 tacos with the smallest portion of beans and rice I have ever seen it came to around $50!! The service was also very slow and things that we asked for (such as hot sauce) never came. The tacos themselves were pretty gross too...we couldn't believe that they would charge $19 for 2 tiny chorizo sause tacos with 2 spoonfulls of rice and beans..
Ricecakes / April 10, 2012 at 07:03 pm
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Oh and I forgot to add, that we had to grab a slice of pizza after because we were still hungry...
Antonio replying to a comment from Ricecakes / April 10, 2012 at 07:35 pm
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Ricecakes / APRIL 10, 2012 AT 07:00 PM
"Sooooo bad!"


Please, don't listen to Ricecakes. I was there when Ricecakes was eating. Personally, I thought she and her husband were very rude and picky. You could tell both of them had a bone to pick the moment they walked in.

I stand by this place. It's the best place for very authentic tacos. Try them today, and I know you won't be disappointed!
Nacho Libre replying to a comment from Antonio / April 10, 2012 at 09:09 pm
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Unsuccessful shill is unsuccessful.
GranVizeer replying to a comment from Antonio / April 11, 2012 at 08:25 am
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Either they PAID you to shill this crap for them, or, you smoked something strange little boy.
Pepe (the Mexican person) / April 11, 2012 at 10:45 am
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It is just like my Abuela used to make, growing up in Guadalajara. There is nothing more authentic than hard taco shells and pulled pork nachos!
robg / April 11, 2012 at 11:28 am
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edgar enchilada = antonio.

if you're going to change ur name change ur writing style
robg replying to a comment from robg / April 11, 2012 at 11:32 am
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edgar echilada = Juan Carlos = antonio

you're way too liberal with exclamation marks.
bobo / April 11, 2012 at 12:12 pm
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The waitress was named "Curly"? That might explain her attitude.
james / April 11, 2012 at 02:18 pm
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AVOID this spot.

and to the owner: look into getting some washroom ads for your restaurants. when im having a shitty meal, with shitty service, the one thing i look forward to is amusing myself with i go to the washroom.
Brad / April 11, 2012 at 11:05 pm
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This thread is funny, all the people who had THE BEST FOOD EVER versus the people who were treated badly and served garbage.
The truth must lie somewhere in between.
Gomez / April 12, 2012 at 12:50 pm
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I've never eaten here but I contracted rabies by reading the review. I love every bite, but hated all the food. Olé!
jojo / April 13, 2012 at 05:54 pm
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I live around the corner...and love all types/styles of Mexican food (from authentic to tex-mex).... really wanted to love this place.

The chips and guacamole were tasty... but other than that the portions were small, cold and just didn't seem to be good combinations of flavors.

The atmosphere suffered from the soft rock satellite radio...and the beige-ness of the decor...it's a taco bar--it wouldn't be so out there to use some colour?

The server was warning customers about the impending kitchen closure at 830pm... really? on a Thursday? and repeatedly said the most hostile "cheers!" I've ever heard.

This place would need a complete revamp to go back. Fail on food, service, atmosphere and price.
AA / April 14, 2012 at 11:40 am
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About a dozen of us went to this place on opening day, and none of us will ever be back. Working right across the street, we were excited that this place was opening up. And while I liked my Negra Modelo, the Beef Taco I had was $4.50, and it consisted of cold ground beef in a soggy taco shell.

The lady asked me what I thought, and I said it was "okay." She asked me what could have been done to make it better, and I told her to heat up her food. A huge take-out order was taken back to our office for those who couldn't make it. Everyone said the same thing... they hated it.

Even though they don't have tacos across the street at Coyote Willie's, I'll choose them over Toucan every time.

Too bad, too. With 1,000+ people moving into the area with all the condo development, it would be great to have a good taco bar. The owners here are obviously banking on this demand... but they should really supply something half-decent.
Trolololo / April 14, 2012 at 08:55 pm
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The comments were more entertaining than the actual review. Antonio,Pepe (the Mexican person), Edgar Enchilada, and Juan Carlos are all trolls. Hilarious!
Jimmy Sanchez / April 14, 2012 at 09:35 pm
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These tacos remind me of the first time I lost my virginity. Sloppy, wet, and lots of cilantro.
Jimmy Sanchez / April 14, 2012 at 09:35 pm
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I mean that in a positive way. Very good food. Please get rid of all of your staff and hire kinder people.
james / April 16, 2012 at 10:57 pm
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and get some god damn washroom ads
ricky / April 29, 2012 at 09:31 pm
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sucks!
ST / May 6, 2012 at 01:56 pm
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This place is terrible - dry pulled pork, the catfish didn't really have any flavour, we had rude condescending waitress in a bad golf shirt that wasn't ironic, and a wait of 30 minutes to get food, with a bill of $40 for one plate and 2 drinks. never again toucan.
mayor dodge replying to a comment from ST / May 11, 2012 at 11:02 am
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Too bad Dinesafe can't inspect and grade restaurants for server quality. I'll bet this sorry excuse for a diner would get a FAIL card plastered in the window permanently.
tomt / May 11, 2012 at 06:16 pm
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Things must of changed. I went today and enjoyed the patio, very good margarita, large portion platter, salad was excellent, nice spanish music playing. Waiter was excellent. Perhaps the owner read 50 bad reviews and did something about it.
jennifer replying to a comment from Don't You Know / June 21, 2012 at 01:22 pm
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How can a human being refer to someone's kids as "crotch droppings?" That is low. Usually taco joints - especially in Mexico - would welcome families. How boring to live a world where everyone is more or less the same age. Do you have it in for the elderly too?
GranVizeer replying to a comment from jennifer / June 21, 2012 at 03:28 pm
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'Don't You Know' is actually a heap of troll droppings that learned to type, Jennifer. Ignore this sad and worthless tiny turd.
Joy / August 15, 2012 at 05:57 pm
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I've actually been quite a few times because it's in the neighbourhood and I really like it! I love the catfish tacos and the guac. It's too bad they don't have mojitos though!
Freshwater / September 19, 2012 at 06:44 pm
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So despite the overwhelming number bad reviews, I chose to non-conform today and still went to Toucan for lunch, hoping that things have improved. My lunch buddy arrived at 11.30 but was advised that they do not open until 12 so he had to leave and kill some time.

We were allowed to be seated when we returned just before 12, and I have to say everything was fantastic! My margarita was perfect. I ordered the softshell fish taco and the chicken taco on a platter, so it came with salad and beans on rice. Definitely hotter than what would typically be medium heat on the spice scale, but I didn't mind. It had plenty of flavour.

My friend ordered the shrimp burrito and he loved it.

All in all pretty good value for $40, the service was attentive and helpful and I would definitely order the chicken taco (or two) on a platter again. I wasn't so sold on the fish taco, but hey you can't have everything.
jim / October 18, 2012 at 01:26 am
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Better than Grand Electric. Probably better than most Mexican places in Mexico. The chef is the Thomas Keller of Riverdale. Thank you.
opensource1111 / June 18, 2013 at 12:26 pm
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This restaurant has closed for good. Big surprise.

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