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Posted by Liora Ipsum / Profiled on June 19, 2013 / review policy

Valdez TorontoValdez is the newly opened 90-seat eatery on King West taking over the address once home to Cheval nightclub. The restaurant from Steve Gonzalez (Top Chef Canada, Origin) is a celebration of Latin street culture, drawing on the vibrant colours and boisterous vibe of a street party.

Valdez TorontoInside, loud music competes with the sizzle from the open kitchen and the sounds of cocktails shaking. The decor is intentionally distressed for a rougher urban aesthetic that lends to a casual and festive vibe. My party grabs a couple stools at a high top across from the bar though I can see at the back of the room a more relaxed dining room furnished with tables and colourful chairs.

Valdez TorontoStarting with a round of cocktails from Jorge Yarce, I sample the cilantro muddled Mojitos ($9) made with rum and topped off with a splash of lime Jarritos soda, as well as La Rosa ($13) a signature cocktail that mixes gin, Pama pomegranate and Campari.

Valdez TorontoAt first taste, I find the cocktails rather sweet, though they gain my appreciation once some of the salty snacks arrive at the table. Served in a paper tray, the Croquetas ($6) seem akin to Italian arancini balls, but are a smaller, crunchier on the outside and served with dollop of chipotle aioli for dipping.

Valdez TorontoServed in a paper bag, the Fried Empanadas ($9) are bite sized cornmeal pockets filled with pork, potatoes and Latino five spice and a side of citrusy aji dip.

Valdez TorontoFrom the five ceviches listed, we sample a few in a flight, my favourite being the tomato, chili and cilantro spiced Cocktel de CamarĂ³n (served solo for $3/$13) though the ahi tuna with watermelon (Atun japones) is notable too.

Valdez TorontoChuzos al plancha ($7), a grilled skewer of beef smothered with chimichurri comes with a mini arepa. The beef is done a little over for me but I like wiping up the pool of oil and herbs from the bottom of the plate with the warm corn flatbread.

If making a meal out of snacks isn't enough, there are selections like the Patty Melt ($15), Pupusa ($17) and Fajitas ($19) that are suitable for sharing (or not).

Valdez TorontoAt only a week old, Valdez still plans to add a rooftop patio. The kitchen opens daily from 5pm until at least 10:30 (Sundays excluded) but tequilas, pisco and mescal are available right up until last call. Don't be surprised if you hear a friendly, "Ciao mami" as you stumble out.

Valdez TorontoValdez TorontoPhotos by Jesse Milns



mike in parkdale / June 19, 2013 at 08:48 am
looks very nice - I love a good empanada!

that space has a ton of history long before Cheval (didn't the BamBoo make a temporary home there too?). I'm always fascinated by the history and genealogy of a particular space - or maybe I've just obsessed with Vintage Toronto?
the lemur / June 19, 2013 at 09:49 am
'Latino for spice'?
lets name a bar after our address! Original replying to a comment from mike in parkdale / June 19, 2013 at 09:53 am
Gloria replying to a comment from the lemur / June 19, 2013 at 10:27 am
Fail again. Seriously, BlogTO I just don't get you anymore.
the lemur / June 19, 2013 at 10:47 am
Also, what's with going to the trouble of putting the accent on camarón (correctly, although coctel is misspelled) but not explaining that camarón is shrimp? People might like to know that.
johnsonstarfish / June 19, 2013 at 11:09 am
Having travelled latin america for over a year, it's hard for me to shell out that much $ for what you can buy for a mere fraction of the price in latin america. I know, I know, it's Canada and they can't afford to sell the food at those prices. Still...
Queen Toronto / June 19, 2013 at 12:32 pm
Another loud, clubby restaurant on King West? Shame.... because the food looks good, but I anticipate another Gusto 101 phenomenon.
jennsanerd / June 19, 2013 at 02:24 pm
Man, so many haters. Lighten up, kids.
I can't wait to visit this place!
DUTHIE replying to a comment from Queen Toronto / June 19, 2013 at 02:26 pm
You've not even been I'm guessing, how do you assume clubby?
JustAGuy replying to a comment from jennsanerd / June 19, 2013 at 04:22 pm
Jenna don't you ever read comments here unless you wanna get a good laugh. Ok? It's a lot of sad and lonely people here.
Friar Canuck / June 19, 2013 at 05:06 pm
If they serve Modelo Especial, I'm in like Flynn!
tnt replying to a comment from johnsonstarfish / June 19, 2013 at 07:12 pm
Ya but the Latin American versions will give you the shits like a dog..
Queen Toronto / July 1, 2013 at 11:06 pm
Actually, I intended to go in and got through a few steps of the front door--then couldn't hear myself think with all the noise so I walked back out. If I was eating alone and didn't have to talk to anyone then it would be fine. Too loud.
Alvina / July 5, 2013 at 11:25 am
I was there last night and my group and I had the worst service ever, and we had to walk out!
Reets1010 / July 5, 2013 at 11:42 am
This is not a review but just my thoughts.
The one thing I really dislike about new restos these days are the new tapas/sharing plates... Can you really share 3 small pieces of beef or shrimp at a $15 - $17 price tag? I'm not a big fan of sharing food since one friend is a vegetarian the other doesn't eat gluten or wheat and the other doesn't do dairy, not easy finding a happy medium. If the restaurant wants to charge me an extra 3 dollars for a normal portion, that works for me. Tapas is something that you get in Spain at a bar/resto that is either free or a "FEW" bucks while drinking at the bar. I wish our restaurants would stop giving us poor service, mediocre food and portions at a premium price. Sorry for the rant but sometimes you leave a restaurant not feeling great about spending $50 - $80/ per person and not having the greatest experience or feeling that you just ate a bag of chips in a very noisy atmosphere when you could have gone to the local grocer and got a beautiful piece of fish or meat and some gorgeous vegetables with a great bottle of wine and only spend $40 for 2 people.
When I go to a restaurant all I want is for the servers to be nice and respectful of the fact that I'm there to spend my money to treat myself to a night out without having to worry about anything other that what to order. I want to feel like they're happy to have my patronage and that I will want to return because of the great service, food, atmosphere and value (which does not mean discount). I am more than happy to spend money on something that's worth it. Severs, if you don't want to do the job you're doing then don't move on... find something else.
I would like to clarify that these thoughts were not to review Valdez. I am going there this evening and I hope to return to this site to report a positive dining experience.
Nah / July 6, 2013 at 10:11 am
I was there with my friends the other day on the rooftop. Amazing view from up there! And the bbq guy was pretty lively and the menu items looked delicious! Also had a sneak peek at the paellea-looking rice at the bbq! Yum!

Shame I couldn't eat there though because no one came to take our order as we waited a good 15 minutes even though the rooftop tables were not super busy. So..... my group and I left.

And on the way out, the hostess greeter lady said, "Thanks, hope you enjoyed your evening." Um... she just saw us enter the place 20 minutes prior! How could we possibly have enjoyed our meals in the space of 20 minutes? Obviously, they don't pay attention to their clientele to notice much.

Oh and it IS loud and clubby, by the way. What is it with all these restaurants now that boast delicious food only to be ruined by thumpy electro-beats turned up to 11? Can't enjoy the company you're with over nice food and wine when it feels like you're in a nightclub.

The song "Never Going Back Again" by Fleetwood Mac comes to mind.....

aisha / August 11, 2013 at 12:21 am
Tasty snack food and the chef is a stellar guy.
I love (loud) hip hop. Over inflated King W prices, not so much...
Ali / August 26, 2013 at 11:46 am
Worse experience ever,
Never ever try that place.
Worse Customer service.
Rude people working there.
Check your bill they overcharge you for some items you don't order.
mitch / October 18, 2013 at 03:28 pm
HORRIBLE SERVICE.....Mediocre food and an overblown gangster facade is what you'll find here. If you want pretentious staff, overly long waits from servers to check on your table for the simplest of things, and a faux hip hop vibe, then this is the place for you. I work in the service industry and I would never return to this disgrace of a restaurant.

Did I forget to mention the lame excuse for a cocktail menu...LOL! Someone call Jim Meehan and get him to send these guys a couple of books to read.
Sheryl H / January 26, 2014 at 08:32 am
I had a negative experience over the weekend. Came recommended by my best friend but I don't think I'll be passing on the same opinion.
The food was mediocre and there weren't many healthy options.

The skinny guy with tattooed sleeves was so rude.
If I wanted to hear people being jerks to one another while I eat I'd go to some trashy place on parliament.
I just felt very uncomfortable.

Peter / February 16, 2014 at 07:24 pm
Want to reinforce the negative comments on the service. Slow and the guys behind the bar are pretty rude. Friend asked about beers and got a dismissive shrug, "we've got a lot of beers." before scooting off to another customer. Friend later got a shot of tequila, and amazingly, they didn't seem to have any shot glasses. They just got a shot in a water glass. Had to request a lemon to go with it - how authentic!

The food was good though, great guacamole - it's just a shame the service lets it down.
MMay / March 12, 2014 at 03:38 pm
Completely Agree with Reets1010. Its probably b/c most of the owners are not Spanish themselves and if so are most likely born here and don't even know how to speak the language itself. They need someone with on old school touch and a todays splash of dash. If you know what I mean... Anyhow, perhaps soon or just visit on actual Latin Restaurant for the actual authentic Experience.Instead of the Canadianize ones.
Paris / May 16, 2014 at 11:59 pm
Most disappointing dining experience ever. I hope management reads their reviews and notes the complaints of service. Valdez won't last long in Toronto, and this won't disappoint me.
alex / July 21, 2014 at 09:29 pm
thats alot of negative comments as of late...so many places have opened...too many have opened....this is the aftermath of so many that opened....so, let them close, or do better
Carol / July 30, 2014 at 12:56 pm
WORST service I have EVER experienced! Staff were extremely rude and completely inattentive. They seemed to be puzzled by a request to change table on a very hot BBQ Sunday. Our plates took about 1 hour to come, very disorganized service. When we were finally served, I ordered the sword fish, three extremely small pieces thrown together in a very ugly presentation. Not tactic for customer service, I was invited for my birthday and one of the ppl in our group was never served even though we ordered. I don't even know how this place has continued to operate for so long with such BAD service. I'm not kidding I needed up buying pizza after! Worst worst restaurant in Toronto.
andrew / December 12, 2014 at 07:43 pm
Tried going here in the summer and I quickly walked out as the little service I got was extremely rude and it seemed as if they didn't want us to be there. The only nice person (and the only one working) was the dishwasher that actually took time to help us find the patio.
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Jason / May 22, 2015 at 11:08 pm
Was on the rooftop with 25 people from work. Service was fine, drinks were good, but the food was seriously garbage and the smoke from the grill was so thick that I felt dirty greasy by the time I left.
Miri / May 26, 2015 at 10:59 pm
Service was bad, hospitality needs to be improved as they had the guts to kick us out even though we kept ordering bottles and so on, they failed to make us feel welcome since the beginning of the evening... I won't recommend this place service is bad and food leaves a lot to wish for
Friday / July 20, 2015 at 11:03 am
The beers are $6, but they do not tell you that they are served in tiny half pints. $12 for a pint of standard beer is outrageous. They are going for a club vibe, so the music is insanely loud, making it impossible to have a conversation over dinner. Service was sub par, we had to ask bus boys for napkins and water that our server neglected to give us. We spent a lot of time waiting for the bill, waiting for new drinks, etc and then had a suggested 25% gratuity on or bills. I didn't enjoy the experience and would not return.

There is also a 2 hour max on the patio, lame.
too / August 11, 2015 at 10:59 am
It's too loud to eat here.

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