Casa Madera is a chic destination for Mexican-Mediterranean cuisine that feels like you just stepped into a tropical vacation.
Since their recent opening, Casa Madera has blown up over TikTok and Instagram for their aesthetic, one that resembles a beachside restaurant in Tulum.
Noble 33 is the hospitality company that owns Casa, they operate restaurants in Hollywood and Miami, although this is their first venture into Canada.
Connected to Casa Madera is 1 Hotel, another newer venue to Toronto that has a focus on sustainability and being enviromentally-conscious in their operations.
The same intention is brought into the look and feel of Casa Madera, almost all the wood in the restaurant is recycled and refurbished from leftovers found at construction sites across the GTA.
Inside the restaurant, hues of golden light cast down on beige couches and hundreds of live green plants and shrubbery cascade from floor to ceiling.
You might be wondering, how does all this greenery maintain its freshness in a climate like Toronto's?
A whole team of people come in weekly to water each one and black lights are placed around the venue to give plants light once the sun goes down.
The entire space is split into four wards of seating: a main dining area where the bar sits in the middle, two more spread across the east and west wings, then a private room in the back for independent events.
The tropical vibe extends to all areas of seating allowing you to embrace the ambience of Casa while a violinist plays to a soundtrack of relaxing deep house music.
Executive chef Olivier Le Calvez heads the kitchen here, bringing with him up to 25 years of culinary experience in both Canada and Mexico. He's cooked for the likes of El Catrin in the Distillery District and Hotel Aqua Bosques in Mexico City.
The menu here is full of intricate dishes that along with the Mexican-Mediterranean theme, also has touches of Japanese and Italian influence.
For a starter, we ordered the Albondiga ($28.00) which is a wagyu meatball that gets slow-braised with "jitomate" sauce, Spanish for red tomato. Then it's sprinkled generously with aged pecorino cheese that creates a melted soft crust on top, finished with basil.
Hamachi Serrano ($35.00) comes from the raw bar section of the menu, featuring a collection of fresh seafood. This is beautifully plated with slices of fresh hamachi, a Japanese yellowtail fish that resembles a sashimi-type texture.
Layers of cucumber, pickled onion, and crispy garlic are adorned in between, making this dish light and refreshing in taste.
Our main course was the Pollo Asado ($45.00), this dish is filled with a whole jidori chicken on a bed of mediterranean rice salad. Flavouring wasn't entirely apparent in this one, even though the meat was juicy and appeared to be seasoned properly.
Jidori chicken is meant to be all-natural and have a firmer texture compared to a traditional chicken. Fresh peppers decorate the outside along with tomato and a garnish of herbs.
Some of the cocktails at Casa come with a theatrical presentation which adds to your dining experience. The Playa Paraiso ($25.00) is a hike for a price, but worth it in taste.
Blanco tequila is shaken with watermelon, coconut water, lime, agave, and Benedictine liquer. The fog is made up of eucalytpus and cinnamon which adds a pleasant aroma to the diverse flavour profile of this cocktail.
Ponche de la Casa ($22.00) has a strong alcoholic taste to it, that may have you wincing a little at each sip, unless you're looking for something hard-hitting.
Reposado tequila and rum is the base for this, mixed with Aperol, lime, and a tamarind-papaya ponche.
Look for the wooden-framed entrance to Casa Madera and prepare to be transported to the plant oasis that sits behind its front doors.