Chula Taberna Mexicana
Chula Taberna Mexicana comes to us from the same folks behind El Local Loco and Loaded Pierogi. They’ve brought their flair for large drinking establishments with fast, accessible food concepts to this spot with multiple patios and outdoor tiki bars. This place used to be Irish pub McGugan’s.
The word “chula” comes from a phrase “mami chula,” which sort of loosely indicates a girl next door, the young hot mom of the neighbourhood who always has lemonade and brownies ready. Replace lemonade and brownies with tequila and tacos and you’ve got this place, a spacious and colourful neighbourhood tavern.
The guys who run the place renovated it all themselves, putting in all steel corrugating on patios and installing all the bars out there.
One thing they’re not responsible for are attention-grabbing murals around the restaurant, painted by team of artists Luis Rojas, Jesus Mora, and Cesar Correa.
Tacos come in orders of one or three.
Soft shell crab ($7/$20) is in season for our visit, and it’s used as a crunchy, sweet filling for a taco accompanied by grilled pineapple, jalapeno, sweet pepper, pickled cabbage, and avocado crema. All tacos are dressed uniquely here rather than with the same standard toppings for each.
Carnitas ($5/$14) come with pickled cabbage and pineapple salsa, but also salsa verde and chicharron for a little salty crunch.
Spicy mushroom tacos ($5/$14) are filled with meaty marinated grilled portobello with guac, pickled veggies, salsa verde and pico de gallo.
A shrimp ceviche ($11) comes presented almost as a tostada piled on crunchy tortilla discs, and the tart mixture contains mint, radish, jalapeno, sweet pepper, and avocado.
Carne asada ($15) is one of the plates on offer here, a six-ounce flank steak topped with a cilantro chimichurri and served with a cilantro rice and roasted sweet peppers that make this larger plate feel well-balanced.
A Mami Chula margarita ($10) combines Cazadores Blanco with champagne for an appropriately mom-friendly cocktail, with grenadine and lemon and garnished with Himalayan pink salt and a fresh strawberry.
The classic margarita ($9) is just classic tequila and lime with agave syrup and a salt rim, sure to satisfy if you’re the type that doesn’t care for a super-fancy cocktail and wants to have a couple of these over an afternoon or evening.
Ultimately it’s a casual spot but would also be fine for a fun date night on a rooftop you could dress up for a bit.
They also do weekend brunches here, and pig roasts every sunday where you can build your own tacos stuffed with meat from a whole, freshly cooked animal.