Itacate is a small, family-run taqueria that looks like it's straight out of Mexico City. Found inside a butcher shop on St. Clair West, what it lacks in size it more than makes up for with authentic Mexican street eats.
For now seating is scant and they mostly operate on a grab-and-go basis. A picnic table at the front is perfect for sharing but barely seats four, and just a few more high stools face a ledge against the window.
The space is completely open so you can see all the action in the kitchen.
Quesadillas ($7) are fried, not like the usual flat, limp bar fare. The ultra crunchy shell is stuffed with pork, beef or mushrooms, crispy lettuce and a ton of shredded cheese. We go with beef and pork, and I really like the savoury, hearty beef.
A gringa ($13) more closely resembles your familiar bar quesadilla, but what’s inside is totally different: al pastor marinated pork with chunks of pineapple, enveloped in a flour tortilla with melty, stretchy cheese. The combination is sweet, savoury, spicy and cheesy.
Tacos ($5) are the name of the game here. Suadero is a cut of beef between the belly and the leg, super smooth and silky in this taco with crunchy, potent green onion.
Chopped onions and cilantro, hot sauce, and real authentic guac (thin, almost more like a salsa, and using jalapeno for a super spicy kick) are available for customization.
The cow tongue taco is my favourite, melt-in-your-mouth beef harmonizing with zinging hot sauce and adequately double-layered soft, light tortillas.
They haven’t left vegans out of the equation with a fresh-tasting option just for them, with carrots, onions, mushrooms, peppers, lettuce and tomato.
Tres leches and flan ($6) are available for dessert. Tres leches is rich, creamy, soaking, and topped with stickily sweet canned peaches that add a homestyle pop, and flan is dense and jiggly, sweet and lusciously caramel-y.
Drinks include the “Diablito” ($4), tamarind pop with lime, tajin and chili, refreshing and spicy at the same time and served in a clay cup.
There’s also glass-bottled Mexican pop ($3).
The space is long and narrows even further towards the back, making it a tight squeeze for fans lined up for a taste.
Despite this, it’s decorated joyfully with luchador masks and salt shakers in the shape of tiny coke bottles.