la bartola toronto

La Bartola

La Bartola is a plant-based Mexican restaurant making meatless renditions of traditional recipes and tortillas from scratch. 

The colourful restaurant is inspired by the women of Mexico, says Chef Ivan Castro, who grew up in Mexico City and was taught how to cook by his mother and grandmother. 

la bartola torontoThere's no mock meat served here: everything, from the tortillas made from non-GMO corn to the sauces, are housemade. 

The idea behind the menu is keeping everything biodegradable and low-waste, with the comal as the heart and ingredients that could keep the spirit of Mexican cuisine as appealing to meat-eaters as they are to vegheads. 

la bartola torontoPast the mural of Judy Garland wearing a traditional Mexican dress by artist Efedefroy, and the stone metate that belonged to Castro's grandmother, there's a wall of photos taken of the farmers and producers from whom the restaurant sources ingredients like peppers and herbs. 

la bartola torontoIn the back, a beautiful hidden patio designed after outdoor seating areas in Oaxaca have a number of design elements that are perfect for summer sunning. 

la bartola torontoAn incredible starter called Sikil Pak ($10), a traditional Mayan toasted pumpkin seed dip, is a great introduction to the restaurant.

la bartola torontoIt's a dish served with sesame tortilla chips that's served with Salsa Macha: Bartola's signature nutty morita and tuxta pepper sauce. It's not spicy at all, but does have a great smoky flavour from the charred habanero.

la bartola torontoGuacamole ($13) is served with poblano tostadas made in house. It's a much herbier than any other guac I've tried, with tarragon, basil, and mint. 

la bartola torontoGreen ceviche tostadas ($8) has a slew of fresh ingredients: green apple, king oyster mushrooms, herbs, mint, tarragon, purple basil, and serrano peppers. The tostadas sit on a corn husk paste, with key lime oil freshining up the plate.

la bartola torontoTacos topped with braised hibiscus flowers ($13) is a highlight of the menu.

Rather than the tangy flavour you might be more used to from hibiscus juice, these flowers are meaty, served with wild mushrooms, caramelized onions and Salsa Macha. 

la bartola torontoThe triangle-shaped tetela made from pink corn masa is filled with refried bayo beans and served with a pasilla pepper and sunflower sauce.

la bartola torontoA sope ($11) takes a classic antojito and uses jackfruit pibil with refried bayo beans, pickled red onions, and habanero. 

la bartola torontoCocktails named after traditional medicines come from the herb market-inspired bar.

la bartola torontoThe Amarre ($15) is a spicy drink using Mezcal Agua Santa and a housemade poblano liquer, poblano juice, pineapple, lime, and a Taijin salt rim. 

la bartola torontoFor something alcohol-free, there's the traditional Mexican sweet, Agua de Horchata, for $5.50.

la bartola toronto

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Fareen Karim

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