La MexiCanada restaurant is absolutely not in Toronto. But don't let that stop you from veering off the 400 to Bradford, home of Gwilly , the giant carrot, and some of the best Mexican in the GTA. Even the most urban city-dweller will escape the city at some point - so it's good to have food options when you find yourself in this neck of the woods.
La MexiCanada opened originally to serve the migrant community who farm in this small town, made up primarily of seasonal workers from Mexico. Owner Noe Martinez wanted to open a place that would feel like home, offering the comforts and familiarity these workers were homesick for. After being open for a few years, the restaurant's usual crowd is now a mix of locals, farmers, and food-spotting fanboys.
The tiny cantina is divided by a wall, which oddly has a fake window cutout in the middle of it. Sombreros are on display, and every table is adorned with a Mexican blanket used as a tablecloth. Sombreros aren't just for show - the restaurant features live music on weekends when a roaming mariachi band serenades the packed eatery. Service is friendly and swift, with Noe usually on the scene running food and working the crowd.
With a genuine flair for his home country evident in the vibe and design of the small room, the authenticity also carries through to the food and bar menus. Boozy margaritas ($7.97) come in classic lime, mango or strawberry; here the lime flavour lets the tequila do the talking, with a perfectly salted rim - the only thing missing is an actual fresh lime. Hugely popular Jarrito sodas ($2.76) come in a few different flavours, all made with real sugar, not HFCS. The beer menu is thankfully also true to the restaurant's roots (with a few domestics).
Cheesy nachos ($11.24) arrive paired with mini pots of refried beans and in-house-made zesty guacamole. Layers of two types of queso generously slather the totopos, hiding spicy jalapenos and pico de gallo. Sour cream, zig-zagged on top, cools things down and acts as a pretty garnish - not to mention upping the minimum napkin requirement to about five.
The lunch menu offerings are typical and uncomplicated, like the five soft tacos ($9.95). Soft corn tortillas come with your choice of beef, pork, vegetarian, or chicken.
The chicken comes slightly shredded, spiced mildly with salsa and guacamole and loaded with fresh greenery like cilantro and lettuce. The tacos were very tasty, with honest ingredients and an authentic recipe reminding you what a real taco should be - outstanding, when you consider they're not even $2 each.
Two beef burritos ($11.29) come similarly dressed, here with the addition of refried beans and rice. They're spiced to order - request your level of heat carefully. While it doesn't come with any sauces on the side, you don't really need them, either. The beef filling is meaty, with a good texture - no stringy gristly bits or clumps of fat, just meaty morsels wrapped throughout the biggie-sized burritos.
Three beef quesadillas ($10.97) come loosely wrapped, allowing you to inspect the glorious contents, or just to douse it in more hot sauce.
Flan and churros make up the dessert menu, but in all my previous visits, I've been unable to make it that far. Look for specials and be sure to call ahead for a table on weekend nights, or you'll be window gazing with Gwilly, waiting for a table to open up.