Los Guaca-moles is a homey authentic Mexican restaurant in a little house on Euclid just off Bloor in Koreatown, blocks from the Christie subway station.
Formerly Tesla Cafe , a friendly dark-wood interior and sunny patio in the front and back are comfy and welcoming. It's run by Liz, who's been a veteran of restaurant management for over fifteen years.
She says the space brings her back to her childhood, and her grandfather's house and barn. Her dream has been to bring a little piece of real Mexico to Toronto.
We start us off with some drinks. Many of her dishes and beverages are named for favourite customers, some of which actually helped build the place. Cocktails are made with authentic Mexican ingredients like mezcal and tequila.
The Chamolando ($11.95) is made with chamoy, a semi-spicy peach and prune liquid condiment from Mexico that tastes a little like peach schnapps. The cocktail's name is combined with her husband's, Orlando.
Of course, in a place named Los Guaca-moles, you have to have several flavours of margaritas and great guacamole ($10.95), and we try both. The Jamaica margarita ($9.95) is made with hibiscus, and the guacamole is creamy and not too chunky, served with crunchy tortilla chips.
You can also grab corn pops, a mini version of the Mexican-style roasted corn you might see at street festivals sometimes. About a third of a cob is rolled in a mixture of chili pepper and sesame seeds, with cheese and just a little mayo.
A dish which takes its name from a beloved customer is Bruce's Favourite Mole con Pollo ($14.95), sliced chicken breast in mole layered between three tortillas and topped with onions, cheese and sour cream. Mole comes from the town Liz is from in Mexico, hence the separation of the words "guaca" and "moles" on her sign out front.
Then, of course, there are the tacos! They're three for $12 or $4.50 each, which is pretty good for such a variety of flavours. We try the carnitas (pulled pork), crispy veggie, and barbacoa, as well as the fish, chorizo, and tongue tacos. The tongue tacos are a standout, as you're unlikely to get those at your local taco joint.
Everything is made in-house, much by Liz's sister with ten years of chef experience. The salsa for tacos and chips is tangy and delicious.
You won't find any sombreros amongst the actual Mexican pop culture icons and art on the walls, but you're sure to be served some hardcore Mexican food with a friendly smile.
Photos by Hector Vasquez