Friday, June 22, 2012


When I first moved into the Annex (a cool area of Toronto for those of you who are not in the know) a few months ago I had noticed a Mexican restaurant in my neighbourhood. I asked a friend about it and she said she'd tried it and it was "okay". Not a ringing endorsement! So, I was not encouraged to go. But over the last few months I have heard really good things from other people regarding "Playa Cabana" so I had to try it.

It's located on Dupont Street and is tucked in between a bunch of houses so you might not really notice it at first. I decided to go and try them out with my boyfriend - who met the owner of the restaurant a couple days before.

It's a really cute place with a nice backyard patio. I love it's rustic, quaint vibe. It's definately smaller than what they need - I've heard they turn away A LOT of customers per night.

When we got there the owner was super friendly and bought us the first round of drinks. I like this place already! We tried a top shelf margarita. I don't remember the name of it but it was 3rd from the top and made with Cointreau so if you go there - try it! Their margaritas are made with fresh lime juice. You might have to wait a few minutes more for your drinks than at most places but it's worth it.

We ordered chips and salsa - fresh, homemade and a bit spicy. I love spicy. The chips are house made with only corn and water. Love the simplicity and the wholesome-ness!

We were just looking to snack so we shared Ancho Braised Shortrib-Brisket Crispy Tacos. Here's a description -
Beef shortrib and brisket braised in ancho chiles wrapped in fresh corn tortillas and griddled to a golden crispiness. Served with pico de gallo, guac and homemade crema.

WOW! They were AMAZING!!! So, so, so good! On their website they boast about being a healthy Mexican restaurant that uses fresh, local foods whenever possible. I believe it! ... because it's the first time I've eaten Mexican food and not felt gross after. Here's the best part - it doesn't 'taste' healthy! It tastes fresh and homemade but it is not lacking flavour. I'm sure it has a lot of calories but they are healthier calories.

Here is another impressive quote from their website- "All of our salsas are made fresh and from only the freshest vegetables. You will find nothing in a bottle or in a can in our kitchen. Everything is made entirely from scratch.
In spring, summer and fall all of our produce is local except for Avocados. Even Tomatillos and Poblano chiles are produced in Ontario now!"

Go to their website for other interesting info like - all their dairy is local and they deliberately use much less oil in their food. Really impressive!

Can't say enough good things about Playa Cabana! Can't wait to go back! ... and it's not just the free booze talking!

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