La carnita. Where to begin? For starters, this is the first of an increasing number of vendors / concepts that went from being a featured pop-up at the Toronto Underground Market to a bricks and mortar location. To be successful enough to afford a permanent location along with staff really speaks to the quality of the food they dish out. You should definitely go try ‘em out if you haven’t yet gone.
501 College st.
Reservations: Not taken at this time. (They'll take your number down and call/text you when your table is ready.)
Transit: 506 Carlton streetcar (westbound) from Queen’s Park or College station to Palmerston. Walk back (east) a hundred meters or so; look for their meathead logo hanging outside.
Hours: Dinner only. Sun-Mon 5-10pm. Tues-Sat 5-11pm.
***They’re currently refining their brunch menu and hoping to launch it next month!! :D
For those who follow me on twitter, you’ll know that I absolutely love la carnita! Every time I meet up with friends and they want to go somewhere relatively cheap and good, I’ll take them here. Commuting here is a breeze so no excuses not to come! ;)
They really make you feel like you’re a part of something here. The atmosphere is super chill, the music is great (it can get loud but it depends on the night/time), and the crowd is surprisingly varied (I’m talking everyone from babies to grandparents to entire families)! This night, people from the financial district?
As I mentioned in my first post about la carnita, I love the whole design of the restaurant! Especially digging the ceiling moulding. Classic but modernized?
Their menu has gone through some changes since when I came here for this post. To note, they have daily taco specials so for the returning customer, there may still be a taco you haven’t tried yet! Follow their twitter feed for more daily specials. (I’m talking about stuff like the carnita cemita from their UNO event that made an all too brief return last month).
I’m pretty sure they’ve acquired all the available Jarritos (a Mexican soda) flavours by now. My standby is still the grapefruit. I love that zing (and apparently the complete lack of grapefruit juice in the bottle).
One of my favourite items has been retired from the menu (for now…). Like I’ve mentioned before, perhaps not the best side to get while on a date, but if you’re brave enough, it’s totally worth it (and the subsequent jokes as well). Then again, the tacos are a little messy too so coming here, you already knew what you were getting yourself and your date into! ;)
Rice corn frituras. Mexican food seems to have this great balance to it; crema to put out the heat, bright citrus to balance and bring out more flavour from the meat/fish.
Who doesn’t love beef cheek?! Rhetorical question because if you don’t, you probably didn’t have good beef cheek. This taco is a goody and a keeper.
I believe this is the Tuesday special! “Squid the kid”…”Sid the kid”, you get it? I’m not sure how Sidney Crosby plays into this taco (both are good looking?), but this was a new one I haven’t tried yet so I went for it. Tuesdays just got better.
Gotta love ceviche! Fish quickly “cooked” with an acid (oftentimes lime/lemon juice). Having it served on a tostada added a great texture contrast. CRUNCH! And then half your taco’s on your plate, but that’s okay, just pick it up because you’re eating with your fingers anyways!
It’s easy to say anything deep fried is good but then there’s the deep fried stuff that stands out…and really makes an impression on you. The cod here is just that. I’ll admit, the very first time I had it, meh. Cool. But recently, it’s been solid every single time. With the still moist cod enveloped by a light crispy crust, it now consistently blows me away. Every time I take a friend here for the first time, I’ll persuade them to order this taco.
|“In cod we trust”, uh yes I do!|
I’m a horrible person for loving churros. Correction: I’m a horrible person for loving the cajeta (Mexican version of dulce de leche) that comes with the churros so much that the guys in the kitchen / the servers know me well enough to give my friends and I (mainly me) an extra little teacup of cajeta along with a spoon.
This particular dinner at la carnita, I came with two friends, with one of them never having eaten there before. So when time came for desserts, we got a variety. Then realized that he didn’t have a big sweet tooth. No worries, more for Ramya and myself!! ;D
|**the fruit with the tres leche cake is seasonal. Last time I went, the raspberries were replaced by pear (I prefer the former).|
This was the dessert special! Not too sweet thanks to the ginger, this makes a fitting dessert for those who aren’t normally fond of sweets. The pineapple chip was a great touch.
Verdict: Whenever I'm done being a hermit (as I will be at the end of this month), my first meal out tends to be at la carnita because it's like coming home (a much cooler one with better food and music)! No presumptiousness here. :D Gotta say they feed my friends and I well here every single time I come. Always big thanks to Nate and Jon! There's also amazeballs artwork by local artists featured monthly and Sasha's desserts (notably her paletas) aren't to be missed! Trust me, you'll love it here!
Check 'em out! http://lacarnita.com/
5 out of 5 NOMs