Eat: El Catrin

On a bright and gorgeous Saturday, I found myself on an equally gorgeous patio of El Catrin in the Distillery District.

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The entrance to the restaurant kind of entices you to discover what lies behind the wall. I felt like I was in an oasis being surrounded by the papel picado-inspired screens and the giant chandeliers above our heads. While we were there for lunch, the place is guaranteed to be beautiful during an evening dinner.

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While I do have a Mexican origin dog (whom by the way just turned 3 years old two weeks ago), when it comes to Mexican food, we don’t get along well. With cilantro and avocado so abundant in Mexican cuisine, I stay far far away. It was really that patio that beckoned me to give it a try, even if I don’t have to eat cilantro and guacamole.

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We started with drinks that were delicious yet strong, I got the Frutas Fresca Margaritas with Tromba Blanco tequila, Patron Citronage and agave nectar. It comes with a choice of fresh mango, blackberry or watermelon. I got the blackberry. My brother got the Mojito Brasilia with Pitu Cachaca, mint, fresh lime, simple syrup and soda.

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The Sierra ceviche with mahi mahi, raw tomatillo salsa and tons of lime juice. Citrusy and a bit spicy from the salsa. I enjoyed it, but it did not wow me.

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The restaurant provided salsa of three levels of spiceness for added condiments to any dish. From top to bottom: Hot, medium and mild. I found the mild to be enough for a kick and did not dare to touch the hot one, while my brother used up the hot salsa.

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My brother’s Palmito tacos with citrus braised hearts of palm, avocado, serrano chili, crema fresca on corn tortilla.

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My Vegetariano burrito with fresh sautéed corn, zucchini, tomato, mushroom, tofu, black bean and rice all rolled in a flour tortilla. It comes with a side of salad with tequila vinaigrette. It was one of the very few dishes that did not contain avocado or cheese. Without the accompanied salsa, it would have been a rather plain burrito.

Overall, it was a decent lunch. Portion size are small but it is expected when it comes to tapas style. I have read the service can be off, but for our experience, our server came over occasionally to refill our water and asked how our meal was, plus the food arrived at a good pace. Not sure if I’d come back for the food, but the patio and drink… oh yes.

El Catrin
18 Tank House Lane
Toronto, ON M5A 3C4

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