Toronto’s Hottest Latin American Restaurants
By Jessica Huras
With its big flavours and bold colours, Latin American cuisine warms our souls as much as it fills our bellies. Toronto’s Latin American restaurants are as diverse as the region itself, with influences spanning from Cuba to Colombia. Whether you’re in the mood for scarfing down a meaty sandwich or savouring a perfectly plated ceviche, you’ll find a place to satisfy your craving in our round-up of the best Latin American restaurants in Toronto.
485 King St W; http://barotoronto.com/
Baro blends innovative interpretations of Latin American fare with buzzy, nightclub-like vibes. From the plant-fringed dining room to the artful cocktails, every element of Baro is Instagram-ready. The multi-level restaurant includes several different dining concepts, but a first-time visitor should stick to the main dining room. Chef Steve Gonzalez’s menu has a primary focus on Colombian and Chifa (Chinese-Peruvian) cuisines. Order the ‘Eat like Jefe,’ a shareable platter comprised of the restaurant’s four most popular dishes.
La Cubana offers Latin American flavours at a wallet-friendly price. Chef-owner Corinna Mozo looked to her Cuban heritage as inspiration for La Cubana’s cuisine and decor, modelling it after a diner her grandfather once ran in Havana. Essential orders include the medianoches, Cuban-style sandwiches served on a slightly sweet, chewy bun with a variety of fillings; and the Guava BBQ Beef Short Rib plate, which is Mozo’s updated take on ropa vieja, a classic Cuban dish.
176 Yonge St, https://www.lenarestaurante.com/
Set in a sweeping art deco building, Leña is as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the stomach. Leña is the brainchild of chef Anthony Walsh, who took a cue from his Argentinian mother-in-law, Elena, for the restaurant’s name as well as its Latin American flavours. The restaurant puts an elegant spin on Argentinian dishes like veal scallopini. It turns the traditionally fried dish up a notch by preparing it on the grill and giving it the fancy finishes of duck egg, white anchovies and chimichurri.
420A Wellington St W; https://mirarestaurant.com/
Mira brings Toronto a polished, modern approach to Peruvian cuisine. Named for Lima’s artsy Miramar neighbourhood, the restaurant pays homage to its namesake with an interior that’s decorated in eye-catching art. Expect plenty of shareable ceviche, along with meatier mains like the cerdo, which is suckling pig served with quinoa fried rice. Mira’s Latin American influences extend to its cocktail menu, with the restaurant offering three different takes on the iconic pisco sour.
Tacos El Asador
689 Bloor St W; https://tacoselasador.ca/
This restaurant run by a Salvadoran family has been a Koreatown institution for over 20 years, beloved for its down-to-earth service and street-style eats served in colourful plastic baskets. The menu features a mix of Mexican fare plus dishes from the owners’ home country like pupusas, a Salvadoran speciality that sees round corn flatbreads filled with gooey cheese and beans.