LOCATION:111 Dupont Street
Ambiance: 2. 5 / 4
Service: 2 / 4
Food: 2 . 75 / 4
I have been wanting to go to Playa Cabana for quite some time now. Without reservations or willingness to wait in line for large periods of time, Playa has become a hard place to get into. This dim-lit Mexican restaurant is nestled into a small house on Dupont, away from all of the hustle and bustle of downtown toronto. The space is small, so it is more suitable for parties of 2-4; if you have a larger group try and make some reservations long in advance, for they only do 3 sittings per night. I went with three other Mexican food lovers, so we decided to get a range of menu items and share in order to get the most out of our time there.
We started off with a pitcher of MARGARITAS which was a must as you can't have a Mexican meal without some tequila. They were pretty strong and quite reasonably priced.
I was most excited to try the CUBETA DE CAMARON. What can be better than a bucket of shrimp? The bucket was filled with a full pound of shrimp tossed in an arbol-garlic butter, Cancun style. The shrimp were so delicious and grilled to a nice pink. The spicy garlic butter and lime sauce had us licking our fingers and fighting over the last one.
VF and DF demanded that we get the CEVICHE OF THE DAY. Their aunt makes the most amazing ceviche, and now they want to try it every where they go in hopes it's just as tasty. The lime- and-chili marinated seafood was mixed with red onion and avocado, all of which was paired with the Playa's famous homemade chips. The crispy chips were hot, salty and very tasty, but the ceviche was quite watery and messy and thus hard to keep on the chip. It reminded us more of a fish salsa then a seafood ceviche.
After we saw a table order the interesting corn dish, we too were inspired to try the ELOTES A LA PARRILLA. The grilled corn-on-the-cob was rubbed in chili pequin, lime, and queso fresco/anejo. The crumbly queso melted onto the corn causing a taste sensation like no other.
After we finished our appetizers we began waiting for our mains, and we realized we forgot to order the true staple of any Mexican meal: the guac. We flagged down our waitress and asked if we can add it in last minute. The GUACA FRESCA was made to order in a lava rock molcajete. We opted for the mild, as the other items we had ordered all seemed to be very spicy. It was so fresh and tasty, it disappeared in seconds.
The first of our mains were the SPICY MOLE ENMOLADAS which were stuffed with ancho-braised steak barbacoa folded in to baked corn tortillas and toped with their 27 chiles-and-nuts mole and creme. This came paired with their tasty rice and black beans. Not all of us were a huge fan of the creme, but the barbacoa was so tasty and tender, we could not stop raving about it.
We also went for the most popular taco option; the TACOS AL PASTOR. Adobo-marinated pork was roasted on a trompo and served with fresh tacho shells and pineapple. We added the rice and pinto beans, which were so yummy and great to fold right into the tacos themselves.
The veggie PLAYA BURRITO was wrapped with melted oaxacan cheese, rice, beans, fresh guac, pico de gallo, crema and covered half in a green tomatillo sauce and half in a red tomato sauce. It was incredibly huge - one of the biggest burritos I have seen.
Would we go back? Yes!
STANDOUT DISH OF THE NIGHT:
Cubeta de Camaron