Well, it was fun while it lasted, but Toronto’s taco party has come to an end.
While we still love the endless possibilities of Mexican cuisine, Taquerias like the Anthony Bourdain praised Agave Y Aguacate have closed, the line at Grand Electric has disappeared and Playa Cabana’s new venture was empty on a recent Friday night.
Toronto’s craving for tacos is currently satisfied.
What could follow the great taco craze?
Don’t think too hard, the answer is simple as… the sandwich.
Yes. Really. But no, not a simple back-to-basics ham and cheese renaissance.
Chef Rob Bragagnolo puts the final touches on a roast chicken focaccia
Chefs are changing the sandwich
Toronto chefs are using the sandwich as a canvas to change what you think a sandwich should be.
Specialized sandwich spots including La Cubana, Flock, Rashers, Caplansky’s and Porchetta & Co have all recently expanded anticipating new demand.
Exciting new sandwich spots are also popping up, and worth the visit.
5 best new sandwich shops:
#1 Torteria San Cosme, 181 Baldwin Street.
The massive Yucatan pulled pork sandwich – $10.50
There’s no better symbol for the end of the taco craze than at this Kensington Market Torteria. Why? Because it’s a Mexican restaurant that only sells sandwiches. No Tortillas, just traditional Mexican street style sandwiches. Options include: Smoked ham, pulled pork, steak, mole chicken and sides like corn on the cob with lime, crema, cheese and chilis.
#2 Teara Lab, 181 College Street.
Japanese soy glazed pork belly sandwich – $10
Offering truly unique Japanese fusion sandwiches, this U of T spot is unlike anything we’ve tried before. Big Japanese flavours await you with menu items like the soy glazed pork belly sandwich and the yuzu teriyaki fish burger.
#3 Carver, 101 Peter Street.
Chef Rob Braganolo (Marben) does two roasted meats: porchetta and chicken. The focus is on using quality ingredients on par with high-end restaurants, but in a fast food format and price. Don’t expect to sit down; there are stand up tables for a quick bite, but most take a fluffy focaccia sandwich to go.
#4 Fresh Off The Boat 404 Queen Street West.
Fresh and crispy whole softshell crab sandwich – $16
While this seafood sandwich shop will satisfy your craving for classics like lobster rolls and softshell crab sandwiches, they are attracting regulars with The FOB which features battered catfish, kimchi, and chili aioli on a baguette. The clever Asian twist on classic seafood makes this place a Queen West must try.
#5 Brock Sandwich, 1260 Bloor Street.
The lineup of sandwiches includes fan favourites like the chicken piri piri, and the new must-try shrimp and squid po boys. This tiny Bloordale spot also features vegan options including a crispy fennel sandwich as well as constantly changing specials such as a Mexican steak sandwich (shown in lead image).
Pick a sandwich shop, tag your taco-obsessed friend and be ready to re-imagine what you think a sandwich should be.