Weekly Lunch Pick: the lamb barbacoa tacos at Playa Cabana
Playa Cabana provides a shady Annex refuge for the throngs of taco lovers in Toronto. Just after it opens at noon, diners fill the buzzing little room or spill into the spacious back patio, some indulging in one of the restaurant’s signature tipples (like a bacon-infused bourbon sour, say), while others dredge their addictive, fresh-fried tortilla chips with guacamole. The Hidalgo lamb barbacoa ($14) features a trio of soft homemade corn tortillas covered with shredded, slow-braised Ontario lamb, a smattering of mild chili sauce, crisp diced red onions and chopped cilantro. The chili-laced “consommé” that sides the tacos is made from the meat’s braising liquid and tomatoes, and is chock full of shredded lamb and just-tender chickpeas. It had us licking the bowl clean. (Those seeking a more substantial plate can add rice and black or re-fried pinto beans for an extra $2.)
The cost: $24 including tax, tip and a café con leche ($4) to finish the meal.
The time: Close to an hour, although a neighbouring four-top who ordered after us received their burritos before our order was filled (i.e. your mileage may vary).