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Food & Drink

Introducing: Estrella Taqueria, North York’s answer to the downtown taco trend

Introducing: Estrella Taqueria

Name: Estrella Taqueria Contact Info: 4899 Yonge St., 416-222-1500, estrellataqueria.ca, @estrellataco
Neighbourhood: Yonge and Sheppard Owners: Rick Padulo, Charles Z. Markowitz and Otta Zapotocky, the former sommelier at Nota Bene and current owner of L’Avenue Bistro, Executive Chef: Jeremy Dyer, also the executive chef at L’Avenue

The Place: A sprawling, honky-tonk–themed restaurant and bar modeled after the famous Big Star taqueria in Chicago (“estrella” is Spanish for “star”).

The 4,200-square-foot clubhouse is really three spaces in one: a massive freestanding bar and lounge; a casual dining area; and a bright purple rec room with ping-pong tables and a DJ spinning old-timey Bakersfield tunes. A fourth space, opening next spring, is a 130-seat rooftop patio with a full-service bar, a fire pit and a jumbo-screen television for movie nights.

The Food: Tacos and other Mexican standards, plus some unconventional options, like tortillas stuffed with duck confit and ratatouille (the restaurant bills itself as “French-Mex”). Guacamole is mashed tableside and served with house-made chips.

The Drinks: Tequila and bourbon­–based cocktails, like the citrusy Along Came Paloma with Cazadores Anejo tequila, Cointreau and grapefruit. The wine list sticks to bottles from Spain, Portugal and South America.

The Numbers: • 4,200 square feet • 280 seats • 130-seat rooftop patio, opening April 2014 • 35 kinds of tequila • $16 per ounce for the most expensive bourbon, a 1792 Ridgemont Reserve Barrel Select

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