Dave Sidhu, king of the Playa Cabana empire, is heading east
Dave Sidhu, the man partly responsible for an increase in Toronto’s taco consumption, is making an eastward expansion with a sixth restaurant. Sidhu, whose other spots include three “Playas” (Cabana, Cantina and Hacienda), La Libre and Barrio Coreano, is adding Cocina Economica to his collection. Cocina will open near the edge of Corktown at 114 Berkeley St., which until last October was home to The Berkeley Cafe. Sidhu, inspired by a month spent in Mexico cooking in (you guessed it) cocina economicas—small, inexpensive residential kitchens presided over by women—says Cocina Economica will offer a menu “entirely different” from his other venues. “The food [cooked in the cocinas] is low-and-slow-braised Mexican,” says Sidhu. “It’s what the locals eat—delicious, homestyle dishes.” Sidhu purchased the Berkeley Street building when he got back; despite its tiny footprint, it has two levels, two patios and can seat more than 100 diners. Sidhu’s shooting for an opening in spring.
6 thoughts on “Dave Sidhu, king of the Playa Cabana empire, is heading east”
Spreading himself and his talent out way too thin. Ever since he began expanding there has been a noticeable degradation in the quality and creativity of the food served. Service is also noticeably worse. Coreano is an obvious bad decision on his part that has gone through a number of changes in hopes of finding success. Toronto, for lack of knowing what good Mexican is will feed into his ambitions and provide him some success. Good luck! If you are going to ask me where one can get good Mexican food in Toronto I will advise it sadly does not exist in this city. Decent, but nothing good or great worth writing about.
For the most part, authentic Mexican food is little more than goop for peasants
Wow, a whole month cooking in Mexico as preparation? How impressive!
Playa Cabana is the epitome of everything that’s wrong with the TO restaurant scene. Overpriced, completely inauthentic (but marketed as otherwise), overexpanded, etc…
Instead of Sidhu spending a month working on poorly ripping off “what the locals eat,” why not spend that time actually making the experience in his existing restaurants better?
I love people who take time out of their day to not only click on an article, but then further take time out to ironically comment ‘who cares?’. So you’re here, commenting out of complete apathy then?
I’ve been to the original restaurant of David Sidhu called Playa Cabana. The place is dingy and dirty. The food wasn’t too bad, what you would normally expect from a Mexican inspired resto. How he is making millions with his sales is beyond me. Instead of opening small branches, I would suggest a bigger restaurant with a better ambiance in a better location.
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