Introducing: El Caballito, a new tequila bar and taqueria on King West
Name: El Caballito (which means “the little horse” in Spanish)
Contact Info: 220 King St. W., 416-628-9838, elcaballito.ca, @elcaballito220
Neighbourhood: Entertainment District
Owner: Andreas Antoniou, who also owns Richmond Street restaurants Little Anthony’s and Estiatorio Volos
Executive Chef: Elia Herrera (formerly the pastry chef at Canoe)
Chef de Cuisine: Gerardo Quintero, who has worked in the kitchens at AOK Foods and Yours Truly
The Place: El Caballito is just one half of a larger project: come summer, an upscale Mexican restaurant called Los Colibris will be opening in the space directly above it. The basement bar was designed to feel like a moody Mexico City cantina: it’s big, dark and decorated with graphic Jose Posada-inspired murals and miscellaneous Mexican tchotchkes.
The Food: Herrera designed the short menu to complement the bar’s tequila-focused drinks list. It includes a mix of Latin snacks, like crunchy tuna tostadas and molotes (deep-fried pockets stuffed with chicken and topped with cojita cheese). The well-known pastry chef rounds things out with a pair of traditional Mexican sweets: cinnamon-dusted churros and a decadent tres leches cake.
The Drinks: Margaritas, Mexican beer and twelve sipping tequilas, which are available by the bottle or the ounce. Enthusiasts who sign up for private tasting sessions with bar manager and tequila expert Manny Contreras can sample from the bar’s full library of 64 different blanco, reposado and añejo tequilas and mezcals.
• $4,500 for a bottle of Clase Azul Ultra tequila
• 1,800 square-foot patio opening in summer 2014
• 12 tequilas and mezcals available by the ounce, or for servicio de tequileros (i.e. bottle service)