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