Introducing: La Libre, a Yucatán-themed grill tucked behind Playa Hacienda
Name: La Libre
Contact Info: 14 Dupont St. (behind Playa Hacienda), 647-352-6030, playacabana.ca, @PlayaCabana
Owner: Dave Sidhu, who owns all three Playa locations—Cabana, Hacienda and Cantina—as well as Korean-themed taqueria Barrio Coreano
Chefs: Executive chef Dave Sidhu and chef de cuisine Guillermo Escalante
The Food: The food at La Libre is inspired by Yucatán cuisine, which is known for its spicy, smoky and slightly tropical flavours. Almost everything is cooked over charcoal, including huachinango tikinxic, a traditional red-snapper dish smoked in banana leaves, and cecina, a type of salt-cured steak that’s dried in the sun for an hour before it hits the grill. Ceviche is marinated in sour-orange juice instead of the usual lemon or lime.
The Drinks: Margaritas and other citrusy, tequila-based cocktails, which are served in plastic cups (or by the pitcher).
The Place: Like Big Crow, the backyard barbecue behind nearby diner Rose and Sons, the former Hacienda back patio has been transformed into an entirely separate outdoor restaurant, with its own kitchen, bar and beachy, laid-back vibe. A retractable awning makes the space habitable in all kinds of weather.