What’s on the menu at Rosa’s, a new Latin American restaurant and cocktail bar on St. Clair West

What’s on the menu at Rosa’s, a new Latin American restaurant and cocktail bar on St. Clair West

Including tacos, skirt steak and spicy margaritas

A mirror on the wall of a restaurant reflects a mural of a woman with a rose in her hair

Name: Rosa’s
Contact: 1067 St. Clair Ave. W., 416-653-5151, rosastoronto.com, @rosastoronto
Neighbourhood: Regal Heights
Owners: Anna Canzona and Victor Reinoso (Atomic 10)
Chef: Victor Reinoso
Accessibility: Fully accessible

With their newest restaurant, Anna Canzona and Victor Reinoso—partners in business and life and owners of St. Clair West taco joint Atomic 10—plan to go back to their roots. “My parents emigrated from Ecuador 40 years ago,” says Reinoso. “My mother was a great cook, and that landed her a job at a Sbarro in a mall. Eventually she opened her own hot counter, naming it after me and my brother. We were always hanging around there.”

From a young age, Reinoso became enthralled by the bustle of the restaurant biz, and he started experimenting in that world with Canzona, his high school sweetheart, as soon as they graduated. “Anna and I had a baby together when we were still teenagers, so we needed to work to raise our family,” says Reinoso. “Thankfully I loved cooking and I knew a little bit about running a restaurant. Coming from a traditional Italian family, Anna was also in love with food—so we were also natural business partners.”

A spread of Latin-American dishes and drinks at Rosa's, a restaurant in Toronto

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The two have hustled in the industry ever since—first with Latin-inspired pop-ups, then with food trucks. And then, in the summer of 2020, they opened Atomic 10. “We were supposed to open in March, but that obviously didn’t go as planned,” says Canzona. “The pandemic meant that we had plenty of time to perfect our tacos, though! It’s more complicated to make a taco that properly withstands a takeout scenario. But that’s what we had to do—and it paid off once we could finally open for service.”

While Rosa’s is considered the sister restaurant to Atomic 10, it’s not an extension of the popular taqueria. And though the new St. Clair outpost does feature a number of tacos on its menu, it also lists other Latin American dishes like ceviche, empanadas and Argentinian grilled skirt steak. “The aim is to be both authentic and accessible,” says Reinoso.

A red, leather-bound menu sits on a table at Rosa's, a restaurant in Toronto
The food

Bright, bold, spicy flavours that traverse Latin America, from Peru to Mexico to Argentina to Ecuador (with a whisper of Italy, but we’ll get to that later). Traditional small plates like patacones— fried plantains with cilantro aioli—tacos, empanadas and ceviche hold their weight against larger platters of grilled meat. And while cassava fries show up as a suitable accompaniment, Reinoso doesn’t shy away from sides that are decidedly not Latin, like grilled broccolini and honey-glazed Brussels sprouts. “They may not be traditional, but they complement the flavours, and it’s what my mother cooked, so why not?”

Three Colombian-style corn empanadas
Colombian-style corn-based empanadas are stuffed with a mixture of potato and beef that’s been slow-cooked and stewed in Latin spices. On the side: some spicy house-made pico de gallo. $16 for three

 

Corn ribs served with ricotta
These corn ribs—lightly breaded, covered in hickory smoke and deep-fried—are Reinoso’s take on esquites. He finishes them with salt and smoked paprika and serves them with a dollop of whipped ricotta drizzled in honey and house-made salsa matcha. $16

 

Three fish tacos
For the fish tacos, battered and fried haddock is loaded with house slaw and salsa fresca, then drizzled with chipotle aioli. For heat seekers, house-made mango-habanero hot sauce arrives on the side. $22 for three

 

Breaded and deep-fried burrata served with blistered grape tomatoes and grilled bread
Breaded and deep-fried burrata drizzled with chimichurri sounds blasphemous, but it works. It’s plated on thinly sliced chorizo, with grilled bread and blistered grape tomatoes drizzled in olive oil on the side. $18

 

Argentinian skirt steak with chimichurri and a goblet of deep-fried Brussels sprouts
Argentinian skirt steak is dry-rubbed, grilled and anointed with chimichurri. It’s served with deep-fried honey-glazed Brussels sprouts. $35

 

The drinks

There’s a short wine list and a longer beer one, but the focus here is on tequila and mezcal as well as Canzona’s signature cocktails. “I don’t actually drink,” she says. “But I understand flavours, and I have plenty of people around me who are happy to be my taste testers.”

A spicy margarita
The margarita—a mix of 1800 Tequila, Cointreau, lime juice, agave and salt—gets an extra kick from a rim of Tajín, toasted sesame seeds and crushed chilies. $16

 

The Sunflower Meadow is a refreshing cocktail made with house-made Earl Grey syrup, lemon juice, agave syrup and gin
The Sunflower Meadow is a refreshing mix of house-made Earl Grey syrup, lemon juice, agave syrup and gin. It’s all shaken with ice, strained, topped with egg white foam and garnished with a bright gooseberry. $17

 

A Day in Italy is a balanced blend of house-made nectarine-and-basil simple syrup, lemon juice and Crown Royal
A Day in Italy is a balanced cocktail with house-made nectarine-and-basil simple syrup, lemon juice, and Crown Royal. It’s finished with egg white foam and garnished with a dehydrated nectarine slice. $17

 

A bartender shakes cinnamon over an espresso martini
Canzona puts the finishing touch on an espresso martini

 

Tiramisu espresso martini
The Tiramisu Espresso Martini is a blend of espresso, Kahlúa, tequila, Bailey’s and crème de cacao, shaken with ice and strained. It’s topped with espresso foam, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a coffee bean. $17

 

The space

In a kind of cohesive cacophony, basic restaurant supply chairs are set against a backdrop of art deco panelled walls, velvet banquettes, rounded archways, custom tiling, moody strip-lit arches, neon signage and a hand-painted mural (done by one of Reinoso’s high school friends) that screams telenovela.

A mural of a woman next to a rose is painted on the wall at Rosa's, a restaurant in Toronto

The dining room at Rosa's, a Latin-American restaurant in Toronto, is decorated with back-lit mirrors, neon signage and plants

The dining room of Rosa's, looking out to the street through the windows of a roll-up garage door

Bar fridges full of beer sit below shelves stocked with liquor bottles and glassware

The exterior of Rosa's, a Latin-American restaurant in Toronto