Rainbow-coloured blankets splayed on the walls signal that Ponchos Mexican Restaurant is a great place for a feast to become a fiesta. Arrive on the weekends, and a guitar-wielding entertainer plays festive music to boost the celebratory atmosphere. Since 1988, Kaeta Vasquez and her crew in the kitchen have crafted traditional Mexican dishes, such as paella for one or two, a steak-and-enchilada plate, flautas crisp from the fryer, and fajita platters sizzling with peppers and onions. To keep the party alive, diners can order Ponchos Coffee spiked with Kahlúa and Grand Marnier, which Kaeta herself escorts to each table and lights on fire.
Taco Time Victoria's dedicated taco artisans enhance their menu of fast Mexican eats with shells, chips, taste-bud-kicking sauces, and beef prepared fresh in-store each day. They dish up bite-size, deep-fried Mexi-Fries alongside spicy meals, and for dessert, they shower empanadas and Crustos with cinnamon, sugar, and warm fuzzies to make them extra sweet. Their original hot sauce enflames such entrees as quesadillas and burritos stuffed with canadian cheddar, and guests can take swigs of Pepsi products to cool their sizzling tongues more effectively than licking a snowman.
Calle Tacos & Tequila's menu describes itself as casually evolved Mexican food. The eatery's cooks don't try to reinvent the wheel, but rather add tasty twists to popular dishes. They spice up ceviche with mango, onion, cucumber, and serrano peppers, whose intense flavors surround Atlantic cod. They revolutionize familiar burritos simply by serving them wet, topping them with a layer of red-pepper sauce and sending them to tables by pushing them down a slip 'n' slide. The same philosophy behind the food extends to the drinks. For example, the signature Callerita combines pure agave tequila with agave nectar and lime juice for a simple, three-ingredient interpretation of the classic drink.
Swaths of red and black cover the multilevel ceiling and walls of Joey’s Urban, and matte canvas photos of Joey's food hang on the walls. Contemporary music plays on the speakers, and LCD screens display sporting contests above the heads of patrons consuming fried fish and tacos. Fish 'n' chip meals sear a quarter-pound piece of cod ($12) or halibut ($16) in a crisp, fried coating. The included natural-cut fries with sea salt can be upgraded to classic poutine for an extra $2 and smothered in gravy and cheese curds. Patrons can also select from five flavors of à la carte tacos including ahi tuna or mexi-chicken ($4.50).
The sounds of a live mariachi band conjure a colourful, festive image, so it’s no surprise where El Mariachi Mexican Restaurant—with its multicoloured tablecloths, bold red walls, and green ceilings—got its name. Inside this vibrant eatery, a master chef plates authentic fare such as sizzling chicken and beef fajitas and whole fried tilapia spiked with the perfect blend of Mexican seasonings. At the bar, a veteran mixologist incorporates real limes, strawberries, and mangos into decadent margaritas and daiquiris, and nine kinds of Jarritos wash down crumbs or double as perfume in a pinch.
At Los Compadres, meals ensue within the dining room's green and red-orange walls while guests savour familiar staples of generously portioned Mexican cuisine. Flat-screen TVs display UFC fights and musicians serenade the eatery's occupants with live music and bird calls on weekend evenings. The owners decorate the menu with colourful descriptions of chorizo folded into melted cheese and chocolate-tinged mole sauce glazed over corn enchiladas.