I had no idea what I was walking into when I pulled open the door to La Tortilleria. I should have though. The storefront clearly said La Tortilleria Market with the words, “convenience” and “Mexican products” right underneath, alongside “fresh tortillas daily”. I think I was so excited about trying a place I had wanted to try for ages that all logic escaped through my head and into the chilly air. That and because I was so ready for lunch, I was hungry!
Anyway, I should have had an inkling as to the type of establishment I was about to step into, but it didn’t register at the time. All I knew I was that I was excited about having Mexican food for lunch and that I would most likely be faced with the hard decision of deciding between quesadillas, tacos, and possibly burritos. All thoughts of what to feed my hungry stomach momentarily seized though after I stepped inside. I was expecting giant menu boards, some tables and chairs to sit and eat, and mouthwatering photos of food to entice the Mexican lover in me. I got much more than I expected.
I had walked right into a Mexican food and grocery emporium! OH.MY.GOD. I actually said that out loud as I entered through the swinging entrance barricade. Sigh. How graceful of me. I was in awe though. I had never been to a Mexican grocery store before! Chinese supermarkets? Since the day I was born. Polish mini market? Just this past late summer. I’ve even been to a Filipino grocery mart. But a Mexican grocery store? Oh, this was divine. La Tortilleria is not only a sit-down spot to nosh on Mexican comfort food hot off the press, but the Bloor & Dufferin location is also a Mexican supermarket with everything from Mexican corn chips and tortillas to pantry staples to bulk spices to traditional Mexican pastries and baked goods.
The grocery mart is divided into different aisles and sections and each aisle and section is devoted to a specific type of food. La Tortilleria has shelves of canned and dry pantry items such as chipotle, jalapeno, and serrano peppers, refried beans, hot sauces, cornmeal and maize, tamale and masa flour, Mexican chocolate mixes and coffee, churro mix, dips, condiments, and many others. The grocery market also has a bulk section with spices as well as a grab n’ go sweets section with Mexican pastries, cookies, and churros. Amidst all the Mexican grocery goodness is the hot food counter where you can order La Tortilleria’s hot and fresh corn tacos and tortillas to-go or to enjoy at the sit-down seating area. Menu items range from $6-$10 and aside from the tortilla bundles, all the menu items are meals, meaning they’re meant to be eaten as a full meal or as sharing plates. You won’t find single tacos here! Go big or go home.
La Tortilleria actually has 4 locations in Toronto: one in the Kensington Market area, one on St. Clair West by Dufferin, one by Jane and Lawrence, and the full grocery mart location that I went to at Bloor and Dufferin. After perusing their tacos menu outside the Kensington Market one, I knew I had to try some of their vegetarian tacos. The taco meals are divided into two categories, vegetarian and meat, and there are two price points: 3 tacos for $6.99, or 4 tacos for $8.99. There are 4 meat options and 4 vegetarian ones. Meat options include beef, sausage, pork, and chicken mole, and vegetarian choices include spinach and cheese, jalapeno with mashed potatoes and cheese, cactus and vegetables, and my pick, zucchini squash and veggies!
My soft corn tortilla tacos were stuffed with diced zucchini, tomatoes, corn, mashed black beans, and rice. All tacos come with black beans and rice in the tacos along with the filling option you choose as opposed to on the side, but it’s completely up to you if you want them at all as they ask you before making your tacos. There are hot sauce and salsa bowls right beside the dish of crispy corn tortilla chip samples that you’re free to take to your table for your meal and although I’m not entirely sure if sides such as sour cream or cheese are available, it doesn’t hurt to ask. The warm and soft corn tortillas are actually layered, two per taco, so that the tacos are nice and thick and all the filling stays inside and doesn’t fall out of any tortilla rips.
If you need a hearty meal to warm you up on cold days, or if you just love Mexican, the tacos are delicious and filling and did I mention delicious?! I’m always a fan of veggies, black beans, and rice, but the kicker for me was the corn tortillas and their texture and flavour. They were so savoury and it was like biting into roasted corn in soft tortilla form. They practically oozed warmth and comfort and biting into my tacos was like biting into vegetarian corn pillows with juiciness and roasted flavour all wrapped into one. I can still taste the amazing corn flavour of the tortillas when I think about my vegetarian tacos and I can’t get over how soft they are!
I loved them and one of the things I loved best about this meal was how satisfying it was. I finished my three tacos feeling like I had a great meal, not feeling like I had eaten something unhealthy and gross. The whole thing was just very simple and although I’m huuuge fan of things like sour cream and cheese and all that good stuff, I really appreciated the healthiness and simplicity of the food. I kept murmuring about how good the food was between bites and I’m so excited to try their other menu items.
Sometimes fate and timing work out in funny ways. I like to think that food and I are meant to be and that I’m a good luck magnet when it comes to making foodie discoveries and finding good eats. When one game plan doesn’t work out, another one swoops right in to save the day and that’s how my La Tortilleria visit and fabulous happened. After paying a visit to my “Plan A” spot of the day and finding out said spot didn’t have the menu item I reeeeally wanted to try, I walked back east and almost face-palmed when I saw and remembered that La Tortilleria was at the corner of Bloor and Dufferin and pounced on the opportunity to finally try this Mexican house of yumminess. I was too chicken (no pun intended) to try the jalapeno veggie taco this time around, but you can bet I’ll muster up the heat tolerance to try it out next time. The food is wholesome, hearty, and so good and it’s quite the comfort knowing I have more than one location to indulge in.
La Tortilleria Market is located at 1009 Dufferin St. at the corner of Dufferin St. and Bloor Street West. La Tortilleria serves 4 locations in Toronto, with the Bloor and Dufferin location being the full grocery market one. For a list of locations and hours, click here.