A Sampler of Contemporary Mexican Cuisine

It seems like ages ago when we were all out and about, free to enjoy a nice evening with family or friends at a favourite local restaurant, or in a novel location while visiting a different place. As I mentioned in a previous post, my husband, one of our daughters, and I, had a mini-vacation in Toronto back in February. I posted about being tired the first night, hence having a simple meal at the hotel’s restaurant, but for our second night, my daughter (the vegetarian) suggested a trendy vegan restaurant specializing in Mexican cuisine; it sounded like an intriguing and fun idea.

Rosalinda Restaurant (133 Richmond St W, Toronto, Ontario) is well located, just one block South of Queen St. and Nathan Philip Square (City Hall). The store front is deceivingly small, but the bar and dining areas inside were spacious; the architecture felt like a cross between a warehouse and a green house, lending an industrial look to the décor:

001 Bar at Rosalinda001 Rosalinda restaurant Toronto

My husband commented that you could not tell it was a Mexican restaurant, which I liked a lot, because this is probably how a trendy restaurant would actually look in Mexico, with hanging plants instead of piñatas, and glass walls with no murals of men in sombreros against the background of a valley, and a lone coyote howling in the distance. We were lucky to get a table without a reservation, even though it was a weeknight; the staff was most friendly, and helpful with their suggestions. We started with drinks (classic Margarita, sangria and a mate soft drink) and we shared an appetizer of Jícama and Citrus Salad, with avocado/pistachio cream, pumpkin seeds and pickled onions:

002 Salad with Margarita Rosalinda

It was very refreshing, and I thought the nuts and creamy dressing were a nice twist on Pico de gallo, the classic Mexican fruit salad (not the salsa, click here for the full story and recipe) often placed at the centre of the table as an appetizer to share over cocktails or tequila shots.

My husband and my daughter shared two platters of tacos (Chorizo rojo and jackfruit pibil), shown below, with a refreshing glass of the house’s sangria:

000 tacos with sangria Rosalinda

The sangria’s gradation of red wine, citrus juice and ice, topped with a slice of blood orange looked nice.  The jackfruit pibil taco, with its annatto-based seasoning, was particularly interesting:

003 taco jackfruit pibil Rosalinda

For my selection, I focused on the main course offerings, and almost immediately decided to order their Roasted Sunchoke in Manchamantel sauce, with “tarragon cashew crema, almonds & plantains”, served with handmade corn tortillas:

Manchamanteles Rosalinda

Manchamanteles literally means “tablecloth stainer”, because a spatter of the dark red sauce could mean a hard-to-clean stain on the linens.  The traditional dish calls for skin-on chicken pieces, fruits and roots, all smothered in a rich ancho pepper sauce, seasoned with herbs and almonds.  This vegan rendition with roasted sunchokes (a root vegetable, also known as Jerusalem artichoke) was simply a work of genius; choosing a “meaty” roasted root added substance and an interesting flavour profile, so that chicken was not missed.  In addition, arranging other ingredients as toppings (also shown at the top of this post) provided a preview of the different tastes and textures to be enjoyed in this beautifully plated Mexican classic.

005 Rosalinda logo

Due to the pandemic, Rosalinda restaurant is currently closed, but their website is still up and running, with a cheerful message on the home page: “Rosalinda is closed (for now, not forever) We cannot wait to welcome you back again!”  I hope that Rosalinda, as well as all other restaurants and businesses affected by this crisis, will survive, and will indeed open their doors once again.

In the meantime, in my next posts, I will share some of my recipes for a festive Cinco de Mayo meal at home, inspired by this delightful dinner at Rosalinda.

6 thoughts on “A Sampler of Contemporary Mexican Cuisine

    1. You have a very interesting background and hometown, and you are probably right that it would influence your taste. Thank you so much for your endorsement and kind comment, Lou!

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  1. Looks like a nice restaurant. Was the chorizo taco not meat? We have an upscale Mexican restaurant here that is also NOT decorated like the stereotypical “Mexican” themed restaurant. Refreshing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Everything was vegan, including the chorizo. They generally are not trying to imitate meat flavour, but the seasonings of the dish. It’s great to hear you have (will hopefully have back) Mexican food just for its culinary value!

      Liked by 1 person

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