Taco Travels: Hernando’s Hideaway

Hernando’s Hideaway


545 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON

1 out of 5 stars

Not that you guys in the Salt Lake area will care, but i wanted to share some of my experiences while traveling looking for work outside of Salt Lake City. We have a LOT to be proud of in Utah. Here’s my take on one of the restaurants i came across in Canada that is touted as “California Style” Mexican food. Can we all collectively roll our eyes? Good.

I’m up in Toronto at the moment with my girlfriend, and had a chance to check out what is considered Mexican food up here in the far north. I have to tell you, it was just sort of edible and if I had kids or was drunk out of mind i might rave about this place. However, it resembles NOTHING that we are lucky enough to eat down south. The dish i ordered was known as “The Mexican Flag”. It consisted of one cheese, one chicken, and one beef enchilada. None of the meat or cheese was impressive. Slathered in the three colors of the Mexican flag, this was served up in a sort of sports bar slash dumpy mexi-diner setting with exposed brick and gaudy colors and iguanas on the walls and furniture. I did not get to try the tacos,  but we’ll see if i get a chance to later on. I could go on about how bad this was, and i’d be more forgiving, but the food was not good and the server was sort of a dick. See, there really aren’t good Mexican food joints up in Toronto. The enchiladas were over-spiced and had something more like gravy than a dry spice  rub seasoning. I understand that Canadians love their poutine, but the same rules should not be applied to Mexican food when it comes to covering things in gravy. Hernando’s Hideaway should stay hidden if you’re looking for an authentic or even enjoyable experience. You may love the place if your favorite Italian is Chef Boyardee. The tortillas were grainy and spongy, and the beans resembled something an animal would deposit on a lawn. The rice was dry and seasoned far too much. I ended up picking at this thing and suffering pretty awful heartburn after wards. The staff seemed like they had better things to do, and better tables to wait on. Not impressed with the snotty atmosphere and expensive prices for mediocre food. You will not be missed.

The best part of the meal was the Margaritas. It made me forget about where i was and added a beer-goggles effect to what i was eating.

Don’t be fooled – this is not authentic, and is barely better than something you would get out of a can. I’d be more forgiving if this were a chain restaurant like Chili’s or Applebees, but it’s not. It is touted as “California style” Mexican food on their website. I don’t know what that means to people up here other than it’s far away and close to Mexico. It is a disservice to anyone in California as well, as i have had amazing Mexican food all up and down the entire state of California. I suggest the owners visit California or hell, even Mexico. They may learn a thing or two about creating simple, tasty, fresh Mexican dishes and take some hints on hospitality. Not that California is known for it, but it’s better than the holier than thou attitude experienced at this dive.

Next up, I’ll take you along for a trip to Kensington Market where a little gem exists named El Trompo (mentioned a few times in other posts). Stay tuned, as there is a little bit of hope for Toronto and it’s attempts at branding food “Mexican”. The hunt continues…

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