A few weeks ago I was invited to come check out Pachuco restaurant, a new Mexican spot in Toronto, for their “blogger preview”. In exchange for getting some exposure they offered to comp 2 items on the menu per table that attended. They label themselves as a “Modmex” restaurant, though I am not too sure what that means exactly other than a guess that they are trying to do a modern twist to traditional Mexican dishes. As a huge fan of good Mexican food, I decided to check them out and went with my girlfriend Amanda.

The restaurant is located on the Danforth in the basement of the owner’s other restaurant, Embrujo Flamenco (at Danforth and Broadview). Upon entering I have to say that they have done an excellent job on decoration and the place has a cool, trendy vibe to it that a lot of the recent popular restaurants have been going with (ie. Chalkboards, Things That Light Up, Slightly Dark, Lots of Wood etc.). Here are a couple of shots on the inside:

Pachuco Inside / Bar

"Musician, Poet & Crazy" a reference to this movie

Up first was our drink order. Since I was driving that night I opted for their Hibiscus Lemonade (as I drank a fair bit of a similar drink called Jamaica on my last visit to Mexico) and Amanda went for a Mojito.

Hibiscus Lemonade ($3.95)

Mojito ($8 w/ Alcohol)

The hibiscus lemonade was VERY good. It had great flavour with a nice balance of sweet and sour. Amanda’s mojito on the other hand was near perfect but they went a little overboard on the sugar making it a little too sweet for both mine and her liking.

After a long look at the menu, we decided it was time to order some food and opted for the following dishes: Chicken Empanadas, Taquitos de Pato (Duck Taquitos) & Taquitos Estilo Baja (Fish Taquitos). I also wanted to try some of their guacamole but figured I would leave this until last so I didn’t fill up on it before the other things.

Pachuco Menu

First to arrive was the Fish Taquitos, which I found to be kind of odd considering I would have expected the empanadas first, but no big deal. Unfortunately minutes later all the rest of our dishes arrived before we could even start on one which didn’t make a whole lot of sense and meant that some things were going to get cold. Also, I find it weird that they call their tacos taquitos, as taquitos are typically rolled up tight which is definitely not the case with the fish ones. Regardless, we started eating.

The fish tacos are served with Mexican Style Coleslaw, Chipotle Honey Salsa & Green Tomatillo Salsa. The flavour was delicious & well balanced, the portion size was quite decent and overall I really enjoyed them.

Taquitos Estilo Baja / Fish Tacos ($15)

Next we went with the Chicken Empanadas which arrived on a long platter, 3 total. The pastry was so delicate and the contents were very delicious. This was probably one of the biggest hits of the meal and something I would definitely return to eat.

Chichen Empanadas ($9)

The last of our first 3 dishes was the Duck Taquitos, or Taquitos de Pato as they are listed on the menu. Amanada wanted rice and beans (the runny kind) with this dish, so we added this on ($4). The dish was served with a small bowl of duck in a delicious sweet sauce, two side sauces (a white sauce that I think was a crema and the red sauce we assumed was the pear salsa with gaujillo peppers) and 5 taco shells. Half way through eating we started wondering where the pineapple pico de gallo was and had to assume that was the sweet sauce in with the duck since it didn’t appear anything was missing. It wasn’t until the two fellow twitter users (@AS_Toronto & @Mahefa7093) ordered the same dish that we realized we had been given the wrong sauce (the white one). At this point though it was too late as we had eaten almost all of the duck and had only enough for 1 more taco but they brought us a portion so we could try what it would be like.

Pineapple Pico de Gallo

The duck itself had amazing flavour with a slight crispiness to it. I really enjoyed it, but my biggest complaint would be the portion size. There was hardly enough meat to make up 3 tacos, let alone 5, and at $15 I felt this dish was a little stingy. Also I understand that mistakes happen (especially with a brand new restaurant) but forgetting a major component to a dish at these prices is a bit of an annoyance.

Taquitos de Pato ($15)

Rice & Beans & Tortilla Shells w/ Taquitos de Pato

Still a bit hungry I was hoping the guacamole could cap off what was so far quite a delicious meal. After much debate back and forth between the Goat Cheese Guacamole and the Smoked Trout Guacamole (which I was told by the server were there 2 most popular choices) I went against my better judgement and opted to try the latter. I really wanted to see if they could pull off an awesome guacamole with the addition of smoked trout and bacon which I was concerned might overpower the dish.

Smoked Trout Guacamole

On arrival the dish looked excellent with plenty of homemade tortilla chips and a large serving of guacamole. On first taste I thought it was quite good and was happy with my choice. Unfortunately as I continued eating this opinion quickly shifted and I started hating the dish more and more with each bite. The fish flavour began to grow very strong and I never tasted anything that remotely resembled bacon, which is quite shocking as bacon is a pretty predominate flavour. About half-way through I came across a large piece of fish skin and couldn’t eat any more. I really hate complaining for some odd reason, but I mentioned this to the waitress and told her I really did not like the dish and she later told me the chef said this skin should not have been in there and took this dish off of the bill. She was also kind enough to bring me some of the Goat Cheese Guacamole to try (free of charge) which was just okay for me (possibly I had been turned off after the trout). I would probably just stick to the traditional guacamole if I was to return.


The closest restaurant I can compare Pachuco to would be Grand Electric so I will use their pricing to compare value. With most of their appetizer dishes at around $9 I think they are priced on the higher end. As for their tacos most restaurants in Toronto offering a similar dish are charging in the $10-$12 range, which also puts them quite high. You can easily rack up a very large bill here and though for the most part I really enjoyed my meal these are still dishes that are traditionally much cheaper and I think they might be pushing a bit much for a couple extra dollars on each dish. If they brought their dishes down a few dollars each I would say they are in line for having good value for the money.


Our waitress was excellent and very attentive. I was also very pleased when she took the guacamole off of the bill and even brought a sampler of the other guacamole I had been contemplating.


Since this site is called “Cheap Dude” I think I will find it hard to return to Pachuco for a full meal based on the value for my money with this particular dining experience. It’s unfortunate when mistakes happen and I am very easy going with them for the most part, but when 2 mistakes happen in a single meal it makes me question how much attention to detail is being paid in the kitchen. If I was to return it would more likely be for drinks and maybe an order of the fish tacos or chicken empanadas as a snack. I hope my experience was a rare occasion as the people there seemed very friendly and I would like for them to improve but I have to write this review based on my experience, not what it would have been had everything gone perfectly. Also, they knew they were inviting people into the restaurant that would most likely be writing about their experience which makes me slightly more concerned that they didn’t pay as much attention to detail.

SCORE: 6/10 (Without the 2 negatives this score would easily jump a point at least to 7/10)



Website: www.Pachuco.ca
Twitter: @PachucoResto
Address: 99 Danforth Ave, Toronto, Ontario (Map)
Phone Number: 416-466-8006

Pachuco on Urbanspoon