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Introducing: El Catrin, the Distillery District’s new Mexican restaurant

Introducing: El Catrin

(Image: Gizelle Lau)

Name: El Catrin Destileria
Neighbourhood: Distillery District
Contact info: 18 Tank House Ln., 416-203-2121,, @elcatrinca
Owners: John Berman, Mathew Rosenblatt and partners
Chef: Olivier Le Calvez, who moved to Toronto from Mexico City a month ago

The Place: The former Boiler House space has been given a mod-goth makeover with heavy black chandelier-style light fixtures, wall-mounted glow-in-the-dark skulls and a kaleidoscopic floor-to-ceiling mural by Mexican street artist Oscar Flores. Tables on the 190-seat enclosed patio are arranged around a fire pit.

The Food: Tacos, burritos and tostadas, served tapas-style, plus starters like Serrano-spiced guacamole and watermelon-tuna ceviche. Heavier dishes include 24 hour–braised pork brisket and mole-braised short ribs.

The Drinks: Spanish, Portuguese and South American wines, sipping tequilas and cocktails like the Pepino Diablo, a mix of tequila, muddled cucumber and Serrano peppers and agave nectar.

The Numbers:
• $200 for a shot of Clase Azul Ultra Extra Anejo, a premium tequila that’s cellared for five years in sherry oak barrels
• 6 weeks for Mexican artist Oscar Flores to complete the skull-covered mural on the restaurant’s back wall
• 4 different margaritas on the cocktail list, each available by the glass and pitcher
• 1 candle-festooned, Baja-style altar by the bathrooms
• 1 spirit available: tequila

Our Introducing series explores newly opened restaurants, bars and shops throughout the GTA
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