Looking for a fun night out, full of cool drinks and hot food, without
breaking the bank? Then head directly to Rancho Relaxo right in the heart of
Rancho Relaxo is the realization of a dream for owner Donnie Blais. Don wanted
to create a warm and friendly restaurant that served great Mexican food for
great value, something that he thought Toronto was definitely missing. "I've
always loved Mexico," says Don. "I've been making several trips a year there
for over thirty years now. That was my inspiration for this place."
When you enter the restaurant the inviting, fun atmosphere instantly strikes
you. Souvenirs, crafts and artwork from Don's travels cover the warm ochre
walls. Latin music plays gently in the background adding to the ambience but
still allowing for quiet conversation. Stop in on a Friday night and the
joint is jumping with the addition of a live Tex-Mex band.
The best way to start your evening at Rancho Relaxo is with one of Don's
famous Margaritas. Choose from the purists' favourite - the lime margarita,
made with freshly squeezed lime juice, or opt for the decadent frozen
version in lime or strawberry. One sip and you will be instantly transported
to a cantina down South.
Not to be missed is the impeccably fresh guacamole served with tortilla
chips. It arrives at the table in the stone mortar and pestle it is made in.
You can't help but think of summer as you dip into the chunky mix of bright
green avocado flecked with tomato, jalapeño, onion and cilantro. The
accompanying chips are crisp and full of rich corn flavour.
All the soups on the menu are wonderful, but for something truly unique Don
suggests the Lime Soup. Made with freshly squeezed lime juice, this clear
broth is tangy and warm, and is a great light start to any meal.
Don is particularly proud of the authenticity of his menu. In fact, many
items are family recipes of Chef Alejandro Corona, a native of Mexico. The
truth is you can't go wrong no matter what you choose. All entrees are
incredibly generous both in quality and quantity. Don points out that one of
the great things about the restaurant's location is its proximity to
Kensington Market, giving him access to the widest variety, freshest and
most authentic ingredients.
Signature dishes include the Chile Relleno - a wonderfully spicy stuffed
Poblano pepper, the Enchilada Mole - the secret ingredient in the sauce is
chocolate and the Chimichanga Al Camarones - fried flour tortilla stuffed
with at least a dozen large shrimp. All entrées include refried beans (made
with 100% pure vegetable oil), fluffy Mexican rice and a salad of mixed
greens gently dressed with balsamic vinaigrette. Unbelievably, not one of
the meals above will set you back more than $12, and Don guarantees no one
leaves his restaurant hungry.
The wine list at Rancho Relaxo is short yet thoughtfully put together. Don
specifically points out the Mexican red wine, L.A. Cetto - a Barbera that he
makes sure is available at the restaurant even when it's hard to find in the
liquor store. Like the food, the wine is more than reasonably priced at an
average of $25 per bottle.
So whether you're a party of two or twenty head down to Rancho Relaxo for a
great night out. As well, the upstairs lounge at Rancho Relaxo is available
for private parties of up to 100, and as Don likes to say, "We throw a mean
300 College Street
Toronto, Ontario M5T 1R9