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“Funky but cramped”

Playa Cabana Cantina
Ranked #461 of 8,575 Restaurants in Toronto
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Mexican
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Neighborhood: West End
Charlotte, NC
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Funky but cramped”
Reviewed May 12, 2013

A group of five of us dined here for dinner on a Saturday. It was jam packed at 5:15 (we had reservation which are highly recommended). There was a speaker blasting Latin music (yeah) into my ear (boo) so I was unable to hear any of the conversation at the table. The restaurant is a cool urban space but extremely tiny so if you don't like close quarters, this is not the place for you. The service was attentive, friendly and informed. I thought the food was good but a little overpriced for what it was. I had fish tacos and they were teeny tiny (I got three for $14). I would probably not go again as there are just so many other restaurants to enjoy in Toronto but it wasn't bad. If I could give 3.5 stars, I would.

  • Visited May 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank sandpinkshimmer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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157 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Toronto
Level 5 Contributor
27 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Love it!!!”
Reviewed May 5, 2013

Wanted to try this place for while. Went with three friends on a Thursday evening for 7:30pm with no reservation, had drinks at the bar and was seated by 8:15, this place was packed-in a good way, lots of fun energy. Reminded me of neighbourhood spots in London or New York. Bar staff were friendly, hostess was helpful, sever was always at our table when needed. Food-was spot on delicious and creative. We all had a great night and will be back soon!!!

One more reason to hang on a Thurs, Fri or Saturday night in The Junction!!

  • Visited May 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank artsofdarkness
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
101 reviews
64 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
“nice dinner, responsive service”
Reviewed April 14, 2013

Had a nice family dinner on the early side Sunday. I read some of the other reviews about the slow and indifferent service, but we had no issues. Granted, the restaurant was only about 2/3 full at the time. Food was very good. Service was attentive. We got our drinks fairly quickly. It took a while to get the food, and when it arrived we had order plain carnitas tacos for a daughter and it came fully garnished. We sent it back and were prepared to have to wait, but a corrected order came out right away. Fish tacos were great. The house hot sauces were hot. All around great food. Not fantastic value, but it will be great for an occasional special meal.

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank jnyyz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Level 5 Contributor
56 reviews
33 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“The food was good, the drinks were GREAT, both were a bit overpriced”
Reviewed April 4, 2013

I understand the going rate for a cocktail in Toronto is now in the $10-15 range, but this was too small. Although it was amazing - I had the "it's a nice thing".

The food was also good, no real complaints at all. We had the Nachos (pizza style) which were fun, and I had the fish tacos and my date had a chorizo burrito. I just don't think it's worth the hype, and it is DEFINITELY NOT Toronto's best mexican...that's either Frida's or Pachuco.

The best thing about this place is the service and the decor - both were amazing.

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank StiffNeckPauper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level 5 Contributor
60 reviews
36 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
“A great place for brunch”
Reviewed March 15, 2013

A very popular Mexican restaurant opened a second location just north of our hood in The Junction, Playa Cabana Cantina. We were elated because the original location is always so busy they regularly have one hour line ups outside, rain or shine. About a month ago a friend made reservations and they still had to wait an hour for their table! I don't do lines (queues), period. If I can't get a reservation and timely seating, I just can't be bothered to go, no matter how delicious the food claims to be. There are too many really good restaurants in Toronto to waste time standing in line!

When Playa Cabana Cantina opened in The Junction we were very happy to have a good Mexican restaurant so close to home. We've eaten there twice for lunch/brunch both times and I am very happy to report an excellent review BOTH times! We've tried going back for dinner but that's another story.

Our first lunch we each ordered our own meal, and we knew that future visits would entail sharing, the portions are HUGE. My hubby had a Burrito with Guajillo-chipotle marinated free range chicken grilled over coals with fresh mango salsa which was wrapped with melted Oaxacan cheese, rice, and beans, they topped it with fresh guacamole, pico de gallo, crema, and it sat in two very colourful sauces: green tomatillo sauce and red tomato sauce $13. My hubby couldn't say enough good things about it; I had a taste and it was a flavour explosion in my mouth. The red tomato sauce was delicious, the tomatillo was a bit tasteless, but I've not had tomatillo sauce before so maybe it is supposed to be mild. Again, there is enough food on the platter to share between two people and I guarantee you will not leave hungry. I ordered a smaller order of three Tacos de Chori-Queso; the tacos were homemade corn and water tacos filled with homemade Mexican Chorizo wrapped with Oaxacan cheese $14. Although my selection was delicious, it was a bad choice for me because the tacos were actually deep fried and the Chorizo was a bit greasy; not withstanding, it was still quite delicious, but I prefer healthier options, particularly when I'm not sharing.

On our second visit we smartened up and shared one of our favourite brunchy plates: Heuvos Rancheros and we were not disappointed. Made with three eggs, Spanish and Mexican Chorizo, rice with corn, black beans, flour tortilla, guacamole, sour cream and queso. The eggs could have been a bit more cooked (the whites were pretty runny) but the yolks were perfect. We divided the plate one third-two thirds (the larger one for JT) and it was perfect. The Chorizo was plentiful and very flavourful and it wasn't greasy like my first taco experience; it also spiced up the plate with a bit of heat perfectly.

Service was good and both times the food came quickly, but the second time we had to ask for water fill ups. The noise level during Brunch is relatively quiet but another table (bit older than we are) asked them to reduce the volume for the music (we chose a table as far from the hanging speakers as possible). I suspect that it's likely much more animated during the dinner hours.

One Thursday night, we decided to try it for dinner, but we knew we were playing with fire, so we called first. The gentleman said they were fully booked with reservations but there is ALWAYS seating at the bar; don't worry, I'll find you a seat, he said. We do bars! In fact, I love sitting at the bar because you can often get to know the bartender and it's always a pleasant conversation. Sadly this was not to happen that Thursday night. About 15 minutes after we called we arrived at the restaurant and guess what? No room, not one seat, not even at the bar. Needless to say we were rather annoyed and likely won't be going back for a while (they shouldn't have made promises they knew they couldn't keep), not that they will miss our business because they seem to be booked every night even without us! Too bad, I liked their food.

Playa Cabana Cantina
2883 Dundas St. W, Toronto, ON
647-352-7767
Monday Closed
Tuesday 5pm – 12am
Wednesday 5pm – 12am
Thursday 5pm – 2am
Friday 5pm – 2am
Saturday 5pm – 2am
Sunday 5pm – 12am

Overall rating of The Junction Playa Cabana Cantina (in my opinion): Decor 4/5, service 3.5/5, food 4/5, Value 4/5, Noise: 4/5 (1 being very noisy, and 5 being very quiet).

Disclaimer: We purchased our meals for full price and my opinions just that, my opinions.

  • Visited March 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank et-toronto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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