Located in Koreatown, Barrio Coreano is the newest addition to the Playa Cabana family. Having previously lived in LA, a city with heavy Korean influence, owner Dave Sidhu used this as inspiration for the space and menu design at Barrio Coreano.
I had the opportunity to sample the cocktail and taco menu before its doors officially opened. As soon as I set foot inside, I felt like I was transported into a street party and alleyway decked out with neon adornments. The music was blaring, and the whole place had a pink glow from bright neon lights and electric signs. The décor was largely made from reclaimed materials outside of Toronto. The tables and bar top were made from an old bowling alley floor in Barrie and the beaming electric star sign came from Los Angeles.
After trying out a cocktail or two, I was ready to feast on tacos!
And there were tacos a plenty! They were going so fast I had to quickly swipe them off the serving trays before they were all gone. From time to time the menu will change to offer a variety of new dishes based on seasonal ingredients. The mainstays will include Grilled Octopus with Wasabi Salsa, Chipotle Kampungki Chicken, Korean Beef and Yuzu Tuna ($6 per taco).
After giving them all a try, here are my favourites:
Korean Beef - I have a serious love for Korean BBQ beef! This taco hit the spot with generous pieces of perfectly cooked and tender beef, topped with cilantro and shredded pickled veggies. Have a drink ready in hand, this is a spicy one!
Grilled Octopus with Wasabi Salsa – This taco is stuffed with large pieces of tender grilled octopus. The wasabi salsa is an excellent touch with just enough kick and chunks of creamy avocado.
Along with tacos, their menu will also have a selection of appetizers such as guacamole and chips, jalapeno spring rolls, whole fried shrimp and calamari with burnt arbol kimchi. The Korean-Mexican theme extends into their cocktails menu as well with drinks such as Soju Sangria and Kequila Marma.
Seating 90 people, on a first come-first serve basis, Barrio Coreano will be open from Tuesdays to Saturdays.
Natalia Dziubaniwsky is a professional in the not-for-profit sector, freelance writer and an avid traveller forever searching for a new adventure. A lover of life, wildlife enthusiast, movie buff and hobbyaholic, you can interact with her on Twitter @taliasfootsteps or follow her footsteps through her blog.