By Matthew Bamber & Jesse Espana
Rancho Relaxo is generating quite a buzz with their Toronto venue revival. For 16 years, The establishment has been a prominent icon in their neighbourhood for Mexican style cuisine and a venue that supports many local Toronto musicians. Recently, Rancho Relaxo completed the overhaul that has renovated the space and added a sense of elegance that is sure to attract many people from all over Toronto.
The restaurant staff was very accommodating as they made their rounds, distributing various featured dishes to the eager members of the media. The bar staff was also very friendly, recommending their drink specialties as the restaurant filled with people. The dishes that were served were snack-sized portions of actual menu items, which were convenient as it allowed for everyone to try all the dishes without getting overly full, with Chilli Caramel Lime Popcorn, Breaded Fish Taco with Chipotle Mayo, and the Marinated Short Rib Potato Puree as the standouts. The amount of flavour that is contained in these dishes is remarkable and leaves any food lover desiring the recipes. Located close to the Kensington Market district, many of the ingredients are purchased from Kensington Market itself. This ensures that all ingredients are fresh and also supports local Toronto citizens. The overall décor of the restaurant was subtle yet classy. This made the environment both comfortable, but not overly cluttered.
Much of the preexisting décor, from sombreros on the wall to the colourful tablecloths, is now gone. There is now a much more refined and mature feel to Rancho Relaxo and it complements the various food options. The dimmed lighting adds a bar feel and but there are still hints of the Spanish flair that pays tribute to their past look. The upstairs venue remains very much the same, and that isn’t a bad thing.
New to the Rancho Relaxo experience is the food truck that is able to provide customers with very much the same dinning experience as the restaurant as it is equipped with an upscale kitchen. Complementing their food, the truck features a “high performance sound system, big screen media center offering Playstation, Music Videos, Film clips, live Twitter/FB feed, photo galleries & more.”
Rancho Relaxo is back and has proven that they can keep up with the times. The exciting menu is something not to be missed and the welcoming atmosphere and improvements to the restaurant will surely bring in returning and brand new customers.